NZgeek 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Game Cracking Group Predicts The End Of Cracking Because Of Better DRM

    NZgeek ( profile ), 13 Jan, 2016 @ 04:23pm

    I think that the playing field has changed a lot here, meaning that there aren't as many cracking groups any more.

    The PC games market has opened up quite a bit, with online retailers offering big discounts on titles. The people who really want to play the games at launch will almost certainly stump up the cash. People who are less interested will wait a few months for the game to come on sale and pick it up for much less.

    This is quite a bit different to brick-and-mortar sales, where the price of a game rarely drops very slowly. It can take several years for the game to get below 50% of its original release price. This is as true today is it was 20 years ago.

    With more people buying games due to the lower prices, there is less demand for cracked versions. Being the first to crack a bit of software doesn't have the same notoriety any more. Combine this with increasingly complex DRM, and it's no wonder time to crack is getting longer, or that titles aren't being cracked at all.

  • Supreme Court Again Makes It Clear: Companies Can Erode Your Legal Rights Via Mouse Print

    NZgeek ( profile ), 14 Dec, 2015 @ 03:24pm

    Choice of arbitrators?

    Do these arbitration agreements specifically state that the company gets to choose the arbitrator, or simply that an arbitration process must be used?

    If it's only that an arbitration process must be used, what's to stop the customer from choosing their own arbitrator? That would certainly sway the balance back to the customer's favour somewhat.

  • Express Scripts Pushing $1 alternative To Turing's $750 Daraprim Pills

    NZgeek ( profile ), 03 Dec, 2015 @ 03:37pm

    Impact may still be low

    Granted, the actual impact may still be low; Express Scripts states it only had 350 patients who used Daraprim last year.

    If each of those patients was buying 1 pill per day for a year, they'd be paying Turing $273,750 each. That's a total of $95.8 million, which is not exactly a small amount of money.

    And that's just 350 patients! Imagine the financial impact if Express Scripts manage to steal the majority of Turing's customers... We could be talking billions of dollars a year.

  • Train Simulator 2016 And How We've Reached The Crest Of The Dumb DLC Wave

    NZgeek ( profile ), 06 Oct, 2015 @ 03:59pm

    Dead or Alive 5

    Speaking of ridiculous DLC pricing, Dead or Alive 5 on Steam is just plain dumb. See:

    The current price for the game itself is USD 39.99. The prices for the DLC packs (all of which are extra costumes) are as follows:
    - 1 @ USD 19.99
    - 2 @ USD 24.99
    - 1 @ USD 29.99
    - 3 @ USD 34.99
    - 1 @ USD 54.99
    - 2 @ USD 64.99
    - 1 @ USD 74.99

    Note that this isn't some obscure title. It's a big name fighting game that's available on the main console systems as well. And yet only on the PC do they have DLC that costs more than the game itself.

  • Up Is Down, Day Is Night, And Keeping Mobile Phones Locked Increases Consumer Choice?

    NZgeek ( profile ), 24 Jun, 2013 @ 07:11pm

    Re: Re: Recouping R&D investment

    I'm from New Zealand, and the situation here is not very different from Europe. We don't have any regulations around the locking of phones to carriers, but it's so rare that it's not worth talking about.

    We do have carrier subsidies if you take out a long-term contract, but these are completely optional and the majority of phones are bought outright. The only technical barrier to moving any phone to any network is that one of our networks is 3G-only and uses different frequencies to the other two 2G/3G networks. But if the phones support the right frequencies, there's no trouble switching providers if you want.

  • Up Is Down, Day Is Night, And Keeping Mobile Phones Locked Increases Consumer Choice?

    NZgeek ( profile ), 24 Jun, 2013 @ 03:12pm

    Recouping R&D investment

    Moroney somehow seems to think that unlocking a phone and taking it between carriers will somehow cause phone manufacturers to sell fewer phones. I completely fail to see how he comes up with this.

    If someone buys a phone on network A, then unlocks it and moves to network B, then the maker of that phone has still made a sale. Sure, you can argue that the consumer then doesn't have to buy a phone for network B, but chances are that they wouldn't have moved if they couldn't take their existing phone with them.

    It just goes to show that no matter how much common sense you can see on a debate, there's always someone who will try and spin the truth into something completely nonsensical because of profits.

  • German Consumer Group Not Happy With Diablo 3 Internet Requirements

    NZgeek ( profile ), 26 Jul, 2012 @ 04:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Diablo 3 Online

    Blizzard care about cheating because they've set up an auction house where people can sell in-game items for real money. If cheaters could create any item they want, the auction house would be useless, and Blizzard would miss out on their cut of each sale.

