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Thread: Piracy: The Dteam view

  1. #1

  2. #2
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    Hey thanks for posting that link. I'm wondering if you have any comments about the article?

    I think my tone was fairly unbiased, or at least that was my hope.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001
    Location: Cumbria, England

    Now thats sinister.

  4. #4
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    [quote]Now thats sinister.

    Okay you can elaborate now...

  5. #5

    I aggree, very sinister.

    Normal procedure for discussion:

    1, post link to article.
    2, people read article.
    3, if article is controversial, thought provoking, funny or otherwise we argue about it for weeks on end.

    You have upset the routine!

    I personally think the overall point of the article (regulate it rather than destroy it) is valid for many walks of life and not just software piracy. It has long been my view that governments should legalise drugs but tax the hell out of them to make it a profitless trade.

    Piracy is in the same league, people justify it with pointless arguments about how they would buy the program if they could afford it but we all know that 90% of those people wouldn't because they'd still rather save the money.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: St. John's, NF, Can

    Opinion:

    It's the dumbest article I've read in a long time. As long as you subscribe to the capitalist market as a valid system of trade, software companies have every right to charge whatever the hell they want for their product. The capitalist market system just about guarantees that if a particular price point is too high, the price is going to fall relatively quickly (or the company will die very quickly, same basic theory).

    If you don't want software that is "the shit" then go d/l GIMP. Same skills involved. Don't talk to me about technical advantages of the rich; I'm the brick wall and you're just banging. Of course the rich have an advantage. Money is its own justification under capitalist thought.

    ld

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Oxford, England

    Yeah I am not much of a fan of a de-regulated capitalist system but in the case of Photoshop there are so many other free or cheaper programs that you can develop skills on.
    'An anarchist is a liberal with a bomb'

    Trotsky

  8. #8
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    [quote]Originally posted by liquiddark:
    Opinion:

    It's the dumbest article I've read in a long time. As long as you subscribe to the capitalist market as a valid system of trade, software companies have every right to charge whatever the hell they want for their product. The capitalist market system just about guarantees that if a particular price point is too high, the price is going to fall relatively quickly (or the company will die very quickly, same basic theory).



    That is not necessarily true. Plenty of products remain inflated because their value presses the cost high. Supply and demand is really the law of capitolism, not ownership. You're on the right track but you are not quite there yet. My article is not a political one at all. It's merely discussing some ideas for limiting piracy and not quashing it entirely.

  9. #9
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    [quote]Originally posted by SchizoSlayer:
    I aggree, very sinister.

    Normal procedure for discussion:

    1, post link to article.
    2, people read article.
    3, if article is controversial, thought provoking, funny or otherwise we argue about it for weeks on end.

    You have upset the routine!

    I personally think the overall point of the article (regulate it rather than destroy it) is valid for many walks of life and not just software piracy. It has long been my view that governments should legalise drugs but tax the hell out of them to make it a profitless trade.

    Piracy is in the same league, people justify it with pointless arguments about how they would buy the program if they could afford it but we all know that 90% of those people wouldn't because they'd still rather save the money.



    Oh I see, you've made them want to read the article without bias and come here to talk about it. Good stuff, and yes that is a sinister thing to do.

    I agree entirely about your comments for regulation as a means of legalization. Therefore we aren't putting kids in jail for piracy -- we're making it relatively hard to commit piracy, and we are making it easy for kids to learn and use programs at home.

    Plus schools should provide free licenses to important software packages like everything MS, Adobe and Macromedia. It would also save shipping costs to provide free electronic downloads of final products if the security features were cdkey controlled via internet.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2000

    The sort of remote application use you seem to be talking about already exists, but I'm only aware of UNIX implementations.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: St. John's, NF, Can

    [quote]Originally posted by dolo:

    That is not necessarily true. Plenty of products remain inflated because their value presses the cost high. Supply and demand is really the law of capitolism, not ownership. You're on the right track but you are not quite there yet. My article is not a political one at all. It's merely discussing some ideas for limiting piracy and not quashing it entirely.



