Learning How To Benefit From Piracy Is Not The Same As Endorsing Piracy

from the basic-logic-101 dept

John Gunn, the General Manager of a DRM company, alerted us to a blog post he wrote taking me to task for the post I wrote last week concerning a software developer who didn't freak out when his app was cracked, but used the experience to learn what the market wanted from his app. Gunn's post is slightly odd, and a bit troubling to me, in that he says that, by showing how this developer learned to use the piracy to his advantage, I "crossed the line" I have always avoided, and "actively promoted the criminal act of software piracy."

This is both wrong and misleading at the same time. First, my position is nothing new. I have always said that content creators need to learn how to take advantage of unauthorized access. In fact, that's been a common theme throughout this site from the beginning. Saying that content creators can and should learn to take advantage of such things (and then highlighting those who do so successfully) is, in no way, condoning the actions of those who partake in unauthorized file sharing. My position has always been directed to the content creator, and both recognizes the reality that unauthorized file sharing exists and will not go away, and then looks at ways to use that to your advantage, knowing it's there.

Gunn's second point is to claim that there are "far more efficient and reliable methods" for a developer to get feedback from the market. That may be true (though, actually, I doubt it), but again it doesn't change the fact that unauthorized access will occur. And, given that, why wouldn't you want to take advantage of it? Nothing about using piracy for market lessons is mutually exclusive from those mythological more efficient and reliable methods. Then, Gunn goes back to the old, disproved claim of DRM defenders: that the only real message from pirates is people want stuff for free. Considering just how often we've shown examples of people happily paying for things they can get for free when given a reason to buy, rather than being treated as a criminal by DRM providers, it's simply a myth.

Finally, Gunn, posts a series of questions for me:
Why use the denigrating term "freaking out" to describe software publishers who act to protect their assets and revenues by using an effective DRM solution or by pursuing action against people that steal from them? Wouldn't you do the same?
The term "freaking out" was descriptive and, I believe, accurate. Many software developers get so focused on unauthorized access and file sharing of their software that they miss out on the fact that there are business models they could adopt where that issue goes away. They miss out on the fact that throughout history, so called "piracy" has almost always opened up new, and much larger, markets. So, "freaking out" is proper. It shows a response that is out of proportion with what would be a reasonable solution, such as figuring out a way to take that activity and use it to their own advantage.

As for the issue about "protecting assets" using "an effective DRM solution... against people that steal from them?" Well, the answer should be obvious. First, it's not about protecting assets. It's about limiting activity of customers. Limiting activity of customers is the same thing as limiting your market and making your product less valuable. If you're in business, your goal should always be making your customers more satisfied and more interested in doing business with you, rather than "protecting" or limiting. As for an "effective DRM solution" well, such a thing has never existed, so I don't know what he's talking about. Finally, as someone who claims to be a regular reader of Techdirt, it's odd that he would call unauthorized access "stealing." It's not. Claiming it is doesn't change things at all. In fact, claiming it is stealing makes it nearly impossible to figure out a way to respond reasonably and leads to, yes, freaking out.

And, finally, to the question "wouldn't I do the same?" The answer is no. I wouldn't (and don't) limit my customers. I'd put together a business model where it doesn't make sense to do so. I would put together a business model where I get benefits the more my content is spread widely -- rather than taking an adversarial stance against my customers. Plenty of folks are doing so today, and are finding stronger and better relationships with their customers and bigger and bigger businesses. And, when my customers do something new and unique with my content, I'd learn from it and encourage it in order to make my future work that much more valuable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    lordmorgul, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 11:05pm

    'Effective DRM' is a fallacy, and John Gunn knows this to be true. No DRM solution has ever yet existed which was not broken, with the one exception being continuous network traffic 'check-ins' to a DRM authentication server... which of course can be broken but cannot be faked to function correctly without the traffic to the server.
    -
    Everyone who makes DRM knows it gets cracked in a matter of weeks from release. They know that because they pay attention to the cracks that show up so they can create new, slightly different, and no more effective versions of their DRM for the next release. What John Gunn is doing is making a case for his company's continued existence... a poor case, but he's trying. DRM always fails.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Peet McKimmie (profile), Jan 19th, 2009 @ 1:54am

      Re:

      ...cannot be faked to function correctly without the traffic to the server.


      Unless, of course, you set up your own server locally and program your router to spoof all calls to the real server. ;-)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Bunny, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 11:06pm

    Surprise

    Mike begins:

    John Gunn, the General Manager of a DRM company...

    I'm sooooo surprised that the GM of a DRM company would be trying to promote views favorable to his industry and trying to shout down any other views with whatever ammunition is available (e.g. mud, snow, fog).

    However, let's try to understand this from the unfortunate GM's point of view. If he didn't promote the interests of his embattled industry with this sort of informational snowcraft, he could well be fired by the larger investors. Those are the types that get antsy that they can't simply dump all of their shares at once without causing a wider selloff and losing a big chunk in the process, and are thus that much more insistent on using whatever means to keep the company viable while they sell off gradually, without raising much suspicion.

    Corporate communications departments may be yet another casualty of the internet age. Either that or their quality must be declining and they are not yet aware of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      chris (profile), Jan 19th, 2009 @ 8:17am

      Re: Surprise

      john gunn takes money from companies that are afraid of losing money. of course he's going to act like the world is full of pirates laying in wait to snatch everyone's money and conveniently ignoring the fact that most piracy is non-commercial.

      he needs companies to believe that so they will buy his crappy software.

      but let's look at the reality. we automatically assume that a given piece of software will not work as advertised, that music will be terrible, and that a movie will be awful. we do this because we have all been taken advantage of by companies that sell crappy goods. we pirate things because we choose not to gamble our money on things that may not live up to their advertising hype.

      john gunn is one of those purveyors of crappy goods. in fact, since DRM doesn't work, and does nothing to stop piracy, i would assert that he is a purveyor of the crappiest of goods.

      he just wants money from companies that take our money. they swindle us and he swindles them. this rabid stance against the piracy boogieman is just part of his con game.

      the truth is that it is impossible to prevent piracy and anyone who tell you differently is selling something.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2009 @ 11:12pm

    This guy should sit down with Lawrence Lessig.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jeff, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 12:56am

    Piracy can be a good thing...

    For instance, a few years back, I downloaded Quake II from somewhere because I couldn't find the demo. Plus, I have learned that demos do not always feature what the real game shows. (Like different maps cut and pasted together, hardly any story told out...)

    So, I played it, I got sucked into it and beated it because it was just that good. I only meant to play a small bit, then and, if it was good, I'd definitely buy it when I go to the stores. If it wasn't, well, I'd just uninstall it then.

    I went to the stores anyway, found this Quake Pack, which had Quake I, II, and III and bought it. ID software still made money, and I got games that were a good investment of my money.

    So, wouldn't this be a Win-Win?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      chris (profile), Jan 18th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

      Re: Piracy can be a good thing...

      So, I played it, I got sucked into it and beated it because it was just that good. I only meant to play a small bit, then and, if it was good, I'd definitely buy it when I go to the stores. If it wasn't, well, I'd just uninstall it then.

      I went to the stores anyway, found this Quake Pack, which had Quake I, II, and III and bought it. ID software still made money, and I got games that were a good investment of my money.