    There's a solution to that though: have a completely offline mode. You would have to create an offline-only character, and that character could not participate in any of the online features (including the real money auction house).

    t is completely possible for Blizzard to release such a mode. However, they never will because that makes it possible to pirate the game. Besides, if people are playing offline, they won't be tempted to sell any of that loot...

  • Sparkfun Explains Why It Provided Customer Info In Response To Subpoena

    NZgeek ( profile ), 17 May, 2012 @ 06:09pm

    Re: credit card numbers

    Unless Sparkfun has a valid business reason to keep the full card numbers around, I would hope like crazy that they're only storing enough info to help identify the card for the customer. It's fairly widely accepted that the first 6 digits + the last 4 + expiry date are enough to do this with.

    Storing credit card info long-term without good cause is enough for me to completely avoid a company. If they're doing that, it's quite possible they're breaking other credit card security guidelines. The payment card industry has card-handling standard for a reason!

  • Oracle/Google Case Shows Just How Totally Pointless It Is To Have Patents On Software

    NZgeek ( profile ), 25 Apr, 2012 @ 09:54pm

    Re: Re: You wouldn't patent adding would you?

    Likewise, all digitized content, be it text, music, or video is represented by nothing more than a number. Why should we grant forever-minus-a-day monopoly rights on numbers?

    The copyright itself is not on the binary encoding of the content, but of the content itself.

    I'm a professional software developer, and like those that Mike knows of, I feel that software patents are abhorrent. Software copyright, on the other hand, makes perfect sense.

    Code is a lot like a painting. There are many ways to represent the same thing, and many of the representations will share a lot of the same form and substance. As long as one was not directly copied from another, there should be no infringement on copyright.

    Patents, on the other hand, make as much sense in either world. It would be absurd to give someone exclusive rights to make impressionist paintings of the Eiffel Tower. The same should apply to a software patent for "Distributed hypermedia method for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document" (i.e. displaying plug-in content in a web browser).

  • US 'Blackmails' EU Into Agreeing To Hand Over Passenger Data

    NZgeek ( profile ), 23 Apr, 2012 @ 05:24pm


    You'll still need a passport. It's just that for many countries you don't need an entry visa, so long as you're only visiting for a short period.

    I've made it a personal mandate that I will never ever visit the US. The government is too damn paranoid and I simply don't trust them.

  • Fight Is On Between Oracle And Google Over Java API Copyrights

    NZgeek ( profile ), 17 Apr, 2012 @ 09:17pm

    I'd be surprised if there weren't more sections of code like this that were similar.

    The code in question is performing some simple sanity check on the values passed into the function. It's basic boilerplate code for this sort of thing. The Java API specifies what types of errors can be raised and in which circumstances, so there's not a lot of ways that this can be made unique.

  • A Perspective On The Complexities Of Copyright And Creativity From A Victim Of Infringement

    NZgeek ( profile ), 12 Apr, 2012 @ 10:36pm

    Idea vs Expression

    I've seen posts recently on TechDirt trying so explain that when it comes to copyright, there's a big difference between an idea and how that idea is expressed.

    If it's the expression that's copyrighted and not the idea, how can this be a case of copyright infringement? It's different lyrics, different music, and a different set of performers. While the songs are similar, and a lot of ideas are the same between them, they are both expressed differently.

    No doubt it'll take a judge to make a decision on how similar the expression is, given that the idea is almost certainly copied. However, it'll be a very fuzzy line to try and draw.

  • SF Students Suspended & Barred From Walking At Graduation Because They Joked About Teachers On A Blog

    NZgeek ( profile ), 10 Apr, 2012 @ 05:56pm

    Re: Re: Wow! I guess the government schools don't want free speech.

    Capitalism works to some extent, but as with anything else, once you get past a certain point it all starts to break down.

    The problem with pure Capitalism is that it's about the expansion of personal wealth above all else. It ignores the fact that what may be good for the self is often counter-productive for the economy as a whole.

    Take environmental laws as an example. While they push up the cost of doing business, they're needed to ensure that the earth is not polluted to the point where it fails to sustain life. If it was not for those laws, can you imagine how polluted various parts of the world would be?

    The only way to have a sustainable economy is to find a balance between all of the ideologies. Encourage free-market capitalism, but don't let it run rampant. Socialise anything that's used by the populace as a whole, but keep watch to make sure that it doesn't become inefficient. Let people have the liberty to run their own lives, but with sufficient boundaries to prevent anarchy.

