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The Futility of the Ongoing Piracy War

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the get-me-a-copy dept.

Piracy 232

CowboyNeal writes: "It seems like the news on everyone's favorite most resilient BitTorrent site never ends, as we approach its ninth birthday in just a couple days. Google has even recently wiped TPB results from auto-complete searches. Last month Nick Bilton wrote a rather insightful piece in the NYT (also covered on Slashdot), about 'Why Internet Pirates Always Win.' Read on, as I examine not only why he's right, but how piracy could be further curbed already."

In Nick Bilton's article, he compares the battle of content owners versus pirates to a game of Whac-A-Mole, and concludes that "Sooner or later, the people who still believe they can hit the moles with their slow mallets might realize that their time would be better spent playing an entirely different game." Whether it's Apple's iTunes Music Store, or Valve's Steam gaming service, both retail services and the content providers that publish via those services, have been able to make some tidy profits off their content, even despite the presence of Megaupload, The Pirate Bay, Archie, Usenet, local dial-up BBSes, and any countless other number of ways that people have been pirating for years. Right now, the powers that be, the MPAA and the RIAA, are fighting the same losing war that has been fought for decades already. Indulge me for a moment, as I engage in CowboyNeal story time, and tell a nostalgic tale of a bygone era.

As a kid, I was lucky enough to have my own computer. While the idea of the Internet was long way off yet, those of us in the neighborhood did know everyone else in the neighborhood that owned a computer, because that was how we got software. It wasn't uncommon for any of us kids to throw a box of floppy disks into our backpacks and bike over to someone else's house to share software, so that we could get new games and other software. We didn't set out to do this to rob anyone, it was just how we got by. Growing up in the 1980s, my allowance was $1/week, which was low even by 1980s standards. The average price for a computer game was around $25 to $35 for a new release. Even while supplanting my allowance with whatever I earned from doing work around the neighborhood or picking up pop cans, it took a long time to save up for a game. So, I and most other kids did the only logical alternative: we pirated software. None of us even owned a modem yet in those days, but we all knew someone who knew someone who did, and eventually cracked games would make their way from the BBS scene into our hands, and give us new games without having to pay for them. What I should note here, before all of us kids look like greedy little thieves, is that when I did eventually save up my money, I would still inevitably spend it on the software that I wasn't able to get via pirating. I still remember saving up the money to purchase the original John Madden Football. It cost $32, and came with printed playbooks to help players choose their plays, and most relevant to this article, a decoder wheel which contained a plethora of codes, that needed to be entered before a game could start. It was essentially an early version of DRM, because while the decoder wheel wasn't immune to piracy, without either a photocopy of the innards of the wheel or the wheel itself, there would be no kickoff. While the rudimentary decoder-wheel-based DRM had been defeated, that cracked copy hadn't found its way to any of us in the neighborhood yet. This scenario could be repeated for any number of 8-bit computer games. So while still a pirate, I was still giving the computer software industry all of my money — what little there was of it.

Now, let's go back to the present, and address Nick Bilton's "different game." What the industry still hasn't realized after all these years is that there's not just pirates and legal purchasers. Even people who pirate the same piece of software may do so for vastly different reasons. A good share of them are like me as a kid, pirating because they simply cant afford to buy it legitimately. Then there's the anti-DRM crowd, who refuse to pay for anything that has any sort of DRM involved with it. There's also the "try-before-I-buy" folks who are willing to pay, but they're frugal with their money and don't want to buy something they'll regret later. Some people who pirate content do so simply because it's easier than paying for it. Last are the people who pirate just for the sake of pirating. This last group is the one that no law, no PR junket, and no DRM will ever stop. They will always "win," if winning means pirating. It's also key to understand that a single person can belong to one or more of these demographics, or invent their own reasons for whether they will pirate or not. Maybe someone pirates a game, then later decides he want to play it online or that he likes it and want to support it. Suddenly a pirate is now a paying customer.

Lode Runner came with 150 levels, but my pirated copy crashed after level 33. Eventually I bought my own copy so that I could see the rest of the game. Okay, honestly, I never saw all of Lode Runner, but I still got to play level 34 and onward. After a year of owning John Madden Football, Electronic Arts mailed me a disk with the next year's teams on it. They didn't continue that practice very long, and started releasing a new game ever year instead.

The industry can't ever truly win this war. The best they can hope for is to curb as much of it as they can. Services like iTMS and Steam are able to corral the people who just want easy access. Humble Indie Bundles and GOG.com work for people who want DRM-free games. But even these only address small pieces of the larger pie. As referenced in the NYT article, what about people who want to watch "Game of Thrones" without buying cable or some kind of DRM-laden copy of it? Piracy is their quickest, easiest path to watching it. While we've concluded that the industry won't ever win, until the industry overlords address their methods of content delivery and take into account why people pirate, they cant even hope to make a lasting impact against piracy.

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232 comments

Next in the series: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41335993)

The Futility of the Ongoing War Against Robbing Liquor Stores

Re:Next in the series: (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336243)

Sure...

Copying stuff is the same as taking physical things and shooting people in the process.

Can we shoot you the next time you speed or jaywalk? We would only be applying your own standards to you.

Re:Next in the series: (2, Interesting)

kiwimate (458274) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336905)

Slashdotters are the first to attack people who supposedly don't recognize that technology has introduced a new paradigm and we must think about things in a different context.

Why is it, then, that they immediately retreat into the anachronistic "you're not depriving anyone of anything, it's not theft, therefore it's okay" argument when it comes to piracy?

(Rhetorical question, in case anyone doesn't get it. The answer, of course, is because this argument allows pirates to justify their activities.)

How about recognizing for once that digital distribution is a new phenomenon and these kinds of comparisons are simply wrong?

Re:Next in the series: (5, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337015)

That's not the same standards.

There's a larger issue here. What the content cartels are doing is un-American and dangerous.

Their business model is no longer working for them overall. The market has shifted. In a free market, they would go out of business. Instead of shifting their model to meet the market, they have bought legislation which eliminates all the risk for them.

Case in point as mentioned above. HBO. I grew up with it. Now I can't afford it and want to watch it. I will not subscribe to cable just for the luxury of getting HBO. I can afford HBO. I can't afford cable, nor do I want to watch 98% of what they're offering. The market isn't buying. The market is adjusting. The market wants easy access and is willing to pay reasonable costs. iTMS sells a ton of TV shows. Even then they're still priced too high. HBO has an online streaming offering, but only as a way to entice subscribers. This is where it goes all wrong.

They are heeding the easy access part. That's HBO-GO. Where they derail is the existing subscribers part. A cable subscription now costs about $38 a month. Add HBO and that's another $15 a month. All of that when all I want is HBO-GO. Bundling is bad. The Benefit goes entirely to the provider. If the company just offered HBO-GO for $15 a month I would gladly pay that.

