Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cutting Prices Is the Only Way To Stop Piracy

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the way-to-obvious dept.

Crime 620

Stoobalou writes "The only way to stop piracy is to cut prices. That's the verdict of a major new academic study that reckons copyright theft won't be halted by 'three strikes' broadband disconnections, increasing censorship or draconian new laws brought in under the anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA. The Media Piracy Project, published last week by the Social Science Research Council, reports that illegal copying of movies, music, video games and software is 'better described as a global pricing problem' — and the only way to tackle it is for copyright holders to charge consumers less money for their wares."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Developing countries, not US (1)

divxio (2016536) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495462)

Note that this study is about developing economies like Russia, Mexico and Africa, not US or Europe. They obviously need to lower prices in developing countries first, US and Europe has everything too good anyway.

But even if they would lower prices in US and Europe, with games that pretty much leaves us with "crappy" games like Angry Birds, Farmville and indie games. You just cant have the same story, graphics quality and everything else involved with the big good games. I rather spend $50 and have a great game than small little games for a few dollars.

Re:Developing countries, not US (5, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495538)

> I rather spend $50 and have a great game than small little games for a few dollars.

Fortunately people don't want that $50 over-priced nonsense and show otherwise....

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090219/1124433835.shtml [techdirt.com]
Valve dropped the price on L4D and sales went up over 200% !

        * 10% off = 35% increase in sales (real dollars, not units shipped)
        * 25% off = 245% increase in sales
        * 50% off = 320% increase in sales
        * 75% off = 1470% increase in sales

http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/693342/live-blog-dice-2009-keynote-gabe-newell-valve-software/ [g4tv.com]

"Valve decided to do an experiment with Left 4 Dead. Last weekend's sale resulted in a 3000% increase over relatively flat numbers. It sold more last weekend than when it launched the game. WOW. That is unheard of in this industry. Valve beat its launch sales. Also, it snagged a 1600% increase in new customers to Steam over the baseline."

Re:Developing countries, not US (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495656)

Yeah and the only reason why Valve could afford to do such a discount was because they had already made back all of their money back and then some by that point so they had a greater incentive to cut huge discounts on an older title with flat sales. If you think Valve would ever do that for a new game, you'd be kidding yourself.

Re:Developing countries, not US (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495774)

Why not?
If they get that level of sales for an old game at a low price, imagine the level of sales for a new title at a discount price. What they get per unit really does not matter, there are basically $0 per unit costs. So total income is the only thing that matters.

Re:Developing countries, not US (2)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495864)

Furthermore, Left 4 Dead was released November 17, 2008 and the sale in question took place in early February, 2009.
A three month old game is hardly an "older title."

Re:Developing countries, not US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495884)

If I reduce the price by 50%, and sell more than 200% more copies, I've made more money than I would've otherwise. That is the incentive for lowering the price.

Re:Developing countries, not US (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495902)

except by looking at the math.. 75% off you need 4 times the sales (300% increase) to cover the same as normal at 100%..

they managed to sell more than when they launched.. now more cash wise or more number wise is a good question.. but either way.. they would have made atleast what they already made to make it back.

Re:Developing countries, not US (2, Insightful)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495786)

But even if they would lower prices in US and Europe, with games that pretty much leaves us with "crappy" games like Angry Birds, Farmville and indie games. You just cant have the same story, graphics quality and everything else involved with the big good games. I rather spend $50 and have a great game than small little games for a few dollars.

The real problem is that the copy-write holders are focusing on solving piracy, not managing piracy. They need to remember that their first goal is to make profit (more-or-less tied to revenue) and that one pirated copy doesn't translate to a lost sale.

Retail stores structure things knowing that some percentage of merchandise will be shoplifted. They don't like shop lifters, and take reasonable steps to prevent them. However, they don't go TSA on the customers. Like-wise, a game publisher should focus on impressing the customers who pay the $50, not eliminating the pirates who don't.

Re:Developing countries, not US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495914)

But even if they would lower prices in US and Europe, with games that pretty much leaves us with "crappy" games like Angry Birds, Farmville and indie games. You just cant have the same story, graphics quality and everything else involved with the big good games. I rather spend $50 and have a great game than small little games for a few dollars.

Your comment makes even less sense when I realized your definition of "crappy" means "successful", "popular", and "profitable". The hot chick at my auto dealership's service department (yeah, I know, go figure) thought it was cute I was playing Angry Birds while I was waiting for my car. I can only imagine how impressed she would have been if I had brought in my imaginary multi-monitor i7-2600K water cooled 3 way SLI gaming rig and showed her the texture of my Nanosuit while I stood in the middle of the street looking around.

Why not DRM? (0)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495470)

Apple proved you can cut down on piracy with DRM with their App store for the iPhone and iPad.
  That's why the copyright moguls are pushing ACTA and son-of-ACTA.

Re:Why not DRM? (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495496)

They did? That must be why jailbreaking is so prevalent. I worked for a few millionaires and they wanted to jailbreak their apple products. Want to know why? Free software.

Re:Why not DRM? (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495574)

LOL. Its not like pirated versions of DRM riddled games are better or anything amirite?

