Game Marketer Insists That Every Downloaded Copy Of Modern Warfare 2 Is Stolen By Immoral Thieves

from the yeah,-not-quite dept

Just last month, we were defending Bruce Everiss over a ridiculous libel tourism attempt to have him tried for libel halfway around the world from where he lives. We still defend that post -- libel tourism is terrible -- but many in our comments pointed out that there may be more to the story, and one of the biggest things was that Everiss simply hated the fact that Evony -- the company trying to sue him -- came up with a business model that involves exactly the sort of thing we like: giving stuff away for free, and coming up with more advanced reasons to buy. That still doesn't excuse the libel claim, but Everiss does seem to have a bit of trouble understanding basic economics of digital goods. A whole bunch of you have sent in his recent rant about how many people "stole" Modern Warfare 2. It's the sort of thing we had thought went out of style years ago, when people realized that every download wasn't a lost sale, and there were lots of reasons that people might download other than a lack of "moral fiber." Everiss is having none of it, however, insisting that over 300 million dollars was "stolen" from Activision based on a "one download = one stolen copy" equation that went out of style around a decade ago:
That's right, over 300 million dollars stolen just of the one game, Modern Warfare 2, in 2009. Obviously Activision had much more stolen from them with other titles, but MW2 is by far the worst affected. According to TorrentFreak 4,100,000 copies of the PC version of MW2 were stolen and 970,000 copies of the Microsoft Xbox 360 version.

Thieves using bit torrents are indulging in the biggest orgy of theft in the history of humanity. When they can steal with no chance of getting caught then they will. How they justify this appalling lack of moral fibre to themselves is beyond me. I have heard a whole litany of empty excuses from the thieves to try and justify their actions but the fact remains that they are benefiting from other people's labour that they should have paid for but haven't. So they are thieves.
Yes, according to Mr. Everiss, "benefiting from other people's labour that they should have paid for but haven't" means you are a thief. Everiss' article is about to get traffic from us. He's about to benefit from us linking to his article. He hasn't paid us. I think he should. According to his own reasoning, he is a thief. You might spot the logical flaw in that, and it's the same in Everiss' own argument. It's that because one party believe others should pay for their work, you are to assume that that other party must pay for the work. That's not how transactions work, however. The economy is based on mutually agreeable transactions where one party only pays if they find it worthwhile to pay, and it is the job of the entity trying to make money to give people a reason to buy. Don't give them a reason? Too bad.

Everiss goes on to then talk up DRM and three strikes as the best "solutions" to piracy, suggesting that he apparently hasn't paid attention to pretty much all of technological history, and how well such "solutions" have (not) worked. He does (thankfully!) suggest that better business models are another option, but seems to think that's a lot less important than DRM and three strikes.

The first reader who sent this story in, the creatively named TechWeasel, also wrote up a rather detailed response that he tried to post as a comment to Mr. Everiss' rant, but for some reason it was not allowed, so I'll republish it here:
"I'm happy to see more attention being paid to the problem of video game piracy, but I find this analysis questionable.

1) One pirated game does not equal one lost sale. People pirate games for a number of reasons (the litany of excuses referred to in the article), and not all of those reasons amount to "I would totally buy this game if I couldn't download it for free." First, there is no mechanism in the video game publishing industry to redress a lack of customer satisfaction. If somebody shells out $60 for a game and ends up not liking it or being plagued by technical issues, they can't get their money back like they can for most goods. Thus, a tempting solution is to download a copy of the game almost as a trial version, and then to purchase if it turns out to be worth the price. This is only one example. Another reason to pirate is if legitimately available versions of the game are censored in the user's country (India, China and Australia are heavy on the censorship), thus denying the user the ability to pay for a legimate copy. I am not speaking to the ethics of these reasons, but only trying to point out the fallacy behind the "1 download = 1 lost sale" argument.

2) Where are all the great DS games? Being written for platforms that don't require the same degree of game design tailoring (two screens, touchscreen w/stylus, low hardware requirements), or which have online distribution channels and thus lower overhead (i.e. WiiWare, iPhone, PSN, XBL). Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

3) Technical protection is not the best solution, because it punishes legitimate users and drives them away. I did not buy Spore specifically because of its use of invasive DRM (SecuROM) and I have passed over several other games because of their DRM or activation limits. I own multiple computers and often reinstall games when swapping parts. These are lost sales.

4) A mandate for ISPs to stop torrents through disconnection of their customers is akin to the power company cutting off the electricity to somebody's house because their usage patterns match those of somebody else who runs heat lamps. Internet access is a utility that's essential for education and work. This is why we have due process. Companies lack the expertise to make these judgments and it would be a financial and ethical burden on them to force them to.

There are some good points here, such as business model migration towards subscriptions or microtransactions. This is the way to go, moving forward. The idea is to minimize deadweight loss - let the publishers do whatever they can to ensure that everyone pays as much as they are willing to for their games, while having the best experience possible. Zynga, the maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars and a host of other Facebook and iPhone games, is doing a good job with this. So is Turbine, the maker of Dungeons and Dragons Online - free to play, with microtransactions for items, perks and other features.

ATVI chose to launch the PC version of MW2 with total understanding that it was a lesser version, that the PC as a platform wasn't worth the work of adding features that PC gamers expect from their games (dedicated servers, ability to mod, high degree of settings flexibility). As a PC gamer, I reject that, and chose not to buy (or pirate) the game. Others chose to pirate it, probably in part as a form of protest, but also because the neutered PC version of the game just wasn't worth the price tag that ATVI slapped on it. Good God, Activision doesn't even make $59.99 off a copy of a game purchased at Best Buy; at least make the math believable. I understand that this stance on the issue is a little too complicated to land easily beneath the headline Bruce chose, but an issue this complicated deserves more analysis."


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Brian (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 8:48am

    I loved Modern Warfare 1 and was really excited and ready to buy Modern Warfare 2 until well, announcements came out about how much they destroyed the game. Part of what I loved about MW1 was mods, and just a couple of weeks ago an amazing Star Wars mod for MW1 was made. Yes you got to play as star wars characters and ride around in star wars style vehicles and everything. That's what makes these types of games all the more fun and gives them so much more replay value. Activision chose to give us "Keyboard and Mouse support" as their special features for PC users. I would have paid $60 for the game if it had all the features MW1 had, but they stripped that all away. I chose not to pirate nor buy the game as TechWeasel and many others did as well.

    In terms of keeping your fans hooked on the game. There are those games where you get a ton of play time out of them such as Dragon Age: Origins where you can get a good 100+ hours of playtime out of it and still not get bored. On release day they already had two expansions for it you could purchase as well which add even more playtime to the game as well. Then you have games with a level editor where you can build your own levels or play online in multiplayer games, these features give a game replay value and giving the customer value for the game is what you want. Games are supposed to be about drawing you in regardless of the genre. Get you hooked on that game and not make it so easy you can beat it in an hour and never want to touch it again. Give people a reason to come back and most of them will, you can't make everyone happy but make most of them happy and you win.

    Then there is the issue of DRM and limiting what you can and cannot do with the game, or any other form of media, or how often you can install it. Why people continue to insist on trying to stomp out every bit of piracy is beyond me. If you make a good game, or book, or song, or anything else and a majority of your fan base is happy and supports that then you have no real need to worry about piracy. You concentrate on keeping those fans happy, and they will stay loyal, they will probably even get more fans for you as well. Give 85% or 95% of the people what they want, and you have the recipe for success. Piracy will ALWAYS exist, so doing things to "stop" piracy that only end up hurting legitimate users will drive them to pirate games as well, then you lose customers and fans, they start to say how bad your product is, and you lose money, sales, customers, and in the end you killed your reputation and you might never get that back.

     

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  2.  
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    DH's love child, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 8:57am

    Cue TAM in

    5.....4.....3.....2....

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:02am

    Riiiight

    Like I'm actually going to believe anyone even wanted to pirate mw2. It's nothing more than a crappy console fps in PC clothing.

     

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  4.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:08am

    "He's about to benefit from us linking to his article."

    And I'm trying to understand why you did. The guy is an idiot and is highly inarticulate. In other words, he lacks any capacity to explain his bizarre opinions. The worst of both worlds. (At least the Anti Mike is articulate.)

    Can you imagine spending an hour with this guy? I think I'd rather have an unnecessary root canal performed via my anus.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    "In terms of keeping your fans hooked on the game. There are those games where you get a ton of play time out of them such as Dragon Age: Origins where you can get a good 100+ hours of playtime out of it and still not get bored. On release day they already had two expansions for it you could purchase as well which add even more playtime to the game as well."

    Actually - this isn't 100% true, but it is very interesting.

    Dragon Age had one paid for DLC (cheap). The other DLC is free to anyone who purchased the game, as a reward for actually buying it (you can buy it, but it costs a lot).

    It's a clever scheme, giving you a genuine Reason To Buy (tm). I suspect this kind of thing will become more commonplace. The game will be released in stores, online to download or whatever - but many key features will be restricted - when you've given evidence of purchase the rest of the game can be downloaded for free, or with no evidence of purchase, downloaded for the purchase price.

     

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    dorp, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Funny enough, comments section to the article seems to be disabled.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:37am

    I agree with Mr. Everiss. I mean, why should ANYONE be entitled to download things off BitTorrent, even if they ARE downloading backup/archival copies? Just buy another copy, ya damn hippies!

    /sarcasm

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    I download games because I want to know if its worth spending money to own the game. Give us more demos and I'll download less! (maybe)

     

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    compgeek, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    that last line was actually pretty clever. i got a bit of a laugh outta that

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    He hasn't paid us. I think he should.

    I do hope you only said that to demonstrate the point... otherwise who are you and what have you done with Mike?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    @Marcus Carab: I see you missed the line from the original article...

