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Old 05-20-2009, 10:25 PM   #51
Olorin
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kezardin View Post
Howdy Yorick,

I agree with your general premise that a lot of what we do these days is based on the knowledge that someone, somewhere, will break the law.

But locks on doors/bars on windows don't affect people who aren't looking to break in. Flawed protection methods, on the other hand, can affect people who are doing the 'right thing' - witness the Sony 'rootkit' lawsuits of a few years ago, for example.

I don't have an answer, but there's probably a solution out there somewhere. And the person/people who find it will possibly be rolling in filthy lucre
I don't think it's possible to design a protection system that doesn't at least inconvenience honest people. Locks on doors delay entry/exit and can be annoying when juggling a large load of groceries. Even worse, you can unintentionally deny access to people you want to enter. Plus, installing locks and copying keys is an added cost borne by people who own buildings.

Case in point: I teach GRE prep classes for a company. One night I went to teach and found the doors locked--nothing new, but the key normally kept in the combo lock was missing. I had to call up the office manager after hours, and she had to track down someone with a key that could come and unlock the room for me in time. Luckily I happened to arrive early enough that students were not locked out, but it was an inconvenience for me, the supervisor, and the guy who had to drop what he was doing to come unlock the door.

Though my response to Yorick's position stems from the same experience. I found myself not so much annoyed that locks have become necessary in society, as I was annoyed with whichever teacher had locked the doors and taken the key, rather than returning it to the combo lock where I could use it.

I would feel the same way about problems caused by copy-protection on computer programs. My PC died several years back, and I eventually 'replaced' it with a Mac Mini running Bootcamp. I made the decision at the outset to simply never connect to the internet while booted into Windows (no exposure to viruses, no need for performance draining AV software, etc). If a game needed a patch, I would download it via the Mac boot, then install it under Windows. Cumbersome, but I accepted that as a consequence of my decision.

But, were I to go out a purchase a new single-player game only to find out upon install that it not only required the occasional patch, but a constantly active internet connection and/or extra intrusive applications, I would rightly be upset with the publisher. It would really infuriate me that they didn't disclose what was actually required to play the game.

Now, if I picked up the same game at the store, and it disclosed the requirements of internet connectivity, then I could decide whether or not to purchase the game based on the limitations. Most likely I would pass on it. I would be disappointed and perhaps question the logic of requiring internet for a 1P game, but I realize that they aren't going to cater to people who either don't have, or choose not to use an internet connection.

I have no problem with anyone who publishes their work taking whatever steps they want to protect it. I do reserve the right to get angry if their DRM option is not fully disclosed and results in me not being able to actually get what I paid for. If the DRM is disclosed up-front, then so be it. Depending on the method, I may decide not to give them my business, or even openly question their decision based on the effectiveness vs. potential to lose customers, but I won't argue against their right to use whatever DRM they think is best.

So while I agree with Yorick in principle, I think you are failing to acknowledge that customers can, will, and have every right to be annoyed if the DRM you choose to implement makes it more difficult for them to enjoy a product. Just what kind of DRM to use should be a business decisions that balances the potential of losing customers because of problems that occur during legitimate use vs. the deterrence of and prevention of losses due to piracy.

I personally think that many game publishers have made a poor decision with some of the more invasive forms for DRM, especially when they refuse to be up-front about them on the box.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:40 PM   #52
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

I also just had to respond to the Donut example.

I had personal experience during grad school with trying to raise money for our student club via donut and coffee sales. We would buy a couple dozen donuts and brew a big container of coffee every morning and leave a cart with a money box in the hallway. We had a sign explaining our club and listing the price for coffee at .25 and .50 for donuts.

By the end of the day, the donuts and much of the coffee were always gone. But the money collected was never $12 (.50 x 24 donuts), let alone $12 + coffee purchases. We did manage to pull in $7-8 on average, which was a little bit more than our costs, but not much. If we weren't volunteering our time to set up and clean up everyday, it would have never happened.

This was definitely a case of donut and coffee theft, not just a few jerks grabbing a handful of money out of the till--we had a lockbox with a slot to drop money in, no way to get it out without the key or breaking the lock.

