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 Post subject: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 2:11 pm 
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OK, this topic has taken over the Puzzle Building thread I created (here) which was mostly about "don't advocate or assist piracy of 3D software *on this forum*". Further discussion should be moved to this thread.

So it's completely on topic now, let's have at it!

Here are a few responses to issues brought up in the last few posts from that thread.

When ever I discuss piracy or pricing I inevitably get responses about how sellers of goods are "ripping off" all those poor customers. This is the case with games, OS software and custom puzzles. This is almost always the result of plain ignorance regarding the costs and effort to make the things that person wants, and their own decisions on how to spend their money. People these days just seem to expect they can get great stuff for almost no money. Once these people understand what it takes to make something of quality, they rarely keep these same feelings.

1.) "Windows is like 99% profit". Where did you get this number? Do you understand how a software company works? It may be true that the cost of the CD or DVD that a Windows install ships on is about 1% of what they charge for it, that doesn't really pay for its creation, or support. Consider a few things:
a.) Before they sold you the copy of Windows, they had to make it. Where did this money come from? Who is paying the people making the next version of Windows?
b.) When you have a problem (and many people do) who pays the person who answers the phone and helps fix it? You may not personally do this, but businesses that actually buy copies of Windows do, and someone needs to pay for the support.
c.) Microsoft has tens of thousands of employees, and it pays them a pretty decent wage and has excellent benefits (I know, I used to work there). This costs a lot of money, and selling Windows is how they pay for it. If they were raking in 99% profit, where the heck would they keep all the money? Sure they make money and are doing well, but they invest it in new products. They sit on a bunch of cash which frankly is a pretty good idea given where our economy is. They want to be in business tomorrow and with sales going down, a bit of cash in the bank is a good thing. Their technology makes it possible for you to enjoy this forum (unless you are aren't using Windows, in which case why complain about its price?). You owe them something for that.

2.) "Games are too expensive and too short". Do you have any idea what it takes to make a game these days? I left the industry years ago but it was changing then and undoubtedly is worse today. Long ago a single guy could spend a few months in his garage making a game all by himself. I used to work with Dan Gorlin and he did this (Choplifter) and made a good bit of money from it. When I started in Games (1996) a team of 5-6 guys could spend a year making a top quality game for perhaps $600,000. When I left the games industry five years later AAA games required teams of at least 20-30 and cost a few million dollars. These days I'm sure top title games require teams over 100 people, take years, and cost tens of millions of dollars.
Expectations rise. You wouldn't buy PacMan today for $30. You'd think it was a joke. How many hours of gameplay do you get from it? What do you think about those graphics? PacMan these days is barely a "mini game" inside of another game.
These days people want content, content, content. This takes tons of artists and game designers because you just aren't going to be happy with 300x240 four color 2D games. And they need to be paid. Ask Drewseph and reeeech where they are storing all the millions of dollars they make in games. :)

3.) "It is not stealing if the company looses nothing". What? Let me try that again: What???
If I spend three years working 80+ hour weeks on a game (and I have) what gives you the right to take it and not give me anything? Whether or not I have to pay for you to get the bits has nothing to do with it. Who's compensating me for all of my effort? By your logic if one person buys the game (a whole $1 profit to the developer) and everyone else copies from them no one has stolen anything. The making of those copies didn't cost *me* anything. But my friends and I have worked for three years and we've got a whole $0.05 each out of it. How is that not stealing? In your ideal world are you assuming that I've already been paid well enough (Ha!) by other people (with different ethics than yours) so you don't have to? Why do they have to pay but not you?

4.) "I can't afford it". You are posting on this forum. Unless you are viewing it from your local public library (and I *really* doubt you are, if you are talking about playing games) you own a computer and pay for internet access. People make choices about how to spend money. If you choose to have internet access instead of buying a game, that's your decision. "Choose to afford it" is accurate. I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying it might not involve trade offs. But if you are in this discussion, you have resources. You may expect to have internet access, a computer, a cell phone and cable (most people have these, you may not, but you have some of them) and then claim to have nothing to spend on *further* entertainment, but that's your choice.
But all of that is besides the point. Being able to afford entertainment or not is no excuse to take what is not yours. If you can't afford it, it is not yours to have. Chip in with a friend or two. Rent a game. Play a free game (there are a ton). Or just go out side and throw a ball. But don't think things are yours to take because you want them.

5.) "Rentals are for consoles only and I have a PC. I pirate them to try them out". I haven't played games in a number of years, but when I was making them no credible game came out without releasing a demo. Who's entire purpose is to... wait for it... let you try out the game without paying for it. If you like it, you can buy the game. Honestly how many pirated games do you play and enjoy, but decide you didn't enjoy them "enough" to buy them? Why, after enjoying them however little, is that your decision to make?

Ultimately most of these arguments trace back to selfishness. No one owes you entertainment (game, music, puzzle, etc.). You can make all sorts of arguments to justify it, but in the end you want something from someone else and you aren't willing to give them anything for it.

Dave

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Last edited by DLitwin on Mon May 04, 2009 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 4:03 pm 
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
Considering that there are successful software companies with paid staff who use the FOSS model of development, I must say that the prices proprietary developers charge for their products are highly suspect.
I like open source (and support it), but let's face it: MS can't compete with free unless they offer *something* of value. People are willing to pay for that value, or they would all be using OpenOffice. If their price is too high, people will make different choices. They can't take your money, you have to give it to them.

MS has done plenty of unethical anti-competitive things that I am not saying are OK. I used to work for GeoWorks which made an awesome graphical operating system for 8086 machines. We were *crushed* by Windows because we used DOS device drivers (mainly hard drive drivers. We were small and didn't have the resources to write for all the hardware out there). We would go to a computer maker and get them to agree to use our OS instead of Windows. They would go to MS to buy DOS, and get charged for Windows too. MS didn't care if they used it, but they were going to pay for it. Well, if they were going to pay for Windows just to get DOS, they weren't going to then pay us too. The justice department frowned on this anti-competitive practice and it was part of the later suits against MS. Too late for my company though.

And just because there are "some" companies that succeed in open source doesn't mean everyone can. Bill Gates became very, very successful without graduating college. But I would still recommend people complete their studies if they want a better quality of life.
Jeffrey Mewtamer wrote:
I also find it insulting the way many proprietary developers, after charging such prices, refuse to make the investment to allow *nix users the use of their products and even have the gall to treat their legitimate customers like criminals. Similar can be said of any industry with digital products.
Ummm... Why is it your business to decide how they invest the money paid to them for their product? If you want them to do that work, send them an email and offer to pay for it. I'm sure it isn't cheap (programming rarely is), and it may not be a priority of theirs.
What do they owe to *nix users? Have *nix users given anything to them? Why do people who aren't willing to give think so much is owed to them?
As for treating legitimate customers like criminals, can you give us some context? What are you talking about? Which company, which customer, which industry? Such a blanket statement is hard to address.

If you think something costs too much, don't buy it. Go make it yourself. And then give it away for free. If it's any good, you'll put that evil proprietary developer out of business (how could they compete with free?). And while you are at it, make *nix users happy too, but don't forget a windows port or people might get insulted ;)
Jeffrey Mewtamer wrote:
Wrongdoing on the behalf of corporations may not excuse the consumers of piracy, but piracy should not excuse the corporations of their wrongdoings either. In many cases, there is wrongdoing on both sides, with one or both sides feeding the other.
I don't disagree, but I fail to see the connection. Who's saying piracy is a reason for corporations to do wrong? I sense you are perhaps referring to RIAA litigation, but not saying so? I'm not sure you'll find many people defending the times they waste their money pursuing the wrong people.

The "may not excuse" part of your argument is of interest to me. I'm putting forth that it "does not excuse". Which situations for you change the "does" to a "may"?

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 4:10 pm 
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your first point reminds me of a time way back when I was in high school. I was working my part time job at a local fry stand in a mall food court.

an old man came up to me and said "where do you get off charging $3.50 for a large fries? (bare in mind this was 15 years ago, said large fries are now over 5 bucks) how many potatoes are in there?"

"one" i says.

"well sweet &$%, I can buy one potatoe for less than 50 cents, you're robbing people"
"no" says I, "it costs money to run the friers, buy the oil, the cups, the electricity, the free packs of ketchup, the wages to pay someone to cook the fries and put up with your attitude, all in all you don't make that much of a profit."

I only brought up this anicdote because its exactly the same situation you described, albeit another medium altogether. You can't argue that companies are ripping you off based soley on their cost of materials.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 7:37 pm 
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If being inexpensive and of high quality was sufficient, Windows, MS Office, and Internet Explorer would have already lost their places of most used Desktop OS, Office Suite, and Web Browser respectively. An installed user base ignorant of the alternatives and coming pre-installed on the bulk of desktops and laptops seem to be the main reasons that Microsoft continues to dominate the market. How much of it is due to unethical business practices on Microsoft's behalf and how much is just plain ignorance is hard to say, but it does not appear to me that Microsoft is making efforts to actually compete on the issues of price and quality.

While price was a factor in me boycotting the majority of proprietary software, I did it more for the improvement in quality I have found in most open source products compared to their proprietary counterparts. The fact that legal copies were within the budget of a high school student was just a bonus. If each Windows release was as polished as a LTS Version of Ubuntu and allowed you to easily remove unwanted Microsoft Freeware, I would probably consider the 250 USD for the complete retail version of Vista reasonable. In fact, I would be willing to make monetary donations to Canonical, Mozilla, and KDE among others if my finances where in better shape(like a lot of college students, most of my income is taken up educational and living expenses which naturally take priority over my philanthropic desires).