    "You might spot the logical flaw in that, and it's the same in Everiss' own argument."

     

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    JB, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Amen! I can't wait until these overpaid nancy boys quit whining and realize that their customers are no longer going to tolerate a company stealing money by providing little value for a high price. Then again, they have politicians in their pockets, so why should they? I say, fire all the top executives that have made any mention of 'stomping out piracy' and elect all new politicians (preferably younger than 60) into office. Next, we need to formulate some teaching tools that a kindergartner could follow so that the remaining executives can understand the current technologies.

     

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    senshikaze (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    Re: Cue TAM in

    he's oddly silent. must have been pissed at how bad mw2 was borked by activision too.

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    yup

    I downloaded MW2 out of spite alone. I specifically did so because they chose not to support dedicated servers. Meanwhile, it's a lot easier for my downloaded copy to play on the dedicated servers that people made on their own, than it is if I were to buy a legit copy.

    Thus, their choices of not supporting the PC model cost them a sale. I would have bought, had their not been DRM and piss poor support for a gaming company of it's class.

    Also, dedicated servers prevent activision from being able to drop the game in the same sense of how EA just screwed over people with 08 and 09 sports games.

     

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    Tortel, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    PC Platform

    ATVI chose to launch the PC version of MW2 with total understanding that it was a lesser version, that the PC as a platform wasn't worth the work of adding features that PC gamers expect from their games (dedicated servers, ability to mod, high degree of settings flexibility). As a PC gamer, I reject that, and chose not to buy (or pirate) the game. Others chose to pirate it, probably in part as a form of protest, but also because the neutered PC version of the game just wasn't worth the price tag that ATVI slapped on it.
    This is the problem now, developers make a game for every platform, and dont change it much from the console version for the PC - instead of taking advantage of the power and better capabilities of the PC. Its not worth the time to even bother if its a direct console port.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Cue TAM in

    "he's oddly silent. must have been pissed at how bad mw2 was borked by activision too."

    I prefer to think he's masturbating into a pile of patent lawsuits....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:26am

    Re: PC Platform

    It's not a direct port, it has, uhh...

    Mouse control!

     

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  18.  
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    Not A Pirate, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Copyright Infringement Is Wrong

    I love how this site is always on the side of the copyright infringers. Oh wait, no I don't. I think I'll unsubscribe. Bye!

     

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  19.  
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    Brian (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: PC Platform

    You forgot keyboard support and the ability to adjust your graphical settings! Such advanced features never seen before :D

     

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  20.  
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    Brian (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Copyright Infringement Is Wrong

    You must have never read a single article here and I feel sorry for you. This site shows that there are other ways to embrace "infringement" and turn it into profit. About how you shouldn't flip out and go all lawsuit happy when 1 guy downloads your stuff instead of purchasing it.

     

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  21.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:41am

    Re: PC Platform

    its deliberate.

    they only want to support consoles, which are lock-in, and easier for licensing agreements. Thus, they make horrible support for PC games and then turn around and go "see? PC games aren't selling" to try to make excuses as to why PC isn't worth supporting.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Yes, according to Mr. Everiss, "benefiting from other people's labour that they should have paid for but haven't" means you are a thief.

    I'm suddenly overwhelmed with guilt over breathing oxygen partly produced by the Tupi Tribe's rainforest.

    (or: there are far more ridiculous claims, that make much more sense)

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    "The economy is based on mutually agreeable transactions where one party only pays if they find it worthwhile to pay, and it is the job of the entity trying to make money to give people a reason to buy. Don't give them a reason? Too bad."

    But officer, I don't feel Nissan gave me enough reason to actually pay for that Ultima.

    If you don't feel something is worth paying for then you don't buy it. The outcome is you don't have whatever the product is. The alternative is NOT to work around the system and acquire the product for free.

    There is alot of talk on here about outdated business models and not providing value but that does not justify unauthorized copying or downloading. If you want to send a message to the companies then ignore their products completely. Every time you download a copy of a game you are giving them ammunition. If you are going to the trouble to download the game then it must be worth the effort.

     

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  24.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    If you don't feel something is worth paying for then you don't buy it.

    Indeed. But what if your friends built you one for free?

    The alternative is NOT to work around the system and acquire the product for free.

    Why not? Again, what if your friend could magically make you a car for free. Why is that bad?

     

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  25.  
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    TSO, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    Long time ago I had to pirate Black & White DESPITE the fact that I had a legally purchased copy BECAUSE the stupid "copy protection" on the game believed that drive letters in Windows can only be allocated continuously (C: D: E: F:) and couldn't find my CD-ROM at Z:

    Idiot software developers + DRM = disaster.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    "Why not? Again, what if your friend could magically make you a car for free. Why is that bad?"

    If you had a friend that could make you a one off car then it would probably cost alot more then buying one from a dealer

    If your friend can code MW2 for you from scratch then I feel that would be fine

     

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  27.  
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    imbrucy (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:07am

    Re:

    Mikes point that you missed is that the digital world is inherently different from what you would purchase in the physical world. In the physical world, making a copy of something is difficult and takes time. Digital things are inherently different because they can be infinitely copied with little effort.

     

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  28.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re:

    Actually no, I saw that line. But "I think he should" is not the logical flaw Mike is highlighting - it's one of the statements that leads to the logical flaw of "not paying someone who wants you to pay makes you a thief", which is the point I believe Mike is trying to make.

    Obviously I'm familiar enough with the blog to know that Mike isn't serious about wanting payment, but I did find the phrasing of the example a bit jarring (I guess this goes back to the old argument about when strict grammar and usage is important on a blog)

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:49am

    Thieves using bit torrents are indulging in the biggest orgy of theft in the history of humanity.

    Can anyone say Federal Reserve?

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Just because it is easier to steal we no longer consider it stealing?

     

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  31.  
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    MCR, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re:

    My friend can copy and give to me pretty easily. Don't confuse markets with morality, they don't go hand in hand.

     

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    Josh (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:57am

    Re: Copyright Infringement Is Wrong

    See ya! Give my love to the Anti-Mike!

     

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  33.  
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    Josh (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re:

    No, just because the definition of piracy is different from stealing is why we don't consider it stealing.

     

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  34.  
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    kevjohn (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:33pm

    That'll be me!

    Thieves using bit torrents are indulging in the biggest orgy of theft in the history of humanity.

    Aw man, that is an awesome handle. Next time I lof onto Pirate Bay I'm changing my screen name to Orgy of Theft!

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    Re:

    No, just because it's easy to read a dictionary (except for you, apparently).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cue TAM in

    To each their own, I guess.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Cue TAM in

    TAM's Gulfstream doesn't have wifi.

    Maybe later he'll post.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    I bought the game, for $40 on sale thank God. Wasn't worth it. I wish I could have pirated it but I have a PS3, so in that case, I wish I could take it back as the article mentions as a cause/solution.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Most people pirate because they feel no more justification for the act than simply that they happen to want it, and have it in their ability to take it without any real fear of consequence. As for how they bother to justify it to others, it's usually not much beyond "everybody else does it".

     

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  40.  
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    LostSailor (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    Wrong Analogy.

    Yes, according to Mr. Everiss, "benefiting from other people's labour that they should have paid for but haven't" means you are a thief. Everiss' article is about to get traffic from us. He's about to benefit from us linking to his article. He hasn't paid us. I think he should. According to his own reasoning, he is a thief. You might spot the logical flaw in that, and it's the same in Everiss' own argument.

    This analogy is wrong on so many levels. Mike, you're usually better than this.

    I know that this definition of theft is not the favored one, but it still fits. Benefiting from someone else's labor by acquiring a product for free to which one has no right and for which one would otherwise be obligated to pay is a valid definition of theft. To forestall the usual boring responses, note that it is "a" valid definition of theft, not necessarily a legal definition of theft.

    If you link to Mr. Everiss, he owes you absolutely nothing. He didn't reproduce your comments, you linked to him--I assume without asking. By directing readers to his site, he may benefit, but you voluntarily chose to do so. He did not by his own action acquire anything (including readers) from you to which he did not have the right or would otherwise be obligated to pay for. Therefore, he's not a thief. The logical flaw is not his, Mike, it is yours.

    It's that because one party believe others should pay for their work, you are to assume that that other party must pay for the work. That's not how transactions work, however. The economy is based on mutually agreeable transactions where one party only pays if they find it worthwhile to pay, and it is the job of the entity trying to make money to give people a reason to buy. Don't give them a reason? Too bad.

    Wrong again. Just because one party thinks others should pay for their work has little bearing on a transaction. You are right that transactions are mutually agreed upon. If you like the work (reason to buy), you buy what is offered for sale. If you don't find a compelling reason to buy, then don't buy. That's a transactional relationship.

    But that's not what Mr. Everiss is talking about. What he's talking about is a situation where a user has a reason to possess (he/she likes the content), but absent a payment does not have the right to possess (a mutual transaction), and goes ahead to acquire anyway, usually in full knowledge that payment should have been made (theft, in the broad sense).

    And, again, in anticipation of the usual self-serving, narrowly and legalistically construed vehement protestations "it's not theft!!": it doesn't matter whether file-sharers think it's theft or not. If it makes you feel better about yourselves, then, fine, convince yourself it's not theft. Your feelings are irrelevant.

    And ultimately counterproductive, if instead the goal is to achieve a market where the issue of theft or non-theft is irrelevant. Endlessly and usually rudely telling someone "it's not theft" isn't going to change their mind. The violation sure feels like theft to the person who should have been paid, and insisting that those feelings are simply wrong doesn't make them go away.

