AJ's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the plus:-bonus-rant dept

When I got the email asking if I would like to post my thoughts on this weeks stories, I was a bit hesitant. There’s big difference between taking pot shots at the AC’s, and hanging a giant bull’s-eye around your neck while running across the blog-o-sphere like a streaker at a baseball game. After some thought, I determined that compared to Righthaven’s situation, I’ve got it pretty easy and should probably relax and have some fun with this.

My name is Marcus. Most of you know me as AJ (when I remember to log in). I work in the Components industry designing the component systems that hold most of your houses together. I do a bit of “end user” IT on the side and consider myself somewhat of a semi-pro gamer. My Steam account has more entries than your average check book, and because of this, I have a serious interest in both IP, and the dreaded DRM. After reading this blog and the gaming forums comments, my concern is that the “cultural gap” between the media consumer and the media provider is growing. This “cultural gap” or disconnect, is producing a generation of consumers that consider the creators of big media the enemy. This is counterproductive, to say the least. I can think of no situation where either side could pull out a win from this, something needs to change.

Ding Dong: Another DRM Is Dead… And With It All The Files You Thought You Bought

This is a perfect example of a media-provider/media-consumer disconnect. This company has decided that it’s no longer profitable to continue to run the DRM servers supporting the media its customers legally purchased. Now, the consumer will have to purchase blank CDs, then go through the often highly technical process of “ripping” their legally purchased files into a usable format, all before the company “throws the switch” and renders these files useless. Think about it…. after going through this, would you be overly excited about purchasing legal DRM’d media from anyone else, or did they just create a pirate?

MPAA Helped Police Seize ‘Pirated’ DVDs That Were Actually Fully Authorized

Ok well, there should be a “what they hell where we thinking” dept at the Valencia, California police station. The police perform a raid, when they find some “suspicious” DVDs they consult an MPAA investigator. The investigator promptly declares the DVDs in question “pirated.” The police then seize the supposed contraband. This is where the real fail starts. Even after the police and the MPAA realize the DVDs are in fact authorized, the police continue to tell the press that the DVDs were ?pirated.” Well, the media did what they do? They took the police’s word as gospel and trashed the company. Now, Lets stop right here. The damage is done; this company’s reputation is wrecked. We could argue that this is a “teaching” moment, and were all going to learn from our mistakes… right! Well that’s not exactly what happened. A few weeks ago, the Governor of California decided to double down on dumb-ass by making it easier to perform these types of raids. Not only can they destroy companies on the say so of an MPAA “investigator,” they are no longer going to require a warrant to do so. Did anyone see that puff of smoke? I think that was our Fourth Amendment!

When you’re done mourning the destruction of our 4th Amendment, please take a moment to pay homage to the train wreck that is Righthaven. Here is a company, hired by “Big Media,” that is trying to make a living by extorting money from their client’s customers. That’s right, I said “customers,” not “pirates.”

Let’s look at this for a minute. An entire generation has built its own online culture around defeating content locks, and consuming content in the method that best suits them. Big media has decided that instead of changing its business models to adapt to current market conditions in a way that would allow it to service these customers, it would rather use the legal system as a weapon to force customers into submission. I don’t believe that this is best approach, but read the links below and decide for yourself.

Righthaven Asks Court To Speed Up Ruling Against It So It Doesn’t Have To Pay For A Trial

Righthaven Loses Track Of Its Many Cases; Discovers Four Days Late That It Missed Deadline In Appeal

US Marshal Service Told To Go After Righthaven’s Assets

If you are a gamer, and you read nothing else on Techdirt this week, read the last paragraph of Mr. Knight’s story on Crappy Games and Piracy:

Don’t Complain About Piracy When You Create Crappy Games

This story should be posted at every entry hall into every game company in existence. This is how the game industry creates pirates. Overboard you say? Let’s see…. (Warning! Major Rant Ahead!)

I pre-purchased Dead Island, paid in full, pre-loaded the game and ignored the pirated version that was available before launch. Game unlocks… it’s go time baby!….. OMG! They uploaded the wrong copy of the game on Steam! /dev!

The Steam forums light up immediately, as one would expect, it was not pretty. Not only did I have to delete the game and re-download, when I got the “correct” version of the game, it was riddled with bugs to the point of almost being unplayable.

One bad deployment doesn’t really show a pattern, perhaps it was all just a giant misunderstanding. So I went ahead and pre-purchased Rage, got it downloaded and ready for release. The release date comes to pass, and like before, the anticipation is killing me, so I’m ready to rock and roll as soon as the game unlocks. Like before, it’s a bug fest.