    You misinterpret: I mean that the "law of supply and demand" (a desperately simplified version of the paradigm) doesn't play fair. If software companies didn't sell enough off in the current system, they would have to lower their prices or go out of business.

    That's very simplified, of course. The factors which complicate the equation are various in both substance and effect. But at the heart of it, capitalism is all about the relationship between perceived quality and market value. As a man who's seen the boxes of a good number of hardcore warez servers "in the metal", so to speak, I am of the opinion that piracy and car theft have a whole lot in common, and that car leasing programs haven't solved car theft problems.

    ld

  12. #12
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    [quote]Originally posted by liquiddark:


    You misinterpret: I mean that the "law of supply and demand" (a desperately simplified version of the paradigm) doesn't play fair. If software companies didn't sell enough off in the current system, they would have to lower their prices or go out of business.

    That's very simplified, of course. The factors which complicate the equation are various in both substance and effect. But at the heart of it, capitalism is all about the relationship between perceived quality and market value. As a man who's seen the boxes of a good number of hardcore warez servers "in the metal", so to speak, I am of the opinion that piracy and car theft have a whole lot in common, and that car leasing programs haven't solved car theft problems.

    ld



    I agree with the statement that the law of supply and demand doesn't somehow apply to software, yet commercially everything is supposed to. That's the problem! Software doesn't follow the supply and demand tenet since there are no supply constraints unless their are packaging shortages (which is a totally bogus notion).

    Supply and demand for software are never met because of internal strategy at software companies. They know better than to meet all the supply at once, or their demands will fall off entirely -- even if they have a quality product. Only voodoo quality forces demand up even when there is ample supply.

    Piracy can't be related to car theft, since even normal law abiding citizens have warez on their machines; exposure is the difference. Stealing a car places a person at risk of immediate arrest. Warez never has.

    A covenant without a sword is but words among men.

    The cops aren't busting anyone. The feds are! This is white collar crime without much profit to anyone -- even the perps. Unless they sell their warez which in itself is a crime -- even in the warez community.

    That editorial I wrote had a lot of side tracking comments to get people thinking, yet it has a few central points that are:

    1. The feds are busting warez crackers because technology and business systems analysis hasn't evolved enough to enable legitimate legal accessiblity of software for everyone.

    2. Software use is a right, just as reading any book is at a library. We need a public software library where users can 'take out' software packages to use them or to learn them.

    3. Our children should not be punished for software piracy -- they are only trying to learn how these advanced programs work and they are not profiting from using them.

    4. Unregulated shareware programs are unbound resources and strictly speaking -- useless.

    These main points sum up the article, while the other side points of note I mentioned are there because it was simply an editorial and not an essay, per se.

  13. #13

    If Adobe dropped the price of their software to under 100 then they would sell alot more units than normal and would in all liklihood make more money than selling less units at a higher price. They could even get their product bundled (like office and other 'essential' programs) with computers and make even more money that way, it also means their product is in everyones home and piracy isn't an issue.

    What stops them doing this though?

    Elitism.

    They relise that their reputation says that photoshop is the best on the market (even if it isn't) which means they are expected to charge alot of money and they know that they can sell their product to coroporations who have no problem with the high price. It's like the time personal CD players dropped in price, I went into Dixon's and was suprised at how little they cost when I expected them to cost far more.

    I also believe companies don't want to make their product accessable. If everybody uses it then what makes it special? While that statement doesn't make sense it's one that gets floated around alot about everything. If they lose this image of being an elite product by perhaps lowering their price so everybody can use it then they ruin their brand image with corporations. They are then frightened that this will show that their are superior alternatives on the market.

    The high price is more of branding issue than a cost one.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: St. John's, NF, Can

    1) I didn't say supply and demand doesn't apply to software. Supply and demand, as I noted, is the cover story for a whole lot of things at once. These include brand awareness, which itself includes brand *quality* awareness, market health, company efficiency and capacity, product lifespan, and a whole host of other factors.

