Excuses on the High Seas

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Badabinski:
I've seen in-game ads brought up several times while reading this thread. My thoughts?
Good idea! Let's chuck some billboards up with Mountain Dew ads.
Developers can get massive amounts of money, consumers can pay less (or maybe even nothing, depending on the development costs of the game,) and pirating becomes a moot point.

No pop-up ads though, those would be gay.

Just a quick off-topic note Badabinski... I don't see ads on The Escapist at all. In fact, hardly anywhere! I use FireFox with ABP (Adblock Plus) addon and subscribing it to Rick's Easy List. Also "Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper" and "Flashblock". Atm ABP is blocking 6 items on this page. It's worth considering because it doesn't just hide ads- it actually stops them from downloading. A saving in time and bandwidth. Of course, there are those who will argue that we are morally obliged to download the ads, that's their choice. However, my surfing experience has improved out of sight for doing this.

FeverusDreams:
Valve realized that you can, in fact, make more money by selling games for 50-75% less. They'd have dropped prices on just about everything they have if it weren't for being tied to brain-dead retailers who would be just as happy to see the entire industry die as long as digital download doesn't steal their market share.

Valve realized that, in a world of 90% piracy, releasing a game with an engine that runs like crap on everything but 5% of your customer base (see: Crysis) is going to fail utterly. Instead, you convert 10% of your pirates to your game buyers, and you just doubled your sales.

Did I mention that you can apply every point here to Stardock? In the end, this really isn't about changing pirates (customers who will take breaking the law over being fed recently excreted feces), so shredding the ethics of their rationale won't help developers a whit. If you want to sell games, you come to terms with the marketplace as it exists in the real world rather than the fictional creation in your law books, and you respond to it appropriately.

Really well put Feverus. It ties into my points on page two quite happily.

EDIT: However, the DRM on Steam is large unnecessary- I tend to avoid it myself. If it was just service orientated I would avail myself of it much more.

Odjin:

Didn't you realize that Steam is DRM? It's in fact a very intrusive DRM ( locking down your games ). And Steam does not unite. Many people ( me including ) do all they can to not get in touch with this DRM monstrosity if possible ( I even go out to pay games in stores for some upcosts just to avoid having it on steam ). While the idea behind steam is good it is questionable in the implementation. One reason why alternatives are developed ( with moderate success so far though ).

Yes. Steam is a form of DRM which includes more of the aspects customers want and less of those they don't want. In return, the customers will accept certain practices they would not accept from companies like EA. Do I have a problem with someone losing $200 of games because they got trojan'd and VAC detected one hack? Sure. Do I lock down my machine so that doesn't happen? Yes - nothing is perfect, and Steam is good enough for me.

Addendum: Companies which implement one aspect of a useful response to piracy (releasing additional content, not using intrusive DRM) will not necessarily succeed. As usual, you need to use good business sense to build the appropriate package around the game you have. Seeing 500,000 people pirating your game does not mean 500,000 (or even 50,000) people want to buy it.

Question, and this isn't about games but software piracy in general. Actually, piracy I've done for this reason.

What if you need software or a game for college classes, but on your current budget, it's way too expensive and you don't have anyone you could bum the software/game off of? Would you consider those reasons justifiable?

I don't like piracy. I still buy CDs and all my games. If I like a company I will buy their product and give them money. If not I will simply not sue their product. There are some exceptions, specifically with music. If there is a song from a movie made in the 60s that I absolutely love, but can't find it anywhere, how else can I get it? To be more specific, I want a song from "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" a movie that's about 40 years old and made about as much money as it's going to make. I really want a song from it, but can't get it any other way then pirating it. Is it ok to pirate then? Or do I just make do with YouTube videos (which just isn't the same).

Say Anything:

jemborg:

Say Anything:

Smart man. I suppose you don't know that World of Goo has an 82% piracy rate.

wall of text

Where's your argument? You wanted to know why the World of Goo picture was posted in a pirate-related article, and I told you why. Your personal attacks and own opinions have nothing to do with any of what I was talking about.

Anyway, yeah, I didn't bother to check the link because I didn't assume you would be linking to an article that says it's been pirated 90% - partially my fault for insulting you (slap on the wrist etc.), but the fact they're still making a lot of money off of it has absolutely nothing to do with the piracy level. Why it was even a question to you is beyond me.

WTF!?! I guess this demonstrates what a stupid arrogant fuck your are! I made my point and felt I needed to clarify it since you you were so blatantly obtuse. A point I believe is pertinent to the discussion regardless of your agenda. My opinion is entirely relevant since you choose to play miss-the-point. There was no question... did you see a question mark in my original post? So no reason to "answer" in the ignorant fashion you did. Besides the link to WoG was there as a reference to a cheap Indie game nothing to do at all with their important attitude towards piracy and consequent DRM measures. If you had followed the link you might have not felt the asinine need to comment and consequently pathetically justify it. I'm not surprised you say it's "beyond me". You admit to "insulting" me and then whinge about "personal attacks" You deserve it, though I never "attacked" you ad hominum. Any self-respecting honest person would not have snidely re-edited my post/quote to "wall of text" they would have just placed it under a spoiler, for example...