The game won’t launch, and when I fix that, the textures and FOV made the game unplayable. They got the game fixed up in short order to their credit. Meanwhile a couple of creative guys on the forums had come up with a few workarounds to get things moving. But yet again, the game doesn’t work out of the box.

Well, I’m concerned at this point. I’ve started working out ways to “try before you buy” as I’m already $100 in the red on bad game releases. But you know what, I’m going to give this one more try, the third time is a charm!

Now the real fun starts… intro Sword of the Stars 2.

As before, I pre-purchase, pre-load, and rapidly shorten my nails in anticipation of this epic release. These guys are legendary in the support of their games; this one is a sure win! Steam refreshes, the game unlocks……. and out pours the fail! AGAIN! The wrong file was uploaded to Steam, again nothing works right, and again the forums light up. The release is so bad that the CEO feels the need to publicly fall on his sword.

Now I’m starting to feel a bit foolish. Three times I paid, three times I failed. I think it’s time to find some alternatives. I’m out around $150, and I’ve had enough. If any of these companies feel the need to point the finger over piracy, I suggest they start with the guy in the mirror. I won’t be buying any more media until I’m sure it works.

Well, those were my favorites this week. I hope you enjoyed them. If you have time to post a remark, by all means do so…. Either way, I’ll see you in the comments next week!

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “AJ's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It could be because he knows these people and can trust them to write the Favourite Posts articles on time.
Although you do raise somewhat of a good point, would love to see some posts from the opposite side of the fence…although we can all predict how they would turn out
e.g. “This is my favourite post of the week because it shows Pirate Masnick doesn’t have a clue when it comes to broadbrushing the views of Big Content aside when they oh so rightly say E-PARASITES will be narrowly targeted”.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If by “agenda” you mean a clearly-stated position on certain key issues, then yes – I’m not sure why you ever thought differently.

And if by “sycophants” you mean active members of the community who are aligned with those positions, then yes – what did you expect?

Did you think this was a municipal forum or something? It’s an opinion blog… Sorry if you feel left out.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Isn’t it weird that Mike only asks the, shall we say, sycophants, to write these things?

Send me your email and I’ll consider you for a future list.

At this point, we can now dispense with whatever little pretense is left that this is a no-agenda blog, right?

Um. From day 1, fourteen years ago, this has been an opinion site, displaying my opinion. So, the “pretense” appears to be solely in your head.

Keith_Emperor_of_Penguins (profile) says:

They don't make them like they used to.

The whole DRM crap has led me to only buy games from GOG and Steam.
Good Old Games just plain out rocks. No DRM, and they provide a back catalog to all of the great games they don’t sell anywhere these days. Plus, they provide the service of making the games compatible with different operating systems and modern hardware and software.
As for Valve, now Steam itself is drm true, but it adds value to compensate for what it takes away. This way it works much like any service provider; sure, I can get the same product for free, but the service provided outmatches the price.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: They don't make them like they used to.

I simply can’t understand game studio or publisher CEOs who insist on DRM even though the game is on Steam. I took a look at the LA Noire page on Steam and it says it uses Gameshield (a DRM that I personally have never heard of).

I imagine I’m the guy in charge. I’ve got a well liked game ready to sell on Steam. Steam itself is DRM. I want to make as much money as possible…so the first thing I do is license a third party DRM? At what must be a significant cost to my company? This isn’t the early days of Steam. This is 2011, where everyone and their grandma knows about Spore etc.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: They don't make them like they used to.

Addition to the above: Double checked the LA Noire page again, says you have to (surprise surprise) log in to the Rockstar Social Club…why? From its omission on the page, it looks like the only good thing they’ve done is removed Games for Windows Live. That’s what stopped me from getting GTA IV for PC, having to log in to 3 different services to play the one game, and if one of them happened to fail…

Keith_Emperor_of_Penguins (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: They don't make them like they used to.

I should have made it clear, I don’t actually buy games that come with extra DRM on Steam. Sadly that makes most of the major publishers, aside from Valve themselves. So EA, Failsoft, Rockstar Games…and the list is quite large actually.
Then again, Valve makes the best games anyway, so I’m not missing much.

Anonymous Coward says:

Having had the experience of buggy games, games that didn’t work, and games that needed an update, straight out of the box, tells you these are all rush jobs to get the money. There not much in it with concern for the gamers ‘experience’.

I won’t buy a car with the promise that next month the tires will be in; why should I buy a game under the same conditions that maybe they will make a patch for, maybe they won’t.