    2) The primary motivator for any company is profit, not meeting the demand (this is what I mean when I call supply and demand a cover story, for those who need a smart cap). For some businesses, meeting the entire demand is in their best interests. For others, a certain sense of elitism keeps their brand a cut above the rest and hence allows them to garner plenty of gross profit with low overhead. In a specialist market (and Photoshop is nothing if not a specialist product - what does Joe Average need with a bubbled-glass effect?), the perceived best product needs to make excellent money on a per-sale basis, and they need to sustain people's belief that they are the best. If limiting their market artificially allows them to survive economically, well, that's capitalism for you. Quirky little beast, that.

    Photoshop is an IBM, GIMP is 1970s Apple: the former has the big budget and the limited market, the latter is available for everyone, but there's a real barrier to entry, surmountable but extant nonetheless.

    I'm losing sight of the basic point, however. My core argument is this: in a capitalist system, you're arguing (among other things) that companies who are showing sustained survival even through tough economic times should suddenly give up its high specialist price point in favour of a mass-market campaign. You seem to believe that these folks aren't doing even the most basic of analyses with regard to their long-term survival. They are. Just about any healthy business does. And their analyses apparently report that they can charge just about whatever they want and they'll get it, because they have the market share.

    Moreover: if you want a free/cheap product, go find a free/cheap product; don't whine about how the best products are too expensive. You want a software library, go to the Free Software Foundation for all your software needs; they'll certainly provide for you. You want the highest-perceived-quality stuff, you gotta pay the piper. Simple.

    I, for one, would like Oracle to offer decent trial versions of their products so that I could learn the skills necessary to clear off all my debts in a big hurry.. Oracle, on the other hand, has this to say:








    They don't care, and they don't need to; in fact, it's in their best interests to sustain the price point they have simply because it dramatically limits the user base who can bug them for tech support, and ensures that programmers who learn their stuff are well-rewarded and hence content to let the situation lie.


    This sounds just a little retarded:
    [quote]
    Piracy can't be related to car theft, since even normal law abiding citizens have warez on their machines; exposure is the difference. Stealing a car places a person at risk of immediate arrest. Warez never has



    Stealing a car almost never has. You think most car thefts are solved? Um, NO. Even in the "happy" endings, the car is often found sans thief. "Law-abiding citizens" with warez aren't law-abiding citizens. And I don't subscribe to the sheep theory of law, nor, curiously enough, does any government of which I know . See hashish's (and marijuana's, to a lesser extent) continuing status as an illegal substance for an example.

    Since I have no idea what this:
    [quote]
    Unregulated shareware programs are unbound resources and strictly speaking -- useless


    is intended to convey, I can't really comment now can I?
    But you can bet your bottom dollar I would! Oh yes. Oh yes

    ld
    who's apparently attempting to be intellectually stylish for once, but simply can't resist self-deflation.

    [ December 30, 2001: Message edited by: liquiddark ]


  15. #15

    I have managed to find a free alternative to nearly every bit of software I need. The only exception to this is 3DS max which really doesn't have any viable competitiors in freeware (milkshape is not a good alternative, it is a bloody awful one).

    Besides I've always been in the situation of knowing enough people who already own the software I need not to have to worry about it. Either become a systems administrator or makes some friends who are. Theres your software library.

    And yes I know thats just as bad as warez'ing software but I don't believe Microsoft deserves any of my money when they've got everybody elses to play with.

    What you have to wonder about though is who is in fact cracking down on warez? Adobe quite obviously know there are mor ephotoshop users than licesnsed copies of photoshop but they don't seem too worried about it (likely as they can just jack their prices up to cope with increased warez). It's the feds who are cracking down on it because their cracking down on everything these days in a kneejerk reaction to 11/9.