But since my other assumptions were spot on I assume you really did it because of the embarrassingly confronting logic. Above you can't even write a grammatically cogent reply. Also, "Your personal attacks and own opinions have nothing to do with any of what I was talking about." What? the remark "Smart man. I suppose you don't know that World of Goo has an 82% piracy rate." Besides the fact that even rhetorically it should still have included a question mark what else were you "talking about"? Unless you think the whole thread revolves around you and your blinkered opinions Mr Say Anything. Since you didn't answer my question, I guess you do work for a "waste of time and money" DRM company in some fashion. Perhaps a lawyer? Still, you won't be getting any money from these guys (2D BOY... from your link):

"by the way, just in case it's not 100% clear, we're not angry about piracy, we still think that DRM is a waste of time and money, we don't think that we're losing sales due to piracy, and we have no intention of trying to fight it."

Anton P. Nym:

I've given my version. I'd be interested to see if someone out there can tell me how piracy can actually still support making more games.

1) Pirating games encourages spending on games

You go into a store. You see a bunch of games. You don't have money for all of them. Chances are that you'll like some of them, and you'll dislike others. If you can pirate, you know you're not really taking a chance--if the game sucks and you have no money for other games, you can pirate. If it's awesome, well, you win!

Now what if you can't pirate? You're taking a chance with your money. If it sucks, well, you lose! So maybe you don't spend your money on games. Maybe you spend it on alcohol because one bottle of Mad Dog will get you just as drunk as the last one. On the other hand, you might pick up _BioShock_ and decide it's a console wank version of _System Shock 2_. So piracy functions as 'dud insurance'.

Sort of the same idea I expressed here:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/9.89360.1391892

2) Spending on games is to some extent inelastic

In other words, piracy does not effect the amount of money people spend on games. If they pirate Game A, they won't buy Game A. However, they might buy Game B instead. As there are plenty of people out there, going by the law of large numbers Company A and Company B will probably make out equally well.

Games are not an essential good. People can live without games. So don't expect people to be perfectly rational actors when it comes to luxury goods.

In fact, it's kinda inconsistent to hope that people won't pirate games ever--clearly an irrational act from a games theory perspective of the individual--and then argue against piracy by expecting pirates to behave as totally rational actors.

Unless of course you've made the assumption that the world is divided into pirates and paragons, saints and demons, the heroes and the villains, the abstinent and the whores. With no one falling into the middle ground between.

3) Piracy attracts poor customers who grow up to be rich--or at least less poor--customers

Get them hooked on games now so later on, when their time becomes more valuable than their money, they'll be gamers and will spend their entertainment dollar on games and not music or fine wine or Belgian beers.

4) The person who pirates your game today buys your sequel/next game/"spiritual successor" tomorrow

As long as the piracy doesn't sink your company today, as long as you do the business math and make sure the product you put out today will pay the bills you racked up yesterday making the game, the pirates of today? Some of them will turn into your customers of tomorrow.

+++++

Like you said, "If piracy goes too far" there will be less games. I hear a lot about piracy, but I don't see any less games. I agree 100% that if piracy goes too far it'll kill gaming. Considering how long we've been hearing about piracy, and seeing how well gaming is doing? Just because you're hoping that piracy has gone so far that it's starting to kill gaming so you have an empirical argument to back up your moral objection, well, that doesn't mean it has.

Odjin:

Don't know the system in America as I'm from the other end of the world but in economics if a company does not protect their IP/license/patent whatever then they silently agree to give it up altogether. Hence if game companies do not care about their old and abandoned games to be distributed for free this would turn their rights nonexistent. Conflicts somewhat with this "automatic 50 years protected" rule up there. As far as I know though abandonware sites are not shut down as long as they do not host games of publishers in I think EAS or something it's named ( this association thing EA is part of too ).

In the US, IP law has three basic branches, patent, copyright, and trademark. They all have their nuances, loopholes, and pitfalls, but, in brief, they break down like this (bear in mind I'm merely an interested and informed observer, not an attorney, and this should not be taken as legal advice):

Patents have a term of 17 years, and were intended to protect gadgets and hardware. The To get a patent, you have to submit a plan detailed enough that any industry savvy individual would be able to build a prototype of whatever device you were patenting. Pitfalls include business method and software patents, and an overburdened review system that rewards rubber stamping approvals.

Copyrights protect a specific expression of an idea, and have a term of 90 years, at present. And is easily the most complex branch of the field, given that it covers tv, movies, music (both recorded and published), books, software, and a whole bunch of other, ancillary stuff. The fact that it's protection for a specific expression, means that you can publish study guides for various books, or strategy guides for games, without infringing copyrights. Pitfalls include fair use, insane complexity, and excessive protection terms.

Trademarks focus on branding, labeling, and packaging, and is the only branch where 'enforce or lose protection' applies. It's primarily used to deal with counterfeiting, though there have been some bizarre applications of late:
http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/02/blockshopper-bullied-into-settling-over-web-links.ars
http://arstechnica.com/software/news/2009/02/prior-fart-legal-stink-up-over-iphone-flatulence-apps.ars
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2009/02/dell-fights-back-against-psion-netbook-trademark-rampage.ars

jemborg:

Say Anything:

jemborg:

Say Anything:

jemborg:
Funny you should drop a link to the World of Goo site and yet fail to read what they have to say about Piracy and why they consider DRM is a "waste of time and money"...

http://2dboy.com/2008/11/13/90/

Note that World of Goo is the second best seller at Amazon after WotLK.

Smart man. I suppose you don't know that World of Goo has an 82% piracy rate.

wall of text

Where's your argument? You wanted to know why the World of Goo picture was posted in a pirate-related article, and I told you why. Your personal attacks and own opinions have nothing to do with any of what I was talking about.