Perhaps I am somewhat ignorant being just a programmer in training, but my understanding is that unless you go overboard integrating a program into the operating system that code is fairly portable among different Operating Systems running on the same class of computer with porting in some cases being as simple as a recompile. Then there is Java and Python, both of which are inherently multi-platform, assuming the bytecode is not encapsulated within a binary launcher. Even if OS-specific optimization is required for top performance, an unoptimized port would be better than the proverbial middle finger some developers give non-Windows users. I suppose developers do not 'owe' *nix users anything, but it seems like a bad business rule to act as if a significant portion of PC users do not exist, especially considering that they are growing in number. Also, if I am lucky enough to make it as a professional programmer writing PC software, I hope I am in a position where I can write cross-platform software.

I am not much for PC games, legal multimedia downloads, or proprietary software, so please correct me if things have improved. It is my understanding that most PC software(Game or Application) and pay-per-download multimedia comes with one or more anti-piracy schemes attached to it. Despite that fact that such methods have proven time and again to be ineffective at preventing piracy, I hear that many companies continue to develop and implement more elaborate methods, each time making life harder for the legitimate license owner while failing miserably at their purpose. I have heard that some games have such extreme copy-protection that people will buy a legit copy and then download a pirated copy so they can play it without the hassle.

As for my use of may: I am going to have to plea grammatical laziness/shortsightedness.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
Perhaps I am somewhat ignorant being just a programmer in training, but my understanding is that unless you go overboard integrating a program into the operating system that code is fairly portable among different Operating Systems running on the same class of computer with porting in some cases being as simple as a recompile. Then there is Java and Python, both of which are inherently multi-platform, assuming the bytecode is not encapsulated within a binary launcher. Even if OS-specific optimization is required for top performance, an unoptimized port would be better than the proverbial middle finger some developers give non-Windows users.


For a simple "Hello World" application? Yeah, you can port that just fine. For things more complex, no. You need to have performance. If you write a optimized and unoptimized version, that's two versions of the program you're supporting.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:51 pm 
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
cut all this out...

I hear that many companies continue to develop and implement more elaborate methods, each time making life harder for the legitimate license owner while failing miserably at their purpose. I have heard that some games have such extreme copy-protection that people will buy a legit copy and then download a pirated copy so they can play it without the hassle.

... and that last little bit too.


EA games did this with SPORE. A lot of people had trouble installing it on one PC, let alone the people who have more than one PC. And if the download failed, you sometimes had to call them to get a slot on the license released so you could try again.

Installing spore took me a few hours, and I knew what I was doing! SECURom, which gets bypassed every update, the makers are RAKING IN THE MONEY. They put the same "protection" on all the discs they secure, even though it's already been exploited.

Some software even installs hidden rootkits to make sure you're running things legit. Without permission. That's why I switched to a lot of open source programs, and don't really run all that much on my PC as far as software goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 2:21 am 
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Regarding "easy to port":
Separate from issues of performance (try to get that with Java...), most apps are going to be developed against the MS UI classes. They've spent tons of work to make it easy to create apps using their tools and technology. Most developers take advantage of this, as expending lots of effort for platforms that comprise small slivers of their potential market is just not a great investment. Same for the Mac, you write to their APIs and it saves you lots of time and looks great on that platform. Sure you can use something like QT, but then it looks pretty generic and often not as "nice" as using the native OS APIs.

Cross platform work can be done, and it is done when there is a business case for it. My job is porting a systems management client to the Mac. On its own the sales of Mac units might not pay my salary, but there are enough accounts that have Macs that we'd lose the deal if we didn't support it. Same with Unix. My company sees a return on investment and pays me to do this work. They hired me to make the Mac client because they had customers willing to *pay* for it. No amount of whining from open source fans was going to make them spend their hard earned money to do so.

Regarding copy protection:
The modern goal of copy protection is to slow down pirates long enough to make some legitimate sales. The goal of absolutely stopping piracy is not practical but every day you make the pirates work to rip you off is a day you have a chance at making back the money you spent making the game, and a better chance of staying in business.
If more people would actually *pay* for games the market for piracy would be smaller and perhaps companies wouldn't have to invest so much in trying to prevent it, which seems to annoy you so much. Believe me, designing, coding and testing anti-piracy software is far more annoying than you having to get through it to play the game. And even if it stops them for a day or two, it can be worth it.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 3:01 am 
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Well, I was going to just stay out of this, but I changed my mind and am going to throw in my two cents.

The fundamental thing that Dave missed in his original post (no dig intended Dave!) is that the comparison was made between people knocking off puzzle designs and people using pirated software as essentially equivalent acts of "piracy". I think this basic premise is quite flawed.

If a person makes a few puzzles and sells them at a price that they set, that's fine--nobody is going to argue with that. Moreover, if they assert their copyright on the design and request that others do not produce the design, thats also fine. That is, while I / we / they may not agree with the requests being made by said person, I fully support their right to make such requests and as such will personally abide them.

The reason for this is that this designer has done all the work, and has set the value for their labour. Production has been controlled fully by the worker, as it should be.

What happens, though, when a puzzle is mass produced? Here things can start to change, so I'll just leave that one alone...

However, for the case of "mainstream" commercial software--like some popular solid modelling software packages or operating systems for example--the production model changes dramatically. In particular, the programmers work hard, produce a great thing, and they get paid. But they have no control over production. That is, let's say some programmer makes a cool app. for the company item. That app. gets into the software and the company sees sales increase by 300%. Does that programmer get anything for thier efforts beyond the salary they would have been paid anyway? Probably not. Instead, that money ends up in the hands of the bosses, who history has shown do not do much in the way of re-disribution.

As such, I personally have no moral problems using, say, a cracked copy of a Windows OS (this is only an example, I actually only use gentoo linux). I know that there are many talented, hard-working programmers working away for that company, but I couldn't care less about the bosses losing a few dollars. Or even quite a few dollars for that matter! On the other hand, I regularly purchase music directly from the artist even though I could get it for free by other means, but that would be stealing directly from the worker, which I'm just not cool with.

So, not the most coherent bit of rambling I've ever done. Oh well. The point is that I don't see the original comparison as absolutely valid, owing to the two very different models of production being used--one I support, the other I don't. Easy!

Cheers!

-M-

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 11:34 am 
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I agree with Drizzle regarding the ethics of corporations having exclusive rights to all of their employees' intellectual property. If an employer decides to add an employee's 'pet project' to their product line, the employer should at least pay the employee a bonus or royalty, just as any freelance designer would be compensated if they licensed their ideas to a company with the resources to produce it.

I suppose most, if not all, of my vexation is directed at business executives who are willing to mistreat both employees and consumers for even the slightest increase in the bottom line.

To DLitwin: I knew relying heavily on OS APIs had some benefits at the cost of portability, but I did not realize there was such a large gap between 'generic' and 'API integrated' regarding ease of coding. I suppose I should keep that in mind for when I finish all my pre-major requirements and dive into the serious Computer Science and Programming courses.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 5:56 pm 
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Interesting points (and no dig taken), I'll do my best to address them from my perspective:

1.) Relative ethics
I think I have stayed out of the realm of comparing wrongness. I have tried (and have, I think) kept my points to "taking without giving is wrong" and not "it is more or less wrong". A similie was used in this case, which I suppose could be construed as implying equal wrongness:
DLitwin wrote:
Just like a knock off 7x7x7 steals the hard work of Mr. Verdes, illegally using a pirated copy of SolidWorks, or AutoCAD, or any other product is taking the benefits of their developers without compensating them
It was meant to be construed as "one is wrong just like the other is also wrong"

There is certainly a point to be made that taking something where the individual unit costs the producer (physical item) is distinctly different than taking something where the individual unit costs them nothing (electronic copy). Is it "more wrong" to steal a crate of the latest PC game boxes than to pirate an equivalent number of copies? I suppose by that definition it may be as the company had to pay additional money (beyond developement of the product) for the boxes you steal. But is the cost of some cardboard and a disc the real wrong here? No. The real wrong is stealing the value of that package. And the value does not lie in the box.

Wrapping back to my original post though, I was speaking about a knock off company copying a Verdes 7x7x7. Like an electronic copy of software, this knock off does not cost Mr. Verdes one Euro cent to produce, putting us square in comparison with electronic piracy... This, I think, was right about the place you left things alone ;)

2.) Company takes advantage of cool thing employee does but does not share profits
Don't work for that company. No one's holding a gun to your head. Some companies are quite enlighted on such things and reward talent and effort with bonuses or promotion. If your company is too stupid to recognize your contribution and reward you, why work for them? When you work for a company you have entered into an agreement. If you don't like that agreement, don't enter into it. But don't complain they are treating you unfairly if it is something you agreed to. If they are taking advantage outside of your work contract, by all means exert your rights to get what is yours. They owe you what they promised, and you owe them what you promised. If you freely give them more outside of this, they would be wise to treat you well but they don't owe it to you.
If you can't find anyone to hire you for what you feel is a fair deal, perhaps your expectations are not realistic. So start your own company, or unionize, or change careers, whatever.

From another angle: If your company won't fairly compensate you, why give them that extra thing that you feel deserves such extra credit? Would another employee in your job have done the same work? If so perhaps it's just part of the job. If not, perhaps you should start your own company.
A company can't "steal" your ideas if you don't give them. But if you develop them on company time, sitting behind a company computer and in an office where they pay rent, you are being compenstated for giving them your work. If you have something special you want to do and are worried you won't get fairly compensated for it, do it at home and keep it all for yourself. Of course to build it into a product you have to design, implement, test, market, sell and support it, which isn't easy. Running your own business isn't nearly as easy as complaining about how someone else runs theirs.