Re:Why not DRM? (5, Informative)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495892)

You'd be surprised how much better pirated versions of games can be due to buggy or invasive DRM. Even as simple as not needing to put in the DVD each time you want to play the game can be enough drive for someone to download a no CD hack if not outright pirate the game.

Re:Why not DRM? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495640)

Jailbreaking is hardly the standard. The vast majority of users don't want to mess with their phones in that way.

Re:Why not DRM? (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495904)

The vast majority of users don't infringe on copyright either, except when they can't get what they want.

I know I'd rather pay for a clean copy of something than hunt for it on pirate sites. Sometimes, what I want, just isn't available, like the original, unedited WKRP episodes on DVD.

Re:Why not DRM? (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495798)

I'm jail-broken and don't have a single pirated app installed.

Re:Why not DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495842)

I'm not jail-broken and don't have any pirated app on it. Mind, I don't have any payed-for apps either.

I just loaded up on free apps. There are loads of them, so why pay for a specific one when there are ten, twenty others just like it that are free?

Re:Why not DRM? (5, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495542)

"Apple proved you can cut down on piracy with DRM with their App store for the iPhone and iPad."

No they didn't; they did it with pricing and convenience. The somewhat-loosely-restrictive DRM on Apple's wares is easily broken. What the iTunes and App stores have shown is that if the prices are perceived as reasonable, and the DRM doesn't get in their way (much), people will not bother with piracy.

Re:Why not DRM? (4, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495566)

I'd suggest that their DRM really only works because of the low price of apps. Sure you can get around it, but if it's going to cause you problems in the future--i.e. with further updates--that are going to make you waste time and effort, and you can avoid that waste by spending $0.99, that's what most people are going to do.

I can't cite anything, but I'm absolutely certain that I read somewhere that pirated apps can be easily installed on jailbroken phones.

So a combination of low price and just-annoying-enough DRM is probably the real key.

Re:Why not DRM? (1)

kolbe (320366) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495620)

Obviously people that feel Apple has been successful with DRM have failed to see what the public is doing with such jailbreaking tools as Green Poison: http://greenpois0n.com/ [greenpois0n.com]

While a jailbroken iPhone, iPod, or iPad prevents people from using the App store while in broken mode, the apps already purchased previously work just fine. Beyond this, a jailbroken device runs cracked drm-free applications just as well as the DRM polluted ones.

Where there is a will, there is always a way.

Re:Why not DRM? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495680)

Point zero zero zero two percent of the population doesn't really constiture "the public". The public simply wants to use the device, not tinker with it any more than the public tears down their car engines for fun.

Re:Why not DRM? (4, Informative)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495808)

While a jailbroken iPhone, iPod, or iPad prevents people from using the App store while in broken mode,

No, it doesn't prevent people from using the app store. My iPhone is jailbroken and I use the App store (for both paid and free-as-in-beer free apps. I have exactly zero "pirated"[sic] software on my phone. I use the jailbreak for:

BSD userland
SBSettings (and all the free plugins)
Action Menu
Nagios (no joke - I monitor servers on the go!)

NO pirated software. I use my phone a LOT, and my very highest 3G bandwidth usage to date (on my unlimited plan) is 1.8GB, when I used netflix a lot while on a trip.

There are reasons to jailbreak which have nothing to do with "piracy"[sic].

Re:Why not DRM? (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495830)

Are huge packages of iPhone games/apps available on bittorrent? I have wondered whether this is a low risk area for torrents because many apps are built by smaller developers who won't have the money to chase after every/any seeder.

From there it's only a step up to some enterprising pirate creating a tool which automates the process of finding, downloading and installing any app - accessible from an extra button added to the app store, or something.

How cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495486)

I am selling an iPhone game at 0.99 $ and there's still people pirating it. Does it have to be even cheaper?

Re:How cheap? (1)

Ja'Achan (827610) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495534)

You're not going to stop people from pirating (not unless you're going for a full all-controlling dictatorship). The best you can do is make a little profit on your investment.

Re:How cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495556)

No, probably not, though you are at parity with most sold apps so you fall in with the mix of everyone else. People who pirate your game at this point are unlikely to ever pay you money for it. Still, if you're making money (and Angry Birds makes money at 99 cents) count that as a victory. You wrote a game and published it and even made some money from it. That would have been impossible for you, even 10 years ago.

Re:How cheap? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495604)

yes. you need to drop it to zero cents. Then only a few will pirate it.

You see, we have a lot of folks who want to wax phiosophical about why software should be free, why piracy is a good thing, and hey.... information wants to be free.

The reality is people are cheap bastards that want the world to pay them well for little effort but don't want to pay for other people's efforts. Rich, poor, people are all alike in that regard. Some of us are smart enough to see our own shortcomings and deal with it in a grown up fashion. The rest troll Slashdot.

Price does not reduce piracy, DRM does ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495868)

I am selling an iPhone game at 0.99 $ and there's still people pirating it. Does it have to be even cheaper?

Price does not really reduce piracy, DRM does. People will pirate if it is easy to do so.