      So, wouldn't this be a Win-Win?


      no, you should have bought quake I, quake II, quake III, and then bought the quake pack and then bought copies for your friends so you can play networked games together.. sure ID made money on the quake pack, but not nearly as much as if you bought each game twice.

      every pirated copy is a lost sale, right?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jeff, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:01am

    A reason to pirate...?

    The reason some pirate is, maybe they wanna know what the full functionally of the program has, maybe whether the story to a game is actually good. Is it really worth the price?

    I mean, for example, the game Left 4 Dead. I haven't played it, and it's price said $60. (Well, whenever I last saw it) I don't know whether to get it or not. I mean, if I do get it, play it, and I find it is crap, I can't get my $60 back because steam doesn't let you resell the games, and the store wouldn't take it back because all software sales are usually final, unless they can let you exchange it for a new copy of that same software/game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 11:04am

      Re: A reason to pirate...?

      It did strike me as odd that the demo for L4D was only available t those that preordered.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    James (profile), Jan 17th, 2009 @ 3:20am

    And then there are some...

    There are some of us, that through the past have noticed a particular title not living up to it's intended hype. And thanks to the EULA being inside the box, thus effectively negating the EULA's own reasoning, it is not worth the hassle. Astatement that says if I don't agree to all the terms and conditions, I can't install and should take it back, yet with shrinkwrap broken, I can't take it back. Does this not equate to a form of piracy from the company no less? Godfather tactics of "Making an offer you can't refuse" doesn't sit well with me. In situations like that, of course I will look for alternative avenues to either try, or get.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:15am

    Hopefully, this fool's way of thinking is on its way out in the industry. From EA's recent experiences surrounding Spore's highly complained about DRM to a recent comment made by Valve on the subject (http://www.gamedaily.com/articles/news/valve-pirates-are-just-underserved-customers/?biz=1), more and more people are coming to the realisation that DRM does not work, and actually limits sales. I love the example of Doom in his post, BTW. Does this idiot really believe that cracked versions of Doom were not freely available to download? If so, there's a nice bridge in Brooklyn he might like to buy...

    Mr Gunn, if you happen to read my comments, here are my thoughts on the subject. I am tired of DRM. The one and only purpose for DRM, whatever your industry's salemen try to say, is to limit what legitimate customers can do with their legally purchased media. Back in the days when DRM was simply a check for the CD in the drive, I used to crack games. Oh, I legally bought them, but I didn't want to have to carry 20 CDs around with my laptop just so I can prove to you that I'm not a "thief" every time I want to run a game I bought.

    More recently, I've simply avoided PC games. The DRM on games ranges from spyware to random internet checks, and I frankly do not trust you. Not only that, but your DRM places restrictions on what can be done with the games, essentially building in a time limit to how long I can enjoy them. All DRM gets cracked eventually, and why should anyone want to pay $60 for a game that might not work in a few years' time, only lets you install on certain computers and may practically take over your system, when the free pirated version does not.

    Please note that I am neither condoning piracy nor saying that I indulge in the practice myself (I ignore the DRMed game or buy a less-objectionably controlled console version). But your industry is the one that's giving people the best reasons to pirate in the first place. DRM is something to be avoided. It's not worked - piracy was rampant 20 years ago, it's rampant now, yet the industry is worth billions more than it was back then.

    I can understand why you would defend DRM giving that your livelihood depends on it. But know that your industry is one that's holding back, not protecting, sales of PC games. Your products make the pirated version easier to use and more valuable than the paid product.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Ragnar, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:23am

    A common business model misconception?

    DRM has always been a disillusion. DRM forces people like me to rip and download media illegally instead of buying it. Why?
    1. It is easier to download a ripped "open" copy than to play the DRM-media in many devices (read: open source solutions).
    2. Recovering downloaded DRM-media usually gives customers grief (I for one have lost all DRM protected items I have paid for at iTunes ...and I hold a M.Sc. degree in Computer Science).
    There is one more reason for why people rip/download/distribute media illegally and it is the the limited variety being offered online. There is so much I want to buy online but is only being offered through "illegal" channels.

    The industry should realize that there are two markets. Online and offline. The online-market needs to offer DRM-free media in ANY format and in ANY quality at reasonable prices - Because then everyone would become paying customers. The offline-market (Vinyl/CD/DVD etc.) should offer DRM-free media in standard format with the highest quality at ...preferably a low price but in fairness a higher price since the cost is probably higher.

    Historically it is possible to understand how DRM became a reality in the infantry of online-media-marketing but now, with an overwhelming majority of customers opting for quality and preferring assurance over unreliable and possibly "illegal" sources, it is impossible to understand the industry reluctance for accepting DRM being a mistake.

    Kudos to iTunes for giving up on DRM. As a direct consequence I for one will likely buy 20-30 times more music from iTunes in the next few years.

    The media industry should have realized a long time ago that they are "out of sync" with customers. The industry should be removing all barriers and obstacles between the media and the paying customers ...instead of trying to invent new ones or dragging "soon-to-never-to-become-paying-customers" to court. Not realizing this ...is just silly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:54am

    The closest thing to "effective" that the DRM industry can claim is the Starforce app for PC games. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that piece of shiite is so intrusive and prone to problems that gamers have (successfully) boycotted games that used it to the point that most devs give it a wide berth now.

    I would take this idiot to task for actually convincing his customers that DRM is a viable solution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    PrimeSonic, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 5:19am

    This is how I ended up paying for WoW

    This is my story of how Blizzard Entertainment got money out of me ALL THANKS TO PIRACY.

    Yes, out of the millions of subscribers to World of Warcraft, there are millions more who play on private(free) servers. I was one of them for about 5-6 months.
    Since Blizzard offers you the client for free download, rather than forcing you to buy the box (and spend more money tan you'd want to), I chose to go the path of the free for a while longer.

    Eventually, I did turn to the official Blizzard servers for social reasons and the simple fact that the product is simply better when we handled by Blizzard and not random people using a server emulator and coding out their asses.

    Lesson to be learned: While you can download or pirate all of the client side software (and still not pay for a while), eventually you'll find yourself paying for the other one of the software because the product is worth it.

    I probably wouldn't have subscribed on just a 10 day trial alone. Perhaps with a month's free trial maybe, but like many things, I wanted to really see if this game was for me before committing any money to it. Once I became familiar with the game to an almost expert level, making the switch seemed like the only natural thing to do.

    Having seen population numbers of a collective of private servers, I now believe there are more paying subscribers than there are people on these private servers.
    Blizzard gives you a reason to pay and delivers a product worth paying for.

    [BTW, Main char: Remiel, blood elf Priest, Quel'Thalas ^_~]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Michael Long, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    Fixed that for you...

    "Considering just how often we've shown examples of [SOME] people happily paying for things they can get for free when given a reason to buy... it's simply a myth."

    There, fixed that for you.

    SOME people will always pay for value received. SOME people believe in supporting artists and those that create their content. And SOME people will choose to pay for convenience, assured quality, access to support, access to online servers or materials, or perhaps to support some band's one off publicity stunt.

    But MOST people, it seems, will not. The article in question mentions people using the "shared" version at the rate of 40 to 1. Compare the number of downloads listed on the Bay vs. the reported sales numbers of nearly any game you'd care to mention (usually 15 to 20 to 1). Compare the number of songs purchased via iTunes or Amazon vs. the vast array of songs and staggering amount of bandwidth consumed daily via BitTorrent.

    Like most matters in this gray underworld, exact numbers are hard to quantify. But even a cursory glance should be enough to tell anyone with no bias in the matter that that it's not a "myth".