Angle number three: Regardless of how poorly a company treats its employees, stealing from them isn't justified. You aren't helping that poor employee at all. If their profits suffer, who do you think will get laid off, Mr. evil boss or Mr. coder? If you choose not to give them their business because you think the money will not go to the people who deserve it that is fine (I don't shop at WalMart). But I see a large difference between not taking because you don't want to give, and not wanting to give but taking anyway.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 11:39 am 
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DLitwin wrote:

1.) "Windows is like 99% profit". Where did you get this number? Do you understand how a software company works? It may be true that the cost of the CD or DVD that a Windows install ships on is about 1% of what they charge for it, that doesn't really pay for its creation, or support. Consider a few things:
a.) Before they sold you the copy of Windows, they had to make it. Where did this money come from? Who is paying the people making the next version of Windows?
b.) When you have a problem (and many people do) who pays the person who answers the phone and helps fix it? You may not personally do this, but businesses that actually buy copies of Windows do, and someone needs to pay for the support.
c.) Microsoft has tens of thousands of employees, and it pays them a pretty decent wage and has excellent benefits (I know, I used to work there). This costs a lot of money, and selling Windows is how they pay for it. If they were raking in 99% profit, where the heck would they keep all the money? Sure they make money and are doing well, but they invest it in new products. They sit on a bunch of cash which frankly is a pretty good idea given where our economy is. They want to be in business tomorrow and with sales going down, a bit of cash in the bank is a good thing. Their technology makes it possible for you to enjoy this forum (unless you are aren't using Windows, in which case why complain about its price?). You owe them something for that.

I got the number from a well known dutch ict site, I would run you back the article, but I can not find it anymore.
The numer was between 90 and 99& percent though.
And my question is, do YOU know what profit means? do you think by cost I meant the cd? ofcourse not, it is all calculated into it.
Also why not complain about the price of windows when you do not use it?
It should mean you should not complain if I pirate another persons game. And nor should you complain if another country kills innocent civilians, because you do not use windows, make that game, or live in that country.
Quote:
2.) "Games are too expensive and too short". Do you have any idea what it takes to make a game these days? I left the industry years ago but it was changing then and undoubtedly is worse today. Long ago a single guy could spend a few months in his garage making a game all by himself. I used to work with Dan Gorlin and he did this (Choplifter) and made a good bit of money from it. When I started in Games (1996) a team of 5-6 guys could spend a year making a top quality game for perhaps 600,000k. When I left the games industry five years later AAA games required teams of at least 20-30 and cost a few million dollars. These days I'm sure top title games require teams over 100 people, take years, and cost tens of millions of dollars.
Expectations rise. You wouldn't buy PacMan today for $30. You'd think it was a joke. How many hours of gameplay do you get from it? What do you think about those graphics? PacMan these days is barely a "mini game" inside of another game.
These days people want content, content, content. This takes tons of artists and game designers because you just aren't going to be happy with 300x240 four color 2D games. And they need to be paid. Ask Drewseph and reeeech where they are storing all the millions of dollars they make in games. :)

Thank you for proving my point. Graphics are not the main point, as they are not in pacman, it is just a simple nice game, also graphic wise there are very few good games, yet there are plenty of games that are unoriginal, do not look really great, and still cost 70 euro. Look at spore, It took a whole long time to release indeed, the end result is horrible in every way. And now they have already released 2 expansion packs for it to make more money. Don't tell me those expansion packs (only a few items) really cost that much effort.
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3.) "It is not stealing if the company looses nothing". What? Let me try that again: What???
If I spend three years working 80+ hour weeks on a game (and I have) what gives you the right to take it and not give me anything? Whether or not I have to pay for you to get the bits has nothing to do with it. Who's compensating me for all of my effort? By your logic if one person buys the game (a whole $1 profit to the developer) and everyone else copies from them no one has stolen anything. Those making of those copies didn't cost *me* anything. But my friends and I have worked for three years and we've got a whole $0.05 each out of it. How is that not stealing? In your ideal world are you assuming that I've already been paid well enough (Ha!) by other people (with different ethics than yours) so you don't have to? Why do they have to pay but not you?

Please stay on topic.
I said you did not steal, which is absolutely 100% true.
They do not loose anything, but that indeed does not make it right, which I allready stated. I was speaking only for those who would not have bought the game if it was not freely available, otherwise the company would indeed loose money from pirating. You are speaking about people who could easily afford it and still choose to do so , I never tried to justify that behavior, I do not speak of an ideal world, please read before you type.
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4.) "I can't afford it". You are posting on this forum. Unless you are viewing it from your local public library (and I *really* doubt you are, if you are talking about playing games) you own a computer and pay for internet access. People make choices about how to spend money. If you choose to have internet access instead of buying a game, that's your decision. "Choose to afford it" is accurate. I'm not saying it's easy, and I'm not saying it might not involve trade offs. But if you are in this discussion, you have resources. You may expect to have internet access, a computer, a cell phone and cable (most people have these, you may not, but you have some of them) and then claim to have nothing to spend on *further* entertainment, but that's your choice.
But all of that is besides the point. Being able to afford entertainment or not is no excuse to take what is not yours. If you can't afford it, it is not yours to have. Chip in with a friend or two. Rent a game. Play a free game (there are a ton). Or just go out side and throw a ball. But don't think things are yours to take because you want them.

My computer is needed for my study, so is internet access, and internet access is provided by my parents. If I would like to buy a game or music, I would have to pay for it myself. So you figure I have a choice here, well really I don't, that is why I do not buy games and only very few cd's to support some bands (even though going to concert would be a lot more effective).
Quote:
Ultimately most of these arguments trace back to selfishness. No one owes you entertainment (game, music, puzzle, etc.). You can make all sorts of arguments to justify it, but in the end you want something from someone else and you aren't willing to give them anything for it.

Dave

I am very willing to give people something, but am unable to do in certain areas.
Your argument traces back to your own feeling of greatness and your inability to grant other people the joy of such matters, perhaps also the inability to move yourself in another persons situation. As a student I am nearly allways broke, and as a student there is way too much stuff I would want to spend money on if I had it, which I don't (as example, I have to sell my latest puzzle in order to be able to start casting).
Also you completely disregarded my music related argument, it probably did not fit your "your just making up stuff to justify it" campaign.
If you find this post offensive, then think better next time when you try to judge someone.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 12:12 pm 
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Namegoeswhere wrote:
My computer is needed for my study, so is internet access, and internet access is provided by my parents. If I would like to buy a game or music, I would have to pay for it myself. So you figure I have a choice here, well really I don't, that is why I do not buy games and only very few cd's to support some bands (even though going to concert would be a lot more effective).


Uh, the choice here is you don't get the games or music.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 2:12 pm 
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theVDude wrote:
Namegoeswhere wrote:
My computer is needed for my study, so is internet access, and internet access is provided by my parents. If I would like to buy a game or music, I would have to pay for it myself. So you figure I have a choice here, well really I don't, that is why I do not buy games and only very few cd's to support some bands (even though going to concert would be a lot more effective).


Uh, the choice here is you don't get the games or music.


How is that a choice when there is no other option?...

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 3:05 pm 
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Okay, your choices are SAVE or DON'T GET IT.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 5:09 pm 
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theVDude wrote:
Okay, your choices are SAVE or DON'T GET IT.

What makes you think saving up is an option.
What part of not beeing able to buy such things do you not get?
I allready have a loan running with my collage fund, and I have no need to make it bigger. If I save up for a game it is money that could have been saved up to get rid of the loan that will have to be payed after my study.
Therefore for me it is not an option to buy games unless I want to go into great depths.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:23 pm 
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Namegoeswhere wrote:
I got the number from a well known dutch ict site, I would run you back the article, but I can not find it anymore. The numer was between 90 and 99& percent though.
I certainly believe you read something that had some large number in it regarding profits. Without more information though, it is hard to say much about it. Perhaps it was in the context of the profits of Windows (for some version) having exceeding the development costs for that particular version, in which case there is a good profit margin per unit if you don't consider that that revenue goes into development of the next version. Either way, MS making 1% profit or 1000000% profit per unit doesn't really change my basic contention, which has to do with taking and giving. The cost someone chooses to charge for their property to become yours isn't relevant to that basic concept. We're not talking about food or water or other human necessity where you might have a moral argument about profit or entitlement.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Thank you for proving my point.
Where did I justify taking something for which I gave nothing? Or was there another point you were making that I missed?
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Graphics are not the main point, as they are not in pacman, it is just a simple nice game, also graphic wise there are very few good games, yet there are plenty of games that are unoriginal, do not look really great, and still cost 70 euro. Look at spore, It took a whole long time to release indeed, the end result is horrible in every way. And now they have already released 2 expansion packs for it to make more money.
OK, so you don't like a lot of games. That doesn't mean, good or bad, they are cheap to make. My point was to explain why they cost what they do, not that you should think they are good.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Don't tell me those expansion packs (only a few items) really cost that much effort.]
Good point! Expansion packs are one of the ways developers stay in business if the original title lost money or just made back its investment. If done well, the developer can leverage the effort they put into the original title to give the customer a whole set of new content without spending the investment of an entire new game. And, at least when I was making games, they were correspondingly cheaper.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
I said you did not steal, which is absolutely 100% true.
Someone does not have to lose something for a theft to occur. The theft is in the taking. If I hack into your computer and get your credit card number, I have stolen your information whether or not I ever use that number to charge something.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
I was speaking only for those who would not have bought the game if it was not freely available, otherwise the company would indeed loose money from pirating
So what you are saying is that it isn't theft if you weren't going to buy it? So anyone is justified to take anything if they first claim they had no intention of purchasing it? I'm not going to buy your computer, but I don't think that gives me the right to take it.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
My computer is needed for my study, so is internet access, and internet access is provided by my parents. If I would like to buy a game or music, I would have to pay for it myself. So you figure I have a choice here, well really I don't, that is why I do not buy games and only very few cd's to support some bands (even though going to concert would be a lot more effective).
I'm not saying it is your choice not to have money. I am saying it is your choice to use whatever money you have as you choose. And since you mention a few CDs we're not talking about zero. But how much money you have to spend is not relevant. Not having anything to give does not entitle you to take. You are not owed entertainment.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Your argument traces back to your own feeling of greatness and your inability to grant other people the joy of such matters, perhaps also the inability to move yourself in another persons situation. As a student I am nearly allways broke, and as a student there is way too much stuff I would want to spend money on if I had it, which I don't (as example, I have to sell my latest puzzle in order to be able to start casting).
I'm not sure what you mean about "feeling of greatness". I was a student too. I had little to money as well. I had no allowance and had to earn my own money (I didn't have a computer or internet access). Did this entitle me to take what was not mine? I don't think so.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Also you completely disregarded my music related argument, it probably did not fit your "your just making up stuff to justify it" campaign.
I thought I addressed it. If a band doesn't like the deal they struck with the label, they should not have taken their money. Their bad business choice is unfortunate for them, but even their endorsement doesn't make theft ethical.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 9:16 pm 
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Namegoeswhere wrote:
theVDude wrote:
Okay, your choices are SAVE or DON'T GET IT.