I once had the opportunity to witness the sales of some software bundled with a freshman chemistry textbook. This chemistry visualization and modeling software was needed for class assignments. It was packaged and sold separately from the textbook so other students could use it too. The textbook included a coupon to get the software at a highly discounted price. About US$10 IIRC, US$30 if not bundled. The software contained no DRM the first quarter it was available. Sales of the software was a small fraction (5% ish - measured with redeemed coupons) of book sales. The publisher then added DRM for the next quarter, sales were close to (80% ish) the book sales, despite the fact that the DRM was easily defeated. The DRM was a well-known off-the-shelf solution with abundant removal tools. Subsequent quarters showed similar sales so the increase was not due to removal tools not being available on day 1. IIRC correctly such tools were available within a week - well in time for assignments that used the software.

The "I'd buy it if it were reasonably priced" meme is in reality largely a rationalization to justify current piracy. Only a few would follow through and go legit.

Yeah, right. (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495502)

I find it highly unlikely the ones screeching loudest about losing money to copyright violations are going to start charging less money for their stuff.

CDs were supposed to be lower the cost of music. Digital files were supposed to lower the cost of music.

These guys will push to get a law passed to ensure that everybody tithes to them long before they'd ever consider lowering their prices.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495560)

They did lower the costs of music, for the record companies.

What, you thought it was going to lower prices for US?

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495710)

They did lower the costs of music, for the record companies.

What, you thought it was going to lower prices for US?

I remember paying £10 for a CD album years ten back, and now I can get a new album as an MP3 download at 320kbps from Amazon for £9 or less. That's not even allowing for inflation. Prices are low enough. The cost of a song or a movie or, as we're discussing in this topic, a computer game, isn't the price of the cheap CD and cheap box it comes in. That's just a medium. The cost of producing a computer game remains the same.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495936)

You're comparing the cost of a physical product you can sell to a small collection of bytes? They are hardly the same.

The cost of producing a computer game remains the same.

Yes but the cost of producing a computer game is NOT what the games companies pay to have a game produced.
Once you remove all the marketing, overpriced voice actors, hollywood accounting and crap that gets added on the actual
cost is a lot less.

Re:Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495796)

Well, digital files did lower the cost of music. Just look at what happened with the Virgin Megastore in SF (perhaps elsewhere)...they had a copy of Dazed and Confused soundtrack, basically a collection of great classics from the era of the film. All of those classics ages old, and yet this particular album (1 of 2 soundtracks for the film) was still going to 19 bucks. Ridiculous...and now that store has been empty for a year now.

Now on eMusic I can find pretty much any album I'm seeking in their catalog for 6 bucks or so each. Led Zeppelin I through infinity? 6 bucks. IV was the first CD I ever purchased in 1991 for no less than 15 bucks back in the day. Now it goes for less than 6.

Funny enough, I now purchase more music these days than I did over the last 10 years. Interestingly, though, I don't necessarily listen to more music than I before...

It's not about Pirary, it's about control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495900)

While the *aa's complain about piracy, I suspect they are actually glad there is some going on because it allows them to attack sharing sites. Many independent bands have discovered they are much better off without a contract with the record companies. With the advent of high quality digital recording, it is easy to produce a professional quality recording. With the Internet there exists a distribution system thats allows them to get their music out to the public. They know that the money is in performing and not in CD sales.

This has the RIAA scared shitless. No longer are new groups with potential begging for a contract. Most contracts turn out to be almost criminally bad deals where even if the group is successful, they are still in debt to the label. By destroying the distribution system, they know that this will help lock-in bands to the old business model where the record companies are rich and the bands are poor.

Depends on the price and what's for sale (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495504)

Netflix streaming is a good example of good pricing vs content offered. TV shows and movies sold on the iTunes Store is a good example of bad pricing. TV Shows in HD should cost 99 cents to own, 50 cents to stream and SD shows should cost 50 cents to own and 25 cents to stream. Movies should be priced at least half if not a quarter of the price for the DVD or BluRay version.

How cheap? (2, Insightful)

FumarMata (1340847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495506)

I am selling an iPhone game at 0.99 $ and there's still people pirating it. Does it have to be even cheaper?

Re:How cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495616)

Unless you post more information on your game it will be hard to tell but my guess is that people do not think that they their worth of money. Perhaps it just has to be better.
OTOH there are so many iPhone games out there that I am surprised that anyone even bothered to look at your game.

Re:How cheap? (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495754)

Unless you post more information on your game it will be hard to tell but my guess is that people do not think that they their worth of money. Perhaps it just has to be better.

If someone wants to spend time playing a computer game, $0.99 isn't going to put most people off. More like people thought it was worth their money but thought free was even better. If you want a more rigorous logical argument, my time is worth more than $0.99 per hour and so is almost everybody else's. So if I spend an hour on a game, I'm already paying significantly more than $0.99 in real terms. That puts the lie to the notion that it is overpriced.

Re:How cheap? (1)

FumarMata (1340847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495758)

You mean that if "a pirate" downloads it and after playing it, he sees that it's worth his money, he'll go to the app store and buy it? No, the game is good enough, and is worth more than 1 $. I was going to shamelessly promote it here... but there are too many pirates reading.

Re:How cheap? (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495670)

Duh! How dare you expect to be paid for your work. Those pirates are ENTITLED to your work for free!!