    A much more productive approach is to acknowledge that it is theft, and get them to look beyond. Yes, it is theft. And yes, it is terribly unfair. If a burglar breaks into your house and steals your TV, it's terribly unfair and you have a justified feeling of violation. But the fact is that you're probably not going to find the thief or recover your TV. It's the same in the digital world, a terribly unfair violation, but the facts are you cannot stop it. At best you can maybe slow it down, make it more difficult, but you will never stop the thievery. Yes, file-sharers may be unrepentant scum, but you can't find and stop even a small fraction of them. Get beyond it.

    Those on the content-selling side who are trying to plan for the inevitable future have already gotten beyond it, but they are the minority (and they, too, still consider it theft).

    Those who haven't gotten beyond it are not going to hear your argument, "you're wrong, it's not theft, so change your business model to give the thieves easier access to your content and sell them something else." That's like giving your TV to the burglar and trying to convince him to buy the stereo.

    But they will be more receptive to the argument, "you're right, it is theft, it's awful, but you can either spend vast sums of money, time, effort, and emotional energy and still not stop it, or you can get the little bastards' money in other ways with different products and services and better promotion and marketing."

    And CwF+RtB is really just a fancy term for better marketing and promotion.

    That is the first step in getting people to them see not thieves, but pocketbooks.

     

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  41.  
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    Conflicted Artist, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re:

    "Why not? Again, what if your friend could magically make you a car for free. Why is that bad?"

    It's bad because it an effect on the quality of the product that you are copying.

    I used to work for Activision, and am now out of a job. My studio was closed and everyone laid off. Was it as a direct result of piracy? Not necessarily, but it is definitely true that demand for the kinds of games that we were making had fallen off, and piracy certainly played some role in the shift of that demand.

    Once unemployed, I had to consider my options, and Zynga was among them. It's true that the business model that they have found is much better suited to swimming in current of today's market. However, Farmville and MW2 shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath. As a revenue stream, Farmville is great. As a game, it sucks. If the answer to the problem of piracy is to give players a tiny bit of value for a tiny bit of money, I want no part of it.

    Modern Warfare 2 is a large game made on a large budget. The $60 price tag reflects this. The artists, engineers, designers and animators at Infinity Ward are among the most skilled in the business. Their skills are highly specialized to the task of making high-end software for very sophisticated hardware.

    Compare this to Farmville. The original game would have taken a few weeks to build. Emphasis is on making something simple and getting it out the door. The platform is universal, and not complex. The skills required to make Farmville are very common, so hiring at Zynga draws from a large, but very shallow pool.

    See where I am going with this? The business aspect of Facebook games is great, but there's no space for the kind of sophistication you see with console and PC games.

    If it was as easy to copy a Nissan as it is to copy PC games, there would be no more Nissans. That's the lesson here. We would all be riding mopeds. Forget the morality argument. The issue is what piracy does to the product.

     

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  42.  
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    BigKeithO, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: yup

    That might be justification enough for you to download the game, however Activision isn't going to see it that way. If we take the TorrentFreak numbers as true Activision is going to see that MW2 was downloaded 4.1 million times on the PC while it only sold 170,000 copies in the US and 53,400 copies in the UK (probably a LOT more on Steam but Valve ain't talking). What will come of that?

    Activision isn't going to say, "we should add in features that PC gamers want, they are pirating our games!". Instead they'll simply stop development on the PC completely. MW2 sold 4.7 million copies in the first 24 hours, they can afford to cut out 223,400 PC copies (plus Steam, but still...).

    So really pirating this game is just screwing over your PC gaming habit in the future. Just saying.

     

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  43.  
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    BigKeithO, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    However, Farmville and MW2 shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath. As a revenue stream, Farmville is great. As a game, it sucks.

    I know I am in the minority but come on! MW2 doesn't suck?!? We've been playing that game for the last 10 years, shiny new graphics doesn't make it the greatest thing since sliced bread. $60 for a 5 hour game? But it has multiplayer!!

     

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  44.  
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    Lucretious, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    At first I had thought the outcry over Activision "streamlining" MW2 was a bit overwrought but after playing it for awhile the missing features are really ruining what could have been a much better experience. For instamce, allowing mods only increases the value of the game. A recent example is Crysis. It is getting a significant resurgence in sales to due to the release of the Mechwarrior: Living Legends Mod. Also, the consolized "Matchmaking" service simply doesn't work well with the PC version. What happens when Acti decides to shut down the servers for the PC version? The multiplayer for this series is EVERYTHING. Does anyone beleive that Acti will pull cash out of pocket to let IW give us dedicated service capability to keep the game going? unlikely.

     

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  45.  
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    dorp, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Wrong Analogy.

    I know that this definition of theft is not the favored one, but it still fits. Benefiting from someone else's labor by acquiring a product for free to which one has no right and for which one would otherwise be obligated to pay is a valid definition of theft. To forestall the usual boring responses, note that it is "a" valid definition of theft, not necessarily a legal definition of theft.

    Theft has a legal definition as well as linguistic definition (look it up in the dictionary) and what you just said is neither. To make it more clear, it is NOT a valid definition of theft, just because you would like it to be. If anything, you have a better chance and claiming that this was slavery. The reason laws exist about copyright is precisely because concept of "theft" does not cover these situations, even if you pull new definitions out of your rear.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The issue is what piracy does to the product.

    It's because of piracy that everyone has stopped making products.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 4:53pm

    Re:

    If you look up all the world's ancient texts on morality you will find so much written about copyright infringement.

     

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  48.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 6th, 2010 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Wrong Analogy.

    Benefiting from someone else's labor by acquiring a product for free to which one has no right and for which one would otherwise be obligated to pay is a valid definition of theft. To forestall the usual boring responses, note that it is "a" valid definition of theft, not necessarily a legal definition of theft.

    No it's not a valid definition of theft by any means. Claiming otherwise does not change that. The very statement "for which one would otherwise be obligated to pay" gives it away. If the obligation is part of it, then it is not an agreed upon transaction.

    If you link to Mr. Everiss, he owes you absolutely nothing. He didn't reproduce your comments, you linked to him--I assume without asking.

    He said nothing about reproducing. He said -- and I will quote since you apparently missed it -- "the fact remains that they are benefiting from other people's labour that they should have paid for but haven't."

    The problem is that "should have paid for." Who decides that? It's totally subjective -- which is why I said he *should* pay for me linking to him. After all, he is benefiting, and it is one side of the parties in the transaction insisting what should be paid for. The analogy stands and is accurate.

    By directing readers to his site, he may benefit, but you voluntarily chose to do so.

    He said nothing about what was voluntary. By the same notion, the person who downloads an unauthorized copy of MW2 did so voluntarily as well. Analogy still stands.

    He did not by his own action acquire anything (including readers) from you to which he did not have the right or would otherwise be obligated to pay for. Therefore, he's not a thief. The logical flaw is not his, Mike, it is yours.

    Ah, but there's the problem. Again, you are using the subjective in claiming that there is an "obligation" to pay. I am saying -- quite clearly -- that as the party offering the benefit, that he is obliged to pay me. That's the same thing as Activision saying that anyone who wants to play their game is obliged to pay.

    The logical flaw remains with him -- and, apparently, you.

    But that's not what Mr. Everiss is talking about. What he's talking about is a situation where a user has a reason to possess (he/she likes the content), but absent a payment does not have the right to possess (a mutual transaction), and goes ahead to acquire anyway, usually in full knowledge that payment should have been made (theft, in the broad sense).

    Wow. You are really confused. If there is no mutual transaction agreed upon, and I decide to get the product from a third part (another source) who is offering it under better terms, that is not theft. In any sense.

    And ultimately counterproductive, if instead the goal is to achieve a market where the issue of theft or non-theft is irrelevant. Endlessly and usually rudely telling someone "it's not theft" isn't going to change their mind. The violation sure feels like theft to the person who should have been paid, and insisting that those feelings are simply wrong doesn't make them go away.

    And endlessly and rudely -- and totally incorrectly -- calling it theft will change someone's mind?

    No, it's important to explain why it's not theft, because when you believe it's theft then it's a moral issue, and most people -- you included, at times -- cannot seem to get past the moral issue that it's theft and thus must be "wrong."

    A much more productive approach is to acknowledge that it is theft, and get them to look beyond. Yes, it is theft. And yes, it is terribly unfair. If a burglar breaks into your house and steals your TV, it's terribly unfair and you have a justified feeling of violation. But the fact is that you're probably not going to find the thief or recover your TV. It's the same in the digital world, a terribly unfair violation, but the facts are you cannot stop it. At best you can maybe slow it down, make it more difficult, but you will never stop the thievery. Yes, file-sharers may be unrepentant scum, but you can't find and stop even a small fraction of them. Get beyond it.

    And we've made that point -- though, without the false claim of it being theft. Perhaps you were on vacation.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091204/0027327200.shtml


    Those who haven't gotten beyond it are not going to hear your argument, "you're wrong, it's not theft, so change your business model to give the thieves easier access to your content and sell them something else." That's like giving your TV to the burglar and trying to convince him to buy the stereo.


    No, I firmly believe that the first step to getting beyond it is realizing that it's not theft. You *can't* get beyond it if you think it's "terribly unfair." You're always going to make a mistake.

    And CwF+RtB is really just a fancy term for better marketing and promotion.

    If you think that's true, then you have missed the point, unfortunately.

    That is the first step in getting people to them see not thieves, but pocketbooks.

    No, the first step in getting people to see the pocketbooks is to show how it's working and explain why it's not theft at all, but a promotion. If you can't see that, you'll never, ever figure this stuff out.

     

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  49.  
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    flashgames, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 7:40pm

    This always happens.

    1 download does not = 1 sale like you say...
    I've yet to play mordern warfare 2 because its just too expensive for me and i can't justify buying it.

    I'm currently enjoying last years games and still addicted to OpenTTD which is opensource.... what happened to the pc sim game?