Anyway, yeah, I didn't bother to check the link because I didn't assume you would be linking to an article that says it's been pirated 90% - partially my fault for insulting you (slap on the wrist etc.), but the fact they're still making a lot of money off of it has absolutely nothing to do with the piracy level. Why it was even a question to you is beyond me.

*useless argument, lol! look, I edited it again!*

You go on with the personal attacks after I told you the logic behind my reasoning. Sorry I hurt your feelings on the internet, big guy. Were you not confused in your original post as to why there was a picture of World of Goo? Were you wanting to know why the writer would post that picture up there when the company who created the game says they believe they're doing better without DRM (which is flat out wrong if they're truly losing 1000 sales for every 1 they make, even if they're the developers, but I guess that's unrelated)? I'll tell you why they're on there, bud: the game, as stated by the company themselves and then analyzed to find the truth, has an 82% piracy rate - if in your mind that doesn't justify why the game is on a piracy related article then I can say you're wrong, but if you want to continue on in fantasy world where I'm trying to kill everything you hold dear to you and thus must continue to cuss me out (and make an ass of yourself in doing so), you go right ahead because, then again, I am a stupid, arrogant fuck..

Skrapt:

Odjin:

Didn't you realize that Steam is DRM? It's in fact a very intrusive DRM ( locking down your games ). And Steam does not unite. Many people ( me including ) do all they can to not get in touch with this DRM monstrosity if possible ( I even go out to pay games in stores for some upcosts just to avoid having it on steam ). While the idea behind steam is good it is questionable in the implementation. One reason why alternatives are developed ( with moderate success so far though ).

I'd say that Steam does a pretty good job of being DRM, considering personally I've gone through 4-5 computers in the last few years and been able to re-download all my games every time without any re-inputting CD keys or anything except simply logging in. And considering for several of those games I purchased the CD and have lost almost all of them I'm glad to be able to re-download them all again without any hassle. And if such a system is able to keep the developers happy by being suitably protected and the consumers happy by having easy access to their games online and offline then it's a good system.

This is unfortunately all just nice ideas but the reality ( as experienced by me and others, including devers working with steam ) looks a bit different.

I witnessed more than once that steam corrupted downloads. Games became unplayable or did not even install at all. In one case I had to manually download the demo of a game and install it by hand since steam repeatedly refused to properly download and install it. Furthermore I witnessed more than once how an update killed an entire installed game beyond usable forcing a reinstall... which I had to do manually since steam failed to recognize the game being installed ( so a total lock since it could not get forth not back ).

And what goes for security or DRM, it's a joke. I know more people playing with a hacked steam than without. I also see tons of cheaters ( most easy to spot time-hackers where the players run around at 3 times the speed of all other players ) which VAC does not bother about but if you as a legal player drop out of a match because your steam client crashed yet another time you can't log in for 30 hours since your steam ID is in use. DRM never worked and will never work.

And developing with steam is shit. Most prominent example is the Source SDK. It's rolling dice each time you try to run it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it crashes and sometimes it hangs forever. An SDK should never be linked with the download or update platform. It should always be standalone. Why? For (1) because it prevents all kinds of bad behavior and for (2) you can embed the tools into your production toolchain running timed build scripts. If you need all time to fire up steam client to get the proper env path set it's just annoying.

So from actual usage experience it's crap for both players and developers. Idea is good, it just needs a more solid implementation without DRM and without SDK forced into the client.

FeverusDreams:

Odjin:

Didn't you realize that Steam is DRM? It's in fact a very intrusive DRM ( locking down your games ). And Steam does not unite. Many people ( me including ) do all they can to not get in touch with this DRM monstrosity if possible ( I even go out to pay games in stores for some upcosts just to avoid having it on steam ). While the idea behind steam is good it is questionable in the implementation. One reason why alternatives are developed ( with moderate success so far though ).

Yes. Steam is a form of DRM which includes more of the aspects customers want and less of those they don't want. In return, the customers will accept certain practices they would not accept from companies like EA. Do I have a problem with someone losing $200 of games because they got trojan'd and VAC detected one hack? Sure. Do I lock down my machine so that doesn't happen? Yes - nothing is perfect, and Steam is good enough for me.

Addendum: Companies which implement one aspect of a useful response to piracy (releasing additional content, not using intrusive DRM) will not necessarily succeed. As usual, you need to use good business sense to build the appropriate package around the game you have. Seeing 500,000 people pirating your game does not mean 500,000 (or even 50,000) people want to buy it.

I can't really agree with you on the trojan part. Windows is totally unsecure and unless you put a decent firewall ( Linux machine that means ) in front of it and don't use it for anything else than playing games ( or developing in my case ) then you in for troubles quickly. A user is already punished enough if his system gets jacked and he has to wipe anything and reinstall. Blocking his games is just illegal in my opinion. That's if your garage burns down and the police comes and confiscates all your vehicles because your garage burned down.

Miral:
I know, I know, the industry doesn't like to publish those sorts of numbers. But many of them are public, so there has to be *some* level of transparency.

The industry does give us numbers that indicate how well they're doing: layoffs and studio closings.

But, yes, Slate should have clarified the point. Or I should have! Thanks, Nym.

Say Anything:

jemborg:

Say Anything:

jemborg:

Say Anything:

jemborg:
Funny you should drop a link to the World of Goo site and yet fail to read what they have to say about Piracy and why they consider DRM is a "waste of time and money"...

http://2dboy.com/2008/11/13/90/

Note that World of Goo is the second best seller at Amazon after WotLK.

Smart man. I suppose you don't know that World of Goo has an 82% piracy rate.

wall of text

*Completely misses the point*

*Goes over Mr Say Anything's head*

...then again, I am a stupid, arrogant fuck..