Estimating how many cups of coffee were getting used each day, we figured about a 50% theft rate. This wasn't a case of people stealing because they thought we were gouging them--they would pay nearly the same amount for a single donut at the bakery (more at the campus store). So I have to agree that people (or at least college students), if given the chance for unnoticed petty larceny, will in large numbers take it.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:52 PM   #53
Kezardin
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yorick View Post
Guys the argument that locks/protection only affects honest people and not those who succeed in bypassing them is circular logic. It really shouldn't be used on the principle that it goes without saying that someone who bypasses a lock has not been restricted access.

The point is it creates even a token barrier to everyone, some who bypass it, others who don't. The fact is, if it prevents one person from stealing, it's worked. Determining numbers of preventions is impossible. Are people going to suddenly own up and say "yes well I tried to steal that car/game/donut but was deterred by the protection device"??????

Give it a rest please, use that energy to find another justification other than "only honest people are affected" it's proven to be moot.
Howdy Yorick

I don't think there are any absolutes in this world, especially when it comes to differing opinions. Of course there will be exceptions for just about any point of view (a scientist with a string of letters after their name and a limited purview of the universe excluded)

I've been inconvenienced by locked buildings too - sometimes because I haven't noticed the big 'CLOSED' sign, usually because someone in security hasn't unlocked the %^&@#! doors on time (running late, too busy, forgot, etc). Regardless, these situations usually seem to result from human error, and there's no way of predicting or accounting for that

As I said in the first post, I don't have a problem with a company using any type of reliable copy protection they want - they're entitled to a fair return for their investment.

OTOH if they want to persist with crappy/buggy/troublesome systems, limited activations, in-game advertising or online patching let me know so I can leave it (game/music/whatever) on the shelf

Last edited by Kezardin; 05-20-2009 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:04 PM   #54
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

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Originally Posted by Kezardin View Post
Howdy CB,

If something is perceived as overpriced, then people will seek other sources - one of the reasons the 'black market' has existed for so long.
High prices don't justify theft though. Cars may be too expensive. Doesn't mean people should steal them or buy stolen cars.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:14 PM   #55
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin View Post

Though my response to Yorick's position stems from the same experience. I found myself not so much annoyed that locks have become necessary in society, as I was annoyed with whichever teacher had locked the doors and taken the key, rather than returning it to the combo lock where I could use it.

But, were I to go out a purchase a new single-player game only to find out upon install that it not only required the occasional patch, but a constantly active internet connection and/or extra intrusive applications, I would rightly be upset with the publisher. It would really infuriate me that they didn't disclose what was actually required to play the game.

I have no problem with anyone who publishes their work taking whatever steps they want to protect it. I do reserve the right to get angry if their DRM option is not fully disclosed and results in me not being able to actually get what I paid for. If the DRM is disclosed up-front, then so be it. Depending on the method, I may decide not to give them my business, or even openly question their decision based on the effectiveness vs. potential to lose customers, but I won't argue against their right to use whatever DRM they think is best.

So while I agree with Yorick in principle, I think you are failing to acknowledge that customers can, will, and have every right to be annoyed if the DRM you choose to implement makes it more difficult for them to enjoy a product. Just what kind of DRM to use should be a business decisions that balances the potential of losing customers because of problems that occur during legitimate use vs. the deterrence of and prevention of losses due to piracy.

I personally think that many game publishers have made a poor decision with some of the more invasive forms for DRM, especially when they refuse to be up-front about them on the box.
Nice points Olorin. Well said and I agree with you.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:15 PM   #56
Yorick
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olorin View Post
I also just had to respond to the Donut example.

I had personal experience during grad school with trying to raise money for our student club via donut and coffee sales. We would buy a couple dozen donuts and brew a big container of coffee every morning and leave a cart with a money box in the hallway. We had a sign explaining our club and listing the price for coffee at .25 and .50 for donuts.

By the end of the day, the donuts and much of the coffee were always gone. But the money collected was never $12 (.50 x 24 donuts), let alone $12 + coffee purchases. We did manage to pull in $7-8 on average, which was a little bit more than our costs, but not much. If we weren't volunteering our time to set up and clean up everyday, it would have never happened.

This was definitely a case of donut and coffee theft, not just a few jerks grabbing a handful of money out of the till--we had a lockbox with a slot to drop money in, no way to get it out without the key or breaking the lock.