Re:How cheap? (5, Insightful)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495682)

I am selling an iPhone game at 0.99 $ and there's still people pirating it. Does it have to be even cheaper?

Try selling at it $5.99 and see what happens to the app's piracy rate...

Re:How cheap? (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495736)

Don't worry about the people pirating it, just make it the price at which you make the most money even when some do pirate it. If making it $0.50 would convert enough pirates to buyers than do that, if not don't.

Re:How cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495748)

RTFA. There's always going to be a group of people pirating your crappy game.

Re:How cheap? (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495924)

>>>I am selling an iPhone game at 0.99 $ and there's still people pirating it.

Good news!
I'm neither buying nor pirating your game.
Feel better? (wink) Some artists claim they just want their works to be seen --- if they gain fans along the way, and the fans are willing to pay, that's just an extra icing on the cake. This is why persons like James Patrick Kelly give away half of their creations, figuring the extra visibility will gain them a new fan (like me).

Bollocks (0)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495510)

Unless you're going to sell it for nothing, people are still going to pirate it.

"Why should I pay for something I can get for free?"

And even if you sell it for next to nothing, will the increased number of buyers allow you to break even, much less make a profit?

Re:Bollocks (3, Interesting)

spydum (828400) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495712)

I agree, they won't ERADICATE piracy with lower prices.

I actually think the sales numbers/experiment from Steam/L4D speak more about charging first adopters a premium, then tapering off your pricing as the new hotness factor rolls off, promoting sales later on for basically free. Using that model alone, you can charge less up front, and still taper the prices off and come away with the same net income, just over a longer period.

Re:Bollocks (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495946)

I would say you come away with more net income. I like many people consider anything sub $10 an impulse buy. I regularly check what steam has on sale at less than $10 will pick up any games that looks decent. At above that price I tend to research more and will consider borrowing said game for the PS3. I buy very few new games and me and my coworkers tend to share them for our PS3s rather than each buying them. For the PS2 I have many more games as I can get those for a more reasonable price.

Re:Bollocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495920)

Higher prices make for more tempting piracy targets.

If it is 2-5 bucks for a movie would you bother to pirate it? When you can have a dvd?

Re:Bollocks (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495966)

I think there's more to it than that. Take the case of the "Humble Indie Bundles" - you could set your own price, down to a single cent, and much of it (buyer-determined) went to charity. And yet piracy of those games was not only prevalent, but actually increased during these sales.

This tells me that there is a significant mental barrier between "$0.01" and "$0.00". I do not believe it is the financial cost itself, but the difficulties of buying something online compared to pirating. The hassle of Paypal or credit cards or anything else is, IMO, the primary barrier. What is needed is a fast, zero-pain, minimal-set-up system for buying goods online. When buying the software is as easy as pirating it, piracy will drop.

This is probably why Steam has been successful. Once you've set up purchasing with your account, buying a game is simple - most of it consists of clicking "next" a few times. It's not perfect - it tends to assume you want to buy multiple games at once, making buying a single game more difficult than it should be - and of course there's the DRM issue, but it seems to be doing this better than most.

I occasionally do freelance work, making small game models/levels for random people online. Several times, rather than accept payment via Paypal or anything, I've simply told the client "find a game on my Steam wishlist that's about $10, that's enough payment for me". That's how difficult handling actual money online is - trading a service for a product is actually easier.

Yes, pricing is part of the problem. I haven't bought a game at release-day price since the last big Zelda game came out. I don't mind waiting a few months (or even years) for the price to drop from $50 or $60 to $20. I also haven't bought music anywhere in forever - 8 songs that came out in 1986 are not worth $15, even if it is a magnum opus of heavy metal.

So, really, the pricing is only half the issue. First is the divide between "what the product is worth" and "what the product is priced at", second is the divide between "how easy buying it is" and "how easy pirating it is". Solve those two, and piracy will drop significantly. Not to nothing, of course, but it will drop to reasonable levels.

Why many turn to piracy (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495518)

The problem that I have is that many of us don't WANT to be a pirates, but the studios heavy-handedness and greed make it almost impossible NOT to. I am perfectly happy buying a blu-ray or DVD. But the studios often throw up so many road-blocks to me as a legitimate consumer as to make it impossible.

I DVR "The Color of Money" (one of Scorsese's best, IMHO) in HD and I want to buy a copy that won't disappear the second my DVR dies. But, guess what? The studio says I can't (the only legally available version is a crappy non-anamorphic DVD that looks awful on a modern TV). So I'm left with the option of Pirate Bay or illegally ripping it off my DVR (both of which would make me a pirate in their eyes). I want to buy it legitimately, but the studio says no.

I DVR "Space Race: The Untold Story" [imdb.com] (great docudrama, BTW) in HD from the National Geographic Channel. Same deal, want to buy it. But this time the studio won't even let me buy a DVD in the U.S. (much less an HD blu-ray). It's only available in Region 2. So, even if I import it, I would now be forced to illegally modify my DVD player to watch it. Want to buy it. Want to be honest. Nope, I would have to rip it from my DVR if I wanted to own it.

Even with the blu-rays and DVD's I *can* buy, I'm stuck watching 5 or 6 forced trailers at the beginning of each (many studios not even letting me skip them). Don't want to spend several minutes fighting with your player just to watch the goddamn movie you paid for? Better go off to Pirate Bay, because that's the only way you're getting it, buddy.