ROFLMAO I rest my case :P

(Jesus, I haven't laughed so hard for weeks :D )

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Anton P. Nym:

I've given my version. I'd be interested to see if someone out there can tell me how piracy can actually still support making more games.

1) Pirating games encourages spending on games

You go into a store. You see a bunch of games. You don't have money for all of them. Chances are that you'll like some of them, and you'll dislike others. If you can pirate, you know you're not really taking a chance--if the game sucks and you have no money for other games, you can pirate. If it's awesome, well, you win!

You're assuming that the pirate will then go out and buy the game(s) he/she/it likes. That behaviour is not widely observed in reality. (I will say, though, that this behaviour has been observed in the rental market; people do indeed rent console games, try them, and then buy retail copies afterwards when the long-term gameplay proves appealing.) Sadly, the actually observed behaviour has led to the death of the shareware market which had a very similar methodology.

2) Spending on games is to some extent inelastic

In other words, piracy does not effect the amount of money people spend on games. If they pirate Game A, they won't buy Game A. However, they might buy Game B instead. As there are plenty of people out there, going by the law of large numbers Company A and Company B will probably make out equally well.

Games are not an essential good. People can live without games. So don't expect people to be perfectly rational actors when it comes to luxury goods.

Given the number of people maiming themselves with inappropriately-used garden tools and going broke chasing Collateralised Tulip Bulb Obligations, I don't expect people to be perfectly rational actors, period.

Of course, this point of yours does nothing to actually support the creation of new games. It's merely an attempt to excuse piracy under the "boys will be boys" rationale.

3) Piracy attracts poor customers who grow up to be rich--or at least less poor--customers

Get them hooked on games now so later on, when their time becomes more valuable than their money, they'll be gamers and will spend their entertainment dollar on games and not music or fine wine or Belgian beers.

So, in the long run it'll act as really good brand-building advertising... but, as Keynes said, in the long run we're all dead. Your proposal means that the software creators would have to defer returns on their investments for a decade or two.

Perhaps you wouldn't mind going to the financiers and asking to delay repayment for ten years, but I'd be shaking in my boots if I tried to do that.

4) The person who pirates your game today buys your sequel/next game/"spiritual successor" tomorrow

As long as the piracy doesn't sink your company today, as long as you do the business math and make sure the product you put out today will pay the bills you racked up yesterday making the game, the pirates of today? Some of them will turn into your customers of tomorrow.

That's a retread of point 3, and has the same faults.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:

You're assuming that the pirate will then go out and buy the game(s) he/she/it likes. That behaviour is not widely observed in reality. (I will say, though, that this behaviour has been observed in the rental market; people do indeed rent console games, try them, and then buy retail copies afterwards when the long-term gameplay proves appealing.)

Hmm--then maybe it doesn't have anything to do with pirating itself. Maybe it has to do with the kind of people who rent vs. the kind of people who pirate.

In other words, correlation is a reason to look for causation when you find it at the surface level like this, not proof of it. Is it piracy itself that is the reason we see what we see? Or is it just that the kind of people who rent are a different sort of person than the kind of people who pirate?

Maybe most pirates are scumbags--I don't know, I'm not trying to defend any entire group of people here. However, that's a distinction we should keep in mind, shouldn't we? The distinction between a *pirate* and *piracy*?

Sadly, the actually observed behaviour has led to the death of the shareware market which had a very similar methodology.

DOOM did pretty good in the shareware market. Maybe the decline of the shareware market has to do with the kind of people who buy games moving on from the shareware market.

2) Spending on games is to some extent inelastic

In other words, piracy does not effect the amount of money people spend on games. If they pirate Game A, they won't buy Game A. However, they might buy Game B instead. As there are plenty of people out there, going by the law of large numbers Company A and Company B will probably make out equally well.

Games are not an essential good. People can live without games. So don't expect people to be perfectly rational actors when it comes to luxury goods.

Given the number of people maiming themselves with inappropriately-used garden tools and going broke chasing Collateralised Tulip Bulb Obligations, I don't expect people to be perfectly rational actors, period.

Of course, this point of yours does nothing to actually support the creation of new games. It's merely an attempt to excuse piracy under the "boys will be boys" rationale.

How exactly does the point that 'the exact same amount of money will flow into the industry' not support the creation of new games? You can't have it both ways, arguing that if there's no money there will be no games because it's the flow of money that creates games, and then when you confront a situation where there's an identical flow of money, claim that there won't be as many games.

Now, if you want to make an argument that game companies are being irrationally discouraged from making games by piracy, that's a good counter argument. But let's admit these companies are being irrational--no BioShock pun intended--in expressing our sympathies for them.

So, in the long run it'll act as really good brand-building advertising... but, as Keynes said, in the long run we're all dead.

Maybe we should check if it'll act as really good brand-building advertising in the medium run then--that period between "right now" and "when we're all dead."

Your proposal means that the software creators would have to defer returns on their investments for a decade or two.

A decade or two? That's Blizzard and Remedy and 3D Realms and Silicon Knights. Not every game is StarCraft II and Alan Wake and Duke Nukem and Too Human.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
However, that's a distinction we should keep in mind, shouldn't we? The distinction between a *pirate* and *piracy*?

Unless you can explain why the distinction is meaningful, and not just another way to obfuscate, no.

How exactly does the point that 'the exact same amount of money will flow into the industry' not support the creation of new games? You can't have it both ways, arguing that if there's no money there will be no games because it's the flow of money that creates games, and then when you confront a situation where there's an identical flow of money, claim that there won't be as many games.