    Ignoring rationalizations, people "share" because they can, and bcause by and large they can do so without getting caught. The perceived benefits (something for nothing) nearly always outweigh the perceived consequences.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Lucretious, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 6:29am

      Re: Fixed that for you...


      Like most matters in this gray underworld, exact numbers are hard to quantify.


      particularly the numbers of people who would have bought the product vs. those who wouldn't look at it twice if it meant they had to purchase it.

      The idea is that you can either sit and bitch about those who "steal" (of which the IP holder can do nothing about) or one can at least try to salvage something that can benefit the IP holder in the long run.

      One is better than the other.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Michael Long, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

        "...particularly the numbers of people who would have bought the product vs. those who wouldn't look at it twice if it meant they had to purchase it."

        As opposed to the number of people who would have purchased it had they had no other option but to do so?

        Somehow, I doubt that given the choice of paying, or of completely doing without, that most people would completely do without games, or movies, or music, or the software they need to do their jobs.

        We're at an aberrant point in history. Theft without consequence is easy. The real question is whether or not technology will catch up to the thief, or if our closets are going to contain a LOT of t-shirts...

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          ITEric, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

          "Somehow, I doubt that given the choice of paying, or of completely doing without, that most people would completely do without games, or movies, or music, or the software they need to do their jobs."

          Wow! I must be in a very serious minority then. If I can't get the entertainment I want for free (legally), then I either buy it or find something else to do (there's always something else to do). What I absolutely do not do is buy something I know has DRM. Yes, I'd rather do without!

          As for software needed to do a job, if a free OSS alternative is not available (often it is), I believe the professional thing to do is either pay for software that does what you need, or develop what you need yourself.

          When it comes to theft, like many other things, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Luci, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

            I agree with you, there. There's plenty of free games and music out there that can be legally obtained and legally used. I've not purchased a game or music in several years, and I'll keep NOT purchasing.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Monarch, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

      Re: Fixed that for you...

      Here's the deal with your statement.

      Music prices are too high to even think about paying for it. If the songs were $.50 instead of $.99 or even $1.39, I will not buy, and I will not buy if it has DRM.

      Games, I got burned too many times, paying $50+ for horrible games. Game prices are TOO high for me to purchase and hope I'm going to like it. DRM when it had a disk check wasn't too bad, because I knew there'd be a NO-CD crack available soon. Now, I won't even dream of putting a DRM-virus infected game into my computer.

      Movies, I detest movie theaters. DVD prices have gone up. I used to go to the store every Tuesday to buy the newest DVD's of movies I wanted to see in the theaters. Quite often I got angry that I paid $15-$17 for a horrible movie and it was on a $7.50 rack 6 months later. Now even the new release specials are over $20. You have to be kidding me with that right!

      So the moral of the story is, lose the DRM, lower prices and more people will buy! Keep DRM while developing more and more intrusive virus like DRM, and keep raising prices, and less and less and less people buy.

      So if the CEO's of these companies had a single clue or interest in what their target audience wants, they'd be able to make LOTS of money. Instead they fear monger about piracy, while their fear mongering only increases piracy.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        lrey, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

        Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

        Moron. You're genes should not be in the pool, ya little f'ng thief.

        You f'n Yanks with your sense of entitlement. you have absolutely zero concept of how much hard work goes into a modern PC game; the sheila (one of 200 some odd) with 2 mouths and a drunk doing costumes and proofing for 2000-odd hours to put a _small_ game in the market... ah, ya f'n make me sick! It's not the CEOs you're ripping mate, it's the line swine.

        The day after I find out I have inoperable cancer, I'm going to code up a little bitta that'll show me to your doorstep, w/some clorox. You're stealing from _me_, ya little f***. I'm gonna make you a f'ing crusade _and_ a jihad!

        Sorry Mike. you do make a lot of sense most times, but tolerating thieves so you can pirate _them_...

        Track 'em down and kill them; fix global warming and remove the need for DRM in one prolonged bang.

        There. Now I can go back to milk toast geek code boy.
        (I smoke quite heavily, Moron.. shouldn't be too long now.)

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          lrey, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:24pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

          sorry. forgot to make sure everyone knows I'm speaking (and planning) to (and for) Monarch in my post above.

          "...He was such an Ass."
          Baldur's Gate II, The Sword.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

            Suggesting a business model change does not make one an Ass, as you say. I guess it doesn't take much critical thinking to resort to name calling instead of using a logical argument to retort to a thoughtful observation.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Monarch, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

          "Re: Re: Fixed that for you... by lrey on Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

          Moron. You're genes should not be in the pool, ya little f'ng thief."

          Irey, do you even know the definition of "Moron" is? I'll give you a hint, it's an I.Q. level of 50-69, and just for your information, mine has been tested a few times and the lowest test result was 131. So I am by far a moron.

          As for a thief? Did I state I steal things in my statement? Nope. Did I state I violate copyright in the statement? Nope. Which is not theft anyway. So how did you come to that conclusion? Probably because your reading comprehension and I.Q. are closer to being a "Moron" than mine.

          However, I will state, I have downloaded software and other media, and on occasion, still do. I quite often pay for the software and media I utilize though. But, my spending habits have been curbed by the DRM and prices. I would be a bigger consumer of different types of media and software, if the prices were lower and there was no DRM.

          For music, I normally listen to the radio. For movies and TV, I quite often watch the "History Channel" and do watch shows streamed off of the Networks' web sites. With the exception of "The Big Bang Theory", which is not being streamed this season, so I get it off a torrent. And movies, well, like I said, I used to buy DVDs every Tuesday when the new releases are out, now I wait an additional time for them to hit the discount racks. But I occasionally torrent them first if I really want to watch one.

          And PC games, I buy a new game about once a year, and the ones I buy are not riddled with DRM. Stardock's games, occasional Valve games over Steam, which is DRM, but it's not horrible DRM, and I continue to help make Blizzard billionaires with my monthly payments.

          So Irey, go climb back under the rock you popped out from under, and keep your trolling under the bridge.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

            "Did I state I steal things in my statement?"

            No, but you did in this one.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:36pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

              I don't see anywhere that shows admittance to the fact anything was stolen. I do see a couple statements admitting to unauthorized downloads though. But, unauthorized downloads != theft or stealing.

              Maybe Monarch is right, some of these people that think it's theft have IQ's closer to the level of a Moron than they think.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

              No. He didn't say he stole anything. infringe copyright? maybe. it can be inferred from his statements that he infringes copyright. But, in all meanings of the word, he did not say he stole anything.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 9:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

            I am amused, and quite confused by your comments, Monarch.

            Your quite firey in your comments, and as I watch your thread, I've decided to perhaps offer something new.

            First off, let's start by saying comparing people by IQ scores or their gene pool gets noone anywhere. The problem with this thinking is that indirectly, a caste system is created, and some may think that ideas are worth more (or less) than others. People come to TD to sort through a problem, and by denying them of that, your doing nothing more than employing tactics the Nazis used. Better Gene pool? Wow. Rarely do people come for the trolling, but perhaps your vast intellect already understands this. What should happen is a little bit of cognitive discourse to determine what the problem actually is.


            Again, I've watched this string of good comments and am trying to come up with some level of cohesion and it seems a lot of people are posting commentary based on emotion rather than logic. Understanding this, I hope to turn the direction of the conversation.