Games issued with bugs already known about simply aren’t up to par. That is why you have to update the minute you install.

I find none of this acceptable as the money is damn hard to come by. I will no longer just buy a game due to bad experiences, one after another. Programmers that think putting in a bug for one that pirates the game to test it fails as well. I see no difference between a badly programmed game and one that is buggy for the pirates. It just means it’s not a keeper.

On the other hand, those I find fill the expectation, I do buy. But I will no longer waste money on those not up to par with expectations.

EA and Ubisoft were long ago tossed out of buying consideration. Oh, the cracks work but I’m fed up with an attitude they display towards their customers and am no longer one. If I know it is by either of those gaming houses, I don’t bother with looking at them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Quality Control

Three failures out of three games. Wow. When is it going to be common knowledge amongst US companies that reliability matters? Apple knew, or at least they knew when Steve Jobs was alive. What did it get them? A huge number of devoted fanboys, plus a massive corporate bank balance. It is a puzzle as to why more companies do not seem to want to be as wealthy as Apple. Why are they not desperately trying to learn from the master, Steve Jobs? Are they really so stupid that they do not know why Apple got so wealthy? Hello company directors, are you awake? If your executives are not trying to get your company as wealthy as Apple, what are they doing? Time for new executives, maybe?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Quality Control

Corporations are completely motivated about money. So there are only two possibilities:

1. They realize their quality issue, but the shortcuts for poor quality are cheaper than the cost of doing it right.
2. They do not realize that poor quality is causing a financial loss and blame the problem on other factors such as piracy.

The solution to both is consumers taking an active role.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Quality Control

go stand in front of a group of men paid to profitably run a company and let us know how that notion of the world works out.

Is your point that they wouldn’t admit it? Because yeah, we know…

reality: the ultimate bitch.

That’s the problem. IP maximalists think reality is their bitch, and they get pissed off whenever it bites them.

Anonymous Coward says:

My favorite post of the week was the one where someone convincingly explained why it was ok to mess with something that wasn’t theirs to be begin with.

oh wait, that never happened.

And it never does here.

It’s like a sitcom from 2003 that refuses to accept that it isn’t 2003 anymore.

And then results in legislation from the United States government.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I totally agree with you dude, I mean, what is Hollywood thinking, that its okay to mess with the Internet’s infrastructure? They don’t own the internet, it never did. It was built by the tech industry over the past few decades and more or less given to the rest of humanity to use as they saw fit.
Again, I agree with you about the bad sitcom part. Hollywood and the music industry will never convince me to go back to paying for over-priced disc (case in point, I work in a supermarket and just this past weekend, we’ve stocked the Lion King on DVD for ?19.90. I get that its a classic, but we typically use that price point for new releases, not for movies released almost twenty years ago).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


Rather than buy an officially licensed mask at a shop in central London, Whitfield said he was able to purchase his mask from an Anonymous member for ?3 ($4.80).

“We don’t really want people putting money into corporate pockets, and this is one of our solutions,” explained Anonymous’s Malcolm.

Source: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-11-04/world/world_europe_guy-fawkes-mask_1_mask-protests-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange/2?_s=PM:EUROPE

People are not even trying to hide it anymore they are pirating things in the face of the government and law enforcement now, and they assume that in public for the whole world to see.

When people unite you creepy people scatter like the rats that you are.

The internet is not for the rich, the civil rights are not for control of the population and free speech is not a joke, people will die to defend it.

Are you willing to die for your profits?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re:

My favorite post of the week was the one where someone convincingly explained why it was ok to mess with something that wasn’t theirs to be begin with.

oh wait, that never happened.

And it never does here.

My favourite was the one where you commented and explained why an artificial construct for owning ideas should be of paramount importance, trumping consideration of all other societal concerns.

oh wait, that never happened. Because you’ve haven’t even put a tenth of that much thought into the thing you defend so angrily.

It’s like a sitcom from 2003 that refuses to accept that it isn’t 2003 anymore.

I’m not sure I see what you mean. But either way, better to be stuck in 2003 than in 1998.

And then results in legislation from the United States government.

*legislation from the content industry, via the United Staes government.


AJ (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Griping would be complaining about a non critical software failure, there games were un-playable out of the box, i don’t think me stating my frustration is “griping” in this case.

Refund you say!? Trying to get a refund from Steam is like pulling teeth, it’s possible, but extremely painful… Besides.. I don’t want a refund, I want to support the developers by buying their games. I WANT TO BUY, BUT I WANT IT TO WORK WHEN I DO!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...