    On the topic of oracle and other very high end programs with a low home usage ratio. My old flatmate had to use oracle for his degree and all any one had to do on that course was ask if they could borrow the oracle discs overnight and then burn them. The college was against warez and didn't understand students couldn't afford the software they we're required to use. But the technicians understood. The technicians had been there and knew students /needed/ oracle or photoshop or max (many courses require you to use a specific piece of software for assignments and GIMP won't do).

    Student grants do not cover enough for IT courses that require expensive software. In this situation warez'ing the software is the only option as it is in fact required for your degree. Microsoft at least offer students a discount on office. More action like that please.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Sat at my desk.

    I always see law in a capitalist society as one of "the path of least resistance".

    Copying software is no more illegal than taping a CD for your car. Not to say that it isn't illegal.

    As long as people find it easier to copy software than to buy it then that's what they will do. Full stop.

    Just as those that find it easier to steal a car than buy one will go out and knock one off.

    The only way to reduce illegal copying is to make it easier to buy the stuff than it is to get it for nothing.

  17. #17
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    [quote]Originally posted by liquiddark:

    I'm losing sight of the basic point, however. My core argument is this: in a capitalist system, you're arguing (among other things) that companies who are showing sustained survival even through tough economic times should suddenly give up its high specialist price point in favour of a mass-market campaign. You seem to believe that these folks aren't doing even the most basic of analyses with regard to their long-term survival. They are. Just about any healthy business does. And their analyses apparently report that they can charge just about whatever they want and they'll get it, because they have the market share.



    Hmmm. I think you've kind of lost sight of my arguements somehow. I'm not at all arguing that the companies need to mass market, even though they do. I'm saying that there is technology to come that will eliminate warez as we know it and transform it into something new and perhaps more illegal and therefore less practiced.

    [quote]
    Moreover: if you want a free/cheap product, go find a free/cheap product; don't whine about how the best products are too expensive. You want a software library, go to the Free Software Foundation for all your software needs; they'll certainly provide for you. You want the highest-perceived-quality stuff, you gotta pay the piper. Simple.



    Again, my article is largely about learning the software.
    [quote]
    This sounds just a little retarded:
    "Piracy can't be related to car theft, since even normal law abiding citizens have warez on their machines; exposure is the difference. Stealing a car places a person at risk of immediate arrest."


    I don't know what crime infested neighborhood you're from but in my neck of the woods, about 1 in ten thousand would even think about stealing a car, and the actual car thefts per year are in the hundreds or less. Slashdot is now reporting that 1/3 of all programs is warezed and that is a drop from 1/2. Could you imagine if one third of all cars made was stolen?

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: St. John's, NF, Can

    [quote]Originally posted by dolo:

    Hmmm. I think you've kind of lost sight of my arguements somehow. I'm not at all arguing that the companies need to mass market, even though they do. I'm saying that there is technology to come that will eliminate warez as we know it and transform it into something new and perhaps more illegal and therefore less practiced.



    Step back for a second. You're arguing for a subscription-based business model (I'll get to the library aspect in a second). A "small-fee" (definition?) subscription model works ONLY if enough people log in to use it - the market must be "massive" enough. With me so far? This is why I say again that you're arguing for a mass-market approach - and I've already covered that ground.

    You're also arguing for a public institution model wherein the beneficient society that we live in (or the students at the school which buys the subscription, or some other relatively large slice of society) ends up eating the cost across the board for this service - a service which is, I repeat, a specialist's baby. In my country (Canada, a socialist democracy with public services out the yinyang, just so there's no misunderstanding here) we have a hard time convincing the taxpayers and students to pay for things like healthcare, basic education, and media, let alone to pay for Johnny Blammo, Budding Game Developer, to learn Photoshop. Yes, people are that selfish.

    I assume that you're not familiar with "Site licencing". A site licence allows X number of copies of a program to be used at a particular site (for example, your school or library). Any user is allowed to use the software as long as there are no more than X number of copies running concurrently. No, it's not exactly a Citrix-level sytem, but it more than meets the needs of a poor student. Bug your sysadmin/librarian (or, if you want a revolution, your MP/Congressman/whoever) about obtaining one of these babies. Not good enough? Well, there's always The Free Software Foundation. I'm sure somebody over there is working towards a public-domain remote-use package.