            So to start things off, another commenter mentioned the fascinating Malcolm Gladwell video (You may know Malcolm as the author of "Tipping Point" and "Outliers") which somewhat proves a theroy I've had for years: by describing the problem using different words, you can explore the real issue at hand. Spaghetti Sauce. I highly recommend taking a look at the video. This was interesting because it ties back to the original topic.

            To segway a tiny bit, and further prove my point, you should look into Joseph Pine's recent works. Joe has spent years researching this subject of customization, where he describes our foray into an "Experience Based Economy". He is the author of the book "Mass Customization", among other good reads, but this book in particular can shed some insight to this subject.

            What has changed?
            What's happening right now is relatively interesting because the American Consumer is being woo'ed by the companies that subscribe to an "Experience" Economy. This is a change on par with the Industrial Revolution. During the Industrial Revolution, a seismic shift from a "Commodity based Economy" to a "Goods based Economy" was seen. Back in the 1940s, many companies failed, similar to what we're gearing up to see today.

            How does an Experience Economy effect my business?
            The problem of piracy, is a result of thinking your "Goods" are mereley "Goods". It appears to be TWO steps behind the ideology behind that of a "Goods Based Economy".

            Why is this a problem?
            Now, the problem with the transition to an Experience Economy means that man-made products are often brought into a pre-existing environment to see if they fit within that environment *OR* a consumer enters into a pre-existing experience-based environment to see if they enjoy the output of the entire experience.

            With the former, think of it like a store with a return policy. The latter consumer enters into a pre-existing experience-based environment is like a trip to Universal Studios or Disney World.

            Either way, the best solution is to gauge the Consumer's behavior or engagement after the sale. A key factor is to determine if the experience of using the product or media presents a net positive in the consumer's mind. There are others, but for the sake of this conversation, I'll spare the details.

            What happened to create animosity?
            When faced with the issues of "Piracy" in an experience Economy, the two butt heads like the Billy Goats Gruff. There are a few issues, but one of the problems I intend to focus on is that which exists within the marketing process. Today, many stores don't allow returns of media and software products on the basis of this so-called "piracy" problem. Thing is, most people return items because they failed to live up to the promises the marketing people put on the box, and the user has a net negative experience using the product or service. When Marketing makes exasperated claims, you get people firing up their blog or creating YouTube videos.

            Why do you think Marketing the problem?
            So, the problem is that the marketing people get involved to find out why something isn't selling. And almost always, this is self-defeating. They determine, that the software, music, or service was returned because their customers are low-lifes and made a copy and wanted their money back. The idea is fielded out to the retailers, and eventually are persuaded to agree to non-return policies on opened software, music etc. And yes, today, you can't return opened software, music, or videos. But no one wins when you vilify the Customer. But piracy is hardly the case. The problem is multi-faced: perhaps it wasn't intuitive, useful, or otherwise failed to meet some sort of expectation made by the marketing people.

            But one of the greatest questions of the ages is why the product developers aren't the ones asking these questions of their "non consumer"? Remember, they are not your customer because someone else better met their needs. The companies that do, gain better insight to their customers and make better products as a result. This is a process that needs to be free of Marketing. When they talk to non-customers, they always get big eyes, and want to run the show, sometimes creating product plans and new releases. Marketing should never be involved with product development. Leave that to the Product Engineering teams.

            Where does piracy fit in all of this?
            Unfortunately, many don't have the means to buy hundreds or thousands of software titles or music to determine what is the best, what works, or what is the ultimate solution to the problem they're currently experiencing. I'm fortunate enough to work for a very well-funded company and have the luxury to do just that. We have on hand, 20 versions of every type of software from different vendors. In my off-time, I can load up whatever I want, peek under the hood, and figure out what's going to work in a particular business or technical challenge.

            How do I distinguish marketing promises to reality?
            Often people ask "is it customizable to my reality". The correct answer from the salesperson is always: "Of course it is, how many do you need?" But the sad thing is rarely do you run into a salesperson who really knows how to do it, and even fewer that have provided details on how to accomplish the task step-by-step. It's easy to see that this is because most salesfolks I've met are actually acting as an extension of the marketing team themselves. And we all know what happens when the salesman is in charge of the company. You get product blunders like Vista with promises that it will cook you a fantastic Fillet Mignon and automatically flush the toilet for you.

            The lack of understanding or first-hand experience by the sales reps often lead to swiss-cheese approaches where the solution can be had, but it's duct-taped together with other pieces. So the answer to this is to survey the entire landscape, try many of these so called "solutions" first hand, and then make your decision based on your firsthand experience.

            What does the customer really want?
            Connectivity. Ambiguous connectivity to their life, to their problems, to their desires. Often this is found in open standards. DRM by it's very nature, breaks openness. Connectivity is the direction things are heading. Even Eric Schmidt recently commented on this in one of his Google Talks (on Youtube). He something like the Next Generation wants to connect their TV to their iPod and hook it up to the internet and phone, with RSS feeds and get an alert on their iPhone. Anything that doesn't solve a problem will be looked down upon. Unfortunately, to find out if it solves a problem, you need to use it!

            I was thinking about an article where it's rumored that iPod Touches have a Bluetooth Car Radio built into them. Sure, it's not enabled, of course, but let's say Apple adopts an open, royalty-free music streaming standard that works with a new car radio standard so users can play music without cables in their car. Can you do this with a DRM-enabled player? The answer is probably a resounding "No." DRM attempts to solve problems that exist yesterday. Open standards attempt to solve today's problems while leaving the door open for tomorrow's innovation.

            But if you see yourself as a purveyor of "Goods" (read: stuck in the "Goods Economy") you'll have a very hard time seeing the value of an "Experience Economy". As such, getting a book of "Mass Customization" by Joe Pine may be beneficial to you.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Monarch, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 8:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fixed that for you...

          Glad my genes didn't come from the same cesspool yours came out of. And I highly doubt, with the level of penmanship your witty response embarks, that you could even code a goto statement correctly. I mean, I'm surprised you can even figure out how to turn on a computer properly. I hope all people down under aren't from the same filthy convict blood gene pool yours crawled from.

          That's right, I can throw insults back, and from your writings, even see you're probably from somewhere in or near Australia. And just remember, Australia was a repository for criminals at one time.

          Oh yeah, not everybody that smokes heavily dies young. Some live past 100.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      pawn, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 6:55pm

      Re: Fixed that for you...

      So let me get this straight. The vast majority of people (90%+) who enjoy your product do so for free.

      You can:
      (A) Try to figure out a way to profit from these people
      (B) Complain about theft
      (C) Sue, Sue, Sue!

      But again, I see a grey underworld when paid lobbyists funding political re-election campaigns to get the IP laws they desire in place. To me it's all grey.

      Maybe you could even ask why a law that's broken by 90%+ of interested parties even exists?

      Of course, it doesn't matter. Some will figure out how to profit from the 90% and some will complain/sue. Add some time, and innovators will be rich, and the others will wonder why they can't sell anything.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MC, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 6:08am

    I agree wth Mr. Gunn.