The other side of that coin is the easy access part. The content is delayed for those who only use HBO-GO even though they are subscribers. In fact, all online content is delayed. Hulu, netflix, crackle, iTMS, google play, viacom, ABC, and CBS.
Delayed by only a day is PBS. This is not the easy access we want. We want it available immediately after air. But the content cartels want to keep their fees rolling in by making it less attractive for people to get what they want while not actually delivering it. This seems like collusion to me.

I remember a time when DSL was only offered by the phone company. Then the government set forth regulations which allowed for competition in 1996. Business was too good for so many when the industry bought their way out of it. Now the content cartels also have a lock on access and distribution. And the consumer loses. Offer what people want and they will pay for it.

Re:Next in the series: (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337607)

On the other hand one also has to see some websites like 9gag and FunnyJunk critically, that mostly copy from other websites, web comics, people even scan pages of books, and often enough without giving credit. On rare occasions there is a link to the original. And you have to wonder, is it ok if we can consume media without ever crediting the authors? Is it the job of the authors to run around on the internet and take down things?

The argument people make for music is that it will be advertising and people will buy the albums then. I actually discovered music online and bought CDs because of that. But is the ratio correct? I've seen musicians (not just labels) complain that it just doesn't work and that young upcoming artists suffer because of it. Just because pirates think they're allowed to do whatever they want -- because they don't earn money, because they already paid on another CD, because they'll stick it to record companies, ... or whatever excuses they come up with -- doesn't mean that system will work for everyone.

Free sharing is a double-edged sword. When nobody knows you, it's good to through your stuff out there and get you known. But starting up getting some money back must be extremely challenging.

What's interesting to me (4, Insightful)

Loughla (2531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336037)

I've never actually thought about that before - that the MPAA and RIAA consider only two types of people - those that buy something because they want it, and those that pirate it because they don't want to pay for it.

It's a false black-and-white that is, like most things, mostly made up of gray. This might be a dumb question, but have there been any "contact us" or any sort of "are you a pirate and why" surveys, that can be taken anonymously of course, put out by the content owners? If not, why not?

Re:What's interesting to me (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336131)

That's because media can't be controlled like everything else. For example: You can't travel to Europe for free, just to see if you're going to like it, but you might watch a new movie release without paying for it, simply because you can.

Re:What's interesting to me (3, Interesting)

Raistlin77 (754120) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336655)

...For example: You can't travel to Europe for free, just to see if you're going to like it...

Analogy fail. You absolutely can travel to Europe, or almost anywhere for that matter, for free [matadornetwork.com] .

Re:What's interesting to me (5, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336347)

that the MPAA and RIAA consider only two types of people

That's because they don't care *why.* All they care about is that they saw your IP in a bit torrent swarm, and now they can sue you for $150,000 according to the law. It doesn't matter if you intend to try and buy, or to backup a copy you bought legitimately, or to circumvent DRM. It doesn't matter if it was even you! It could have been a visitor, or a neighbor, or a hacker, or a spoofer. Doesn't matter to them. All they care about now it that they can subpoena your identity and send you an extortion letter, threatening to sue you for $150,000 if you don't give them $3000-$5000 (or I've seen as much as $10,000).

And I mean, why should they care? Why would they ever care about turning you into a legitimate customer who purchases their goods for $30 - $60, when you can be a no good dirty pirate and they can shake you down for $3000? Piracy is much more profitable for them, thanks to our broken copyright legislation.

Re:What's interesting to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336505)

Also the fact that most of the stuff they're producing these days is pretty rubbish, so instead of admitting that sales are down because no-one like "Mega Explosions 12" they can point at piracy and claim they're the reason sales are down.

Re:What's interesting to me (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336687)

>>>And I mean, why should they care?

They'll care when I bust-down the door with a semiautomatic and start tearing them open with bullets. I don't understand why a guy like Jamie Thomas, who is being raped with a million dollar fine he will never be able to payoff, is just sitting idle. If I were Jamie I'd already be breaking into the RIAA offices. If you're gonna be punished with a life sentence paying a fine, might as well make it for something worthwhile (murder). "From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants. Protest is its natural fertilizer." - Thomas Jefferson

Re:What's interesting to me (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337369)

Yeah, I'm waiting for the day. They've targeted 300,000 people so far, and they hang over their head the potential that their life will be ruined if they don't pay up. It's only a matter of time before they go after someone who really has nothing left to lose, and their extortion attempt is the last straw.

Re:What's interesting to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337467)

Jammie Thomas is a woman... with a name like Jammie I'd have thought that was obvious.

Re:What's interesting to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337659)

The Hyneman [wikipedia.org] would like a word with you.

Re:What's interesting to me (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337717)

They'll care when I bust-down the door with a semiautomatic and start tearing them open with bullets.

No, they won't. After all, you'll only kill servants. The IP barons of the 1% sit safely behind their fortresses and simply have their PR people use the incident to push for tighter gun control for peons.

"From time to time the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants. Protest is its natural fertilizer." - Thomas Jefferson

And just like Jefferson failed to end his own tyranny over his slaves, the people who quote him end up doing nothing effective, thus the tree stays a seed, living or dead is anyone's guess. That's the history of humanity in a nutshell. And there it shall remain.

Re:What's interesting to me (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336939)

But why settle for $3000 when they can get $3030? The DRM still cost them a sale, no matter how you slice it. The suing-people-for-profit part of the business has no reason to interfere with the traditional sales part. Something still doesn't add up.

Re:What's interesting to me (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337317)

Let's say you sell a video game for $60. You don't put any DRM in it and 1000 people buy it. You make $60,000. Now let's say you put DRM in your video game, and 50% of the people who would have bought your game don't. Now you only make $30,000. But you set up a spy on bittorrent, and you record 30 addreses downloading your game, DRM free. You get a subpoena for those addresses and send settlement letters to those people for $3400. Let's say 30% of those people settle without a fight, netting you $60,000. You're breaking even with just 9 people settling with you.

From the lawsuits though, we see that copyright holders are suing thousands of users and seeing a 25-35% settlement rate for multiple thousands of dollars each. So as the math works out, for a $60 game, settling with one alleged pirate (remember, it doesn't matter if you actually did the infringing, it could have been someone on your account, someone hacking, someone spoofing your IP etc.) compensates for losing 50+ sales.

Re:What's interesting to me (3, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336415)

have there been any "contact us" or any sort of "are you a pirate and why" surveys, that can be taken anonymously of course, put out by the content owners? If not, why not?

Such a survey would be an admission that, in fact, some amount of blame can be assigned to the entertainment companies for their own difficulty in getting more people to pay them. It would say that they need to actually compete with downloading, rather than just hijack law enforcement agencies and bog down courts with lawsuits. So I would not hold out any hope for such a survey.

Re:What's interesting to me (4, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336419)

The #1 thing they forget to address is: people who can't even pay them due to region locks, etc. Their own control and attempt at release windows prevents a variety of global customers from even giving them their money.

Re:What's interesting to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336581)

As another anon said [slashdot.org], I don't think the MPAA/RIAA/etc are that stupid. They probably do know it's not black and white. They probably even know it's a hopeless battle.