To Sony, Warner, Paramount, et. al.: Stop forcing people to be pirates with your fucking DRM, your greed, your region coding, your goddamn bizarre distribution rights agreements, etc. and you'll find there are a LOT more people willing to actually pay for your stuff than you think.

Re:Why many turn to piracy (1, Informative)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495678)

Dude, if you don't own a region free player (which are certainly not illegal to produce/sell/import/buy and all the big manufacturers make them), you're a n00b. Further it's not illegal to change your DVD player's region code.

Re:Why many turn to piracy (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495742)

The online shops selling region-free DVD players seem pretty shady to me. I'm looking for a good quality region free Blu-Ray player. Preferably with an eject button on the remote, but all the shops just skeeve me out.

Re:Why many turn to piracy (4, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495756)

Agreed with that. I've seen ads in DVDs for rent. I thought... well, ok, it's a rental, I'm only gonna watch it once so i don't care.

Then my dad bought a DVD of a Rolling Stones concert. Guess what? The moment you start it, a 1-minute ad starts playing. You can't skip it. What the hell? If I PAY for something, I don't want to be forced to watch an ad! If it's a (paper) magazine I can skip the pages, but this is way too much.

Re:Why many turn to piracy (1)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495832)

Whilst your case may be true, the problem is that arguments about DRM, format availability, ease of downloading vs. having to go to a shop and buy... All these such arguments were made extensively as rationalisations of piracy early on. And yet most of these are dealt with now. I can buy a computer game as a direct download. I can buy high-quality MP3s at the click of a button. Things like wanting The Colour of Money in HD are edge cases these days, and getting fewer all the time. They're not good arguments for the vast bulk of piracy that goes on. If you look at popular torrents, you'll see a tonne of newly released movies and computer games. The bulk of it, in fact. And these are all things where you can get them in such formats. Most piracy is not about formats, it's about getting things without paying.

Finally some sanity (1)

bfmorgan (839462) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495524)

I hope this statement of sanity doesn't fall on deaf ears or ears that don't see the logic in this new model.

Re:Finally some sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495592)

I hope this statement of sanity doesn't fall on deaf ears or ears that don't see the logic in this new model.

Hey, this taste smells funny!

can't stop piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495540)

At most you can reduce it, but there are people that simply aren't willing to pay a penny for something they can get for free.

A reduction in the cost of the products plus increasing the dificulty to piracy is the best method to reduce piracy, but you'll never completely erase it

Repost (4, Informative)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495548)

This is a dupe, links to an article that links to a study that has already been posted here: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/03/07/180210/Piracy-In-Developing-Countries-Driven-By-High-Prices [slashdot.org]
Basically, music and software are priced to USA's average wage. Since the cost of life in other places is lower, and wages are lower, then it becomes prohibitively costly. Hence piracy.

Re:Repost (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495810)

Things are much more expensive, in USD, outside USA. A Playstation 3 costs USD 800 down here in Argentina. Games are priced at over $100. It's not about taxes either. The rationale is this: "People are going to pirate. We don't have a chance to sell to middle and lower classes, only higher classes. And we can charge a lot more if we market it as a 'luxury' item".

Not true at all, but they like to believe that.

It will always be more then free. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495586)

Pirated software is free. There is no way to compete with that at any price. People who are willing to pirate software will, no mater what the software costs.

Re:It will always be more then free. (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495746)

Pirated software is free. There is no way to compete with that at any price. People who are willing to pirate software will, no mater what the software costs.

Megatron must be stopped. No matter the cost.
Everything else does indeed depend on cost. Plenty of pirates actually buy shit on the cheap. The cost of legit purchases it the purchase price. The cost of piracy is the hassle of finding shit, the hassle of getting it to work, the loss of multiplayer features, the risk of being sued, etc. In many cases shit's super easy to pirate and the cost is low compared to going legit. In many cases, the cost is quite high compared to going legit. See Steam. Yes, Steam DRM has been cracked. Yes there are hacked servers for a bunch of games. No, not very many people engage in Steam piracy.

Re:It will always be more then free. (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495752)

Plenty of businesses pay for RHEL, despite it being "free". Support, peace-of-mind, and ease are all worth cash over the absolutely free DIY alternative.

There's a reason strictly multiplayer games like WoW are hardly pirated: you're paying for the experience (AKA the servers you play on) not the disc. It's also why Netflix and other a la carte services are so popular: paying for the convenience and peace-of-mind knowing that if you want a movie, you can just get it. Sure there will always be a minority that don't see these things as worth the cost, but the main point of DRM (used to be) to stop casual infringement, not the hardcore, and with services replacing goods there is less of a casual market for infringement.