     

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  50.  
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    Rooker, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    "I did not buy Spore specifically because of its use of invasive DRM"

    I'm with you on that. I wanted GTA 4 (very, very badly) but didn't get it because of the DRM. I was absolutely enraged with Rockstar - I'd been waiting for nearly a year for the PC release of GTA 4 when it was announced they were infecting it with SecuROM.

    I still have GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas and still play all three of them fairly regularly. I was a loyal customer before all that - I even waited in line to get San Andreas the day it came out. But after that obnoxious protection scheme they came up with (which, predictably, caused all kinds of problems for buyers) coupled with the ignorant, moronic statements that Dan Hauser (one of the creators) made about it, they lost me as a customer forever.

    People with an ignorant attitude like his don't deserve my support - or my money.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 8:58pm

    "Wow. You are really confused. If there is no mutual transaction agreed upon, and I decide to get the product from a third part (another source) who is offering it under better terms, that is not theft. In any sense."

    Where did that third party get the product from? Did the buy it or did they "steal" it? Did that third party have the right to sell you that product? Was the third party authorized to do so? If not, how is it not theft? Talk about being confused.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 9:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cue TAM in

    Do you spend a lot of time thinking about TAM's helmet?

    Is that a lamp shade or TAM's boxers over your head?

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2010 @ 11:10pm

    Re:

    Sigh. Theft deprives the owner of the thing being stolen. It's really not that complicated.

     

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  54.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 1:53am

    Please also remember that piracy is stealing shit on sea. Theft is of physical property UNDER THE LAW. It's not that hard, if even a moron like me can understand it.

     

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  55.  
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    Dementia (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And once again someone decides to compare the loss of a physical item with the reproduction of a digital one.

     

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  56.  
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    The JC, Jan 7th, 2010 @ 6:06am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If the answer to the problem of piracy is to give players a tiny bit of value for a tiny bit of money, I want no part of it.

    This line really sums it up. You believe that your desire to build/buy big budget games should be everyone else's desire as well. It isn't.

    As a software developer I couldn't agree more that Farmville is almost bottom of the barrel as far as games are concerned. But guess what, my individual wants and desires do not drive the entire computer gaming industry or the entire economy. As with religion, I can't demand that someone else agree with my views, desires, or beliefs with any expectation that they will change.

     

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  57.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 6:16am

    Funnily enough, one of the main reasons why COD:MW2 sold as well as it has in the UK was because all of the major supermarkets and online retailers started undercutting each other. Even the 360 version was selling for under £25 (around $40) rather than the usual £50 (around $80) during the first week of release.

    If the marketers decided to treat their customers respectfully, offering a product that was actually worth full price on the PC, or offered it at the price it was actually worth, they wouldn't have a "piracy" problem.

    The only ways to stop the problems caused by "piracy" are the same as they ever have been. Stop the demand, or created a business model where it cannot affect you. It's easy if you can separate your head and your rectum.

     

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  58.  
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    TechWeasel (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're absolutely right that Farmville is not even remotely close to MW2 in any aspect beyond "something entertaining on the computer" - I can spend many hours playing one of Activision-Blizzard's games and barely a few minutes on Farmville or Mafia Wars. And the sophistication and artistic merits of those big-budget games are acknowledged, at least on my part, and I'm happy to buy games new if they're worthwhile to support.

    The problem is that while piracy can be traced partly to the "blackbeard" torrent users who just want something for nothing, it can also be traced to attitudes and decisions of the company that released the IP. And it is way, WAY easier to change the latter than to fight the former, especially if you want to preserve the goodwill of your paying customers.

    MW2 was developed as a console game, and as an ATVI stockholder, I see the logic in Bobby Kotick's choosing not to allocate a lot of time or money to the PC port. Consoles are easier to develop for and QA-test, and provide better ROI for big-budget games, and piracy is not as widespread. But as a PC gamer, I'm insulted that he chose to release a steaming pile of crap with "PC-DVD" written on it; it would have been a better decision not to release it for PC at all (also, by Bruce's logic, that would have saved them $300 mil). As it is, ATVI treated it like an afterthought, and so did their (non-)customers.

     

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    LostSailor (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    No it's not a valid definition of theft by any means. Claiming otherwise does not change that. The very statement "for which one would otherwise be obligated to pay" gives it away. If the obligation is part of it, then it is not an agreed upon transaction.

    Of course it's a valid definition; claiming that it's not does not make it so. It may not be a legal definition in all circumstances (though it is in some). At the most basic level, theft is taking something that is not yours without permission. The obligation to pay gives nothing away and the obligation doesn't negate it's part in a transaction in any way. A transaction is an offer and an acceptance of the offer; if part of the offer is the expectation of payment, a transaction is only valid if those terms are agreed to buy the "buyer."

    The problem is that "should have paid for." Who decides that? It's totally subjective -- which is why I said he *should* pay for me linking to him. After all, he is benefiting, and it is one side of the parties in the transaction insisting what should be paid for. The analogy stands and is accurate.

    Subjective? Not really. If I offer a product--a game, a song--to the market on the terms that to get the product I want you to pay for it, that's not subjective, it's commerce. Yes, he may get some benefit from your linking to him, but there is no transaction here. Indeed the only subjectivity is your theoretical desire to be paid. The analogy stands only as a circus contortionist.

    Ah, but there's the problem. Again, you are using the subjective in claiming that there is an "obligation" to pay. I am saying -- quite clearly -- that as the party offering the benefit, that he is obliged to pay me. That's the same thing as Activision saying that anyone who wants to play their game is obliged to pay. The logical flaw remains with him -- and, apparently, you.

    Hmmm. Did I read somewhere that you had an MBA? These two situations are completely different. You may offer a benefit with your link and may think you're owed payment, but unless there is a specific, active acceptance of your offer, there is no obligation. Since your link "transaction" is completely one-sided, no obligation. However, Activision is making an explicit offer: if you want to play the game, pay for it. If you don't want to pay, then don't play. However, if you obtain the game and play it, you have actively accepted the offer and have actively created an obligation to pay. If you don't, you've violated the terms under which the transaction was offered. You've taken something that is not yours. In general parlance, that's theft.

    Wow. You are really confused. If there is no mutual transaction agreed upon, and I decide to get the product from a third part (another source) who is offering it under better terms, that is not theft. In any sense.

    Quite clear headed, Mike. It's still a transaction, assuming you're getting the product from a source that has the right to offer it to you. You can buy from Activision, from a retailer, or any other third-party source and still have a legitimate transaction that is not theft. When you download from the web from unauthorized sources, that's still a transaction, just not a legitimate one. If it makes people feel better about their actions to present self-serving justifications that it's theft in the broad sense, that's just human nature. But it doesn't make it not theft.

    And endlessly and rudely -- and totally incorrectly -- calling it theft will change someone's mind?

    No, it's important to explain why it's not theft, because when you believe it's theft then it's a moral issue, and most people -- you included, at times -- cannot seem to get past the moral issue that it's theft and thus must be "wrong."


    Ah, now to the crux of the issue. And why you seem to miss the point entirely. You can "explain" endlessly that "it's not theft" because it's not a legal definition, it's really civil "infringement," etc., etc.... {zzzzzz}. But what you can't seem to get past, Mike, is that it's not just an economic issue; you continually deprecate any "moral" component but unfortunately, the real world doesn't work like that. Indeed, morally "piracy" is theft and is wrong. It's also illegal.

    My entire point is that if you ignore that "moral" component that most people instinctively recognize, you'll never get anyone on the other side "past" it. The whole point is how to get those resistant to change past their indignation...and fear...to embrace change.

    From childhood, this "moral" component is nearly bred into us. "Mommy, Tommy stole my toy!" "That bitch Vanessa stole my boyfriend!" "Hey, who stole the last piece of pie?!" It's human nature. Theoretical economics is fine for the graduate school classroom, but the real world doesn't work that way. You can't ignore the "moral" component. Telling the content industries that what they know in their bones to be theft really isn't for all sorts of legalistic reasons defeats your arguments before you can make them.

    And we've made that point -- though, without the false claim of it being theft. Perhaps you were on vacation.

    No, not on vacation. But quite weary of the litany and the preaching to the choir. You may have tried to make the point, but buy insisting on the claim of theft being false is where you fail. And you are preaching to the choir. Which argument do you think would better reach beyond the choir to the pews? A) You're wrong it's not theft (insert lengthy explanation here), and you need to move past it. Or B) You're right, it's is theft and terribly unfair, but since you can't stop it, you need to move past it. The pews will stop listening to A) at "you're wrong". They'll listen to B.

    No, I firmly believe that the first step to getting beyond it is realizing that it's not theft. You *can't* get beyond it if you think it's "terribly unfair." You're always going to make a mistake.

    Well, then there's probably no point in attempting a conversation, if that's your firm belief. You're setting yourself a huge hurdle that doesn't need to be there. I know from personal experience that you're wrong; I've seen it in action. It is much more difficult to make your case when your starting point is convincing someone that what they know is true in fact isn't. The only times I've seen the minds of executives in the content industry change is when you acknowledge that what they know to be true is in fact true, but irrelevant.

    No, the first step in getting people to see the pocketbooks is to show how it's working and explain why it's not theft at all, but a promotion. If you can't see that, you'll never, ever figure this stuff out.

    Well, it's pretty easy when you're sitting on the sidelines, without skin in the game to tell people what they know is true is not. It all sounds so simple, doesn't it. The problem is that it ignores how businesses actually work in the real world. You often lament that you don't understand why executives in the content industries keep pursuing counter-productive strategies toward digital products and snark at them for not "getting it."

    This is a good illustration of why you don't understand: you don't understand who they are and how they do what they do and the culture they do it in.