    Mr. Masnick, you are against extreme IP protection (just as me), but you are also an extremist against IP, and you go too far some times. All extremes are bad, and you are on one end, please realize that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      I. P. Daily, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:20am

      Re:

      MC -> "I agree wth Mr. Gunn.
      Mr. Masnick, you are against extreme IP protection (just as me), but you are also an extremist against IP, and you go too far some times. All extremes are bad, and you are on one end, please realize that."


      extremist ? Care to elaborate ?
      WAnd what is "extreme IP protection" ?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      DanC, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      Simply put, pointing out that there are some positive aspects of piracy is not an endorsement of it. The original article simply stated that there are other options available to software developers to deal with piracy than running to DRM providers like John Gunn.

      Mr. Gunn simply wants piracy cast in a purely negative light, because he provides the most common knee-jerk reaction to it.

      TechDirt didn't advocate or justify piracy. It gave an example of a software developer taking advantage of the situation instead of running to a DRM supplier.

      All extremes are bad, and you are on one end, please realize that.

      Why is it an extreme position to give examples of alternate methods of dealing with piracy that do not involve DRM?

      If anything, Mr. Gunn's complete dismissal of any potential benefit of piracy seems more extreme than anything Mike put in the article.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re:

        Mr. Gunn simply wants piracy cast in a purely negative light, because he provides the most common knee-jerk reaction to it.

        Piracy deserves to be cast in a purely negative light precisely because it is piracy...the taking and using of something that is not yours to take and use. Call it theft, call it infringement, call it whatever you want, but nothing changes the fact it is an illegal act that can not in the slightest ever be justified. Of course there are those who will try and rationalize what they are doing as somehow proper, perhaps even noble. They should be held up for what they are...persons without any hesitancy to engage in situational ethics.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          I'm confused, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:57pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          post #29,

          Wow, you seem to know a lot about this subject. So let me ask you a few questions.

          There are those who have you believe that:
          1) making a backup copy is piracy.
          2) making a copy to play elsewhere is piracy.
          3) letting your friends view/listen to content is piracy.
          4) playing content loudly is piracy.

          Are all the above illegal ?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          DanC, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Call it theft, call it infringement, call it whatever you want, but nothing changes the fact it is an illegal act that can not in the slightest ever be justified.

          And neither I nor TechDirt has said differently. But the argument doesn't actually have anything to do with justification - it's about taking into consideration all the effects of piracy, both good and bad. Recognizing that there are beneficial as well as negative effects is not an advocation of piracy.

          Piracy deserves to be cast in a purely negative light precisely because it is piracy

          So you want to ignore any of the beneficial effects of piracy because it's illegal. That doesn't make any sense.

          The point remains that TechDirt did not advocate or attempt to rationalize the motives behind piracy. So Mr. Gunn is severely mistaken.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            In point of fact, techdirt has its feet planted firly on both sides of the fence. All the while noting that piracy is illegal, it chastizes those rights holders who try and protect their work, whether via copy protection, reliance on the law, litigation, etc.

            While I do understand the nuanced position taken by techdirt, it is clear that far too many who read and comment on its articles are cognizant of the nuances.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              DanC, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 9:22pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              it chastizes those rights holders who try and protect their work, whether via copy protection, reliance on the law, litigation, etc.

              TechDirt criticizes what it sees as poor business decisions. I'm wondering what fence you believe TechDirt is straddling by proposing alternate solutions to the methods you've listed.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Monach, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Re: Re: by Anonymous Coward on Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

          Mr. Gunn simply wants piracy cast in a purely negative light, because he provides the most common knee-jerk reaction to it.

          Piracy deserves to be cast in a purely negative light precisely because it is piracy...the taking and using of something that is not yours to take and use. Call it theft, call it infringement, call it whatever you want, but nothing changes the fact it is an illegal act that can not in the slightest ever be justified. Of course there are those who will try and rationalize what they are doing as somehow proper, perhaps even noble. They should be held up for what they are...persons without any hesitancy to engage in situational ethics.


          Hey AnonCow, hope you're not American, because the United States of America was created by people breaking the law, and doing illegal things. Many of the greatest changes throughout history came from people doing illegal things.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Pirates are just underserved customers.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      J, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 12:59am

      Re: against IP?

      How is he in any way against Intellectual Property? He is against limiting the use of said 'property' but against it? Why then is he a big proponent of real business model ideas that are more successful then the currently practiced models of the old 'physical' market. The Digital Realm (tm) is new and unknown to most old dogs. They try to treat something intangible as something material. Producing a new copy of software is about as hard as breathing. Business models that rely on the manufacturing and distribution of a limited supply of commodities DO NOT apply to intellectual property at all. To say he is against Intellectual Property, simply because he doesn't support asinine business models, is quite a reach.

      DRM is not about protecting your Intellectual Property at all. It is about treating software as a limited commodity so that the old business models may apply. The problem with that is software is NOT a limited commodity at all and it only hurts the market by imposing limits on the people who purchase it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Michael Long, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 6:53am

    Something for nothing...

    "...claiming it is stealing makes it nearly impossible to figure out a way to respond reasonably."

    Disregarding the claim as to whether or not it's stealing, or what a "reasonable" response to theft might be, I find it interesting that you imply that the use of the word places one at the extreme edge of the spectrum.

    Why? Because the continued use of the term "sharing" is pretty much a blatent attempt by the other side to do the same thing. Isn't "sharing" normally viewed as being something positive and condoned? In fact, "sharing" that which you own with someone else is actively encouraged.

    'Course, most people who "share" files don't own them either... but I digress.

    The oft-cited term "infringement" attempts to call it what it is legally, but also tends to minimize the transgression. Most definitions equate "infringing" with trespass, or as a simple infraction of the rules. "No harm, no foul."

    Piracy as a term is more severe, but also tends to make the pirate feel glamorous and swashbuckling. And tends to ignore the fact pirates were notorious for looting, rape, and murder. Oh, well.

    Bottom line is that both sides use terminology loaded with specific connatations in order to create a built-in bias to their arguments.

    Even my favorite term has negative connotations:

    Parasite:
    1. An animal or plant that lives in or on a host; it obtains nourishment from the host without benefiting or [usually] killing the host
    2. One who habitually takes advantage of the generosity of others without making any useful return.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:49pm

      Re: Something for nothing...

      It is like "infringing." There is no harm and no foul. It's the same consequence as if they didn't buy it in the first place. They're not taking anything away from them. Its hard to understand, but the digital world and infinite goods has revolutionized and changed the way certain markets can work. You cannot apply the same market rules. To do so is a fallacy and you make yourself a victim when that is indeed not the case. In a market where the concrete value of something is negligible, the creator must make the market and give value to their product. Create scarce goods that become valuable to customers when they consume the infinite goods.

      Just because you refuse to leave yesterday doesn't mean you have to penalize the rest of the world for trying to live in tomorrow.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TriZz, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    To Mike:

    Mike,

    I love your blog. I've been reading a long time and I've given quite a bit of input over the past couple of years.

    Responding to this mess is a bit much for me. You, essentially, become a hypocrite in telling him to embrace a world where piracy exists to make more money...because that's exactly what his job description is.

    I mean, it's not the best method (DRM) but that's what he's doing...and he's doing it the best way he knows how (by limiting his customers).

    If this gentleman (*ahem*) were to take your advice, he'd more than likely be unemployed.