What makes you think saving up is an option.
What part of not beeing able to buy such things do you not get?
I allready have a loan running with my collage fund, and I have no need to make it bigger. If I save up for a game it is money that could have been saved up to get rid of the loan that will have to be payed after my study.
Therefore for me it is not an option to buy games unless I want to go into great depths.


Let me get this straight: You cannot afford to buy the games, so your only option is to pirate it? I see a third option, JUST DON'T ACQUIRE IT. Nothing says you need this game. I understand entirely about wanting it, but just because you want something doesn't mean that you need to receive it immediately. I'm sorry if this comes across as harsh, but too many people nowadays seem to have this sense of entitlement. Wanting something doesn't mean you get it. For something unnecessary like a game, I see absolutely no reason that you can't save up for it. Nothing says you need that game now. I understand that you feel that if you save up, you'd be using that money more wisely to pay off your loan, and in my opinion, that's a good thing. Paying that which you owe is important. With that in mind, when you acquire this game in any way, by receiving the game, you owe the game's company something in exchange. Pirating is just a way of not paying them what you owe them.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 6:30 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
Wrapping back to my original post though, I was speaking about a knock off company copying a Verdes 7x7x7. Like an electronic copy of software, this knock off does not cost Mr. Verdes one Euro cent to produce, putting us square in comparison with electronic piracy... This, I think, was right about the place you left things alone ;)


It sort of is, and it sort of isn't. The reason I don't want to get into Mr. V's company / project as a comparison point is that I am not familiar enough with certain aspects of how his business runs that would be key to my making a direct statement. Since he is real person who is here occasionally, I'd rather just steer clear and talk about abstract businesses rather than run the risk of offending someone I don't know at all (and who, by all accounts is a pretty nice guy :) )

So I'll still leave this point alone. ;)

DLitwin wrote:
2.) Company takes advantage of cool thing employee does but does not share profits
Don't work for that company. No one's holding a gun to your head.


Maybe you're in a privileged enough position to make that decision, but most people the world over most certainly are not. Working a crap job where you get exploited is a basic fact of life for far more people than it's not. So while the "I'll take my talents elswhere" sentiment is certainly applaudable, it's also not practical for the majority under the current (failing) system.

So yeah, no gun for most people. But there are bills, family, debt, health, etc...


DLitwin wrote:
But don't complain they are treating you unfairly if it is something you agreed to. If they are taking advantage outside of your work contract, by all means exert your rights to get what is yours.


Again, this comes back to the privileged few. HOW do you exert these rights? I mean, I've worked in a number of lousy jobs in my life without the backing of a union. I can tell you with absolute certainty that exercising your rights gets one nothing but trouble, unless of course you're in the very-hard-to-replace minority group.

DLitwin wrote:
If you can't find anyone to hire you for what you feel is a fair deal, perhaps your expectations are not realistic. So start your own company, or unionize, or change careers, whatever.


Again, easier said than done.

DLitwin wrote:
From another angle: If your company won't fairly compensate you, why give them that extra thing that you feel deserves such extra credit? Would another employee in your job have done the same work? If so perhaps it's just part of the job. If not, perhaps you should start your own company. A company can't "steal" your ideas if you don't give them. But if you develop them on company time, sitting behind a company computer and in an office where they pay rent, you are being compensated for giving them your work.


And here lies the crux. Under the capitalist system, the masses are expected to do just what you suggest--sell thiner labour. Marx put it best:

The Communist Manifesto wrote:
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstacies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom -- Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.


In other words, I'm not advocating finding a better deal from a boss, I'm advocating getting rid of them altogether. Then again, limiting the discussion to software development for now, many Americans are already doing this--I've heard of a number of software companies that have been started by disillusioned ex-employees of major software companies starting companies out of one garage and maintaining a flat hierarchy in the company. These entities are often referred to in the North American media as "remarkably successful entreupenurial initiative", which is rather interesting considering this is what Marx would have described a communist enterprise.

It's worker-run ventures like this that I support, and would (and do) happily pay the asking price for whatever product they are offering. Well, assuming I need it that is. :)

For the "regular" capitalist model software company though, I stand by my position--I don't care if they lose money, and have no moral issues with pirating the software. It's a system that's fundamentaly built on exploitation, so why would I have any problem with them not getting my money?

DLitwin wrote:
Angle number three: Regardless of how poorly a company treats its employees, stealing from them isn't justified. You aren't helping that poor employee at all. If their profits suffer, who do you think will get laid off, Mr. evil boss or Mr. coder? If you choose not to give them their business because you think the money will not go to the people who deserve it that is fine (I don't shop at WalMart). But I see a large difference between not taking because you don't want to give, and not wanting to give but taking anyway.


OK, I'll give you that, the worker would get the axe before the boss. However, as you stated above, that worker was / is free to go to another company / start their own thing / unionize anyway, so it's no big deal :)

But on a less sarcastic note, the (realistic) scenario illustrates exactly the problem with the whole system. Profits are down, punish the workers for it. The remaining workers will then have to work harder just to maintain the profit level, but nobody is happy unless they have "growth". More exploitation, and the cycle continues.

Eventually, however, it will have to hit a brick wall, and around the world that's exactly what we're seeing these days in Iceland, Ireland, France, etc...

Conversely, let's say the communist enterprise starts to lose profits. Would some workers get squeezed there? Probably not; the pinch would be spread evenly, thus minimising the effects while the group collectively has time to re-think a strategy. I realize this may sound a bit idealistic, but the thing is that it works--here's an example of a steel mill in Ukraine that stayed under worker control through Perestroika and remains that way, and they are doing basically fine still.

Just something to think about ;)

Getting back to the original topic though, I'm sticking with my position. Pirating software from from an exploitive business, I'm fine with--I just don't care. And by exploitive, I really mean capitalist--not the "evil boss" of the movies. How this stance translates to puzzles is not to say that I'm also OK with knockoff puzzles, but it's not to say that I'm against it--it depends on the model of production.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 8:03 am 
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Good point! Expansion packs are one of the ways developers stay in business if the original title lost money or just made back its investment. If done well, the developer can leverage the effort they put into the original title to give the customer a whole set of new content without spending the investment of an entire new game. And, at least when I was making games, they were correspondingly cheaper.

Wrong, expansion packs are the thing developers make to avoid having to make good games in the first place.
If a game is good (not If i call it good, but is considered by the majority to be good), It will be worth the price tag, and it will earn back all that. Why would there then even be a need for expansion packs to make money off? A lot of the better games these days give you free! expansions. Why would they do such a thing? because a good game will sell plenty, despite of pirates. If the companies want to make more money, develop better games.
Quote:
Someone does not have to lose something for a theft to occur. The theft is in the taking. If I hack into your computer and get your credit card number, I have stolen your information whether or not I ever use that number to charge something.

No, that is not a theft.
Then why would you make a fuss about it? Because it is private information which can be very harmful towards yourself. If we were to live in such a world where people would steal credit card numbers without ever using them, no one would care if it got stolen, it would be like knowing a person's house address.
Quote:
So what you are saying is that it isn't theft if you weren't going to buy it? So anyone is justified to take anything if they first claim they had no intention of purchasing it? I'm not going to buy your computer, but I don't think that gives me the right to take it.

Once again you are mixing things up, I am actually loosing my computer, which is the only reason I mind the person taking it. If somehow he would duplicate my computer, as is the case in pirating, sure go ahead.
Quote:
I'm not saying it is your choice not to have money. I am saying it is your choice to use whatever money you have as you choose. And since you mention a few CDs we're not talking about zero. But how much money you have to spend is not relevant. Not having anything to give does not entitle you to take. You are not owed entertainment.

I bought those cd's before I went to university, the situation has changed. But my personal situation is regardless of this. Is it your opinion that someone who could not at all afford to buy a game, should not have the enjoyment of such games until that person can afford it? I personally see no harm when this person downloads a game.
Quote:
I thought I addressed it. If a band doesn't like the deal they struck with the label, they should not have taken their money. Their bad business choice is unfortunate for them, but even their endorsement doesn't make theft ethical.

Do you think most bands when they start out really have a choice? they are happy if they can record something, let alone get a bit of profit or fame from it.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 3:00 pm 
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OK, lots to cover! We've strayed a bit and I'll do my best to bring my side of the discussion back on topic.

1.) Capitalism vs. Communism (or other societal construct)
Let's leave this as another topic. There is exploitation in any form of society. Selfishness, laziness and greed are the root of the problems in all of them, and none are free of it regardless of their goals. Carving out the degree to which one system helps or hinders exploitation for whom and in what way isn't relevant here.

2.) Most people don't choose their lot in life
True enough. But we are primarily talking about software and electronic entertainment. I fully concede many people do not have the luxury of starting up competition in their industry and are stuck. But concerning 3D modeling software or games, or music, the option to go it alone with very little investment (and you touched on this point yourself) is there. So within the realm of this topic I think my point is not invalid. The very thing that many use as an excuse for their piracy (electronic copies being essentially costless) is also the reason creators have the option to do without oppresive or exploitive management. So if, under your logic, you have the right to take from someone because it costs them nothing and they are being mistreated by those you would otherwise pay, I argue that perhaps those are exactly the circumstances where they have the chance to make something directly for you and shed the company you dislike.