Estimating how many cups of coffee were getting used each day, we figured about a 50% theft rate. This wasn't a case of people stealing because they thought we were gouging them--they would pay nearly the same amount for a single donut at the bakery (more at the campus store). So I have to agree that people (or at least college students), if given the chance for unnoticed petty larceny, will in large numbers take it.
Wow.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:22 PM   #57
Kezardin
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

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Originally Posted by Yorick View Post
High prices don't justify theft though. Cars may be too expensive. Doesn't mean people should steal them or buy stolen cars.
Howdy Yorick,

it's not justified - it's in the nature of some people to be selfish. Or greedy. Or arrogant.

All three perhaps, with some more attributes mixed in.

And that's on their good days
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:29 PM   #58
Yorick
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Default Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

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Originally Posted by Kezardin View Post
Howdy Yorick,

it's not justified - it's in the nature of some people to be selfish. Or greedy. Or arrogant.

All three perhaps, with some more attributes mixed in.

And that's on their good days
Well in the end, we see the result of that don't we?
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:43 PM   #59
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Arrow Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

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Originally Posted by Yorick View Post
So you're presenting ONE BOOK as proof?
Again I have to ask if you read the link. I count 115 books up there on that website. That's without counting the books they published for free on dvds archives, or the books that might have been cycled out over time.

Quote:
I repeat - why would someone buy a thing they already own for free?
Be that a song, a book, an experience, a movie, a meal.
Answer the question, don't go parading one exception, for it remains the point.
And here again I refer to you to the answer of the company with the 115 exceptions and counting. They have been offering free books for nine years and they're making more money out of it. Seems to me like they know what they're doing.

Quote:
Sorry man. But I side with prosecuting people who walk up to an artist, steal their work and then either sell it or keep it. Just as I side with prosecuting anyone who steals from another person. Because protection of personal property is a foundation upon which our society rests.
I do too. I agree fully that the authorities are in the right in prosecuting criminals.

Quote:
Similarly, professional art's very existence rests on artists' intellectual property being protected by law.
Yes. It is a good thing the law protects intellectual property.

What we are discussing here isn't that theft should be legalized. It isn't that art shouldn't be protected. What we're saying here is that Video Game companies are being assholes. Nothing you say can or will ever change our opinion on this. You're not even having the same discussion as us, really. Piracy is bad. This isn't what this is about.
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:56 PM   #60
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Light Bulb Re: Anti-piracy or anti-customer ?

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Originally Posted by Kezardin View Post
Howdy CB,

I think pricing might also be a part of the problem. Here in Oz an increasing number of PC games are released in the $90 to $110 range. To me that's somewhat over the odds - I'd rather pay $40-$50 for a 'good' game now and wait until the $100 'great' game takes a price drop.

I've never seen any specific breakdown as to how much of the purchase price goes to the each group in the supply chain (say designer, producer, distributor and retailer for example) so $100 bucks might be a fair price with not much mark up, or it could be simply 'what the market will bear'.

If something is perceived as overpriced, then people will seek other sources - one of the reasons the 'black market' has existed for so long.

Hey,
Well your gonna have a certain portion of piracy/theft whatever the relative value of the product. I personally find paying $60 usd for a PS3 game like MGS, Fallout, or GTA good value strictly in terms like ( $ paid/# hours of entertainment).

In the industry most content's value is tied to it's release date. The longer it's been out the lower it goes until it hits certain plateus in units produced, # of sales, ect.

As an artist I've always found assigning value ot my work to be an abstract notion at best and as a producer it's one of the more challenging things to predict, particularly when your pockets aren't super-deep.

The key principle I took from directly doing entertainment retail managment for long time is that great service reduces theft and people will come back and spend with you if you make an expirience that's great and fun along with a good value for product. Your not just a store making money, but also part of the neighborhood and a part of culture. You are also an ambassador for artists. You definitely do not treat all your customers like they are going to steal! Common sense and respect.

Overpricing ,whether intentional or not, is not very respectful to the customer. Percieved value is part of great customer service. Stealing is still wrong even in response to overpricing and poor service, but a truly successful enterprise will respond to increased stealing most importantly with better service and also with value. edit- This probably doesnt directly apply to online sales/piracy without some caveats.
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Last edited by Chewbacca; 05-21-2009 at 12:01 AM.
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