    Just like movies, comics, books...etc, there has to be someone fighting the good fight and someone fighting the bad to create the balance that the universe needs. If there was no "dirt" to report, then techdirt wouldn't need to exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:38am

    I've been playing PC games for at least 25 years, I started out with all text games like Adventure (Colossal Cave). I've seen all different kinds of DRM and it has become more and more Draconian as time has passed. Like PaulT I used to purchase games and then go and find the crack to remove whatever restrictions were imposed (like CD checks). After I got hit with SecuRom a couple times and had to reinstall Windows I gave up, I simply stopped buying and playing PC games. I moved on to more console games where I can legitimately buy and use games from a secondary market. DRM turned a really good long time customer away from PC gaming altogether. Adding DRM to a PC game removes value from that game. The free cracked version ends up having more value than the DRM'd retail version because there are no restrictions. At this point I'm very selective, I do my best to not support companies that use DRM.

    Also, the idea that
    downloading 1 cracked version = 1 lost sale = stealing
    is pure fantasy. As I mentioned, the cracks I downloaded were for games I PAID for.

    Piracy has some parallels to drug use - no matter how many laws, consequences or wars we declare it will still be there. The market will always find a way to get what it wants. Since games are legal why not do more to cater to your market? Why not learn from the piracy? Why not give legitimate customers options?

    Gaming Industry: You would do much better if you stopped slapping your best customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    @Michael Long

    SOME people will always pay for value received. SOME people believe in supporting artists and those that create their content. And SOME people will choose to pay for convenience, assured quality, access to support, access to online servers or materials, or perhaps to support some band's one off publicity stunt.

    That might be true if there actually was convenience, assured quality, access to support, etc. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been playing PC games for at least 25 years. The last game I bought was from Massive Entertainment. After installing that game my PC started to get blue screens occasionally. Beyond that the game itself was buggy. I could not play the game for more than about 10 minutes without it crashing. Support amounted to an online forum where you may or may not get a response. Massive blamed my hardware, my drivers, anything but their software. After endless hours trying to work with the a**holes at Massive, I gave up. Three months later they finally released a patch for the game - with no other changes to my system the game started working as expected, though the blue screens still happened. By that time I was so bothered by the whole thing I did not even finish the game. I will never buy another game from Massive. This game had the double hit of Draconian DRM and really bad bugs. There went my $60.00 down the drain. What incentive is that to actually purchase games?

    It is very unfortunate that the state of the gaming industry is such that there is no incentive to be a legitimate paying customer. I'm way better off 'pirating', at least one roadblock to successfully playing the game will be removed and I do not send my money to a bunch of a**holes who do not care about their customers. From where I'm sitting piracy is not the problem - bad software and lack of support is the problem.

    I give up, no more money wasted on games and no downloads either. In my opinion 'pirating' just adds value to a title and gives the decision making a**holes justification for using DRM, it is a never ending cycle. The cycle only gets broken when the flow of money and downloads stops. The gaming industry has driven me to shun them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Fred The Butcher, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 9:41am

    Show Me !

    I'm from Missouri and I'm a show me guy. So, how about you substantiate this sentence and all future pronouncements you make like:
    They miss out on the fact that throughout history, so called "piracy" has almost always opened up new, and much larger, markets.

    If someone steals 50lbs of meats from me, it ain't going to open up new markets for me. It's going to cost me money out of my pocket.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:05am

      Re: Show Me !

      Stealing 50 lbs of meat is nothing like downloading pirated software. If someone "steals" 50 copies of software, software stores don't suddenly lose 50 copies from their shelves.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      qez, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:15am

      Re: Show Me !

      So, how about you substantiate this sentence and all future pronouncements you make like: They miss out on the fact that throughout history, so called "piracy" has almost always opened up new, and much larger, markets.

      Read the Pirate's Dilemma and you will find out.

      If someone steals 50lbs of meats from me, it ain't going to open up new markets for me.

      Stealing != piracy.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

      Re: Show Me !

      If someone steals 50lbs of meat from you, you are out 50lbs of meat you can not sell to someone else.

      If 50 unauthorized COPIES of your software/digital data are made and distributed, you are out NOTHING, and still retain the right to sell the software/digital data. The only you may be without are potential sales. However, some of those copies may produce sales that may have never been purchased from you before the copy got to the consumer.

      And if there are 50 unauthorized, there must be something YOU are doing wrong, either overpricing your product for your target market consumer, or putting TOO MUCH DRM for the consumer to justify buying the product in the first place.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 5:25pm

        Re: Re: Show Me !

        "...you are out NOTHING..."

        So you say, now prove you are correct.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Monarch, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Show Me !

          You are out nothing with digital copies being made. What are you out of? You still have the original material. You can still sell copies of the original material. NOTHING was stolen from you. There are just more COPIES of the material out there. You have NO PHYSICAL loss, so you are out nothing!

          There is NO way you can prove that even one of those COPIES would have equated to a lost sale. So you are out nothing.

          Now if you had 50 discs with the material on it, and those discs were stolen, then you would be out of 50 physical products which then could be translated to REAL LOSS!

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          The infamous Joe, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Show Me !

          There once was a caveman who invented fire. He was quite proud of himself, as you can imagine. However, he had a problem-- he knew that once created, fire was easily replicated-- he feared he'd no longer be seen as wise and powerful fire-creater. So he went to the chieftain and convinced him to make a law that no one could give out fire but the fire-creater. To further enforce his status, when he did sell fire to the other cavemen, it was always on sticks that wouldn't last-- they'd burn out quickly.

          One eye-patch wearing caveman discovered that if he quickly brought fire attained from the fire-creater and placed it against another stick of wood, he'd have two fire sticks! But how could this be, he wondered, why would the fire creater make the other cavemen buy fire when he could easily copy the same fire! In fact, if he used a sturdy stick, his fire would be better than the fire-creater's fire!

          Word got around and soon no one wanted the fire-creater's fire, instead they went to the eye-patch wearing caveman's fire.. afterall, the patch wearing caveman *gave away* a *better* product because his product had less restrictions. This, of course, greatly angered the fire-creater! He immediately went to the chieftain and told him that the patch-wearing caveman was stealing from him. This confused the chief because he could clearly see that the fire-creater was holding fire in his hand. The fire creater objected that the eye-patch wearing caveman was ruining the fire business, and that he was giving away something that took months to create for the first time.

          The chieftain explained to the fire-creater that the eye-patch wearing caveman was giving away a better version of the fire-creater's weak and quick burning fire and he shouldn't be surprised-- afterall, who would pay for something that was *intentionally* made less valuable, especially when there was a source of *more valuable*, yet *free*, copies of the same fire. That the people obviously wanted a longer-lasting fire that could be used to burn whatever needed burning, where ever it needed burning, and that if he'd given the people what they wanted at a price that was based on how much it cost to copy the fire, which turns out to be nothing, then the people would not have needed the patch-wearing caveman.


          I trust the point has been proven.

          PS- The eye-patch wearing caveman ended up in the long-burning stick business. Free fire with every stick sold!

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 6:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Show Me !

            You could add another guy to the story. He also figures out how to start a fire.

            The chief would probably kick him out of the tribe for harming the established industry of fire sales without properly licensing fire creation.

            If only those cavemen could see the roasted spit industry that was about to spring up.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Nick, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    DRM is insanity

    DRM is maddening, I wish the content providers and software publishers would realize that DRM is actually driving MORE piracy by those frustrated by not being able to legitimately consume their products!

    I've been trying to watch blu-ray movies I can buy/rent, but the DRM and software is such a huge pain in the ass that on a legitimately purchased system, which meets all of their requirements, I can't even watch the blu-ray disks I've bought!