    I've figured this stuff out long ago. Coming up with effective strategies for implementing change is the more difficult part, and it starts with changing minds and thereby changing industry culture. You're probably not interested in that.

    It's not the underlying message that you get wrong, Mike, it's the tone-deaf delivery and your apparent inability to consider modifying it.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: yup

    So really pirating this game is just screwing over your PC gaming habit in the future. Just saying.

    I'm not so sure. The problem with this reasoning is that it's (by all accounts) not a very good PC game. A smart company will learn from this that bad games don't sell well. And who really cares if a stupid company stops making PC games?

    If MW2 had been massively pirated, made poor sales, and gotten rave reviews, it would be a different story IMO. But I'm not aware of any games that have been widely praised as high quality, and yet not sold well.

     

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    nasch (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 8:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I used to work for Activision, and am now out of a job. My studio was closed and everyone laid off. Was it as a direct result of piracy? Not necessarily, but it is definitely true that demand for the kinds of games that we were making had fallen off, and piracy certainly played some role in the shift of that demand.

    You're making stuff up. Demands shift in any markets; that doesn't mean piracy had anything to do with it.

    Modern Warfare 2 is a large game made on a large budget.

    Customers don't buy products based on how big a production budget they had. At least most customers.

    The $60 price tag reflects this.

    As with any product, the price tag needs to reflect the value to the buyer, otherwise there won't be a sale even if it cost a bajillion squillion dollars to make.

    The artists, engineers, designers and animators at Infinity Ward are among the most skilled in the business. Their skills are highly specialized to the task of making high-end software for very sophisticated hardware.

    Why did they make something almost universally regarded as a steaming pile?

    See where I am going with this? The business aspect of Facebook games is great, but there's no space for the kind of sophistication you see with console and PC games.

    Where I see you going is that there are different kinds of games. Some of them succeed and some of them fail. It has always been so, and always will be. If we're lucky, some day people will stop blaming piracy for all the failed ones.

    If it was as easy to copy a Nissan as it is to copy PC games, there would be no more Nissans. That's the lesson here.

    No, the lesson is that if it were as easy to copy a Nissan, you would have millions of car designs to choose from, download, and put into your car reproducer. So many it would be bewildering to try to decide what to get, just like it is with music now.

    Would Nissan have to lay off a lot of people? Sure. Could the company survive? Maybe, if they changed their business model. Would this overall be a good thing for society? I'm not sure, since cars have negative environmental impacts. But there would be a lot of people delighted to have a beautiful new car they couldn't have ever hoped for otherwise, and there would be a bunch of money in the economy that used to go to car payments that could then start doing something else. So it certainly wouldn't be all bad.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 7th, 2010 @ 9:18am

    There is always talk about how the comapanies need to change their business model. It may be true but that is their decision. If you want their product you need to acquire it through whatever their business model is. That's how the world works. Sitting here trying to justify the differences between piracy and stealing, physical goods and digital goods, or whatever just proves that you know it's wrong but need to convince yourself otherwise.

     

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  63.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: Copyright Infringement Is Wrong

    Don't go away mad... just go away.

     

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  64.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    """
    Of course it's a valid definition; claiming that it's not does not make it so. It may not be a legal definition in all circumstances (though it is in some). At the most basic level, theft is taking something that is not yours without permission.
    """

    And this is where everything breaks down and you will never see the sense of Mike's point. You cannot accept that even though someone has "taken" something that did not belong to them, there is no "loss", even though that is completely and totally the case. There is no loss, only gain. Not the kind of gain you would necessarily like (monetary gain for the producer, in this case), but a gain nonetheless, in that there are now two whatevers when before there was just one.

     

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    LostSailor (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    I completely understand the sense of Mike's point. I just don't agree with it.

    You say that a illegal download represents no "loss" only gain, but then you undermine your assertion by only considering one side of the supposed transaction: the user's side. Certainly the user gains something, indeed something for nothing, but there is necessarily a corresponding loss on the other side, that monetary gain by the producer. I am not saying, and have never said, that each illegal download represents a one-to-one loss of a sale, it doesn't.

    The amount of the actual loss is impossible to determine, but I feel it fairly safe to say that illegal downloads, especially of music, probably represent somewhere between 30%-35% lost sales. But even if you put the loss of sales at only 10%, each download represents a loss of 10% overall revenue to the producer.

    So while it is unfair to say that every illegal download represents a lost sale, it is equally misguided to say that no illegal download represents a lost sale.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    Of course it's a valid definition; claiming that it's not does not make it so. It may not be a legal definition in all circumstances (though it is in some). At the most basic level, theft is taking something that is not yours without permission.

    Heh. It is not a valid definition for the simple fact that it is wrong. I don't know how I can make it any clearer. What you think "theft" is, does not describe "theft."

    Sorry.

    Subjective? Not really. If I offer a product--a game, a song--to the market on the terms that to get the product I want you to pay for it, that's not subjective, it's commerce. Yes, he may get some benefit from your linking to him, but there is no transaction here. Indeed the only subjectivity is your theoretical desire to be paid.

    Uh huh. And... please do explain how the unauthorized downloader was involved in a transaction with the game creator? Right. See? It's the identical situation. You have a person not party to a transaction with a theoretical desire to be paid.

    Analogy stands!

    Hmmm. Did I read somewhere that you had an MBA?

    Yup, top of my class at a top 10 school. And it's where they taught me much of this stuff, and my profs still read the site. You wish to take it up with them?

    These two situations are completely different. You may offer a benefit with your link and may think you're owed payment, but unless there is a specific, active acceptance of your offer, there is no obligation.

    Aha. Pray tell... where is the "specific, active acceptance" of the gaming company's offer by the unauthorized downloader?

    Getting it yet? The analogy stands.

    But what you can't seem to get past, Mike, is that it's not just an economic issue; you continually deprecate any "moral" component but unfortunately, the real world doesn't work like that. Indeed, morally "piracy" is theft and is wrong. It's also illegal.

    But if you focus on that -- as you seem to inexplicably do -- then you'll never understand why it's NOT A MORAL ISSUE. If you can make more money embracing it, how is it a moral issue? How can it possibly be a moral issue and "wrong" if you can embrace it and make everyone, including yourself, better off?

    Honestly, I find it immoral that folks like yourself try to claim that a situation in which everyone is worse off is moral. It's not. It's disgusting.

    My entire point is that if you ignore that "moral" component that most people instinctively recognize, you'll never get anyone on the other side "past" it. The whole point is how to get those resistant to change past their indignation...and fear...to embrace change.

    Sure, and the best way to do that is to get them to understand that the moral issue is meaningless. It's a mental block. If you recognize you can make more money and do better by embracing this stuff, THERE IS NO MORAL ISSUE.

    From childhood, this "moral" component is nearly bred into us. "Mommy, Tommy stole my toy!" "That bitch Vanessa stole my boyfriend!" "Hey, who stole the last piece of pie?!" It's human nature. Theoretical economics is fine for the graduate school classroom, but the real world doesn't work that way. You can't ignore the "moral" component. Telling the content industries that what they know in their bones to be theft really isn't for all sorts of legalistic reasons defeats your arguments before you can make them.

    But that's not what I'm doing and you know it. I'm explaining WHY it's not a moral issue, because they can be BETTER OFF ignoring it. I'm sorry that you appear not to read the explanations, but I don't just "brush it off." I explain why it doesn't make sense to think of it as theft or a moral issue.

    You may have tried to make the point, but buy insisting on the claim of theft being false is where you fail.

    How can I fail by being right?

    And you are preaching to the choir. Which argument do you think would better reach beyond the choir to the pews? A) You're wrong it's not theft (insert lengthy explanation here), and you need to move past it. Or B) You're right, it's is theft and terribly unfair, but since you can't stop it, you need to move past it. The pews will stop listening to A) at "you're wrong". They'll listen to B.

    Uh, given how many content creators contact me and "join the choir" after reading my stuff... I'd say that (A) is working pretty damn well.

    I've tried (B) and it didn't work. It got people to say "yeah, we need to do something... but first we need to stop those thieves."

    Well, then there's probably no point in attempting a conversation, if that's your firm belief. You're setting yourself a huge hurdle that doesn't need to be there. I know from personal experience that you're wrong; I've seen it in action. It is much more difficult to make your case when your starting point is convincing someone that what they know is true in fact isn't. The only times I've seen the minds of executives in the content industry change is when you acknowledge that what they know to be true is in fact true, but irrelevant.

    Well, then we've had very different experiences. In my experience that's not true at all. The way you wake people up is to explain to them why their initial thoughts were wrong. It may take some effort, but it gets them to look at the world in different way. If you say their (false) ideas are true, then they never get over that point.

    Well, it's pretty easy when you're sitting on the sidelines, without skin in the game to tell people what they know is true is not

    Heh. You say that as if I don't have skin in the game. How the hell do you think I make my living?

    This is a good illustration of why you don't understand: you don't understand who they are and how they do what they do and the culture they do it in.

    Um. Funny. How do you know who I know and who I talk to? This week alone I've been on the phone with top execs at two of the four major record labels discussing this stuff. But I don't know who they are. And I don't know what they do.

    Yeah. Ok.

    I've figured this stuff out long ago. Coming up with effective strategies for implementing change is the more difficult part, and it starts with changing minds and thereby changing industry culture. You're probably not interested in that.

    Uh, yeah. Ok. Start paying attention. More and more people are getting this every day, and I keep pointing out those who are getting it. How dare you claim I don't want change? What the hell have you ever done?


    It's not the underlying message that you get wrong, Mike, it's the tone-deaf delivery and your apparent inability to consider modifying it.


    I know what's working.

     

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  67.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    The amount of the actual loss is impossible to determine, but I feel it fairly safe to say that illegal downloads, especially of music, probably represent somewhere between 30%-35% lost sales. But even if you put the loss of sales at only 10%, each download represents a loss of 10% overall revenue to the producer.