  • Megaupload User Asks Court To Return The Legitimate Files He Uploaded To Megaupload

    NZgeek ( profile ), 02 Apr, 2012 @ 07:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "A nice non-answer. I guess you don't like the real answer, do you?"

    The non-answer shows that the real answer doesn't matter, as it has no bearing on the case.

    All that matters here are that there were substantial non-infringing uses for the technology, even if a significant number of users of that technology used it to infringe. That's the precedent that was set in Sony v Betamax, and is the precedent that should apply here.

  • Megaupload User Asks Court To Return The Legitimate Files He Uploaded To Megaupload

    NZgeek ( profile ), 02 Apr, 2012 @ 06:22pm

    Re: Re:

    "One infringing file is too much. Like letting one innocent man die in the death chamber is too much."

    Oops, I see you have a parking fine. That means you've broken one law, and nobody should break any laws. You must be jailed for life.

    Yes, it's hyperbole, but it follows the same line of reasoning: if someone can get away with a small crime, they should be punished for the worst crime because any crime is too much.

    And this doesn't take into account the legal protections that MU has under the law. As a service provider, they are not liable for the actions of their users. Even if they are aware on infringing files, they are only liable for those specific infringing files and not for the fact that other files may be infringing.

  • Could A Consumer Privacy Bill Of Rights Even Work?

    NZgeek ( profile ), 23 Feb, 2012 @ 04:17pm

    Re: Wishful Thinking

    I hate to be the grammar police, but it's "a lot", not "alot".

    Perhaps this will help:

  • Senator Wyden Attacked For Actually Trying To Get Stuff Done, Rather Than Playing Partisan Politics

    NZgeek ( profile ), 01 Feb, 2012 @ 06:04pm

    The democratic political system (not just in the US, but all over the world) is a shadow of what it should be.

    The theory is that politicians are voted in by the people, and represent those same people. They do what is right for their constituents, and will get voted out if they do not.

    The reality is that far too many politicians care only for their own political careers. They do whatever is needed to get into (or stay in) office, even if that means selling out. They listen to big companies and lobby groups, because those groups make a lot of "campaign contributions". They don't listen to regular people, unless there's enough of a movement to threaten their election chances.

    It's selfish people in what should be a selfless role.

    It's great to see politicians like Wyden out there, because at least he and his kind seem to remember that they represent the people. If only they were the majority, not a minority.

  • iPhone Data Debunks Recording Industry's Report On How French Three Strikes Law Increased Sales

    NZgeek ( profile ), 01 Feb, 2012 @ 05:49pm

    Re: lame phone

    Errr... what?

    This was a study done for the IFPI, not for Apple. The only thing that Apple have to do with this is that they provided digital sales data from iTunes. What was done with that data was up to the IFPI.

    And as for the iPhone-bashing... I'm getting sick of it. I hate Apple as much as anyone, and think that too many people buy the iPhone because of the brand (and not on features or price), but I'm getting sick of the iPhone hatred all across the Internet. If Apple hadn't brought out the iPhone, the smartphone market would be years behind where it is now.

  • Why Can't Europe Just Forget The Ridiculous Idea Of A 'Right To Be Forgotten'

    NZgeek ( profile ), 31 Jan, 2012 @ 09:32pm

    There seems to be far too much confusion over what this law actually has effect over. The law targets PERSONAL information, i.e. information which can be linked back to you as an individual. It won't have any effect on information that is effectively anonymous.

    This means that Techdirt doesn't have to do much if an EU citizen wants their personal information removed. In this case the personal information is limited to their name and email address. All it would take is a simple database search on that person's email, and to replace the name and email with suitable anonymous values. That makes the commenter nothing more than an Anonymous Coward.

    The main intent of the law is for firms that hold large quantities of personal (and potentially sensitive) information on an individual. Marketing companies, for example, would have to remove any identifying data on that person. They would not, however, need to remove that data from any anonymous aggregates that they use for statistical purposes.

  • Misguided Twitter Protests… And Why Twitter Could Have Explained Itself Better

    NZgeek ( profile ), 30 Jan, 2012 @ 06:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The AC brought up.
    Google is not elected, Governments are.

    Your response to this?"

    If you don't like what Google have done, you can quickly and easily start using another search engine. There's nothing to stop you.

    If you don't like a censorship order from a foreign government, there's absolutely nothing you can do. A search engine has little choice but to comply, otherwise they may be blocked completely, may face hefty fines, or their directors may face other legal complications (especially if they try to enter the country that made the order).

    If you don't like a censorship order from your own government, you can write to your representative and complain. You also get the chance to try and vote the ruling party out in the next election. All you have to do is hope that the next government isn't just more of the same as the current one.

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