3.) Pirating software from an exploitive business is OK
Consider, for a moment, two people A and B.
A takes the creative work of an artist (programmer, musician, puzzle designer, whatever), uses it to their benefit (listens to it, plays it, uses it to make design a puzzle, sells it to someone else, whatever), and pays the artist some compensation for it.
B does exactly the same thing, but pays the artist nothing.
Which is better?
The pirate is B. The expoitive business is A. Regardless of how terribly you might think they are treating the employee, the business is actually giving the artist something for their work. The pirate, under the banner of A's terrible behavior (if that is their justification), is equally exploiting the benefits of artist but not giving a thing.

And before you go pirating Windows because MS is so terrible, consider that working for MS is no sweat shop. The few years I was there I made a very competitive salary and had better health benefits than ever. Those of you outside of the US with a sane health care policy may not be able to fully appreciate it but MS pays 100% health care. No copays for doctors, medicines, anything. This is unheard of in the US. My premature son was in the NICU for five weeks after he was born. The cost was more than our house and I didn't pay a single penny of it. Working for another employer I might not have the house anymore. So you may not want to hinge your piracy on the plight of the impoverished MS worker :) There are plenty of people really getting the shaft out there if you want to make a statement.

Arguments not yet made:
I'm surprised these haven't come up yet. Come on guys!
4.) Ownership is not personal. If we're going to stray into a discussion of communism, at least take it to the logical conclusion. If your contention is that the ownership of the asset (music, program, etc.) is not and should not be restricted to an individual you've got a consistent moral point to make. I don't happen to agree, but it's a point of view. In this view the creator does not own it, the company paying them does not own it and therefore they have no right to keep it from you. But short of this you must conceed some form of ownership, at which point we fall right back into the discussion of what gives you the right to take ownership of it without their consent?

5.) The product is not legally offered to me
There are cases where things are just not available in any legal way. Some BBC shows, for instance, are just not available to those outside of the BBC's broadcast. They are not sold on DVDs. In the US you just can't get them and it has nothing to do with how poor you might think you are. My contention would still be it isn't right to take, but I think this is a much stronger case than any presented so far. This is one of the places I have not met my own standard. I pay for NetFlix and have watched "The Office (US version)" through season 4. Season 5 is not yet offered. Hulu plays the last five episodes, but when I finished watching season four Season five was already at about episode 18. So I had 13 episodes of The Office I just couldn't get in any legal way. I watched them anyway, and I won't say it was right. I could have waited and my paid fees of NetFlix will make it legally available to me in a few months. I could have started watching when it was available on Hulu but I missed that boat. I could try to justify my behavior by pointing out that I will compensate them in the form of my NetFlix fees when it does come out. But that is placing me as the decider of how how I compensate them and when for something I already took against their stated wishes and that just isn't my choice to make, regardless of the fact that me watching or not watching that content expended no effort on the part of the author or reseller. I was a pirate. I was wrong. Arrrrggh Matey, where's me eye patch?

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 4:48 pm 
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Namegoeswhere wrote:
Wrong, expansion packs are the thing developers make to avoid having to make good games in the first place.
On what information do you base your claim? I get my information from talks I had with my boss, the owner of a game development company. These are the facts of the actual decisions he made, not my opinion or hypothetical cases. In addition to being direct factual information, these decisions make economic sense. The expansion packs he chose to make (multiple X-Wing and TIE Figher expansion packs) helped fund development of the next major game (TIE Fighter, XWing vs. TIE Fighter). They also are a way to schedule work so the artists and designers are productive while the programmers invest in the foundation of the next project. Otherwise staff has to be layed off then re-hired for the later project. His decision was not to avoid making a good game. These were by all accounts very good and successful games. You keep talking like everyone is trying to cheat you out of your money. Developers are trying to stay in business, not screw you. Developers want to make great games, not crap.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
If a game is good (not If i call it good, but is considered by the majority to be good), It will be worth the price tag, and it will earn back all that. Why would there then even be a need for expansion packs to make money off? A lot of the better games these days give you free! expansions. Why would they do such a thing? because a good game will sell plenty, despite of pirates. If the companies want to make more money, develop better games.
I think you are basing your piracy argument on a flawed understand of the economics of the gaming industry. My understanding of these economics are based on five years working in the industry as a programmer and project lead so I think they are fairly sound. I don't mean to be insulting (really I don't, this is a nice discussion! :)) but unless you demonstrate an informed basis for understanding the econonmics I accept your statements as opinion but I can't take your argument seriously.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
No, that is not a theft.
OK, on this we disagree :) How about your private emails? How about your income and debts? How about which web sites (you know the ones... ;)) you visit and for how long? How about your medical history? Or those pictures you might have taken of your significant other?
I contend that nonpermitted acquisition of information, regardless of what is done with it, is theft. What is mine is mine, and whether or not you use it against me doesn't change my right to keep it to myself.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Once again you are mixing things up, I am actually loosing my computer, which is the only reason I mind the person taking it. If somehow he would duplicate my computer, as is the case in pirating, sure go ahead.
OK, bad example because I chose a physical object. So you have nothing you consider private on your computer?
Namegoeswhere wrote:
Do you think most bands when they start out really have a choice? they are happy if they can record something, let alone get a bit of profit or fame from it.
Of course they have a choice, they don't have to record. That isn't the only thing a band can do. They can play shows, and some band do just that. If a band decides they want to share their music by taking the money of the label to fund their record (less and less necessary these days), they are going to have to make a deal with that label. The label doesn't just give away money. They have to have some incentive as well. Do you ever think about the other side of the transaction? A label has to chance their investment money on thousands of bands in the hopes that one will take off and become big. Of course they are going to make sure, if they are risking their money, they have some way of making up all the money they lost on all those bands who never make it big (most of them). It is no different with games: My boss had to fight hard to get a good contract so we would get good revenue once things went profitable. A good contract allows for increasing royalty percentages as the product does better, so everyone wins. Not everyone can negotiate a good contract.
Once again the label provides a service and charges a fee. Fair or unfair, don't take their money if you don't like the terms.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Quote:
On what information do you base your claim?

The explanation I posted below it ;)
Quote:
I think you are basing your piracy argument on a flawed understand of the economics of the gaming industry. My understanding of these economics are based on five years working in the industry as a programmer and project lead so I think they are fairly sound. I don't mean to be insulting (really I don't, this is a nice discussion! ) but unless you demonstrate an informed basis for understanding the econonmics I accept your statements as opinion but I can't take your argument seriously.

If several good games are able to sell well enough for them to offer additional content for free, then surely the economics of gaming are not that bad as long as you make a good game.
Quote:
OK, on this we disagree How about your private emails? How about your income and debts? How about which web sites (you know the ones... ) you visit and for how long? How about your medical history? Or those pictures you might have taken of your significant other?
I contend that nonpermitted acquisition of information, regardless of what is done with it, is theft. What is mine is mine, and whether or not you use it against me doesn't change my right to keep it to myself.

I find this still to be a bad example. We are not talking about private information, something you do not wish to share with people even if they pay you for it.
Quote:
OK, bad example because I chose a physical object. So you have nothing you consider private on your computer?

By computer I did not mean the information stored on it, but I think this corresponds with what I stated a little above about things I would not give a person even if they payed for it.
Quote:
Of course they have a choice, they don't have to record. That isn't the only thing a band can do. They can play shows, and some band do just that. If a band decides they want to share their music by taking the money of the label to fund their record (less and less necessary these days), they are going to have to make a deal with that label. The label doesn't just give away money. They have to have some incentive as well. Do you ever think about the other side of the transaction? A label has to chance their investment money on thousands of bands in the hopes that one will take off and become big. Of course they are going to make sure, if they are risking their money, they have some way of making up all the money they lost on all those bands who never make it big (most of them). It is no different with games: My boss had to fight hard to get a good contract so we would get good revenue once things went profitable. A good contract allows for increasing royalty percentages as the product does better, so everyone wins. Not everyone can negotiate a good contract.
Once again the label provides a service and charges a fee. Fair or unfair, don't take their money if you don't like the terms.

The choice here is either to play in local pubs and try and get famous by mouth to mouth advertisement(good luck), or join company with a record label.
The same argument apply s here, if the record company wants to be sure to make revenue, they should not take in any band that comes along, they should "enlist better bands".Make it harder for a band to get attached to a good label but in return offer them more as well. And with the increasing amounts of big bands that are giving their records away for free, (meaning that people who have experience in the trade disagree with how it is run) it would seem obvious that record labels are ripping off bands.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Regarding expansion packs:

Namegoeswhere wrote:
Wrong, expansion packs are the thing developers make to avoid having to make good games in the first place.


Maybe I just missed this, but how do you justify this argument? Why would a gaming company make an expansion pack if the original game is bad? In this economy, who is (since I believe you were complaining about money...) going to buy an expansion pack for a horrible game?