Re:It will always be more then free. (1)

Songilly (1993968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495770)

Not always so. Pirated software sometimes is more of a PITA than what it's worth. If I could get my wares at a reasonable price without the risk of viri, decent support, and non-draconian DRM I would pick that in a heart beat. My time is worth that. Heck I have legitimate licenses for M$ products but use the pirated cracks just because I hate dealing with the activation. As the article points out trying to find what that price range sweet spot is what is at issue, assuming a company will ever realize this. I think it is a possibility with all these new fangle Apps for $.99. Of course there will always be people who pirate no matter what the price is. But I think most people would pay for good service and a good product if it didn't cost them say $1600 for the latest Adobe suite crap. I suspect for most things it will have to come down quite a bit in price. So the question for devs then is how low can they go and still make a high quality product. Angry Birds is fun, but it isn't an office productivity suite...

Re:It will always be more then free. (1)

Terwin (412356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495802)

Pirated software is not free.
There is a time-cost related to finding a reasonably reliable source and a risk-cost related to the chance of getting sued/catching malware.

Reduce the price to the point where it is not worth those costs, and it is cheaper to buy the legitimate product.
(there are different price-points for the college student eating ramen and the executive making 100K, but the principle is the same)

On the other hand, if you increase the hassle/problems with DRM past the time and risk costs of pirated software, and then you get to the point where you could not give the thing away.

Re:It will always be more then free. (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495890)

Pirated software has an opportunity cost. When the legit cost of your app is cheaper than the time opportunity cost of finding the pirated version, you will make a sale to all but the stupidest of pirates.

Re:It will always be more then free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495930)

People pay for convenience, me included. If you have disposable cash, you do, at any rate. DRM offers less convenience, that's why it's clearly a losing proposition.

People misunderstand economics, as a seller you're competing for the few dollars people who actually have money have to give you. This competition is with other sellers. We already produce so much physical stuff it is impossible to sell more in many cases. The situation worsens with digital goods (or rather, goods that can be digitally represented).

Re:It will always be more then free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495976)

This comment is as lazy as the theoretical pirates mentioned therein. Clearly there is more nuance to this, such as people who do like supporting artists and developers that they respect. I believe that people pirating big name games could be doing so just as much to give EA or ATVI the finger, as they are just dirty pirates.

I find this article fascinating, as it seems to really take this out of the moral argument (which seems to just slump down to a capitalist morality argument - thus jumping the shark of any ethical argument) and make it into a more objective discussion...so rarely do we see an objective take on piracy.

What price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495598)

Unfortunately no matter what price is put on Music etc (Except ZERO) there will always be that same group who will still believe they are paying too much. In REAL terms prices HAVE dropped, my first CDs we costing me about NZ$60-NZ$70 and these were AAD, now my wages have more than doubled and the prices of CDs has more than halved, so in REAL terms I am paying less than 1/4 of what I used to pay, and in many cases I pay less than 1/20th.

There are a number of sites where you can download music and pay what you like, the artists on these site always LOOSE, they would be far better off flipping burgers somewhere. Lots of people download, they simply choose not to pay.

Yes, I am sure someone will haul out one or two examples which say differently, but statistically they are irrelevant. If you choose to believe they ARE relevant then one hopes you never get into a car because you are significantly MORE likely to die in a car.

Re:What price (2)

softWare3ngineer (2007302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495804)

the artists on these site always LOOSE, they would be far better off flipping burgers somewhere..

music artists may loose on cd sales, but they gain on promotion costs. musicians dont make alot off of cd sales anyway, even if they do belong to a label. bands make alot more doing concerts.

Re:What price (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495852)

Good for you. Where I live CD prices have stayed the same. A CD in 1999 would cost you USD 22. Today it costs roughly USD 22. Our income hasn't increased 4x but our money has been devaluated to 1/4 of what it was.

Back in the time, I used to buy my CDs for $10-$12 from USA. Even paying international shipping it was cheaper for me.

It's only half the problem... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495602)

if you charge a fair price for the product (which is fair for the market concerned), make the product easily accessible to people who want it, AND DON'T TREAT THEM LIKE CRIMINALS most people will be happy to pay for your product. The ones who don't want to pay even then? You really weren't going to make any money off of them anyway.

Cheap Free (1)

Renaissance 2K (773059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495608)

Letting users name their own prices with the Humble Indie Bundle and giving the proceeds to charity wasn't enough to stop piracy. The argument just changed to, "It's more convenient to get it from a Torrent site."

Free is always going to be cheaper than cheap. That's what piracy is all about. It has nothing to do with "sticking it to the man" or "improving the user experience" or "taking control of your purchases." It's about getting something for nothing. I know there's plenty of people out there who justify their piracy with many legitimate-sounding goals, but in the end, that's not the issue.

Use DRM against piracy = putting lock on your door (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495628)

You can't stop piracy, just like you can't stop people from robbing houses. People will do it regardless of the severity of the punishment. Use DRM, it's like putting a lock on your house door.

Also, everyone should read how to price their software http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/174/Startup-Tips-for-Enterprise-Software-Pricing.aspx

Be prepared for creativity armegeddon (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495662)

I've been waiting for this a long time...

Think about it: Our society has been producing high quality entertainment for about 2 decades now. Music, movies, tv shows, games, etc. These forms of entertainment don't "go bad". Jurassic Park is still an awesome movie. As time goes on, more and more high quality entertainment gets added to the pile.

Now, what is the net effect? Prices MUST come down. Which is why we see $5 bins of DVDs in Wal-mart. But now I see $5 DVDs that contain a TRILOGY instead of a single movie. I bought the Matrix trilogy, including Animatrix, for $9 at Best Buy.