That wasn't my question. I asked how piracy could encourage the creation of new games. This point, at best, argues that piracy's effect upon cash flow is a neutral factor neither encouraging nor discouraging the creation of new games... and that's assuming that piracy's erosion of returns is steady over time, a point I'm not willing to concede without supporting evidence.

Your proposal means that the software creators would have to defer returns on their investments for a decade or two.

A decade or two? That's Blizzard and Remedy and 3D Realms and Silicon Knights. Not every game is StarCraft II and Alan Wake and Duke Nukem and Too Human.

Again beside the point. You stated that today's pirates would grow up to be tomorrow's responsible consumers; "grow up" implies that the pirates are before their maturity. If we're talking teens, then "growing up" could easily take ten years to reach the stage of responsible consumer if we include time in post-secondary education.

That has nothing to do with development times.

Development costs are paid when they're incurred, not upon completion of the project. You have to get that money from somewhere, and the usual sources are either loans or a contracted advance payment from a publisher. Both these sources are going to want their money back at some time, and any patience they display will have a price tag. A decade of postponement would be staggering in interest payments or deadline penalties, unless The Money is unduly generous or credulous... and that's assuming you could get it, when the likely result would be a civil suit for breach of contract.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
However, that's a distinction we should keep in mind, shouldn't we? The distinction between a *pirate* and *piracy*?

Unless you can explain why the distinction is meaningful, and not just another way to obfuscate, no.

Here's one that jumps out at me and has real-world, dollars-and-cents implications: the distinction tells you that piracy isn't the problem. The problem is that people who pirate are the kind of people who will never be a market for your games.

So that tells you to stop worrying about piracy, and start focusing your efforts on making sure you don't waste marketing dollars on pirates, that you don't make games for pirates. Make games for people who buy games. Market to people who respond to marketing by making purchases.

Basically, the same thing the Stardock letter had to say about Window Blinds:
draginol.joeuser.com/article/303512/Piracy_PC_Gaming

Me? I'm balls-deep in monster strategy games from Paradox these days. I'm doing fine as far as gaming is concerned, so if I've got any bias, it's that I'm not suffering from the poverty of games that other people are, a poverty I just don't see. At worst, I'm Marie Antoinette, saying "Let them eat Hearts of Iron"

How exactly does the point that 'the exact same amount of money will flow into the industry' not support the creation of new games? You can't have it both ways, arguing that if there's no money there will be no games because it's the flow of money that creates games, and then when you confront a situation where there's an identical flow of money, claim that there won't be as many games.

That wasn't my question. I asked how piracy could encourage the creation of new games. This point, at best, argues that piracy's effect upon cash flow is a neutral factor neither encouraging nor discouraging the creation of new games...

No, your question was " I'd be interested to see if someone out there can tell me how piracy can actually still support making more games." "still support" is different from "encourage the creation of new". "neither encouraging nor discouraging" sounds close enough to "still support." We just seemed to have slipped from your original question to a close-but-different enough to make a difference question in our back and forth.

and that's assuming that piracy's erosion of returns is steady over time, a point I'm not willing to concede without supporting evidence.

Are you willing to concede the opposite point without supporting evidence? Or are you remaining agnostic until you get more evidence?

Like I said--maybe we've just got different evidence. Me being a Marie Antoinette balls-deep in what I love and all. Metaphorically.

Again beside the point. You stated that today's pirates would grow up to be tomorrow's responsible consumers; "grow up" implies that the pirates are before their maturity. If we're talking teens, then "growing up" could easily take ten years to reach the stage of responsible consumer if we include time in post-secondary education.

But there are enough responsible consumers right now, already. Even if I agree your logic is valid if we were putting out the first video game today, it's not sound, because we're not. People who were in high school playing--whether pirated or purchased--Sid Meier games are now responsible consumers, and Sid Meier is still putting out games.

If there's anything to blame piracy for, it's making them think that just because we're still playing Colonization a decade later creating things like FreeCol, they could cash in with any old reskin of Civ4 and call it Colonization.

Development costs are paid when they're incurred, not upon completion of the project. You have to get that money from somewhere, and the usual sources are either loans or a contracted advance payment from a publisher. Both these sources are going to want their money back at some time, and any patience they display will have a price tag. A decade of postponement would be staggering in interest payments or deadline penalties, unless The Money is unduly generous or credulous... and that's assuming you could get it, when the likely result would be a civil suit for breach of contract.

I agree. However, all your points apply to a world without piracy just as they apply to one with it. The question is whether piracy pushes the effect you're talking about to a point where there won't be any new games.

I clicked the link hoping to see a well-thought out article and was severely disappointed. I should have known from the title and description. The same tired arguments with the same huge holes in them.

What's the point of preaching to the choir? Try something new with your anti-piracy agenda. Try talking to pirates. Being on the offense from the get-go is not a sure fire way of getting anybody to listen.

I have another reason for downloading, one that isn't on your list.
I download games that have specs on the box higher than my pc specs.
If they run on my computer (I'm looking at you Mass Effect, Red Alert 3) eventhough my computer did not have the specs I go out and buy them. If they don't, its not like I'm using any pirated software.
A new computer is way to expensive for my currently extremely meager budget, and oddly enough most minimum specs seem to be over my computers capabilities eventhough I can run the games on higher than minimum settings (My my, how we lie to our customers Red Alert 3)

-Guy who spends most of his time playing DoTa because his current pc should have been retired 3 years ago.