But they still do it, to make it look like they're doing something to protect their member companies. Their member companies in turn do it to make it look like they're protecting shareholder value.

Oh sure, they could protect shareholder value by becoming the next iTunes or Steam, but Sturgeon's Law applies to businesses/management as much as anything else: 90% of them just are good enough to become the next iTunes or Steam.

Now, weaker companies do eventually die off. But since most people don't want to die voluntarily, they'll put up a struggle as they go down, hoping that one of those struggles leads them to be the next big thing.

Re:What's interesting to me (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337253)

They probably do know, but the reason they don't care is because they are trying to not muddy the waters with people's reasons. Most of those reasons also boil down to "I just want it for free", but the nuances are a pain in the ass the have to address. So, what they do is simply consider all piracy to be motivated by the same reasoning, usually the worst possible reasoning.

They stay on message when the message is: "These pirates are stealing from content creators. Without the money that pirates are stealing from us, we cannot support our business. We need the money to employ people and make new games/music/whatever. Every pirated item is a sale lost, so that is equal to stealing. Pirates are stealing and all good people know that stealing is wrong. Pirates know they are stealing, which makes them criminals. There is no good excuse for stealing."

Why address their distribution methods, or the DRM issues, or the quality of their games, or the fact that not every download is a lost sale, when they don't have to? They just tell you that it is stealing and there is no excuse for stealing. If they say it enough, people start parroting that line. Once they remove any nuances from the debate, they start acting as if copying a game is the same as losing thousands of dollars worth of sales.

As someone else pointed out, they make more money on one pirate they sue than they would from that person if they were a legitimate buyer of games/tracks for their entire life. I'd wager the smarter of them are probably fine with the fact that they can't get them all. In fact, some of them probably have no interest in completely smashing piracy at all. They get free publicity and distribution of their games/music/movies to people who wouldn't have bothered paying for it, and then they make up for that by just finding someone to sue to make the money back that might possibly have been lost from some actual lost sales.

Re:What's interesting to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337661)

Personally, I don't buy the "they make more money suing" thing. I mean, do lawyers and lobbyists cost nothing? Does the investigative work to find "pirates" (more like IP addresses) cost nothing? Anti-piracy commercials also aren't free.

I suspect the ridiculous large sums they demand is partly due to the ridiculous amounts of money they're throwing to fight their losing battle.

Does developing DRM cost nothing? Those servers to setup always connected single player? If suing pirates yield more money, why even have DRM? Make it easy to pirate, then you have a larger pool of people to sue. Heck, pull a Sony and include a root kit so you can track those pirates easier!

Of course, as shown in how certain consumers react (i.e. us, on slashdot), such actions would discourage future sales (Sony in particular is an acceptable target here). It's a double standard to worry so much "potential lost sales" from piracy, but not from the bad PR

Re:What's interesting to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336707)

They care about control. It is not about you copying, it's about them being the only source. That's also why they used to go after the hosters, not the downloaders.

Any way you as a listener listen to their crap is good for them (that is, as long as you know their stuff and talk about it, they are fine with it).

Of course they won't come out and say it...

There are multiple studies already that show that the ones downloading also buy more stuff (not by them of course) and they could just read those if they wanted. But why? They already know...

Re:What's interesting to me (1)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337415)

I'm sure there have been polls taken in various places, but I doubt any of them have been conducted by the MAFIAA. They don't view any piracy as legitimate and don't want to engage pirates in discussion since they feel that would legitimize the pirates. They have been very clear on their stance of piracy and aren't interested in compromise, unless all of the compromising is done by the pirates.

The harder they try, the more they fail (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336053)

The problem is that, the more you try to lock things down, the more new ideas are invented that spur new innovations, leading to more hacking. Bit_Torrent was invented because all the Warez Websites were getting shutdown.

Re:The harder they try, the more they fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336453)

And torrents have been nice, but nobody has solved the real problem of anonymity. We try to mitigate the risk with proxy and VPN services, but we badly need something a little more like Bittorrent+Tor to become easy, functional, and ultimately, popular.

Once we have that OOB solution that's decentralized, works well, and deals with anonymity in a serious way, we'll have our next evolution. At the very least, we'd see a nice long hiatus from the insanity. At best we'd see changes in relevant markets, where TV, film, and music industries are forced to adjust.

Napster got us digital music sales of individual tracks. iTunes (and BT, et al) got us DRM-free music and legitimate video over the internet. Now we want more cost-appropriate, DRM-free television and film distribution. A la carte programming would be a huge step in the right direction. But we won't get any of that without a big stick to wield.

So, one of you unemployed people with the appropriate skillset... please feel free to start a kickstarter. I'm sure plenty of people would kick in to employ you for a year, developing an open source solution matching the criteria above.

Personal Computers (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336497)

The idea that we can just hack out new innovations is predicated on the existence of PCs and the Internet. Neither PCs nor the Internet are a given, and in fact, powerful people are working harder than ever to kill PCs and kill the Internet -- not just the MPAA, but also companies like Apple and Microsoft, the companies that were made possible by PCs.

If your computer would only run pre-approved software, downloading your entertainment would be substantially harder. Yes, people will find jailbreaks, but without a PC to work with, even that becomes harder.

The only disruptive technology relevant to this discussion is the PC.

Re:The harder they try, the more they fail (5, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336675)

Bit_Torrent was invented because all the Warez Websites were getting shutdown.

Uh... no.

Bittorrent was invented because its inventor correctly noted that given the essentially almost entirely serial nature of existing data communications, coupled with the fact that many upstream network paths are often saturated with other data that they are simply relaying, which limits serial throughput, simultaneously downloading different parts of the same content in parallel from different locations, and thereby using multiple network paths instead of only one, would complete faster than downloading it all from a single location.

Pirates quickly glommed onto this concept, and applied the protocol to distributing unauthorized copies of works because it was, in fact, so much faster than simply downloading it from a single source via ftp or conventional http.

Bittorrent was not invented for the purpose of piracy. Not remotely.

Re:The harder they try, the more they fail (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337063)

No, your wrong. The idea of breaking up files into multiple paths had already been invented before torrents. Tools like Edonkey or LimeWire could send files in pieces, but these services were getting shut down. If you have a central site where files can reside, they will go after that site. Bit_Torrent eliminated the need to centralize anything. All this was primarily designed to share files, legally or illegally.

Re:The harder they try, the more they fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337571)

Hah.

The demise of centralized services was due to media companies suing them out of existence, you're certainly right about that. The difference is that BitTorrent was invented as an automated protocol to decrease the bandwidth load on those who possessed a complete copy, not explicitly for piracy. It was designed to share files only inasmuch as Slashdot is now "sharing" its website with me. The claim that BitTorrent was invented for piracy is like saying the internet was invented for porn distribution, a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc.

AND (2)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337191)

Your point AND...
.

BT became a way for JoesSmallSite.com to dole out millions of copies of his Fabulous Bouncing Babies video without putting himself and his baby in the poor house.