This trend will continue. Soon, there will be so much entertainment available, that it MUST be free (or ridiculously cheap) in order to compete with the DECADES of high quality entertainment already in the pile.

Re:Be prepared for creativity armegeddon (3, Informative)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495916)

That thing you mention doesn't happen in countries where piracy is high. I live in Argentina, and I WISH I could get the matrix trilogy for $9. Or even $50 (the trilogy would cost me $100). I know they don't have $5 bins (except really truly bad crap like a macarena remixes CD).

NOT THEFT (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495666)

How many times do we have to go over this? With theft, you're removing something from the owner so he/she no longer has that item - that's never an issue with copyright infringement.

They are two entirely different violations of the law, just as arson and cannibalism are two entirely different violations of the law. You can try and tie yourself up in a pretzel trying to say that oranges are just like apples, but it just doesn't work. And please, pretzels, skip all the usual straw men - copyright infringement is still a violation of the law and no one is claiming otherwise.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495908)

How many times do we have to go over this?

Until you get it through your skull that language evolves, sometimes it doesn't evolve in your favor, and insisting on broadening or narrowing definitions like a middle manager to reshape the argument to your advantage ("oh, let's not call it 'firing', that's too harsh, let's call it 'downsizing' instead") doesn't in any way, shape, or form rationalize or justify your actions.

If it were cheaper, I'd buy it (2)

kitanai (966388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495674)

Individual songs are so cheap on iTunes I never pirate music and I'm extremely happy to pay. If I could get e-book rentals for two weeks, movie rentals a week, and episodes at the same time as they air in the USA for $1 I've give them even more of my money! Buying movies in iTunes for $5, and being able to buy them at the same time as they come out in the cinema for around $10 would be great too.

Why Not Give It Away? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495686)

...and the only way to tackle it is for copyright holders to charge consumers less money for their wares?

What a naive conclusion. It would be nice to believe that all people are good but the fact is that as long as a "buck" can be made media piracy will continue.

In Other Words... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495696)

... be a little less efficient at concentrating wealth?

Duh! Revolutions have been fought over this shit. Cake, anyone?

Oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495702)

"copyright theft" ...

it's just economics, stupid! (5, Insightful)

wmeyer (17620) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495704)

The easiest way to stop illicit trade is to remove the huge profits. True for software, true for street drugs, true for pretty much any commodity. Prohibition doesn't work; lack of profit does.

SaaS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495716)

Not that it has the perfect security model to prevent piracy, but SaaS is likely the path of the future (if not already the present). Some software services will go the free route, but other more popular (and useful) services can create a low cost environment but still generate greater overall long term revenue.

First person example from last night. (1)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495732)

I've been watching "Louise" (see http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1492966/ [imdb.com] or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louie_(TV_series) [wikipedia.org] ) on Netflix recently. Last night I went to Netflix, and tried to cue up the next episode. Instead of getting to watch episode 10 like I had episode 1 through episode 9, it was only available on DVD, and the DVD wasn't released yet. Some time in the last week or two, they changed. So, I could either put the DVD for a season I had almost finished watching on my "Save" list, or I could go look for the same content from other distribution channels. Hum, tough choice.

How cheap is cheap enough? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495762)

People pirate 99 cent songs. Lower prices will not prevent that. It's a dollar...seriously...how much cheaper than one dollar will something have to be before people stop pirating it? Answer: $1.

Reality complete trumps this study! (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495772)

That's the verdict of a major new academic study

The reality is, this is pure bullshit. For decades pirates claimed they need only lower prices and it would be the end of piracy. And so, we can how the sub-$0.99 cent music market and piracy is still raging; if not growing. The simple truth is, far too many studies, not to mention history which completely invalidates this study before it was written, proves price is almost never (only for a tiny minority is price) a significant factor in piracy.

Re:Reality complete trumps this study! (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495932)

Yes that's why Amazon and iTunes failed. I mean, nobody wanted to buy anything... oh... wait.

I have a feeling that music piracy probably makes up less P2P traffic now than it has in years. Anecdotally, I have bought more music in the last year than the last half dozen.

And point me to one of these "invalidating" studies that wasn't commissioned directly or indirectly by the very industries that want to artificially inflate prices.

Re:Reality complete trumps this study! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495968)

I don't know what you're smoking, but it's got to be good.

First person experience.

Apps in the Android store. Most are less than $1-3. I never bother to pirate anything - I don't even really think about it. Buy it, try it. If it's a total dog, I'll ask for a refund.

I have owned Palm devices for easily 10 years before now. Palm apps? Well they started at $10 and went up. Some were more than $100. Was there a very prolific "pirate" scene. Certainly.

But, now that an app - is 90% - 99% cheaper, the effort to try to get it for free just isn't there. Further, I expect many vendors are making MORE money too. [There's certainly more devices, but my guess is that there's lots more incentive to buy an app you might only use occasionally. So, the result is a higher percentage of the "pool" actually buying your app.]

So, while there's always someone willing to spend 30 minutes to pirate a $1 app/song/etc - it's not very high.