    So while it is unfair to say that every illegal download represents a lost sale, it is equally misguided to say that no illegal download represents a lost sale.


    First of all, there is no such thing as a "lost sale." There is only a failure on the producers' part to give someone a reason to buy.

    Again, I've pointed this out to you in the past. If I am thinking about eating pizza and the deli next door suddenly gives me a coupon so I go buy a sandwich, by your definiton the deli created a "lost sale" for the pizza place.

    But that's ridiculous. It's just competition and marketing in action.

    It's the job of the producer to give people a reason to buy. If they don't do that, they fail.

    There is no "lost sales" in the process, only sales you failed to convince people to make.

    Again, this is an important distinction -- and what that, if you don't get it, makes it hard to figure out how to deal with these issues.

     

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  68.  
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    Conflicted Artist (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, the lesson is that if it were as easy to copy a Nissan, you would have millions of car designs to choose from, download, and put into your car reproducer. So many it would be bewildering to try to decide what to get, just like it is with music now.

    You can't compare music and video game production (let alone car production). I agree that the affect that communication technology has had on the music market has been a good thing, and has the potential to be even better. Music is an individual effort, and the skills to make an album are well-understood and relatively accessible. An amateur musician can develop a comparable product to a professional. The recording industry is a dinosaur that needs to die-- it isn't serving any purpose but promotion and distribution, tasks that are tailor made for the digital network.

    On the other hand, video games (also film and TV) are a highly collaborative effort. AAA console and PC titles take years of full-time labor to produce, by teams up to 200 strong. The skills required are specialized, and require a long period of dedicated effort to develop. Amateurs can and do develop games, but the closest thing they tend to achieve to the level of sophistication seen in professional games is a mod like Counter-Strike, which is built on existing, professional technology. Game publishers pay our salaries. We don't make any secondary income from touring, or T-shirts, and often we don't make royalties. We require a large support structure to work at the scale that we do.

    My point is that it takes a reliable revenue stream to justify the dedication of resources at this scale. Where is that revenue? If you are competing with your own product, distributed by file sharers for free, what value can you offer? This is not a rhetorical question, and I know it is the fundamental purpose of this site to answer it. The thing is, I don't see it. I like my job. I enjoy having the opportunity to collaborate with a large team and build big worlds for people to lose themselves in. The popularity of MW2 on BitTorrent shows that there are millions of people who want to be lost in big worlds. However, I don't see how a digital market where the cost of goods hovers around free can support that kind of effort. If it can't, games like Call of Duty will disappear. You don't think the millions of people pirating it would be sad about this?

    Would Nissan have to lay off a lot of people? Sure. Could the company survive? Maybe, if they changed their business model. Would this overall be a good thing for society? I'm not sure, since cars have negative environmental impacts.

    And you think environmental impact would be the only negative for society? What about the people that were just laid off?

     

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  69.  
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    LostSailor (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    Again, this is an important distinction -- and what that, if you don't get it, makes it hard to figure out how to deal with these issues.

    It's an academic distinction, and one that has only tangential relevance to dealing with the issues in a real-world business.

     

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  70.  
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    Conflicted Artist (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But guess what, my individual wants and desires do not drive the entire computer gaming industry or the entire economy. As with religion, I can't demand that someone else agree with my views, desires, or beliefs with any expectation that they will change.
    You too easily dismiss my opinion that there is value in sophisticated games. I don't need to demand anything, there are already millions of people who agree with me. What are we talking about here? 4.1 million hits for MW2 on BitTorrent. You don't think they would rather play MW2 than Farmville?

     

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  71.  
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    Conflicted Artist (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's not what I'm saying at all. Read my comments again, please. I'm saying that the combination of infinite duplication and free distribution devalues the product to the point where it isn't worth putting that kind of effort into it. (And I mean price here, not actual value.) Hence Nissan-->Moped. Maybe not the most elegant example, but I'm trying to reference a previous example in the discussion.

     

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  72.  
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    Conflicted Artist (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: yup

    If MW2 had been massively pirated, made poor sales, and gotten rave reviews, it would be a different story IMO. But I'm not aware of any games that have been widely praised as high quality, and yet not sold well.

    I think it is that story. 89% is a good enough review. Check gamerankings.com. It's only 4 points lower than the console versions. Is 89% GREAT? No. Worth more than 170k in worldwide sales? Absolutely. (Mind you, those numbers don't include Steam sales, which might actually be quite good. It's hard to know.)

    MW2's detractors are very passionate and very loud, and demonstrate a painfully acute sense of entitlement. Well, it appears that they got their wish.

    Also, I should note, that the landscape of video games is littered with the corpses of games that got rave reviews and sold poorly, but each one has its own explanation. Often it just comes down to poor marketing.

     

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  73.  
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    LostSailor (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    Heh. It is not a valid definition for the simple fact that it is wrong. I don't know how I can make it any clearer. What you think "theft" is, does not describe "theft." Sorry.

    Gee, Mike, you make my case for me. That's a very effective rhetorical method you've got going. If your intention in all this blogging and commenting is to convince and persuade, it's a brilliant opening gambit to declare "your wrong, end of story." I clearly understand your point, though I disagree with it; but you seem to make no effort to even try to fathom my point. It's just wrong so there's no need to consider it. This is where conversation turns to lecture.

    Yup, top of my class at a top 10 school. And it's where they taught me much of this stuff, and my profs still read the site. You wish to take it up with them?

    No. I'm sure you did quite well in the academic environment. But I would point out that by all accounts Charles Nesson is considered a brilliant legal scholar and teacher, yet it served him very poorly in the real world of courtroom litigation. Not to belittle your accomplishments, but I have several friends and colleagues with MBA, most from Ivy League schools. Nearly all of them say that beyond the basics of business management, not much of what they learned actually helped them in real-world business. I'm sure others will discount this, but it's my experience.

    I'm sorry that you appear not to read the explanations, but I don't just "brush it off." I explain why it doesn't make sense to think of it as theft or a moral issue...How can I fail by being right?

    Being "right" on this somewhat esoteric point fails because for many it's unpersuasive. And you do "brush off" other views. Indeed, they are just "wrong." It may not make sense to you to think of the moral issue of "theft" but it makes plenty of sense to others. When they disagree with your "explanations" you simply repeat them as the "right" ones. So, you fail at being persuasive. I know you probably don't see this; more's the shame.

    The way you wake people up is to explain to them why their initial thoughts were wrong. It may take some effort, but it gets them to look at the world in different way. If you say their (false) ideas are true, then they never get over that point

    Well, you're correct that we've had different experiences. And I'm not surprised it takes some effort, because you again miss the point. You may be able to wake some people up by laborious effort to convince them that they are wrong, but I think you have better success with less effort to acknowledge the problem as it is perceived and convince them that the truth is irrelevant to the solution.

    Heh. You say that as if I don't have skin in the game. How the hell do you think I make my living?

    You're a consultant. You don't run a recording company, movie studio, or publishing house. You advise, but have no responsibility for the ultimate business decisions made, the results of which may be years down the road. I trust you're a bit more diplomatic with your clients on the phone.

    Uh, yeah. Ok. Start paying attention. More and more people are getting this every day, and I keep pointing out those who are getting it. How dare you claim I don't want change? What the hell have you ever done?

    Yessir! You do indeed point out success stories here. Most of which are happening on the margins, which is where I would expect incremental change to come. But you also point out "success" stories or attempts at change and criticize them for not going far enough or doing it exactly right.

    I started reading Techdirt quite a while ago looking for insights that would help me be a better advocate for change. Early on I did find some of that, though gleaning perhaps not quite the exact lessons you would like. But I've found less and less of that, especially over the last year. Most posts these days are snarky, sarcastic musings on how other don't get it. It's become repetitious. And this thread exemplifies that. I thought I could contribute to a discussion, but I see I was wrong.

    Oh, and I've done quite a bit, thank you for asking. I'm registered here; you have access to my email address. You could find out who I am with minimal effort. Feel free to email if you'd like the CV. I only use a pseudonym here because I comment here in a personal, not professional capacity.

    Good luck.

     

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  74.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    Gee, Mike, you make my case for me. That's a very effective rhetorical method you've got going. If your intention in all this blogging and commenting is to convince and persuade, it's a brilliant opening gambit to declare "your wrong, end of story." I clearly understand your point, though I disagree with it; but you seem to make no effort to even try to fathom my point. It's just wrong so there's no need to consider it. This is where conversation turns to lecture.

    You and I have a history and we've discussed this before. With people I haven't discussed it with I'll take the slow route and the educational route and explain. But when someone keeps repeating the same bogus thing, what good is it to do that? No, at some point, I just point out that you're wrong and move on. It's not worth wasting the time.

    No. I'm sure you did quite well in the academic environment.

    You do realize I've been out of the academic environment for over a decade and have been running a successful business for most of that time based on these concepts, right?

    Yeah, ok.

    But I would point out that by all accounts Charles Nesson is considered a brilliant legal scholar and teacher, yet it served him very poorly in the real world of courtroom litigation. Not to belittle your accomplishments, but I have several friends and colleagues with MBA, most from Ivy League schools. Nearly all of them say that beyond the basics of business management, not much of what they learned actually helped them in real-world business. I'm sure others will discount this, but it's my experience.

    Yes, and if I were an academic you might have a point. But I'm not. I've been living this for a decade. But that doesn't count to you?


    Being "right" on this somewhat esoteric point fails because for many it's unpersuasive. And you do "brush off" other views. Indeed, they are just "wrong." It may not make sense to you to think of the moral issue of "theft" but it makes plenty of sense to others. When they disagree with your "explanations" you simply repeat them as the "right" ones. So, you fail at being persuasive. I know you probably don't see this; more's the shame.