Eh, maybe... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336069)

I don't imagine they're fooling themselves about stopping piracy, so much as maintain the appearance that there's a real (and somewhat severe) risk involved.

And from their perspective, they recently got megaupload, demonoid, and one of TPB guys. They probably think they're doing a pretty good job.

I fear for the private trackers. I imagine they're last on the list, due to limited membership and the relatively small impact it would have to get those folks, but that would hurt some otherwise savvy folks that kinda know what they're doing.

Re:Eh, maybe... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336533)

Speaking of PrateBay, where's that file mentioned in the article which holds all of their magnet torrents?

What about the Malware War? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336071)

Is defending one's hosts and devices against malware and spam a futile endeavor too, for many of the reasons Cowboy Neal describes?

Does that mean we all should just abandon the effort and move on to a different "model"?

There is a lot of pleading of self interest on these boards.

Re:What about the Malware War? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336305)

Cowards must be the masters of really retarded analogies.

Securing a "thing", any "thing", regardless of what that thing is is a far more finite problem than trying to capture the air. That's basically what any anti-piracy effort is attempting. You're trying to control the actions of EVERYONE rather than just focusing your effort in a single place (like a liquor store).

You're burning down your neighbors house to fight spam.

Piracy (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336081)

Most piracy doesn't happen online. Most of it happens in physical trades with people; Head over for a LAN party, leave the 'download' drives connected so people can swap stuff. Someone expresses an interest in another's favorite TV series... out come the disposable flash drives. Everyone has a laptop these days -- visiting a friend's house is a common occurrance, as is file trading. More piracy happens on those channels than online. People still loan each other their DVDs and blurays too (and rip them).

The analog hole will never be plugged, because it wears sneakers and goes through your fridge looking for a beer.

Re:Piracy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336237)

you can't possibly believe more file sharing happens in the physical world than via bittorrent alone. that's the dumbest thing i have ever heard

the majority of pirates are suffering from depression. depressed people don't go to parties.

get a job

Re:Piracy (4, Insightful)

jiteo (964572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336323)

I would really like to see a source for this. While I'm sure there's piracy happening offline, I find it very hard to believe that that's where the majority of piracy is happening.

Re:Piracy (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336437)

Considering that at my house last weekend there were over 28 terabytes of transfers done between 9 people..... I'm going to say he's fairly accurate.

Re:Piracy (5, Funny)

jiteo (964572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336471)

Information in DNA in sperm doesn't count.

Re:Piracy (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337409)

>>>>>28 terabytes of transfers done between 9 people
>>
>>Information in DNA in sperm doesn't count.

For most /.'ers including data transferred by DNA would still leave just 28 terabytes.

Re:Piracy (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336633)

Peer to Peer accounts for 40% - 70% of all internet traffic (source) [ipoque.com]. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of that isn't Linux downloads and WoW updates. Your 28 TB is a drop in the bucket.

Re:Piracy (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337085)

I would really like to see a source for this. While I'm sure there's piracy happening offline, I find it very hard to believe that that's where the majority of piracy is happening.

It'll be the same source that tells you most people smoke pot in their houses, not in front of the police station. Comeon buddy, look around: People are scared. The internet is increasingly under surveillance and the news is full of people going to jail and getting hundred thousand dollar fines for file sharing. Drug dealers get off easier, and the average person has noticed this by now. That doesn't mean the behavior stops, it means the behavior moves to places not under surveillance. And since this is how file sharing worked before the internet, and given the high storage density of portable media (64GB can fit on the tip of my finger) -- what other conclusion can you reach?

I'm sorry, but "citation needed" isn't a pancea; it can be trumped by "Common sense." Google it yourself if you're so inclined, but I'm not wasting time online to find a citation for the obvious for you.

Re:Piracy (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337107)

The analog hole will never be plugged

Until secure boot is mandatory, and your OS refuses to play any file that hasn't been blessed by the MAFIAA. We're heading to a post general purpose computing world, where common computers are appliances which heavily restrict what one can do with them.

Re:Piracy (1)

euxneks (516538) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337111)

The analog hole will never be plugged, because it wears sneakers and goes through your fridge looking for a beer.

Queue the sexual innuendo and/or constipation jokes...

Re:Piracy (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337657)

Most piracy doesn't happen online. Most of it happens in physical trades with people; Head over for a LAN party, leave the 'download' drives connected so people can swap stuff. Someone expresses an interest in another's favorite TV series... out come the disposable flash drives. Everyone has a laptop these days -- visiting a friend's house is a common occurrance, as is file trading. More piracy happens on those channels than online. People still loan each other their DVDs and blurays too (and rip them).

The analog hole will never be plugged, because it wears sneakers and goes through your fridge looking for a beer.

This is not even illegal in many European countries (is it in the US?). It goes under fair use to share stuff with friends / family -- this was also true for tapes, CDs, etc. It's a whole different story if you make money from it, and if you do it with random people on large scales.

It's been said a thousands times before... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336093)

People that pirate:

1. Don't ever intend to buy the software. Even if you gave them $1000 bucks they wouldn't bother buying Photoshop CS Infinite edition.
2. Often just want to hoard the software, or get it for their broke friends. "Cool look what I have!"
3. The numbers of people that pirate are based on shoddy statistics that are designed to inflate the problem.
4. I've yet to read a study that shows that people with the absence of pirating sites will convert to actual customers.
5. Ironically some people that pirate may in the long run buy the software anyway. This goes against #1, but "in the long run" means years later when they have money.

Re:It's been said a thousands times before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336397)

Someone with points please mod parent up. This is the truth!

Re:It's been said a thousands times before... (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337133)

Not entirely true. How many paying customers do you think Diablo 3 or WoW would have if people could hack it for free?

Nostalgia (1)

TheMathemagician (2515102) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336105)

Ah this took me back to pirating ZX Spectrum games at school in the 1980s. We bought software too, lots of it, but shared it out amongst ourselves. A utility called "The Key" was able to copy games initially but then the makers got smarter and started customising their loaders, but by then, armed with my "Complete ZX Spectrum ROM Disassembly" I was still able to stay ahead of the curve. We also defeated the lightly coloured code sheets of tiny symbols by a simple divide-and-conquer strategy. Cutting the codesheet into multiple pieces, copying them out by hand, then photocopying them on the school photocopier (at a perfectly reasonable 5p/sheet).

Sci Fi (2)

carrier lost (222597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336115)

...the people who still believe they can hit the moles with their slow mallets might realize that their time would be better spent playing an entirely different game.

A fictional account [botaday.com] of "an entirely different game"

Good insight, but not new information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336125)

I love the article, but you didn't tell me anything we as an industry don't already know. Of course people want cheaper media and easy delivery. Tell us how to do it and still satisfy both users and investors.

Re:Good insight, but not new information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336207)

I'm afraid that would require the "industry" to not be extremely greedy.

Re:Good insight, but not new information (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336537)

I love the article, but you didn't tell me anything we as an industry don't already know.