But, IMO, there's many more people involved in buying and being happy with the situation when the prices are reasonable. When they're not, people will be willing to jam a stick in your eye just to spite you - just to stick it to the man.

I think the effects are obvious. Low pricing and reasonable perceived value will make the effort to "pirate" not worth it, in general.

Offer more value (5, Insightful)

Khopesh (112447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495790)

the only way to tackle it is for copyright holders to charge consumers less money for their wares

... or add more value. Make the box something customers want, use e-ink displays on something included in the package. Stuff a Tee shirt or roll a poster in there. Add more digital content (games, featurettes, etc) since the file-sharing content tends to be just the bare product. Add a raffle ticket to each purchase that could win some one-of-a-kind memorabilia or else a signed picture.

This isn't hard, nor is it novel. The cost of this media has stayed reasonably steady while its perceived value has dropped considerably. I haven't downloaded a movie in the past 5+ years, yet I've stopped buying them new. Five years ago, I'd buy a used movie for $10 as long as it had some featurettes. Now, my threshold is probably $7, which is four dollars less than five years ago (when adjusting for inflation). I bought In Rainbows [slashdot.org] for $5 and the Humble Indie Bundle [slashdot.org] for $20.

Price and convenience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35495800)

An out of the home pirate can produce a new DVD of new content on the order of $2 each.
And that out of the home pirate can deliver to you for $5 to your office (150% markup on first DVD, 900% markup on each following one).

That's better than what I get for duck eggs by the dozen.

Reducing the price is key in the digital world. (5, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495822)

Reducing prices makes a big difference in how the consumer perceives what they bought. It is actually rare to have a company succeed by increasing prices by distorting the value of their product (for example, Apple). The music industry for example has super high prices and those prices have been extremely high forever. Even at $10.00 per CD the prices is outrageous.

Lately I've heard about how some book and program authors have made significantly more money selling their products at $.99 than even at $2.99. Sometimes the income has risen dramatically. The problem with the music industry is that they want to keep their old business model and sell at the same price thus keeping themselves living as billionaires. The consumer on the other hand has said "definitely no" to those prices. Music stores have gone out of business and the sales emphasis is really focused on digital online sales. But the music industry keeps pushing the numbers because they think they'll make even more if they box us into their old price structure.

The internet changes one significant variable. That is distribution. The internet gives everyone a chance to open their own stores online. Buy what you need JIT and resell. You do the shipping and maintain a minimal workforce. Contrast that with what the music industry wants--to control distribution. In controlling that channel they can determine the prices, even going so far as having the RIAA member companies fix the prices. The internet widely opens almost every market to anyone. Getting your target audience's attention or even growing your target audience is vastly simplified. This is far different than it was even 30 years ago.

The consumer knows it costs less to produce digital works and to distribute them, therefore there's no need to keep paying the high price, so they download the music for free instead of caving in to the music industry's demands. What the music industry doesn't understand is that the ability to get the attention of more people and to let them sample the music is vastly increased via the internet. That means they can continue to grow their businesses with digital sales at significantly lower prices because of that access.

So, to me, the basic premise of price reduction is spot on. Dunce-heads in various industries affected by free digital downloads are killing their own business and giving away the market to others to control (i.e., Apple, Amazon, etc.) To those dunce-heads: lower your prices because we the consumer know that your costs are significantly reduced and your access to the consumer is vastly expanded. And, while you are at it, go back and give those artists what they deserve and stop stealing from them.

The only way? Stop? (3, Interesting)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495856)

It's naive to think it's the only way, or to think it will actually stop it.

It will reduce piracy, at least among groups that are motivated to pirate based on the price barrier, but that's not the only type of group.

From my experience, pirates tend to be broken up into these main categories:

- People who pirate because they can't afford to be legit (at least not on everything), or simply think the prices are too high and refuse to pay the price being asked.
- People who pirate because they are digital hoarders, and they wouldn't care what the price is. They just collect data for bragging rights, to explore all the data that's out there, for trading, or 'just in case' they need or want it one day (or in case someone else might want or need it.) Or maybe it's just to be rebellious.
- People who pirate for trial purposes, to help them in making a buying decisions. Despite skepticism to the contrary, some of these actually buy.
- People who pirate in order to avoid the bad user experiences that are often associated with buying legitimately these days, and who might actually be legit if there were less hassle involved.

Stop piracy? Doubtful (1)

fletcherfinn (2017690) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495918)

Even if price were cut, things would still not be free. As long as there is some kind of price other than completely free, piracy will still occur. That's just the way things go. Even if it all cost one cent, people would rather get something for free than go digging for their wallets to get that penny. Just my two "cents". Fletcher T. email marketing solutions [benchmarkemail.com] | email marketing services [benchmarkemail.com]

Good news for A = Bad news for B (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#35495940)

This is what I've figured, and I have mixed feelings about it. As a consumer, of course I'm all in favor of lower prices. But as someone who hopes to create stories and art and software and other things, and to do that for a living, it's depressing. The Big Media represented by the RIAA and MPAA and a dozen or so novelists may be getting money for nothing and chicks for free, and there's the occasional two-guys-and-a-dot-com success story, but most independent creators (in various media) are already struggling to make a living at it, even with their prices "too high".

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account