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 5:18 pm 
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Namegoeswhere wrote:
Quote:
On what information do you base your claim?
The explanation I posted below it ;)
That was supposition, not information. If you base your claim on "Because I think so" I accept it only as such.
Namegoeswhere wrote:
If several good games are able to sell well enough for them to offer additional content for free, then surely the economics of gaming are not that bad as long as you make a good game.
Several games out of thousands doing well does not make for a good economy for a game developer. You don't seem to accept this based on your view as a consumer which I consider to be narrow and uninformed.
On point, another fact based reason to put out expansion disks (for free or for a price) is to drive sales of the original title (needed to play the additional content). If your game has been off the shelves for a few months its sales are for the most part finished. An expansion disk gives it some new exposure, and a way for it to perhaps sell a few more units. So giving away an expansion disk doesn't happen because a game is so successful the developer decides they can just give it away their labor for free. It is another way to drive sales.
Namegoeshere wrote:
I find this still to be a bad example. We are not talking about private information, something you do not wish to share with people even if they pay you for it.
OK, so as long as you don't offer it for sale, hands off! But if you offer it for sale to anyone at any price, pretty much anyone can take it for free if they claim they can't pay you?
Namegoeshere wrote:
The choice here is either to play in local pubs and try and get famous by mouth to mouth advertisement(good luck), or join company with a record label.
So you have changed your contention and now they do have a choice? We agree :)
Namegoeshere wrote:
they should "enlist better bands".Make it harder for a band to get attached to a good label but in return offer them more as well.
So your solution to all of this is for bands and game devlopers to only make "good" content? Then everything would be very successful and you could pirate away guilt free?
What about all of those "not so good" (for some definition of "good") bands and games? What happens to them? You complain about bands not having a choice but under your proposed plan few if any bands would have label choices. And what makes you think any one knows what is good before it gets on the market? Why would a label or game producer waste their time and money on crap? If it was easy, people would be doing it. You don't have any magical wand to tell you what will be good. If you do, you have some very, very good opportunities ahead of you. Look into the stock market :)
And I happen to think that most "popular" music is terrible (not my taste). The bands I listen to are excellent but not by any means "good" in terms of commercial success. Under your plan they wouldn't get any chance at record label support. Of course the only games you would then get to pirate would be those a big producer thinks are "good", which I think you were saying were junk.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 6:12 pm 
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On piracy:

There are a few excuses for piracy (in this case, defined as "recieving a product, good, service, or other result of labor for which one does not pay, or pays less than the seller's asking price from a third party"), most of which are based on fallacious logic.

1: They charge too much for [product]!
Then don't use it. If there are free or lower-cost alternatives, look into those, and see if they do what you need. Make your decision to aquire a particular [product] into a business decision. Do I get more value from [product] or [alternative]? Can [alternative] be legally acquired?

In the case of Microsoft products, Windows comes as part of the price of about 99.9% of all brand-new computers. Microsoft has charged the manufacturers a bulk-charge for licenses to the software, and the cost has been integrated into the cost of the computer. If you don't want a copy of Windows on the computer, Microsoft offers a refund program (no, seriously. They do).

In the case of Office, there are free and lower-cost alternatives, one of which is produced by the same company (Works)! Open Office, and Google Docs are great for the basic "office" functionality, and will both save to common and standard formats. Do you really need the functionality of Office? Then you can justify its cost.

In the cases of specialized software, as varied as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Adobe Creative Suite/Photoshop, etc, etc, etc; these highly specialized software packages cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to develop, for a very small market, most of which can afford the asking price. This is the principle of Supply and Demand in action. There is low demand for a product, but the cost of production is high; the demand is largely unaffected by price (a few outliers aside), therefore the price is as high as the target market is willing to pay. In many (usually all) cases of specialized software such as this, there are low-cost, free, or Open-Source alternatives, because there is a market (albeit much smaller) for low-cost specialized software.

In the case of games: Entertainment is not a right. The production company set the price; they may offer the same software at a lower price at a later date. If you can't afford it now, you may be able to later. If you never buy it, you never wanted to play it anyway.

In the case of physical objects: These take time and money to develop, and are about as easy to copy as software. Unfortunately, the production methodologies are not obscured as in software (by the compiler/packager stack), and these are much easier to reproduce on a lower level than software. The real crime in this is that the pirate usually has access to larger, cheaper facilities, and is able to produce the product (even if it's a crappier version) at a lower cost than the developer, not even considering the development/engineering costs. If you can't afford it, I'd say in this case, it's better to not have it than to purchase from the pirate.

2: [Company] makes too much money from [product]!

Although similar to the previous argument, this is often used as an alternative excuse for pirates. My contention: who gave you the right to decide that [company]/[individual] could not make a profit from their hard work. A company does not run at zero-sum cost when devoloping/engineering a product. They have to pay for the salaries and benefits of every single employee from management all the way down that org chart to the guy they pay to scrub the toilets.

The company I work for charges $200 for me or one of my associates to remove viruses/spyware/malware from a computer, diagnose it, and repair other software issues. When I quote this price to potential clients, the most common response I get is "well, you just run a disc, don't you?", to which I respond, "you're not paying for me to run the removal software. You're paying me to fix the problem. Wether I run a piece of software, or remove every virus manually through the command line, You'll still have to pay for the labor involved.", or if I'm feeling particularly put-upon that day, "This is a for-profit orginization. I need to be paid for my work". If you asked a programmer for a game company to sell their product at half the cost because "well, you just build some pretty environments," you'd be laughed out of the building.

3: I wasn't going to buy it anyway, so they didn't really lose any money.

This doesn't apply as much to physical objects, and also was my particular justification for piracy until I realized it's completely fallacious for this reason: If the product weren't avaliable for free somewhere, I probably would have gone out of my way to buy it. Think about it: If that CD you are downloading wasn't avaliable for free from that torrent tracker, would you go out and buy it? Really? Have you ever gone out and paid for something you've already gotten for free? In my case, I have, but it's not often, and having the free version avaliable delays my legal purchase of the product.

4: They treat their employees badly.

Skilled laborers are a precious resource, and there is always a demand for the best people. It is not up to you, the consumer, to decide that I don't make enough money. It's up to me, my family, and the company for which I work. If I decide I need better conditions, or higher pay, I have options, even though they may be limited. Yes, even in this economy I have a negotiating position. If I so chose, I could ask for a pay raise, better benefits, or even seek out a new job. I could even quit for 5 years, go back to school, and start a new career. Don't justify your theft on my conditions.

5: I can't afford it.

Then you can't have it. Consider this: If you can afford a Lotus Elise, and you want to have one, you can go out and buy one. If you can't, you might get stuck with a Vespa instead. Just because you can't afford one does not justify your driving one off the lot without paying for it.

6: I just want it, and I don't want to pay for it.

At least you're being honest. Thak you for that.

On expansion packs:
Expansion packs are additional content for a game, wether it was a successful game or not. Before digital distribution was big, you never got expansion packs for free, and game companies didn't produce extra content for free. Games cost money to develop, in programmer, modeler, writer, artist, tester, level designer, and a dozen other peoples' salaries. If a game makes a lot of money, an expansion to that game makes great commercial sense; it keeps the art staff busy and making money, while the programming staff can be busy making the Next Great Thing. In the case of less-successful games, expansions can make the original game worth buying, thus ensuring continuing growth of the market for the game.

Don't point to the vocal minority on Spore's DRM as an example of "this game wasn't successful, why are they making expansions for it?". Spore was commercially successful in that a profit was made off of it, and the game continues to sell. It may not sell as well as EA had hoped, but it has sold profitably.

On the subject of DRM and rights:

I like Cory Doctorow's stance on Copy-Rights and DRM, and as such, every creative venture or product of mine, unless otherwise noted, or derived from an otherwise-licensed work, is licenced under CC-BY-NC-SA. In other words, you have permission to copy, re-use, and remix anything that I make, as long as you don't make money from it, and you credit me for my part in the end product (and pass those conditions on to your own creation).

I don't think DRM works, and I think that it makes consumers feel like criminals. People copy games and software, and break copy orotection anyway. Many of these people have legitimately purchased the software. I did this with Doom 3. The copy protection on the disc didn't allow me to make an image of the disc, but in order to use the game, it was much easier (physically) to use a disc image for games, instead of changing discs every time I wanted to use a different game, or when I used the computer after someone else had played a game. What'd I do? I downloaded a set of (illegally created under the DMCA) disc images for the game I had legally purchased a few hours earlier.

On Free/Libre Open Source Software:

I use it, and I take advantage of the source being avaliable. I am currently trying to get WINE to compile using Cygwin, in order to run some older Windows games that don't work with WinVista/7. In these particular cases, DOSBOX does not work, so I need a different compatibility layer (yes, I've tried the built-in compatibility mode, and disabling UAC).

I think F/LOSS is a great concept, and potentially profitable if it's well-written sofware which serves an in-demand purpose. I also like the free software, pay for service model, and think it has the ability to take off.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 7:02 am 
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tamaness wrote:
4: They treat their employees badly.

Skilled laborers are a precious resource, and there is always a demand for the best people. It is not up to you, the consumer, to decide that I don't make enough money. It's up to me, my family, and the company for which I work. If I decide I need better conditions, or higher pay, I have options, even though they may be limited. Yes, even in this economy I have a negotiating position. If I so chose, I could ask for a pay raise, better benefits, or even seek out a new job. I could even quit for 5 years, go back to school, and start a new career. Don't justify your theft on my conditions.


I know this was a not-so-subtle dig at my position, so I'll address it.

First of all, what you've presented is a perfect example of a straw-man fallacy--ignore my position, present a variation of it, the procede to attack the new position thus concluding that my original one is wrong. This, and argumentum ad hominem, are some real pet peeves of mine!

But what really get's me is this standard "I have the option of improving my lot in life if I choose to work hard to do it" mentality that is so often presented in basically the same package as you've done above--along with the uspoken conclusion about the people that don't manage to achieve. Let's take it apart, shall we?

First, let's look at this from a basic zero-sum point of view. In any system, the resources are finite. Thus, if you want to get more of them for yourself, someone else has to have less. That's not good or bad, but simply the reality of it. Thus, if you want to tell everyone to work harder and get more, it won't work for everyone--it can't. So while the options you speak of may exist, good luck exercising them if you are in the majority.

Next, look at this from a practical point of view. If your argument is correct, that the same choice (education and a well paid job) is available to all, please explain - how all the current explotation-driven jobs that are done on low wages with no requirement for degree level education will be done after everyone follows your path to success. You should appreciate that society just doesn’t work like that. There are some jobs that simply have to be done despite their menial nature, in many cases being vastly more socially important than some degree level jobs. Once again, your individual solution simply doesn’t work for everyone.