I guess you skipped the important part. Again.

Of course people want cheaper media and easy delivery. Tell us how to do it and still satisfy both users and investors.

Cheaper media? You've got a one-off production cost then zero distribution/duplication costs. The main problem with people like you have is not seeing the zero.

Easy delivery? Your customers are connected to the network. If it's difficult for them it's your own fault.

I guess you closed your eyes when you got to the part about Steam and iTunes. They both addressed these two points and they're both making money hand-over-fist.

There's a whole series of articles here [techdirt.com] (click around and follow the embedded links to find the others).

The solution is obvious: Privateers (1, Offtopic)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336139)

If we just arm other pirates with Letters of Trademarque that show they work for the King or Queen, I'm sure we can solve this once and for all.

After all, it's not like large impersonal corporations which care nothing about human rights are monetizing works of arts from actual Persons who are not corporations, for their own personal aggrandizement.

I claim First Postal Watermarque!

Content owners love piracy (4, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336147)

The premise of the article is that content owners want to stop piracy. This, I would argue, is not always correct, as US copyright law allows some copyright holders to collect more money from content infringers than they would ever make from legitimately selling their product without any copyright infringement. Take a look at the RIAA and the porn industry. The porn industry alone has sued over 300,000 individuals for downloading porn over bittorrent, and has sued each for $150,000. They settle about 30%-50% of the cases for an average of $3,400. That's $300 - $500 million from suing infringers. How much do you think they make selling copies of their films at $30 a pop, or a subscription to a website for $15 a month? The RIAA just got a judgement for $200,000 reaffirmed, and you can bet they're going to hold that over the head of anyone they send a settlement offer to. Don't want to pay $200,000 like this lady? Settle now for the low low price of $5000, more than you'll spend in you're entire life on legitimately purchased CDs.

Seriously, this is just the beginning. The music industry is stepping back in the game [wordpress.com] after years of dormancy, following the road the porn industry has paved with their nation-wide network of copyright litigation.

Oh, and I forgot the best part: by their own estimate, at least 30% of the people they sue are not actual infringers. But they'll be glad to take your ass to court for $150,000 per infringement and potentially ruin your life based on shoddy, untested, unverified, unregulated, unlicensed "forensic" IP evidence.

So no, this is not about "The industry winning and stopping copyright infringement." This is about their ability to monetize infringement through the judicial system.

Re:Content owners love piracy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336577)

Your post is a good summary, but there are a few things I'd like to clarify.

The bittorrent infringers have not been sued for $150k each. In fact, some of the copyright trolls have NOT SERVED A SINGLE John Doe despite filing 50+ lawsuits. These suits are filed against tens or hundeds - sometimes more than a thousand - Doe defendants. Once the DOE identify is known, settlement demands are made for $2k to $5k depending on the specific circumstances; $3400 is an oft-cited number because Prenda Law, one of the WORST copyright trolls, typically offers settlements for that amount. The settlement demands are RARELY followed with litigation, and when they litigate, they often fail miserably. In fact, many defendants file counter-claims and some have won settlements against the trolls. They have weak evidence, if any, and don't want their evidence gathering methods subject to discovery.

They have thousands of names to chose from and have served a tiny, tiny percentage of the named defendants. Your chances of being served are a tiny fraction of a percent, even if you're named. If you receive a letter regarding Bittorrent infringement, DO NOT SETTLE. This nothing but an EXTORTION scheme and fortunately judges are catching on to it quickly. One of the worst trolls was just sanctioned by a judge in Florida and the bar is giving him a good dressing down as we speak.

   

Re:Content owners love piracy (3, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337033)

The bittorrent infringers have not been sued for $150k each.

True, but that doesn't really matter. It's the mere fact that they could be sued for that much is enough to make settling for $3,400 seem reasonable. That and attorney's fees + time of fighting a lawsuit. But if the law were sane, and you could only sue an infringer for say treble damages, copyright holders would only be able to sue for $100 at most. Of course, their side of the argument is going to be "Actual damages are incalculable because the file sharer influenced not only one sale but every other share in the future forever," which in my opinion is complete bullshit.

Re:Content owners love piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336629)

This is about their ability to monetize infringement through the judicial system.

You're absolutely right. In fact, some pornographers have been bragging on forums about how much money they've made from their extortion schemes. It's often a magnitude more than they make from their monthly subscription fees. Unfortunately, the lawyers keep approximately 90% and the copyright holders get 10%. If the copyright holders are making that much, how much are the lawyers making? Millions....

Re:Content owners love piracy (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337731)

Don't want to pay $200,000 like this lady? Settle now for the low low price of $5000

I have often wondered if they created theses cases as examples.
Here is how it could work:
Hire someone to get sued.
Have then put up a terrible defense, ignore good advise. Do anything to lose, and lose big.
Get a huge settlement.

Use the settlement, as an example to get others to settle. (AKA: Profit)

Sorry if I got any terminology wrong, IANAL (Obviously).

Birthdays (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336177)

It seems like the news on everyone's favorite most resilient BitTorrent site never ends, as we approach its ninth birthday in just a couple days.

They've had nine birthdays in just a couple days? Okay, look, the piracy is one thing, but this is just dishonest!

Original content, not dubbed (1)

morcego (260031) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336199)

I pay for cable, and even then still download most of my shows. Why ? I want the original content. I don't want the translated content, dubbed by people who can't express emotions with their voices if their lives depended on it. Yes, I understand that most people can barely speak 1 language, let alone that of another country, so they need dubbed content. And they are too slow to read subtitles, which are an acceptable alternative as far as I'm concerned. But my cable (well, satellite, really) provider technology offers alternative audio tracks and off band subtitles, so in theory one could turn them on or off. But, so far, that only happens consistently in 1 (ONE!) channel of my 80+ channels package.

So yeah, I pay for cable, but will still download it, and I feel perfectly fine about it.

Re:Original content, not dubbed (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336849)

I guess you mean anime dubs. After watching the english versions on TV I've tried watching the original Japanese and guess what? I don't find them to be any better. Sometimes worse. (Example: The Japanese version of FF10's Tidus sounds completely wrong for a scrawny guy like the character.)

And good point about the dual audio. Digital TV was supposed to be better than Analog because of the picture, but also the ability to send multiple languages. Unfortunately the feature is almost-never used. For example Telemundo is supposed to broadcast both english & spanish audio, but every local station I've watched strips the english. Stupido.

Re:Original content, not dubbed (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337163)

An interesting (to me anyway) legal question there is why is there such a difference? If a show comes on cable and I record it, that's perfectly legal. If my power blinks and I miss the 1st 5 minutes, I might download the torrent and suddenly it's many thousands in liability? Even if the show will re-run next week and I just didn't want to wait? How can that be just?