Absolutely terrific article -- lays out the fallacy behind various piracy rationalizations in a very clear, logical way. I do disagree on one point, however.

I want to see if it actually works before I buy it.

Against this excuse I can offer no counter-argument.

Here's my attempt at a counter-argument: Just don't buy OR pirate the game if you're worried about it. You don't get to make up the rules as you go along. There are only two legal and ethical options: buy it or not. Where else would this line of reasoning possibly work? "Officer, I swear, I didn't steal the car! I was just making sure it's in good shape because the warranty sucks and they refused to let me test drive it. I was on my way back to buy it..."

Right? They made the game, so they get to set the terms of the sale (within legal constraints). You have free will and can make the choice to not accept the terms BY NOT BUYING IT. You don't get to set the price or decide when it gets released, either. If you want control over those things, then make your own game or get a law passed. Complain about it, write your Congressman, boycott the company, but as Doug Llewelyn once said, don't take the law into your own hands. (And his name starts with two, count 'em, TWO "L"s, so you know he ain't messin' around.)

mcbond:
Absolutely terrific article -- lays out the fallacy behind various piracy rationalizations in a very clear, logical way. I do disagree on one point, however.

I want to see if it actually works before I buy it.

Against this excuse I can offer no counter-argument.

Here's my attempt at a counter argument: Just don't buy OR pirate the game if you're worried about it. You don't get to make up the rules as you go along. There are only two legal and ethical options: buy it or not. Where else would this line of reasoning possibly work?

A bookstore?

mcbond:

Here's my attempt at a counter argument: Just don't buy OR pirate the game if you're worried about it. You don't get to make up the rules as you go along. There are only two legal and ethical options: buy it or not. Where else would this line of reasoning possibly work?

Cheeze_Pavilion:
A bookstore?

I thought I understood where you were going, but you'll have to elaborate. The analogy doesn't seem to hold up.

mcbond:

mcbond:

Here's my attempt at a counter argument: Just don't buy OR pirate the game if you're worried about it. You don't get to make up the rules as you go along. There are only two legal and ethical options: buy it or not. Where else would this line of reasoning possibly work?

Cheeze_Pavilion:
A bookstore?

I thought I understood where you were going, but you'll have to elaborate. The analogy doesn't seem to hold up.

People pick up books in bookstores and start reading them all the time. No one calls that piracy. I mean, there are book reviews just the same as game reviews. Most books have information on the back of the jacket. Maybe you can even open up the book to read the information printed on the parts of the jacket that fold inside the cover, if it's a hardback. Or even leaf through to see some of the printed review lines near the title page.

However, once you've opened the book to the actual text? How is that different from pirating a game?

And really, pirating a game to see if it'll work on your system? That's no more an infringement on the rights of the author than opening up a book to see if it's in a language you can read. Or I guess more precisely, isn't written for a reading level above yours.

So show me the person who hasn't opened up a book in a bookstore and read some of the text, and I'll show you someone who's not a pirate.

Everyone else? Looks like there are a lot more of us who are pirates than we realized...maybe some of us have a "huge shelf of 100% legit games" but um, how many of us have a shelf of 100% legit books if the same logic by which "I just want to try it out, and if I like the game I pay for it'" is "pretty much...a crock," if that same logic applies to books.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

People pick up books in bookstores and start reading them all the time. No one calls that piracy. I mean, there are book reviews just the same as game reviews. Most books have information on the back of the jacket. Maybe you can even open up the book to read the information printed on the parts of the jacket that fold inside the cover, if it's a hardback. Or even leaf through to see some of the printed review lines near the title page.

However, once you've opened the book to the actual text? How is that different from pirating a game?

And really, pirating a game to see if it'll work on your system? That's no more an infringement on the rights of the author than opening up a book to see if it's in a language you can read. Or I guess more precisely, isn't written for a reading level above yours.

So show me the person who hasn't opened up a book in a bookstore and read some of the text, and I'll show you someone who's not a pirate.

Everyone else? Looks like there are a lot more of us who are pirates than we realized...maybe some of us have a "huge shelf of 100% legit games" but um, how many of us have a shelf of 100% legit books if the same logic by which "I just want to try it out, and if I like the game I pay for it'" is "pretty much...a crock," if that same logic applies to books.

But don't you have a sort of passive permission to leaf through a book in a bookstore? Actually, they downright encourage it, by providing chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee. The bookstore and publishers are hoping you browse through the books, clearly. They don't put the books in sealed boxes and require a code to open the cover...etc. Publishing houses don't spend millions trying to prevent you from leafing through their books. The proper analogy, in my opinion, is downloading a book illegally online. Once you progress to that stage, you have violated the social contract, because you don't have permission to do that. You're making the rules at that point...you're downloading the book or game against the will of the publisher, you possess the book outside the control of the publisher, and, maybe, if you deem it worthy, you'll buy a legal copy. That's not the case with browsing through a bookstore.

mcbond:

But don't you have a sort of passive permission to leaf through a book in a bookstore?

Do you? Where did you get the idea you have passive permission? What publisher told you that you have permission to open that book without paying for it?

Actually, they downright encourage it, by providing chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee.

All bookstores have always had chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee? People only open books in bookstores with chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee?

The bookstore and publishers are hoping you browse through the books, clearly. They don't put the books in sealed boxes and require a code to open the cover...etc.

Not putting something in a sealed box means the person wants you to enjoy some of it? So when I go into the grocery store, anything that's not in a sealed box, I can nibble on it?