    Software is similar - people hate DRM so much that even though they would gladly pay for a product (Spore comes to mind), they won't because it has some crappy DRM built in to it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Charles (profile), Jan 17th, 2009 @ 2:12pm

    Effective.

    Please, tell him to play Spore. A legit version that has you guessing the last digit of your CD Key. Please. Ask him how freaking effective it is if he had to guess the CD key to reinstall Windows.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Lucky Dragon, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    I propose Techdirt friends have a lot of positive time on their hands and have listened to new music, tried new operating systems and overall, hack around system.

    Until Recent, such was desirable to pursue this order of business. One where where US businesses could use their power over governments with use of extra value in intellectual property, extra value in money, and sell music and culture rental wise using a DRM idea for 2nd and 3rd world countries.

    I'm don't ever desire to visit your country, even as others may recommend. But DRM is a solution without a problem. Have you ask "why it exists"? It solve NO problems exist in the USA, where people can own songs, DVD, and software.

    But DRM solve issue China, Russia, India, and more parts of the globe. But it was needs to prove itself in "Land of the Free" first.

    Mike, I remain happy you continue to despare DRM in your country. Many disagree but DRM not "bourn" to solve problems for the USA.

    Sorry, if English is lacking.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:23pm

    Maybe - just maybe
    if I have a few shots
    then I can figure out
    what the hell 43, 44 & 45 are talking about

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 8:24pm

    It is like........

    When somebody is raping you, instead of struggling to get free you should rather co-operate. By doing so you are going to minimize injuries, and you can also have some fun.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2009 @ 10:53pm

      Re: It is like........

      That's the worst way to try and substantiate current events.

      But, it seems most true. Getting Fucked by the RIAA for $22,000? Might as well catch a plane, and meet the guy, while he's on the way to his car.

      Worst case, your out $500 airfare.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Crimson, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 2:26am

    Do you endorse piracy?

    Just curious about your position on piracy. Do you endorse it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:01am

      Re: Do you endorse piracy?

      Just curious about your position on piracy. Do you endorse it?

      Really? I'd thought I'd made this quite clear: I do not endorse it, but I recognize that it's their and not going away. And, I also recognize that those who embrace it can do much better than before. So, no, I don't endorse piracy. I don't do it myself, and don't encourage anyone to do so.

      I speak from the position of a content creator, and think they should recognize that they shouldn't think about it as "piracy" but as a way to promote a much better business model.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re: Do you endorse piracy?

        Techdirt has always been clear it does not endorse piracy (which is not quite the same as saying it is against piracy), but has to my knowledge never explained why. Techdirt has repeatedly noted the benefits of piracy, but never the detriments.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 9:21am

          Re: Re: Re: Do you endorse piracy?

          #54,

          Please explain why you feel that others need to be on one side or the other of a particular controversy. This is a common problem in conflict negotiation.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Mike (profile), Jan 18th, 2009 @ 5:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: Do you endorse piracy?

          Techdirt has always been clear it does not endorse piracy (which is not quite the same as saying it is against piracy), but has to my knowledge never explained why. Techdirt has repeatedly noted the benefits of piracy, but never the detriments.

          It's illegal (in many cases, at least). I see no good in endorsing something that breaks the law. I could make a few exceptions to that (civil disobedience), but I don't see every day downloading as civil disobedience.

          I think the focus should be on looking for positive solutions to things, not telling people they should break the law.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    rockman, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 9:09am

    biased gunn just dumb

    he obviously goes to sleep every night dreaming of the mpaa, make something that is paid for up front of questionable worth.i used a cracked version of snap stream for three or four months, something happened and it stopped working, immediately went to the web site and bought the software, knew it worked and now as the latest version is even more beneficial for my purposes i have contacted the company wanting them to put up a "tip jar" just so that i might contribute a little something along the way, just like i do for demonoid and the bay. make a product that does the job and you will make money. this post wasn't intended to address a larger issue such as if piracy is ethically acceptable but you might want to check out walter benjamin "art in the age of mechanical reproduction" and do some substituting of terms,he was of course trying to locate aesthetic value in a work of art devoid of the "individual". and an endless copy of something may have value only in its utility and not in some grander archaic scheme based on individual creativity.nice site mike always a good read

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Armando, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    I feel no sympathy for an industry historically reticent to adapting to the market, especially ones that use the heavy-set long arm of the government to punish its customers for not adapting to them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Rob, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 10:12am

    Stupidity

    "And, finally, to the question "wouldn't I do the same?" The answer is no. I wouldn't (and don't) limit my customers. I'd put together a business model where it doesn't make sense to do so. I would put together a business model where I get benefits the more my content is spread widely -- rather than taking an adversarial stance against my customers."

    It IS protecting your assets. You write or produce something solely to make money. It's not a charity. If they are pirating it and not paying you, they ARE NOT customers. Saying you are limiting customers is like saying if a consultant gets upset because I bug their conference room to get business ideas, they are limiting their customers.

    The bottom line here is that whoever produces something has the right to say who can and cannot use it. Saying otherwise because you are an idiot, have a delusional sense of business ethics (probably a guy focused only on opensource), and have nothing to do other that re-blog news that has already been stated, proves my entire point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      The infamous Joe, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 10:39am

      Re: Stupidity

      It IS protecting your assets. You write or produce something solely to make money. It's not a charity. If they are pirating it and not paying you, they ARE NOT customers. Saying you are limiting customers is like saying if a consultant gets upset because I bug their conference room to get business ideas, they are limiting their customers.

      You are almost there, my friend. Allow me to help you the rest of the way! You are correct, pirates are NOT customers. Also note that pirates are NOT hindered by DRM. The only people who *are* hindered by DRM are your *paying* customers. Do you see it now? DRM makes life miserable for the people who DO pay, and doesn't affect the pirates. You are only hurting the customers-- and hurting the customers is very bad for business, yes?

      More to the point, I think Mike is saying that instead of freaking out that your product is being pirated, try to find out what caused it to be pirated. Sure, some people won't ever pay for software (ignore those few) but many people are DRIVEN to it-- either due to high prices or intrusive DRM, or any number of areas where you may have failed to live up to the customer's expectations.

      The bottom line here is that whoever produces something has the right to say who can and cannot use it.

      No one has said differently-- what is being said it that maybe, just maybe, you should learn from it instead of (futilely) trying to stop it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Ok, I'll bite, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 11:56am

      Re: Stupidity

      Rob -> "The bottom line here is that whoever produces something has the right to say who can and cannot use it. Saying otherwise because you are an idiot, have a delusional sense of business ethics (probably a guy focused only on opensource), and have nothing to do other that re-blog news that has already been stated, proves my entire point."

      Rob, Couple of things I'd like to point out.
      1) I think you need to limit the scope of your (above) statement, you probably did not intend it to be so broad. For example, a vehicle manufacturer has no rights over what I do with said vehicle after I have purchased it.
      2) I am saying otherwise and I am not an idiot - thank you very much.
      3) Why do you consider open source an indication of a delusional sense of business ethics? This statement makes no sense. Are you implying that open source consists of "stolen property"? If so, you are very wrong indeed. Possibly a little research on your part would preclude such a wild accusation.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 18th, 2009 @ 5:45pm

      Re: Stupidity

      It IS protecting your assets.

      How so? We do not protect the content we generate.

      You write or produce something solely to make money.

      Well, no. I also write because I enjoy it, and because it's interesting. But yes, making money is a part of that. But the fact is we make more money the further my ideas are spread. So why protect anything?