Classic BBS nostalgia (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336205)

BBSs where you knew the house that hosted the board. Online with a sneakernet accelerator.

who leaks the content weeks before release? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336225)

you can get blu ray rips of movies weeks before blu ray street date. it's not 16 year old teenie ninjas breaking into high security factories stealing this stuff to post it on BT. the content owners "leak" their content. or they don't put enough protection into the system to ensure that it doesn't leak

Re:who leaks the content weeks before release? (1)

na1led (1030470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337213)

No. These movies are released to retailers and other places weeks before they are allowed to sell them. All it takes is 1 employee to sneak the video online.

Re:who leaks the content weeks before release? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337447)

The distribution channel is the one that leaks it. Believe it or not, the DVDs and BluRays aren't pressed the night before they are launched. In a past life I worked at Blockbuster. At the time we were still entirely VHS tapes. We would receive a shipment of movies either for rental or for purchase in some cases a month or two before they were to be released. Often it was 1-2 weeks prior.

All those movies that we received came from some distribution center. And those came from a distributor. And those from whoever did the actual transfer to tape from some source material the studio gave them. Tapes have been essentially dead a long time but it's even easier for a extra copy to slip out the door at any step of the process.

You forgot a type of pirate... (5, Interesting)

LinuxGrrl (123916) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336295)

... The type who really would buy the content but it simply isn't available for purchase on any media in their territory, and probably won't be for a long time.

It's tough being a My Little Pony fan in the UK. :-) A more common example would be the Game Of Thrones example already best explained by the Oatmeal comic.

Re:You forgot a type of pirate... (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336587)

I live just below you and I have the same problem. There's no way to get some MLPFiM DVD set that I can purchase in my area. And even so, I'd like the original voices instead of the HORRIBLE local dubs, our local translation is shamefully amateur and the voices make my ears bleed. I resort to piracy which is also the only way to hear the original voices, which are great.
(Srsly they made Pinkie sound like a 50-60yo lady here, it's sooo wrong)

Try before the buy (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336321)

>>> There's also the "try-before-I-buy" folks who are willing to pay, but they're frugal with their money and don't want to buy something they'll regret later.

Hello.
There's also the group that thinks this is wrong, and have no objection to manufacturers refusing to take back crappy CD or DVD purchases. I don't like that group. (Even lowly candybar makers offer a return policy if the customer is dissatisfied.)

Re:Try before the buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336923)

I have no problem grabbing music or movies off the net that I have legitimately bought at some point, but the physical media wore out, or got damaged, or lost, etc. I paid them for it once. Not paying for it twice. For whatever reason I no longer have what I paid for, so I have no guilt getting a digital copy of same. Especially when they copy-protect/DRM so much of the physical stuff, and it was hard to make a backup of before the copy-protection defeating rips were available.

I don't generally go out and pirate stuff I've never had before, though, unless it's something I simply have no legitimate channel to get. Of course, if you release a really good song, and then decide I have to buy your whole crappy album *at a store*, and say on the news you won't put it in iTunes till you sell X thousand albums, I will probably find a digital copy of that one song for free. I would have happily paid 99 cents or whatever for it had you been smart and put it out there for me, though.

Google doesn't give back TPB? (1)

Jack9 (11421) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336339)

Who still uses TPB? I mean it's been a horrible resource as far back as I can remember. There's 5 different torrent sites that Google does return (since I've seen the results regularly) which are superior. Magnet links alone simplify locating torrents.

Don't forget the timeshifters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336511)

Under U.S. law, it is considered okay to record a broadcast for personal viewing at a different time.

Well, when someone downloads Game of Thrones (because it's the only thing on HBO that they like and they won't pay for a subscription), and then later actually buys the DVD/BluRay release of the show, then they're just timeshifting into the past to see the show before purchase.

Yeah, yeah, the law doesn't see it that way, but broadcasters should recognize that a lot of people act that way.

wrong (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336535)

He frames the definition of "win" incorrectly. If "win" means "possible to get media for free in some capacity" then yes, the pirates will always "win". But I'd argue a better definition is "easy for a non-technical person to conveniently access high-quality copyrighted media free of charge with no legal risk." If we use that definition then I don't think it's a given that the pirates will always win. Enforcement efforts have the potential to make it less easy (harder to find sites, sites frequently disappear, degraded throughput due to overuse, blocks that require technical knowledge to work around, garbage content masquerading as the real thing, etc.), more expensive (pay-per-byte price structures for network access) and more risky (draconian punishments, forcing ISPs to police activity and/or store data, etc.) Taken together these three may be enough to motivate many "casual" pirates to go legit. Will it make everybody do that? Certainly not. But it might make enough do it that the studios see it as a worthwhile investment to lobby for these types of policies.

The industry can't ever truly win this war (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336551)

>The industry can't ever truly win this war

That's never the purpose of law enforcement. Purpose of law enforcement is to minimize to a reasonable level.

Re:The industry can't ever truly win this war (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336717)

That's never the purpose of law enforcement. Purpose of law enforcement is to minimize to a reasonable level.

No, the purpose of law, and by extension law enforcement, is to improve society. Lifelong copyrights have not improved our society, and in fact, the current system protects entertainers who have given up on even trying to be original -- they keep making bad-to-mediocre remakes of old movies and condensing great stories into awful movies. Music is the same formula applied until people are sick of it. Video game makers attack our computers. Why are we enforcing laws that protect these people?

Re:The industry can't ever truly win this war (1)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337497)

improve society

Minimizing crime to a reasonable level IS improving society. So your comment on that is not a rebuttal, but a banal restatement.

lifelong copyrights

I don't know why this is even part of the conversation. If you go on TPB or any other torrent site, you will be hard pressed to find anyone seeking old material whose only protection is lifelong copyright. The majority of copyright infringement is on the latest releases, so your argument against lifelong copyright, while sensible and appropriate in a general discussion on copyright law, is not relevant in the case of media piracy.

they keep making bad movies

I can understand how that can be a valid reason for people who pirate in order to "try before you buy," but in no way is that a valid reason for the multitude of other excuses.

Artificial Scarcity (2)

iceaxe (18903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336555)

This is what happens when you have a large industry selling a product that has no measurable value. In the heyday of the recording industry, the companies manufacturing vinyl discs provided both a valuable physical product and the means of distribution. Same with moving pictures. Technology has now eliminated the value of both the physical medium and correspondingly the distribution of said medium. It will take time for the entrenched industry to fully adapt or die.

Commercial software had the problem of artificial scarcity almost from its beginning.

There is still all of the original value of the artistry and engineering to create the works of art and technology. However, monetizing the distribution of that valuable work may not always be as profitable as monopolizing distribution was in the past. So it goes.

Live music performance, the pleasure of viewing a film on a giant screen with great sound and comfort and that bathtub of popcorn, and similar experience based value are still worth paying for, for many people.

It's been interesting, watching this change over my lifetime. I expect many interesting twists and turns in the future, too.

The "pirates" win in the end (1)

virb67 (1771270) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336591)

Anything from which infinite copies can be made, instantly, and basically for free by anyone has no monetary value. The "pirates" realize this and are paying fair market value, which is zilch. The only way to convince them otherwise is with the threat of violence.