And so if a game doesn't require a code, that means the publisher wants you to pirate it? If you don't include DRM, you haven't asserted copyright?

The proper analogy, in my opinion, is downloading a book illegally online. Once you progress to that stage, you have violated the social contract, because you don't have permission to do that.

That can all be true, while the first "stage" where you violate the social contract (not sure if you understand what the concept means, as it's not really appropriate here) is further back at the point where you open the book. In other words, maybe this is a later "stage," while opening the book is the first "stage" where you move from innocent to violator.

Not to mention, you've just labeled anyone that used Google Books prior to October 2008 a pirate:
http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/google/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=211601094

You're making the rules at that point...you're downloading the book or game against the will of the publisher, you possess the book outside the control of the publisher, and, maybe, if you deem it worthy, you'll buy a legal copy. That's not the case with browsing through a bookstore.

When you start coming up with ideas like "passive permission" you're also at a point where you're making up the rules.

Where did you get the idea you have passive permission? What publisher told you that you have permission to open that book without paying for it?

Well, if we're talking hardcover, they promote it mostly in the inner jacket...have to open it to read that, right? They must realize it would be a waste of resources to talk up a book someone has already bought. If they put all those rave reviews in there I'm guessing they're hoping you open the book. Also, the fact that I don't get run out of the store...

All bookstores have always had chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee? People only open books in bookstores with chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee?

What exactly is your point here? Are you arguing that the sofas and chairs are not provided to encourage reading? They just want people to nap, maybe? What do you normally see people holding and looking at in those chairs? Somehow lots of people got the idea, mistakenly, according to you, that they were being encouraged to READ in those chairs. So ridiculous...

Not putting something in a sealed box means the person wants you to enjoy some of it? So when I go into the grocery store, anything that's not in a sealed box, I can nibble on it?

We were comparing books and games, right? Remember how you started this by mentioning a bookstore? My point was that, if a publisher didn't want you to read the book, and was overtly against it, they could very easily shrink wrap the book. Nibbling on a piece of fruit ruins it, so you've effectively consumed it. So, again, your analogy sucks. Flipping through a book, assuming you don't have feces on your hands (which you very well may), doesn't reduce or eliminate the value of it. Test the theory, by god. Go into ten bookstores and read the first chapter of a book in every one, in front of the clerk. Then go into some grocery stores and start munching on carrots and putting them back in the bin, in front of a clerk. You will see why the two activities are not analogous rather quickly, I suspect. And to answer your question more directly, yes, if you see anything in a grocery store that's not wrapped, you can nibble on it. I'd suggest starting with the butcher's earlobe -- send pics!

If you don't include DRM, you haven't asserted copyright?

They assert the copyright in the EULA. They tell you what the terms of the license are in painstaking detail. I've never seen anything in a book that says not to read it in a bookstore, because, well, that would be stupid.

That can all be true, while the first "stage" where you violate the social contract (not sure if you understand what the concept means, as it's not really appropriate here)

You're right, silly me. And silly Merriam/Webster dictionary for defining it as " an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each". If that were the definition, I could say that the agreement I'm referring to is the buyer/seller agreement, and that would be pretty appropriate here, but Merriam clearly botched it, so I'll concede this point.

mcbond:

Where did you get the idea you have passive permission? What publisher told you that you have permission to open that book without paying for it?

Well, if we're talking hardcover, they promote it mostly in the inner jacket...have to open it to read that, right? They must realize it would be a waste of resources to talk up a book someone has already bought. If they put all those rave reviews in there I'm guessing they're hoping you open the book.

Um, that's why I said:

Most books have information on the back of the jacket. Maybe you can even open up the book to read the information printed on the parts of the jacket that fold inside the cover, if it's a hardback. Or even leaf through to see some of the printed review lines near the title page.

However, once you've opened the book to the actual text?

This conversation is going to work a lot better if you, you know, read what I have to say?

Also, the fact that I don't get run out of the store...

The publisher is in the store with you every time you go in the bookstore?

All bookstores have always had chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee? People only open books in bookstores with chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee?

What exactly is your point here?

Even if you're right that chairs and sofas and overpriced coffee indicate permission to open to the text of the book, that doesn't prove anything about the stores without those things in them. So your point doesn't prove anything about ALL bookstores, just some of them.

Just because the one restaurant in the food court has a plate of free samples on their counter, that doesn't mean I get to walk up to the restaurant with a salad bar and start nibbling!

Not putting something in a sealed box means the person wants you to enjoy some of it? So when I go into the grocery store, anything that's not in a sealed box, I can nibble on it?

We were comparing books and games, right? Remember how you started this by mentioning a bookstore? My point was that, if a publisher didn't want you to read the book, and was overtly against it, they could very easily shrink wrap the book.

Easily? Maybe. Effortlessly and without cost? Nope. Why should someone have to spend money and make an effort to assert their rights?

Nibbling on a piece of fruit ruins it, so you've effectively consumed it. So, again, your analogy sucks. Flipping through a book, assuming you don't have feces on your hands (which you very well may), doesn't reduce or eliminate the value of it.

How does sampling software by way of digital piracy "reduce or eliminate the value of it" to any greater extent than flipping through a book with feces-free hands?

If you don't include DRM, you haven't asserted copyright?

They assert the copyright in the EULA.

You mean the EULA that's in the shrink wrapped box? ;-D

You're right, silly me. And silly Merriam/Webster dictionary for defining it as " an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society or between a community and its ruler that defines and limits the rights and duties of each".