      If they are pirating it and not paying you, they ARE NOT customers.

      Yet.

      And that's the point. They could very well be future customers.

      The bottom line here is that whoever produces something has the right to say who can and cannot use it.

      Yes. You have the right. But the point we're making is that it's a stupid right to enforce.

      Saying otherwise because you are an idiot, have a delusional sense of business ethics (probably a guy focused only on opensource), and have nothing to do other that re-blog news that has already been stated, proves my entire point.

      Which camp are you putting me in, because I don't believe I fit into any of those three?

      What's wrong with saying otherwise, because there are business models that show you can make MORE MONEY by not limiting your customers?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Crimson, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Mike. I misstated my question...

    Mike:

    "Really? I'd thought I'd made this quite clear: I do not endorse it, but I recognize that it's their and not going away."


    Let me restate. Do you think piracy is wrong?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 18th, 2009 @ 5:51pm

      Re: Mike. I misstated my question...


      Let me restate. Do you think piracy is wrong?


      Wrong is a moral judgment, and I don't see any reason to make a moral judgment in this case. I think it's illegal. I do not do any piracy. I do not encourage anyone to do any piracy. I think that people shouldn't be so cavalier about pirating. I think it goes against the stated wishes of many content creators, and that's a shame.

      As I've stated quite clearly in the past, I do not see a reason to make a moral judgment on something when you can come up with a solution where everyone is better off. So, there is no need to make a moral judgment on piracy. It's a nonfactor.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    my 2 cents

    My advice to DRM companies: convince yourself that piracy is unavoidable (AKA "every DRM can be broken"). Provide some very basic non-intrusive DRM to make "honest" people pay (some institutions do not condone piracy for legal reasons and people in those institutions will have to pay). By putting intrusive DRM you are going to piss-off many "honest" users who might turn to pirated copies.

    You can break users into 3 type:
    1. Honest and can afford: Always buy legal s/w (unless you put very intrusive DRM)

    2. Not Honest and can afford: Who look for piracy if available.

    3. Cannot afford: These people have no way other than to turn to piracy or look for opensource alternatives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

      Re: my 2 cents

      Are you Howard Moskowitz? If not, perhaps you recently watched the Malcolm Gladwell video on "What we can learn from Spaghetti Sauce"..

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 1:19am

        Re: Re: my 2 cents

        To be honest I am flattered by your comment. I am not Howard and I hadn't watched that talk. Thanks for pointing it out though. I really enjoyed it.

        I made that comment using my own experience. I was in state 3 in my homeland (where $50 is a lottttt of money), I am in state 2 (I am a grad student) and I was in state 3 for a short time (worked as a intern).

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

    Wow

    Just...wow. The amount of G. D. idiots in the world and on forums like this is just astounding.

    #1 on the list....Mr. "You have the right to say who can and cannot use what you create"

    Wow! Really? REALLY? Never heard of consumer rights, ethics, the right of first sale, or ANY CASE LAW having to do with an item sold to a consumer? NEVER? Because thats gotta be the A-Number-One dumbest thing I have ever heard. So, when someone buys a gun, the gun manufacturer has the RIGHT to dictate how its used by that person, CORRECT? So, by that reasoning, the creator of the item is RESPONSIBLE for what that person does with it, right? I mean, you cant have it both ways you know, the world doesnt work like that. You cant say "I have the RIGHT to control this in all aspescts!" and then turn around and absolve any responsibility. I'm sure you can see how this is wrong and unsupportable.

    Lets review some basic precepts of, you know, LIFE:

    1) People WILL "pirate", copy, and infringe copyright. This has been true ever since its been possible to do so. You CAN NOT (repeat CAN NOT) stop this. It might be immoral, illegal, and unethical, but it WILL happen. Nothing else in this entire argument means JACK SQUAT until you people accept this fact. You cant litigate it away, you cant DRM it away, you cant punish it away. People are this way (well, some of them) and you arent going to change human nature by making laws or copy protection systems that have NEVER EVER EVER SINCE THEY WERE CREATED WORKED ONCE to stop or curb this activity.

    2) Adapt to this reality or go out of business. Simple as that. When a LOT of people copy and share music on the internet, for instance, they are telling you WHAT AND HOW THEY WANT MUSIC. Its a statement of how they see this material and how they want to use it. You can find a way to USE this behavior, or ignore it and lose out. Adapt or die.

    3) It DOES NOT MATTER what YOU think of the people that do this. You can say they are "stealing" and lawbreakers but it wont matter a whit. Also remember something very important: America was founded by people BREAKING THE LAW to get away from what they thought was unfair treatment. Might want to turn that over for a few days and think about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Nick (profile), Jan 19th, 2009 @ 9:18pm

      Re: Wow

      John Gunn has not approved my comment!

      Just because something is illegal means it is immoral or wrong. But you can have the opposite: immoral laws. We have been programmed to believe that illegal is immoral. Is freedom of religion or interracial marriage immoral? No, but in some places and times, they were. Don't assume that any law is moral. What we have here is a violation of a business model.

      How can anyone continue to rely on the competitive advantages of the past? Computers were designed to make copies, and that is what they will always do. Adapt or die.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:30pm

    software devs on pirates

    Pirated software also points to an unserved segment in the marketplace, hence an opportunity.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18843

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Norm, Jan 18th, 2009 @ 7:37pm

    Don't you guys "get" Mike yet?

    He's like a Rush Limbaugh. Take and make extreme positions and points. And like Rush he does it for effect and ego.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 18th, 2009 @ 10:10pm

      Re: Don't you guys "get" Mike yet?

      He's like a Rush Limbaugh. Take and make extreme positions and points. And like Rush he does it for effect and ego.

      I have to admit that I find this comment both confusing and amusing. Rush is a media personality. I am not. I do not make any money from taking an extreme position. I make money by helping companies actually understand things. In other words, if I were taking an extreme position for "effect and ego" I'd be out of business.

      I do not take a position for effect, ever. I take a position because I believe it is true and to further the conversation. Why would I ever bother posting a position I don't believe in? How would that possibly do me and my business any good at all?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Crimson, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 11:22am

    Mike:

    Wrong is a moral judgment, and I don't see any reason to make a moral judgment in this case.


    Many people say that using something you haven't paid for is wrong. Count me as a member of that camp.

    As I've stated quite clearly in the past, I do not see a reason to make a moral judgment on something when you can come up with a solution where everyone is better off.


    You make this sound easy, but so far no business with significant success has done it. At least none willing to show exactly how many dollars and cents they've earned doing it with the better "solution". (As you can see, I'm not a a big fan of random band/company did such and such and they're allegedly doing great!...show me the money).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Crimson, Jan 19th, 2009 @ 10:34pm

    Mike:

    "Then reading this site is wrong, yes?"


    If you required your readers to pay to view the content, yes it would be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Jan 20th, 2009 @ 8:30am

      Re:

      If you required your readers to pay to view the content, yes it would be.

      That's not what you said. You said: "Many people say that using something you haven't paid for is wrong. Count me as a member of that camp."

      So, now you're adding conditions. You're saying "Many people say that using something you haven't paid for, which you haven't been given direct permission to use, and haven't then paid for, is wrong. Count me as a member of that camp."

      Ok. That puts you on even thinner ice. I am now saying that you, personally, are not allowed to read this site any more.

      Is it now immoral for you to read this site?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This