Now what does this have to do with software piracy? Directly, not much.

Except that I am simply taking this opportunity to state my stance clearly--I'm not advocating employees migrate to "nicer" bosses or "better" jobs, I'm advocating they get rid of them. As a part (symptom?) of my open disregard for this class, I have no moral objection to using pirated goods that might have an adverse affect on the bosses. But I'd never (intentionally) act in a manner that is to the detrament of other workers.

Dave, on the other hand, raises quite a few good points that I want to discuss further! However, it's late, and I need some sleep. Maybe tomorrow. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 7:43 am 
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I can't believe there's so much discussion on this topic, it's actually quite simple ...

Copying is both a legal and an ethical issue:

If something is protected by intellectual property (patents, design, copyright, trademark, etc.) then copying is simply illegal, but in practice this only matters if you are a) caught and b) found guilty. Otherwise it's purely an ethical issue, and that's a personal matter: there's no law against unethical behaviour and so it only matters if you personally feel bad about it.

Personally, I would not copy someone else's idea directly, but that's because I enjoy the innovation and design process so much. Having said that, I do copy and combine different ideas from existing puzzles, because that's how innovation works: new ideas always build on old ideas. After all, pretty much every so-called "new" puzzle on this forum is based on Rubik's original idea, right?

Unfortunately there will always be people who do copy and profit from other people's ideas. It's human nature: either you innovate or you copy. Our intellectual property laws are there to protect our ideas, and so innovators have only themselves to blame if they don't take advantage of these laws to protect their ideas. I'm afraid that's just how the world works.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 4:33 pm 
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the.drizzle: I honestly agree with your position, that removing the management and having a more democratic business model may be the better way to go. My main point was one of "workers' situations are not a good justification of piracy; software, or otherwise, because a worker has a choice of where to go, and for whom to work."


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 6:10 pm 
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the.drizzle wrote:
First, let's look at this from a basic zero-sum point of view. In any system, the resources are finite.
What is the resource we should consider in the context of software, music or other entertainment piracy?
Labor to create it? Raw materials needed to create computers? Energy to run the computers? World wide infrastructure of the Web to distribute it? Creativity of individuals? Possible inventive ideas?
The growth based economies of the world are indeed troubling for us and our children, but I am not sure how to apply this truth to this argument.

Also consider efficiency as a factor in zero sum analysis. Efficiency can in effect increase the "finite" resource, which changes the zero-sum equasion. There are cases where me having more does not mean you having less. It just means there is more for us to share.
the.drizzle wrote:
Dave, on the other hand, raises quite a few good points that I want to discuss further!
Looking forward to it :)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 1:53 am 
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It's an interesting topic!

I have not think it over yet, but I want to add couple points.

1. There are a lot of different thefts, for example if I print directions from Google on company printer, or use company pen at home, or even look at this forum from work. And I have doubts that anyone can avoid all of them. Do you buy online to save on state tax ? Is it a theft ?
2. The best economical model, as far as I know would be to create monopoly and shoot all competitors, and after that you get the best profits. Yes, we have laws against it, so companies have to compete. If you cant compete with cheap labor you add a tax. Next moment you have a bootlegger. Is he the same pirate or different ?
3. Price does not always mean a real cost. For example cigarettes. Is ot OK to buy them from pirates ? Is it ethical question ?
4. People always vote with their money. There is no free lunch. If you buy cheaper, or from pirates you pay less money but get more headache, and everyday everyone makes a lot of decisions about if something worth extra cost. And there are no generic answers.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:35 pm 
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all2bar wrote:
1. There are a lot of different thefts, for example if I print directions from Google on company printer, or use company pen at home, or even look at this forum from work. And I have doubts that anyone can avoid all of them.
Related I suppose, but a bit broad to get into for this discussion.
all2bar wrote:
Do you buy online to save on state tax ? Is it a theft ?
Actually the online retailer should charge state tax based on the destination and shipping location. For example if it ships from California to California, they should be charging you CA sales tax. If they don't I believe that is technically their issue, not yours (they owe the tax whether or not they pass it on to you). I suppose there is the related issue of whether or not you should inform the state board of equalization. I sold about $450 worth of Neons to California customers last year which means I owe the state about $40. I didn't think to charge it to my customers. I still need to contact the state and work it out. So far I doubt any of my customers have contacted the state :) This year I have been passing the costs on to my customers (sorry guys).
all2bar wrote:
Next moment you have a bootlegger. Is he the same pirate or different ?
It depends on what you mean by bootlegger. It can mean someone evading import duties, but it can also (more recently) mean someone illegally copying without authorization. This discussion is focused on illegal and unethical duplication of content more than evasion of import duties.
all2bar wrote:
3. Price does not always mean a real cost. For example cigarettes. Is ot OK to buy them from pirates ? Is it ethical question ?
I am not sure I see the issue here. Cigarettes are physical items, so would the piracy you speak of be a knock off brand masquerading as a known brand? Would it be the sale of physically stolen cigarettes? Does it mean buying from a non-authorized reseller? None of these sound proper to me. What argument, other than "I want it cheaper" would be made to justify any of these?

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Last edited by DLitwin on Tue May 12, 2009 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 11:48 pm 
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Thank you Dave for reply!
DLitwin wrote:
a bit broad to get into for this discussion.

Sorry, I try to stick to the topic. As soon as I finish off topic.
DLitwin wrote:
I am not sure I see the issue here

Price of pack is 70 cents, currently they sell it for 7$ in NY, and complain that they get much less money then expected. Surprise ...

I think I get your point, but I want to ask several more question to figure out where you stand.
I'll try to talk only about games, movies, music and books.
1. What do you think of xeroxing part of the book in the library ?
2. I bought a CD. Normally I listen music in the car, but we have 2 cars and my wife also wants to listen it in the car. Is it OK to copy it? Is it OK, to convert it to mp3 and put it on ipod ?
3. My son have Nintendo DS. As far as I know they constantly exchange games with his friends in school.
4. A friend finished a computer game and bring it to me and say "Try it".

By the way, I stopped playing computer games about 15 years ago, so I'm out of date here.
And I try to avoid any knock out products, but for completely different reason. I'm ready to pay extra to get the best quality that exists, it's cheaper this way in the end.
I'm not that rich to buy cheap things :)


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:39 am 
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all2bar wrote:
Price of pack is 70 cents, currently they sell it for 7$ in NY, and complain that they get much less money then expected. Surprise ...
That is just business I suppose. They have costs to bring the product to you. It sounds like the markup is quite high, but it seems that is the market rate. Good incentive to stop smoking ! :)
all2bar wrote:
1. What do you think of xeroxing part of the book in the library ?
There exists a "fair use" exception in copyright. I don't know the details, but it covers making limited reproductions for certain purposes (for example educational). See here, particularly sections 107-112.
all2bar wrote:
2. I bought a CD. Normally I listen music in the car, but we have 2 cars and my wife also wants to listen it in the car. Is it OK to copy it? Is it OK, to convert it to mp3 and put it on ipod ?
OK to put on an iPod as far as I know, presuming you aren't simultaneously listening to the iPod and having someone else listen to the CD. As for making a copy of the CD, I think not. Actually, making a copy isn't really the fundamental problem (I would think it ethical to make a backup in case your disk gets scratched, for instance) it is the duplication of "using" it (i.e. listening, enjoying) that is the essential violation. This can be done either by a CD duplicate or an iPod duplicate, but those duplicates in and of themselves, absent splitting into multiple use, don't seem to be improper. I have my CDs loaded on to my stereo computer, work computer and occasionally an iPod. I suppose if I listen at work and my wife listens to the same song at home, I am not meeting a high bar of propriety. I think, however minor, I would have to put this down as another place where my actions don't match my definition of proper. Good point to bring up :)
all2bar wrote:
3. My son have Nintendo DS. As far as I know they constantly exchange games with his friends in school.
4. A friend finished a computer game and bring it to me and say "Try it".
I think these uses are fine. No duplication is involved, and the content was properly purchased. Unless, of course, your friend keeps playing a copy on his computer the same time you are.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 1:29 am 
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Ok Dave! We stand almost on the same ground.
DLitwin wrote:
That is just business I suppose.

Not exactly, it's taxes, and as far as I understand economy, if taxes are too high your are going to lose.
DLitwin wrote:
OK to put on an iPod as far as I know,

I agree, but RIAA does not. I remember that they closed company that did this service. You bring your dvd and they put it on your video iPod so you can watch it there. But may be making money is a different story .


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 2:35 pm 
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My understanding is that making copies for personal use is legal under the concept of Fair Use. However, many companies want to eliminate Fair Use, either through underhanded tactics or through pressuring the government into making Copyright law even more biased in favor of the content producers. Under Fair Use, you pay once to have a CD, a digital copy on your PC, and a second digital copy on your portable media player. Some content providers want to force consumers to pay for the music three times in such a situation.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 3:39 pm 
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all2bar wrote:
Not exactly, it's taxes, and as far as I understand economy, if taxes are too high your are going to lose.
I consider taxes a part of business. If a business gets the benefits of a society's protections, they have to pay for it. In the US our businesses are pretty lucky in that they are generally free of civil unrest, extortion, bribes, etc. In other countries those add up to a large cost of business and I think most would take a tax and security if given the choice.
As for cigarette taxes, I assume those keep getting higher as the medical costs of treating lung disease continue to grow. If the taxes are too high such that smokers have to "lose" and smoke less, I assume the tax is having part of its desired effect: less lung disease or more money to treat it.