You accidentally a whole (0)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336621)

Read on, as I examine not only why he's right, but how piracy could be further curbed already."

Emphasis mine.

I read on, and then I re-read it a few times. Perhaps I missed it - but where is it examined how piracy could be further curbed already?

It's not extremely well-hidden in this part, is it?

It's also key to understand that a single person can belong to one or more of these demographics, or invent their own reasons for whether they will pirate or not. Maybe someone pirates a game, then later decides he want to play it online or that he likes it and want to support it. Suddenly a pirate is now a paying customer.

Because then I'd have to take away from it that piracy could be further curbed by just letting it happen in the hopes that the user will later make that decision to pay up.

It's not this bit either, right?

Lode Runner came with 150 levels, but my pirated copy crashed after level 33. Eventually I bought my own copy so that I could see the rest of the game.

Because if it were - without further context - I'd almost say that's DRM doing a pretty good job there. Maybe it was a bug that was also in the official game and for some reason a patch was never pirated, rather than a flaw in the crack. The 'read on' text doesn't mention.

Perhaps it's this 2-sentence piece in the last paragraph?

Services like iTMS and Steam are able to corral the people who just want easy access. Humble Indie Bundles and GOG.com work for people who want DRM-free games.

Well, certainly more such services would be good. Except.. not. Zune store thing didn't work out too well. Gamers aren't fond of installing Origin when they point to Steam. If anything, more such services means that it's more likely that some content is only available at X, and other content only available at Y, and now you need subscriptions to two services.

Besides, that very paragraph then follows up those two sentences with:

But even these only address small pieces of the larger pie.

So if those were supposed to be the examinations as to "how piracy could be further curbed already", then you just shot them down. Good job?

I don't get it.. I see a lot of complaining that the industry just doesn't get it, that they need to use the internet to their advantage, that they need to take a realistic outlook as to the various reasons for people pirating. But then when it's even stated that there will be suggestions as to how it can be curbed further... we're left hanging.

I have to say, though, this bit made me chuckle:

The average price for a computer game was around $25 to $35 for a new release [...] it took a long time to save up for a game. So, I and most other kids did the only logical alternative: we pirated software. [...] What I should note here, before all of us kids look like greedy little thieves, is that when I did eventually save up my money, I would still inevitably spend it on the software that I wasn't able to get via pirating.

Nobody here would suggest you looked like greedy little thieves - thievery implies theft, and copyright infringement isn't theft.
But when you go and try to make your past self look better by suggesting that when you did have money you would purchase software, only to point out that if you had been able to pirate it, you would have done so, and kept the money? I'd say you were greedy little somethings alright :)

Creativity is becoming illegal (4, Insightful)

jd659 (2730387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336639)

The humanity evolved and developed because we shared knowledge. Initially it was "you have a fire, let me borrow it", or "you figured how to make something better, let me take it and improve upon it". Until recently, the act of sharing was considered to be something good: "I enjoyed this book, please have it", "you need to move your lawn, feel free to borrow my mover". That has started to changed after large corporations started guarding their profits and came up with a loophole that essentially removes any ownership from the people. We don't own books, we only lease them; we cannot play music as we wish, improve on it or reproduce it without obliging to some stiff laws that came into play just recently to serve the interests of large corporations. Now the free thinkers who take an existing idea and make it better are being vilified. In fact, many things (and more are appearing) cannot even be taken apart without breaking some laws, they cannot be resold, they cannot be used creatively for something else. The fact that the piracy will not be defeated will be a minor point compared to majority embracing the notion that "doing something creative is bad and illegal, let's not do it."

no incentive in being creative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337059)

I'll be honest. I need to make payments to my car, house, and family (food, health). I make a living out of being creative. If my neighbor can "borrow" my idea or artwork as you so describe it, and sell it at 10% less and I lose all my customers, what's my incentive on being a content creator? I'd rather work in a machine shop or similar.

Let's be more specific. I spend $10,000 on my equipment, 4 years of formal training with $20,000 on student loans - this enables me to create a decent audio/ visual/ or some "creative" work in 3 days (or 24 hours). I want to sell it for $50 to each customer. I call it "licensing" because otherwise, they can not only re-sell the original copy, but also sell infinite duplicates for $49.99 (thereby skipping me as a source). If don't "license" it as the law defines it, the people who paid me have every right to sell duplicates and make profit from my labor.

Even if I license my work for $0.99 cents, there's nothing stopping the other guy from undercutting me to $0.50. The other guy's only cost was the original $50, and if he wants to recover that sum, he can go no lower than a penny and neither can I. That's the only price we can match in order to have some kind of gross profit. To me that's too low unless I have a very very high volume sales to counter that, which I don't.

Let me ask you this: as an independent artist, what is my incentive to keep creating content? In other words, how do I make a living? The notion that we will ride our copyrights/ patents forever is ridiculous because trends and tastes come and go (just look at fashion).

Anyways, I eagerly await your answer. /.'ers always seem to be full of answers like a crowdsourcing oracle.

Re:Creativity is becoming illegal (2)

cpghost (719344) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337781)

In fact, many things (and more are appearing) cannot even be taken apart without breaking some laws (...)

So what? Just because some sordid law forbids something doesn't mean it can't and shouldn't be done! Just look at all the laws that the Catholic Church imposed on Europe in the Dark Middle Ages. Do they still exist today? No. Why not? Because Enlightenment happened, and people started thinking: "That's a silly law. Let's ignore it." In a couple of decades, our children and their children will look back at our time, and will laugh about the Great Copyright Prohibition and will wonder how much time it took to get rid of it.

Huh (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336663)

The Futility of the Ongoing Piracy War

It's only futile if we assume that their objectives are, in fact, what they claim them to be. I, for one, don't have that much difficulty seeing through their bullshit...

thank you! (-1)

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The Cloud's the Thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41336807)

The more they push media into the cloud (Steam, Valve, etc.) and devices become like Android and the iPad with little on-board storage the more people will get used to the idea of subscription access to all content. How are you going to pirate a game that has its main source code on a cloud server? Music and videos are trickier, but in an age where most people have Internet access of some kind streaming can take over the DVD/MP3 industry completely. Why have 10,000 MP3's loaded on a device when we can stream what we want over 4G from our Amazon account?

There will be other users who are geeks, have a computer, and will screen capture a vid or exploit the "analog hole" to nab songs, but the vast majority of users will be running cloud services and their only access to the content will be to stream it. That will eliminate a very large amount of the kids out there stealing songs and duplicating games.

I'm not saying this is good. I like owning my media. I'm just saying this is the way it's headed. In a few years you won't be buying the latest video game. You'll be subscribing to it, downloading the big texture maps, and then connecting back to the server for the game logic. That's going to change things.

d (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336843)

I've got no problem with the concept of people doing bad things -- illegal or otherwise. Whether you steal a candy bar, graffiti a mailbox, or get a game without paying for it, these are all minor things that don't kill anyone. But whether or not the law as written or the law as enforced can or do count your actions as illegal, they most definitely aren't ethical by any consideration.