    Again, this is a result of the fact that you and I have had this discussion and I see no point it reiterating the same things.

    You may be able to wake some people up by laborious effort to convince them that they are wrong, but I think you have better success with less effort to acknowledge the problem as it is perceived and convince them that the truth is irrelevant to the solution.

    The thing is... that is what I do. And it works. But a part of explaining how what they believe the truth to be is irrelevant is to get them to recognize when what they believe is the truth is not. I've tried it. Lying to yourself doesn't work.

    You're a consultant. You don't run a recording company, movie studio, or publishing house. You advise, but have no responsibility for the ultimate business decisions made, the results of which may be years down the road. I trust you're a bit more diplomatic with your clients on the phone.

    No. I run a content based business and make a fair amount of money doing so. Did you miss that point?

    Yessir! You do indeed point out success stories here. Most of which are happening on the margins, which is where I would expect incremental change to come. But you also point out "success" stories or attempts at change and criticize them for not going far enough or doing it exactly right.

    And you are upset that I give my opinion on things? Why?

    I started reading Techdirt quite a while ago looking for insights that would help me be a better advocate for change. Early on I did find some of that, though gleaning perhaps not quite the exact lessons you would like. But I've found less and less of that, especially over the last year. Most posts these days are snarky, sarcastic musings on how other don't get it. It's become repetitious. And this thread exemplifies that. I thought I could contribute to a discussion, but I see I was wrong.

    Hey, I'm sorry you feel that way. Amusingly, as you claim the site has become less and less useful over the last year, it's really over the last year that I've found we've had the most impact and the most openness and communication with the businesses you insist will never listen.


    Oh, and I've done quite a bit, thank you for asking. I'm registered here; you have access to my email address. You could find out who I am with minimal effort. Feel free to email if you'd like the CV. I only use a pseudonym here because I comment here in a personal, not professional capacity.


    Fair enough. My comment was not to imply that you had done nothing -- but to point out how ridiculous your claim was suggesting that I was having no impact. Perhaps you have decided that it is not worth paying attention, but a lot of others have. You believe you're correct. Others seem to believe me. Let's check back in a few years and see where we are?

    Anyway. I'll apologize if you find my comments to you more pointed and direct than you would like. But, as I've noted, you and I have had these discussions before, and I see little time wasting time over the same points. I'm sorry if you don't like it. But I am a direct sort of person. Does that turn some people off? Certainly. But I'm not going to change who I am because some people don't want to hear what's going on in the world. I'm not here to coddle people who are misled.

     

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  75.  
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    LostSailor (profile), Jan 7th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    I'm sorry if I implied, or you inferred, that you were having no impact. We often seem to talk at cross-purposes. I was, however, suggesting that you might have greater impact with a different approach.

    We're not going to agree on everything, but as I think you know from past exchanges, we ultimately are getting to the same or at least similar ends, just by different paths.

    I'm not upset that you give your opinion, far from it. But, to be frank, I find it less useful. You are direct; so am I and I tend to respond in the same manner in which I am addressed.

    It may be that our spheres of the digital world are too different for agreement. I've been considering and working with these issues for nearly 20 years. Part of my job over those years has been to be the "forward-looking" person and I've been active in bringing these issues (and others) to colleagues both in my company and in my industry. I've used the arguments you suggest to convince people that they need to change not just how they do business, but how they think about the business, but will little success. However, the argument I suggested, which is apparently "wrong," has met with much greater success in changing people's mindsets.

    I'm not looking to be "coddled" nor am I "misled." I thought that suggesting a different approach toward advocating change might lead to an interesting discussion and in that I was mistaken. This is not the right forum for it.

     

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  76.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 8th, 2010 @ 2:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    I'm sorry if I implied, or you inferred, that you were having no impact. We often seem to talk at cross-purposes. I was, however, suggesting that you might have greater impact with a different approach.

    And I can state, for a fact, that this is not the case. I know. I've tried. It doesn't work. Telling people that a piece of blue paper is really red doesn't help them down the road when they need to know that the paper is blue.

    We're not going to agree on everything, but as I think you know from past exchanges, we ultimately are getting to the same or at least similar ends, just by different paths.

    Sure. And I don't expect us to agree on everything (that would scare me). :)

    It may be that our spheres of the digital world are too different for agreement. I've been considering and working with these issues for nearly 20 years. Part of my job over those years has been to be the "forward-looking" person and I've been active in bringing these issues (and others) to colleagues both in my company and in my industry. I've used the arguments you suggest to convince people that they need to change not just how they do business, but how they think about the business, but will little success. However, the argument I suggested, which is apparently "wrong," has met with much greater success in changing people's mindsets.

    Ok. Perhaps it works in your industry -- though now that I realize what industry you're in, perhaps it makes sense. I have spoken with many people in your industry as well and -- in my experience -- have found that my methods work better. I've tried the other way and it got nowhere. People kept returning to "but what about the pirates." They just get hung up on the principle of it.

    Perhaps your experience is different due to the *sector* of the business you're in (don't want to reveal it, obviously, but you are in a subsector of a larger industry -- and I will admit that I haven't dealt much with that particular subsector).

    Anyway, I'm not arguing that one method always works. I'm just saying in my experience, confronting falsely held assumptions gets you further.

     

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  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 8th, 2010 @ 5:13am

    If it is theft...

    If it is theft, then the downloader is stealing from the uploader.

    Unless Activision is the uploader (in which case it would be a 'legal' download) then nobody has stolen from Activision.

    If the the uploader is happy with the downloader downloading, then it is not theft.

    Which statement is wrong?

     

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  78.  
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    slander (profile), Jan 8th, 2010 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cue TAM in

    Funny you should ask. Are you so familiar with the cut of TAM's boxers that it would even occur to you??

     

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  79.  
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    H, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 9:25am

    The better analogy is...

    Say Bruce, on a daily basis, copied all the articles from techdirt onto his site, changing any reference to author or URL to be his own.

    He's taking a copy of your content, which is how you earn a living, and removing your ability to make money from that content - and maybe even making money out of it himself.

    I guess you haven't lost anything in the process, right? It's just a copy? Sure, some of your readers will come to his site instead... but who's to say they wouldn't have done that anyway?

    Maybe someone should do it, just so the commentators can see how it feels to have someone defending copying your work.

     

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  80.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Re: The better analogy is...

    Say Bruce, on a daily basis, copied all the articles from techdirt onto his site, changing any reference to author or URL to be his own.

    He's taking a copy of your content, which is how you earn a living, and removing your ability to make money from that content - and maybe even making money out of it himself.


    Not really. First of all, removing every reference would be a fair amount of work, but fine. If he wants to... more power to him.

    But we already explained why this is a dumb idea. First, most people would ignore it, because it doesn't have the real value -- which is our community discussing it.

    Second, at some point, someone will realize that he's doing this, and they'll point it out and his *reputation* will get destroyed for doing something like that.

    I guess you haven't lost anything in the process, right? It's just a copy? Sure, some of your readers will come to his site instead... but who's to say they wouldn't have done that anyway?

    Why would they go to his site instead? Our site would have the content first and would have the community. If Bruce gives them more of a reason to go to his site instead of ours, well, then that's free market research for us on how to create a better site.

    So, we are still absolutely fine with it -- though we'd warn Bruce that his reputation might take a big hit for copying stuff without credit (even if it's legal -- how people view you is separate from the legal issue).

    Maybe someone should do it, just so the commentators can see how it feels to have someone defending copying your work.

    Go for it! Let us know when you do.

     

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  81.  
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    ewgf, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 9:40am

    Par for the course...

    >Say Bruce, on a daily basis, copied all the articles from techdirt onto his site, changing any reference to author or URL to be his own.

    >He's taking a copy of your content, which is how you earn a living, and removing your ability to make money from that content - and maybe even making money out of it himself.

    >I guess you haven't lost anything in the process, right? It's just a copy? Sure, some of your readers will come to his site instead... but who's to say they wouldn't have done that anyway?

    >Maybe someone should do it, just so the commentators can see how it feels to have someone defending copying your work.

    This is the same Mr Everiss who is regularly pulled up for using copyrighted photos on his site without permission, and who just carries on regardless...

    And if you want to find out what he's really like, see the following link for an example of how he not only likes to twist the truth and rewrite the past, but how he also likes to delete comments that prove him wrong or make points that he cannot refute.

    http://worldofstuart.excellentcontent.com/bruceworld/pages/bruce_everiss_vs_pesky_reality .html

     

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  82.  
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    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    quote : "The economy is based on mutually agreeable transactions where one party only pays if they find it worthwhile to pay, and it is the job of the entity trying to make money to give people a reason to buy. Don't give them a reason? Too bad."

    surely this should read
    "The economy is based on mutually agreeable transactions where one party only pays if they find it worthwhile to pay, and it is the job of the entity trying to make money to give people a reason to buy. Don't give them a reason? THEN DONT WALK AWAY WITH A COPY OF THE ITEM FOR SALE " (caps used to highlight the point in question)

     

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  83.  
    identicon
    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    quote : " Turbine, the maker of Dungeons and Dragons Online - free to play, with microtransactions for items, perks and other features."

    DDO (dungeons and dragons online) was origionally released on a monthly subs basis .. i.e. £8.99 a month, i dont know why they changed the busness model.. probably because people stopped playing the game

     

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  84.  
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    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re:

    quote: "No, just because the definition of piracy is different from stealing is why we don't consider it stealing."

    lol, dunno where you're from m8 , but with Englands old out-dated laws.. piracy (and here the law means the old fashioned wooden leg/ eye-patch and parrot version..but is written in the usual legal mumbo-jumbo.. that means it "covers" all forms of piracy.. "technically" including any modern use of the word) .. still carries the death penalty,(not that it gets enforced)

    same way "hackney carriages (in modern terms "taxi's) , are "STILL" required to carry a bail of hay for the horse. the police don't "usually" enforce such outdated laws...in fact that hackney carriage law isnt often enforced ...with the obvious exception of the max-brinks(spelling?) gold robbery a few years ago .. where one of the robbers was a taxi driver..so they hauled him in , and kept him locked up until he broke down and confessed, whereby the police went out and arrested the rest of the gang....all because he didnt have a bail of hay in his taxi.