On multiple copies of content and DRM:
I think it is a sticky issue because those who produce the content want to protect against piracy, but giving people perfect freedom to allow for legal use makes piracy quite easy.
It's nice to hope people will do the right thing and abide by basic common sense fair use, but in practice people just don't. So you get situations like DRM where companies try to enforce their wishes. Often this limits things in ways that annoy people but I've seen it done relatively well.

People hate DRM but I have to say I've never been inconvenienced by Apple's implementation (I can't speak for other DRM schemes). They are fairly flexible about allowing purchased content on a number of diffrent devices and even burned to CD. The burning to CD of course opens up an angle for piracy (just re-rip the CD) but it is just enough work apparently to be effective.

As for ethics, I would have to fall back on content ownership. If a company has stupid methods for selling their content (i.e. requiring you to buy the same content multiple times for multiple devices) they can harm themselves economically. It isn't so different from just having high prices. Too high and your market will drop off. But I can't argue that it isn't their right to charge you multiple times. If they want to sell you a song that you can only play on your birthday at 4:00am and you buy it, you've both agreed to a contract and listening the rest of the year isn't proper. As silly as that may seem it is their content to sell as they choose, and you are under no obligation to purchase it.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 12:57 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
I consider taxes a part of business. If a business gets the benefits of a society's protections, they have to pay for it. In the US our businesses are pretty lucky in that they are generally free of civil unrest, extortion, bribes, etc. In other countries those add up to a large cost of business and I think most would take a tax and security if given the choice.
As for cigarette taxes, I assume those keep getting higher as the medical costs of treating lung disease continue to grow. If the taxes are too high such that smokers have to "lose" and smoke less, I assume the tax is having part of its desired effect: less lung disease or more money to treat it.

I agree with your point, but in this case, I assume, that it makes rich the people, who find the way to bring cheap cigarettes to black market and less money to treat lung disease. May be you are right and I'm wrong, I have no way to prove it.

DLitwin wrote:
As for ethics, I would have to fall back on content ownership. If a company has stupid methods for selling their content (i.e. requiring you to buy the same content multiple times for multiple devices) they can harm themselves economically. It isn't so different from just having high prices. Too high and your market will drop off. But I can't argue that it isn't their right to charge you multiple times. If they want to sell you a song that you can only play on your birthday at 4:00am and you buy it, you've both agreed to a contract and listening the rest of the year isn't proper. As silly as that may seem it is their content to sell as they choose, and you are under no obligation to purchase it.

I agree with that also, and as a result I never ever bought a single music track from online store. I only buy CD's. It's my way to say, that I hate DRM. Now Apple promised to get rid of DRM, I may start looking at this option.
In China movie companies started to fight with piracy by selling licensed DVD for 3$, and I think they have a chance to win this way.

DLitwin wrote:
I sold about $450 worth of Neons to California customers last year which means I owe the state about $40. I didn't think to charge it to my customers. I still need to contact the state and work it out. So far I doubt any of my customers have contacted the state :) This year I have been passing the costs on to my customers (sorry guys).

By the way, I hope that it's a profit, and not a revenue, otherwise you may end up overcharging friends. I would not bother myself with taxes in this case, if I was in your shoes.
But I don't blame you, I just think, that it means that you have make sure that it's exactly right amount, and this is too much a headache for me considering amount of money.

My general problem with copyright is also different. Now it's 120 years, and average media lives for 10-15 years, that means that copyright owner have make a decision 8-10 times if it makes sense money wise to publish it on another media. That means that we are going to lose a whole layer of out culture. From the other point of view, may be we deserve it.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 1:44 pm 
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all2bar wrote:
I only buy CD's. It's my way to say, that I hate DRM.
I am curious: Why? What about Apple's DRM limits you?
The case I know of so far is people who don't have an iPod and want to listen to purchased iTunes music on a generic player.

I know plenty of people who don't like the concept of DRM but I am always interested in the reasons behind it as I haven't found it to be any trouble at all. I'm assuming it is one of two things: People just don't like restrictions on what they consider "theirs", or people have different use cases than I do.
all2bar wrote:
DLitwin wrote:
I sold about $450 worth of Neons to California customers last year which means I owe the state about $40.
By the way, I hope that it's a profit, and not a revenue, otherwise you may end up overcharging friends.
Profit? That is funny :) You haven't seen this thread, have you...
No, the $419.01 was the revenue for a few Neons and DIYs I sold to California buyers, and most California tax rates are about 9%, or about $40 spread across all buyers. I certainly won't overcharge my friends (or customers, even if they aren't friends...). CA tax is based on sale value, not profit.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 3:36 pm 
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Personally, I reject the concept of Digital Restriction Management altogether, but that is a secondary reason for why I buy music exclusively as CDs.

With very few exceptions, pay-per-download music stores deal exclusively in the obsolete mp3 format or use some proprietary format that works with little other that store's own media players. I like my music free(libre) and at full CD-quality or better. That is why I buy CDs and rip them to FLAC. Not to mention, that more often then not, I can buy whole albums at less per song than the download services.

The only pay-per-download music store I have ever found that offered FLAC downloads had such a poor selection to make it not worth buying from.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:50 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
Profit? That is funny :) You haven't seen this thread, have you...

No I haven't, thank you, it very interesting! And more reasons to me to stick with solving. But now I'm confused, if you lost money, why you worry about taxes. I think, I'd better skip this topic, sorry.

DLitwin wrote:
I am curious: Why? What about Apple's DRM limits you?

I've got iPod because it was cheapest per Gb player on the market, and I'm not very happy with iTunes, but I did not spend too much time investigating other options. Honestly I don't know what limits me in Apple's DRM. It's one more agreement that you have to study carefully, figure out if it's OK, remember it and comply with it. I decided, that I be better of without any of this. And I hate proprietary formats and protocols even more then DRM, they always get me one way or another.
Wow, It looks that I hate everything, please don't think that of me, I like a lot of things, puzzles for example :)
And I do like to be able edit my soundtracks and adjust them, compare results of different parameters.
I second Jeffery that mp3 is not the best format. And with CD I don't have to worry that much about backups. Hard drives die, you know that :)
O I think, that I'm so far in off topic of the topic, sorry.

I'd better tell a story on the main topic. You know, that we should thank "pirates" that work of Shakespeare is available today. At his time plays were a big secret because it was profit of the theater, and competitors hire "pirates" to remember and write pieces of the play. So by time of his death there were several very bad copies of his plays floating around, and that was the main reason to make first official publication of his work First Folio of 1623, which is main source of his works.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 5:36 pm 
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Going through this life-changing experience, I have been re-assessing my life. For most of it, I have thought nothing of downloading software, finding a crack and just using it. Now I believe it is ethically wrong, and I will leave the debate to you guys and the 2-3 pages above and in the other thread. However, I want to right these wrongs.

I have some key software I have been using, and would love to find freeware or low-cost equivalents to them. Any recommendations for them would be greatly appreciated. This is for Windows, by the way.

Adobe Illustrator
Photoshop
Paint Shop Pro
Pinnacle Studio Plus

I'm sure there are some I'm missing, but this would be a great start.

Thanks.
Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 5:47 pm 
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GIMP (G.I.M.P./Gnu Image Manipulator Program) is a common open-spurce/freeware Photoshop substitute, Frank.

http://www.gimp.org/

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 5:53 pm 
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Cubicle beat me to the punch on mentioning The Gimp. I personally do not use it much, preferring image editors more on par with MS Paint minus the suck, but it is generally considered second only to Photoshop for professional level image editing.

What do Pinnacle Studio and Illustrator do?

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 6:00 pm 
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I just checked, and Pinnacle studio is a video editing program. I wouldn't know any substitutes (my mac comes with one) but as for illustrator, (based on the wiki page) it seems alot like [url]Paint.net[/url].

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 10:37 pm 
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I use Paint.NET as well, and Project Dogwaffle. Dogwaffle is a tad eccentric at times, and not nearly as userfriendly as Paint.NET, but it has its purposes.

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2009 11:18 pm 
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There is AVIDemux for Video Editing, but it is fairly basic. The most I have used it for is chopping up a DVD worth of video into individual episodes, cutting out commercials from recorded TV, and encoding video. It does work with just about any codec you throw at it though, and I suppose that with a high-end machine and a lot of patience, you could do some serious video editing, but there are not many tools to do fancy stuff in a streamlined manner.

Website: http://fixounet.free.fr/avidemux/

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 8:01 am 
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Thanks guys. I will look into those apps.

edit: I just realized I own a licenced copy of Pinnacle Studio. :) Just found the discs. Bonus.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 6:01 pm 
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Check this topic : viewtopic.php?f=7&t=12888
You may find something interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:57 pm 
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A bit of a bump and not 100% on topic, but very related and brought up recently:

Blazeman brings up an interesting point in his slightly-inflamatory post here:

I may not completely agree with him, but I sumarize the point as such:

If it is wrong to copy another designer's creation (and most of us agree it is), how does the expiration of a patent change this?

Clearly it makes a huge difference legally, but restricting the argument to ethics it becomes a difficult subject.

Emotionally I feel there is a huge difference because the law sets out a period of protection, and thereby somewhat implicitly endorses the copying of a design after patent expiration.

But logically why should someone who obtains no patent have *more* ethical rights than one that does?

Put another way, will it be any more ethical to produce a copy of the floppy cube 20 years from now than it is today?
If a patent had been obtained for the floppy cube it would by then be invalid, and would that change your feeling on whether or not it is ethical?

Do you feel it is never ethical to copy a design, regardless of patent or length of time?

I don't have easy answers to these. I can't really respect those who profit from the work of others without proper compensation, whether or not a patent is obtained. But I understand why patents have an expiration date, and the logic behind it informs what I feel is ethical.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Piracy and ethics
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:03 pm 
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As I sort of mentioned in the other thread- I feel that because the DIY's are improvements on the regular 3x3, it's okay. They actually put a bit of effort into it. If they were exactly the same, then they would just be trying to take some money off of Seventowns' design.

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