You're fabricating shades of grey just for fun. Still, throughout every shade, I don't want to be the guy who worked hard to create the content that you didn't pay for. It doesn't matter why. You weren't forced to play my game, child or not, affordable or not.

Case in point. If I make a game, choose to price it at six million dollars per copy, and choose to make it available only from one radioshack in the park, that's my right to do with my own creation. If you want to steal it, that's one thing. But you don't get to use my distribution and pricing as an excuse for your actions.

Man up. You stole it. It's not the worst thing that anyone has ever done. You did it intentionally. It wasn't a political protest. You wanted something and you didn't want to get it legitimately. Man up.

Here's another shade of grey. Commercial advertisements and news coverage and reviews make Game of Thrones sound like the greatest show ever. Professional marketing makes me want it like crack. So I'm addicted to it before I've ever seen it. And hence, I steal to support my addiction because it's not available through my cable provider.

Oh yeah, and I never learned to just say no to yet another derivative tv show.

Or, perhaps, I did; I've never seen the show, and really, I've survived just fine.

By the way, as a child, I stole a $0.05 candy coke bottle, in university I stole three bottles of five alive -- but only because I'd forgotten to pay for them, and didn't go back when I discovered so -- last year the wind took my car door into another car door and I didn't leave a note or anything -- I don't feel bad because the other car was more or less rusted through, not that my paint transfer improved it at all -- and while Game of Thrones easily passes me by, some shows don't.

Man up. It's not a good thing. And though I haven't killed anyone, I'm not proud of everything I've done, do, and plan to do. But hey I also plan to take advantage of a few social encounters this weekend. I don't always plan on being nice. Sometimes I plan to be selfish to.

And I definitely, frequently, and recreationally, drive well above the speed limit -- but not around schools.

Game of Thrones Options ... (5, Interesting)

jest3r (458429) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336863)

I don't typically watch much television but enjoy Game of Thrones.

To watch Game of Thrones legally ON MY Television HBO and Rogers (the local cable company) make me do the following:

1. Subscribe to the local cable company (most channels I don't want)
2. Upgrade to HD and get the HD PVR box (now paying for more channels I don't want)
3. Get the upgrade to HBO / TMN (paying for even more channels I don't want)
4. Wait once a week for the show to air (annoying)
5. Record it on the PVR so I can fast forward through commercials (even more annoying and at which point I'm not even watching it is real-time anyways)

All of the above costs well lover $100 per month (on a 1-year contract) in the Toronto area through Rogers. Just to watch one series !!!

Or the alternative:

1. Go online a few hours after the show airs, download to USB stick, plug into television and watch.

No wonder people "pirate" television!!!!

Dear HBO ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337003)

Why is it so difficult and so expensive to watch Game of Thrones the legal way??

It can be won (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336935)

Here is how Mr. "smartass" aaaaaaargh! tells the industry for free how to win the war against piracy for computer games (but similar things work in other sectors):

1.) Make a good, innovative game with procedurally generated levels and content (= extremely high replay value)

2.) If you're totally afraidthat people might actually like your game too much because of the first step, still do it, but charge for the next version of the game engine (e.g. people have to pay for better graphics and optimizations)

3.) Include useful and/or creative items in the box like a complete booklet, collectors items, etc. Heck, even including a whole set of high-quality game controllers is not unheard of...

4.) Do not rip off consumers, make the pricing fair and reasonable. Don't let them pay extra for point 3 (no collectors box, no deluxe edition! One edition for all.)

5.) Good customer service and realease modding/hacking tools for your games.

6.) Ignore the pirates.

Revenue and sustainable business development are ensured, until you're bought by EA games who will fuck up your studio.

Act the Pirate (1)

roccomaglio (520780) | about a year and a half ago | (#41336963)

During the piracy warning at the movies people have taken to sounding like pirates with arrrgs and saavy. This makes me laugh. Below is a snippet of Bob Mondello's interview with NPR about the Toronto Film Festival. MONDELLO: Well, yes, actually. At the beginning of all the public screenings - this doesn't happen so much with the critics' screenings, but when you're at a public screening as soon as they put up the screen that says to be careful not to record anything, the anti-piracy note, everybody starts making pirate noises and going argh, argh. It's a little strange. http://www.npr.org/2012/09/11/160966328/toronto-film-fest-offers-hints-of-oscar-contenders [npr.org]

The solution has always been (1)

gabrieltss (64078) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337147)

quit watching their shows, quit buying the DVD's, Blu-Ray's, quit going to their movies.l The ONLY thing the copyright holders/media companies understand is $$$$$$$. I disconnected my cable TV with Charter years ago. I have only gone to ONE movie in the theaters in the last 5 years (and that was only for an outing with friends). I haven't purchased a CD/DVD in years, I have refused to upgrade to Blu-Ray - unnecessary. All the DVD's I do own are good enough. I don't need to see the inside of a persons sweat glad on their face. If I want to listen to a CD or watch a DVD I go to my local Library - they have quite a large enough collection. Besides just about all the new music sounds like cr@p, the new movies are either poor remakes or are just plain cr@ppy movies. I only watch a little TV and that comes in over their air. The big media companies only understand $$$$ - take that away from them and what do they have? If enough people just stopped buying what they are selling you could send them into a tailspin. Of course they would just blame it on piracy again. But if no one even pirated their stuff what kind of argument would they have then?

VOTE WITH YOUR $$$$$!!

google is dead for search (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41337309)

I switched my firefox default engine to yandex and its working great, my 2nd choice is duckduckgo

if those don't work then I hit bing

all yandex needs is a the equivalent of the google blacklist domain firefox extension and it will be perfect, I would say it works as well as google 80% of the time

Big hammer (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337483)

With big enough hammers, you can whack a lot of moles. But also a lot of customers. Big media isnt helping to get sympathy hurting the ones that are willing to pay them refusing to sell (because they are at the wrong place), adding DRM that denies fair use, and adding a lot of unskippable "do not pirate" messages. That is something that goes straight to the legal, (still) willing to pay users, and in good part is absent to the ones that pirate it.

Instead of keep punishing everyone, accept that in digital copying happens, is basically the nature of digital things, so give something extra to legal customers, something not digital, i.e. cloud based services, discounts to live shows, or things like that, and turn them into loyal customers, instead of taking things away and turning them into even more moles.

Give them open source alternatives. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | about a year and a half ago | (#41337837)

I've installed or recommended OpenOffice/LibreOffice as a replacement for pirating MS Office a lot lately. It's not worth the hassle of dealing with MS Office's copy protection for most people. Plus, most people can't tell the functional difference anyway. Here's the usual list that I normally recommend for the average person.

VMWare/Parallel => VirtualBox
Photoshop => Paint.net (it's good enough for most basic jobs)
Nero => CDBurnerXP/ImgBurn
MS Office => OpenOffice/LibreOffice

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