    ( go on ...ask me if i do 2 hours archery practice on a sunday :P )

    on a different point...
    some of these analogies people are using to "justify" their claims make me laugh...if i apply the same yardstick can i get out of responsability for the following...

    i dont vote , and didnt vote for the last government... since i didnt want them to get in , does that mean i dont have to pay tax's?

    or...

    you have an account with the gas and electric company ... if i fit a gas pipe and an electric power line to your supply, past the company meter point, on your side of the meter , .. well i'm not stealing from them , and i'm not stopping your supply of gas and electric..is that not theft then ? or are you happy to pay the cost for another person to pilfer your supply.

    how about if i take the food off your plate in a restaurant ? etc?

    or the morning newspaper out of your front door (well, you didnt want it , or you wouldn't have left it there, would you?)

    ...obviously these statements i've made are as dumb as they are wrong, but thats not stopping people is it?

    so , i'm guessing all those that didn't buy MW2(but did d/load it) want activision to pull the plug on the franchise and not make a MW3 , or any other CoD game ? is that right? is it? because if they dont make the money on this one, why should they make another?

    you tell me , because i'm sitting here bored as a toothbrush in a denture factory , with nothing better to do

     

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  85.  
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    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Wrong Analogy.

    quote: "Wow. You are really confused. If there is no mutual transaction agreed upon, and I decide to get the product from a third part (another source) who is offering it under better terms, that is not theft. In any sense."

    technically you're right mike ... it's not theft .. but since the "third party" has no right to "sell" the product,..even for free... what you are doing is being in possession of stolen goods, still a crime in itself.

     

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  86.  
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    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 3:46pm

    Re:

    quote: "The only ways to stop the problems caused by "piracy" are the same as they ever have been. Stop the demand, or created a business model where it cannot affect you."

    "stop the demand"
    ...not publishing any more CoD games would stop the demand (no supply = no demand)..and having bombed in retail, and seen the amount pirated .. we cant rule it out as a possibility.

    "create a business model where it cannot affect you"
    ...that'd be DRM, and steam only download/xbox live (etc)required to play then ?

     

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  87.  
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    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    link to the "gower review"

    http://66.102.9.132/search?q=cache:-Kl4GC_A9t8J:www.ppa.co.uk/legal-and-public-affairs/pp a-responses-and-evidence/~/media/Documents/Legal/Consultations/Taking%2520Forward%2520Gowers/consult -gowers36.ashx+copyright+law+interlectual+property+rights+penalties&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&a mp;gl=uk

    page 4 , section6

    The Gowers Review examined thepenalties for a copyright offence:“The penalty for a copyright offencedepends on whether the infringementoccurred online or not. In relationto those who commercially dealin infringing goods or those whodistribute goods other than in thecourse of business to an extent whichprejudicially affects the rights holderthe maximum penalty is ten yearsimprisonment. In contrast, thosewho commit online infringement bycommunicating the work to the public(whether commercial or otherwise)may be sentenced to up to two yearsimprisonment. Finally, the commercialshowing or playing in public of a workcarries a maximum of six monthsimprisonment or a level five fine.

    Page 5
    Several submissions have called fora change in the law to increase onlineinfringement penalties to the levels ofphysical infringement. The intentionand impact of physical and onlineinfringement are the same. Crimescommitted in the online and physicalworld should not be subject to differentsentences. Increasing the penaltiesfor online infringement will thereforemake the law more coherent.”

    7. The Gowers Review recommended(Recommendation 36) that thepenalty for online commercialinfringement1 should be increasedto ten years imprisonment to bringparity with commercially dealing(but not showing) in pirated works.It also proposed that the penalty forconsumers infringing online2 to anextent that prejudicially affects therights holder should also be extendedto ten years, again to bring parity withphysical infringement.

    was CoD:MW2 worth£45.00?....more to the point , would it be worth 10 years in jail
    just don't drop the soap in the shower
    mkay?

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    steve, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 5:03pm

    to mike,

    i'm in no way going to doubt your credentials, MBA's and coming top in a good class in a good university proves your "book smart", but what impressed me was the fact you are replying coherently, and trying to get your point across in a sensible manner, and i'm guessing it'll come to a point where we may have to agree to disagree.

    for my own part , i consider myself an engineer (although my qualifications are in product design, then on to Masters in engineering etc, ..now-a-days it seems we pick up more and more "bits of paper" as we go along in our day to day jobs .. well at least to myself)

    i dont deal with copyright / intellectual property law on a day to day basis ( i thank the gods there's a legal team for that) but i did have to cover the subject for 18 months back in the day.

    the "Gowers review" link above refers to copyright, if you dont agree with it , feel free to contact HM-Government in the UK and voice your opinion.

    i've spent an hour or so trawling the web trying to find the relevent documents pertaining to IP law, but to no avail (my appologies)

    but from memory , there are 3 main "re-dress's" to infringement of IP after being proven guilty in a court of law here in the UK.
    1)fines
    2)imprisonment
    and option 3)seizures
    ..seizures basically means the judge in the case deems it fit for the IP holder to enter the premises of the offender, and claim as their own , all products, goods, materials, manufacturing equipment AND premises used, as their own.

    therefore, if you extrepolate(spelling,/ back from pub and CBA to spell check, soz) this out, in the case of internet piracy, with regards to CoD:MW2,

    anyone downloading is liable to 10 years in prison (gowers review was circa 2008, i think Jack Straw pushed it through)

    and anyone uploading it to a torrent site, is liable to fines, imprisonment, and having Activision come round to your house, taking all your computer stuff, and your home.

    because no matter what you wish to call it,
    whether it's "theft", " not-theft", "online piracy", "a kick up Activisions backside" whichever....the law will call it
    "copyright infringment and intellectual property theft"

    and quite frankly , you can argue the case till you're blue in the face, but that wont stop the law from imposing the above penalties when they do find a person guilty, will it?

     

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  89.  
    icon
    The Buzz Saw (profile), Jan 23rd, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    egads

    Arguing with Bruce is like arguing with a bus.

    I have tried hard over the months (on Bruce's previous entries and this one) to discuss the true nature of piracy. He continues to cover his ears and shout, "You're evil! You justify piracy! Piracy is theft! End of discussion! LALALALALA..." I explicitly pointed out that I avoid piracy and feel it is unethical, but he cannot come to grips with the fact that copying is not the same as stealing.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    ewgf, Jan 23rd, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    >Arguing with Bruce is like arguing with a bus.

    I know, I've had two seperate comments deleted from yesterday's article of his:

    http://www.bruceongames.com/2010/01/22/what-game-thieves-have-to-say-for-themselves/

    and no they weren't offensive or aggressive, just stating facts and, rather than argue with them, or at least let them stand, he deleted my comments. Makes you wonder how many in total he's already deleted from that thread, not to mention his many other threads

     

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  91.  
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    Dave S, Jan 25th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Re: ...

    Even if person who made the car 'magically' loses out? Is that fair?

    How would you feel if someone took what you made 'magically', then told you because they took it 'magically' they were untitled to have it for free...

    Do you really not realise how much of a tool you sound like?

     

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  92.  
    icon
    The Buzz Saw (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    Re:

    @ewgf - I hear ya. I am OK with comments being held for moderation due to spam issues, but the idea that he just eradicates comments he dislikes just shows his perception of the world. Piracy is theft because HE SAYS IT IS.

     

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  93.  
    icon
    The Buzz Saw (profile), Jan 25th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re:

    I documented my experience in more detail.

    http://www.digitaldevastation.net/?p=13

    /plug

     

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

  94.  
    identicon
    Robert, Jan 26th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    One small point

    As discussed earlier about whether this is or is not theft and what type of arrangement this is. Barring your being a lawyer (and strictly defining the jurisdiction of any claim) I find it hard to understand the sweeping statements you make.

    For instance, is it theft? In Canada it could fall under section 342.1(1)(a~d) as an act resembling theft; which is covered by the same penalties as theft itself.

    In terms of the contract formed. The correct phrasing is that it's a unilateral contract. Activision offers the product for X dollars. You agree to pay that fee when you accept that offer. Depending on the jurisdiction (and the strictness of the court in interpreting whatever sales of goods act is in place) you could either argue that you accept when you take the game from the store (in which case I hope you paid for it), or when you downloaded the product from an online site (legal, such as Steam, or illicit, such as a torrent). Part of that contract is an agreement to pay for the service.

    Which gets to the crux - if you don't think the product is worth $60, then you don't buy it. That's the responsible, and moral, thing to do. I agree that games should offer demos, but if you aren't sure, why not hold off until someone you know/trust plays the game and gives you the lowdown. That's why I never bout MW2 - I don't think it's worth that money.

    If you simply don't buy the product they'll either be forced to make better games, or cut the costs of the games they make. Simply downloading the game is not a solution.

    (Also, please don't hold to the masturbatory fantasy that the majority of downloads are "I wanted a demo shot" or "It's for a back up" - those are tired and hackneyed excuses rolled out by amoral wretches since the start of piracy).

    TLDR: If you don't think a game is worth $60, don't buy it for $60. That still doesn't make it right for you download it illegally.

     

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

  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Steve,
    You really are a bit of a tool, and you should be banned from the Internets with immediate affect.

     

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


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