Exactly. Anti-piracy people don't think there's any need for any sort of agreement between the members of society on the rights and duties of each other when it comes to software. They say it's their property, so they get to set all the rules without any "agreement" from anyone else.

I put up a post about that attitude here:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.89360

If that were the definition, I could say that the agreement I'm referring to is the buyer/seller agreement,

How can there be a buyer/seller agreement if no one's bought anything yet?

I'm going to violate the debater/debatee agreement and put this to bed for the evening. But I will be back...oh, sweet lord, I will be back. And please don't point out that debatee is not a word -- I see the red line, I'm just too tired to care.

mcbond:
I'm going to violate the debater/debatee agreement and put this to bed for the evening. But I will be back...oh, sweet lord, I will be back. And please don't point out that debatee is not a word -- I see the red line, I'm just too tired to care.

Eh, I won't if that's your attitude. See, the issue here is that you're willing to make any possible argument to support your points. Like when you said the reason you can't nibble on stuff in a grocery store but you can open up and read the text of a book is that the latter doesn't "reduce or eliminate the value of it."

The problem is, you just directly contradicted the logic of the very principle you showed up to make an argument about, i.e., the absolute right of the owner to exclude others even if they won't "reduce or eliminate the value of" the software in the way they pirate it, even when the person is simply pirating to check if it'll work on their hardware so they can buy it, fair and square.

Sorry--I've used you to illustrate my point, and now you're just going to continue to be inconsistent in the things you say, and I'll just have to keep showing your contradictions in your reasoning, and that doesn't appeal to me right now.

We do hope you've enjoyed you day on The Escapist. This is how we roll, though--show up with some weak sauce argument that contradicts the principle you set out to defend, and we're gonna point it out.

We are, in the words of this site's new AOR, "an educated and sophisticated audience" like that.

"In any case, if you're from a country where major publishers choose not to do business, then you're not part of the "sales lost to pirates" problem that publishers keep wailing about. You're actually part of a completely different problem."

Wait what?
What different problem? Unsatisfied demand?

He's not off.

Browsing through a book doesn't reduce the value => legit

Downloading and testing a game doesn't reduce the value => legit

Where's the deal? After your logic it's legit.

Like when you said the reason you can't nibble on stuff in a grocery store but you can open up and read the text of a book is that the latter doesn't "reduce or eliminate the value of it."

My argument was never about the reduction of value or elimination of value (read the original comment.) It was about doing something you don't have a right to do. Something the owner of the property expressly forbids you to do. It was YOU who said:

Not putting something in a sealed box means the person wants you to enjoy some of it? So when I go into the grocery store, anything that's not in a sealed box, I can nibble on it?

So I was just making the point that the two activities don't equate -- your analogy doesn't work, because taking a bite out of an apple effectively means it can no longer be sold. Reading a few pages in a book does not. Not sure why that's so hard to grasp. It doesn't bolster your point, it just clouds the issue, therefore it was worthy of being pointed out.

The actual issue is that you say reading a few pages of a book in the bookstore is the same, morally speaking, as downloading an illegal, pirated copy of a game in order to see if it works. That's bullshit, for the reasons I've already stated, but also because reading the book doesn't violate anyone's rights and it doesn't violate any law. There is nothing inside a book that says, "don't read this in a bookstore." There is no new, unauthorized copy made. There is no campaign to stop people from reading books in bookstores. Publishers don't complain or in any way even begin to put forth that they'd rather people not do it. A game comes with clear and adamant warnings not to copy the game, and it couldn't be any more clear that it's against the wishes of the game's publisher to copy it or download an ILLEGAL copy of it. There are LAWS against it. What is the law that forbids reading a book in a bookstore? Who enforces it? The National Why The Fuck Do We Exist Agency?

This is how we roll, though--show up with some weak sauce argument that contradicts the principle you set out to defend, and we're gonna point it out.

Your argument was that flipping through a book in a bookstore is no different, in principle, then downloading an illegal copy of a game. That's "weak sauce". You've failed to defend that absurd claim, but it's not entirely your fault, because it's IMPOSSIBLE to defend. All you've done is attempt (somewhat successfully) to cloud the waters, in order to not have to back up your self-serving philosophy.

Tell you what: Link to a publisher complaining about people reading their books in a bookstore. Just. One. Link. That would prove that the two actions in question are morally equivalent -- that they both involve "an actual or hypothetical agreement among the members of an organized society" being violated (that's that social contract thing that you were so "educated" and "sophisticated" about that you didn't have any idea what it meant...)

So basically, it doesn't matter if it reduces or eliminates the value or not. That's not the issue and it wasn't the point of my original comment. You tried to turn it into that, but that's a lame tactic -- so, yeah, take your ball and go home.

Odjin:
He's not off.

Browsing through a book doesn't reduce the value => legit

Downloading and testing a game doesn't reduce the value => legit

Where's the deal? After your logic it's legit.

That's the thing--if people would just come out and say "I think it's wrong" that would be fine. But they've got to find all kinds of technical reasons to show that EVERYBODY should think it's wrong just like them and if you don't you're an out-there crazy for thinking differently.

The problem is, when they start doing that, they inevitably wind up contradicting themselves.

Nothing has done more to legitimize piracy than the attempts of people to show why it's wrong.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Nothing has done more to legitimize piracy than the attempts of people to show why it's wrong.

Only in your own head, Cheeze.

-- Steve

Anton P. Nym:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Nothing has done more to legitimize piracy than the attempts of people to show why it's wrong.

Only in your own head, Cheeze.

-- Steve

image

R.I.P. E.G.G.O.

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