    [quote]
    my article is largely about learning the software.



    The hard truth is this: Your intended meaning may largely be about learning the software, but your article is quite another matter.

    [quote]
    I don't know what crime infested neighborhood you're from but in my neck of the woods, about 1 in ten thousand would even think about stealing a car, and the actual car thefts per year are in the hundreds or less. Slashdot is now reporting that 1/3 of all programs is warezed and that is a drop from 1/2. Could you imagine if one third of all cars made was stolen?



    I believe I covered this point (ah, yes I did):
    [quote]Originally posted by liquiddark:
    I don't subscribe to the sheep theory of law, nor, curiously enough, does any government of which I know . See hashish's (and marijuana's, to a lesser extent) continuing status as an illegal substance for an example.


    There were two points made in opposition, not just one. There was a reason for that.

    ld
    I have no excuses anymore

    [ December 31, 2001: Message edited by: liquiddark ]


  19. #19

    The whole issue of piracy is pretty redundant these days. It's unfortunatly something everybody has to live with and currently there is no way around it.

    I also can't see any software company embracing a non-physical means of distributing their product. Look at how hard the music industry is fighting napster style programs. Without the confining media of compact disc there is no way for them to monitor and restrict distribution (even though you can copy a disc it's far easier to download a song).

    If you take away the physical means of software distribution then you can't keep track of your data anymore meaning companies will lose even more money and jack their prices up higher to compensate.

    Large companies are the slowest organisations in the world to keep apace with technology. Their so huge and bloated that it takes them months to relise that new technology exists. Just look at a companies website and you'll see that it's probably several months out of date because it takes that long for the higher ups to tell the web designers they can update the site.

    Without somebody destroying every modem and CD writer in the world and starting everything over from scratch there is no way to regulate the exchange of data between people who want it. This likely explains why the feds are cracking down on big warez distributers, they see these people in the same light as drug barons. If they get rid of the big fish then the little fish will die.

    Of course we all know that it's not the few big fish that create the problem. It's that there are so many little fish that slip through the net.

    It's a problem that won't go away until the total downfall of capitlism, which doesn't appear to be happening very soon.

  20. #20
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Canada

    [quote] I also can't see any software company embracing a non-physical means of distributing their product.


    Ahh but wouldn't it be nice? That's how Microsoft won their fortune. They saw that Apple looked great but was less of a business solution than a design one, and they came up with their own operating system for IBM and the clones to use.

    ~dolo

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2001

    [quote]Originally posted by dolo:
    Hey thanks for posting that link. I'm wondering if you have any comments about the article?

    I think my tone was fairly unbiased, or at least that was my hope.


    The piece is all over the place - you need to focus on the point you're trying to make.

    Low bandwidth 'timeshare' systems do exist for Windows - it's called Citrix. You download the client (2Mb), logon to a central server and only get sent the screen refreshes from the server - takes about 40k - well within a 56k modem's range. It also uses 128-bit security to log on, so I would have thought it'd be the perfect program.

  22. #22
    TheWatcher
    Guest

    [quote]Originally posted by Always_Black:
    Copying software is no more illegal than taping a CD for your car. Not to say that it isn't illegal.


    It is legal in some countries, and in the US at least it is actually explicitly stated in law that you can do this (one US congressman is currently poking the hornets nest known as the Recording Industry Ass. of America about the possibility that CD copy protection may be a violation of that law - the details are still a bit questionable, and of course he's likely to be bought out or involved in a tragic car accident before anything comes of it, but the law is there)

  23. #23
    TheWatcher
    Guest

    This is likely to end up as a long, semi-coherant waffle - I'm in the middle of work, not got much time and this is a subject I've covered time and again since the late 80s but...

    I'll state my point plainly and simply to start with, just to clear things up:

    You will never stop piracy. Ever.

    That's fairly sweeping, so I'll start with the solution suggested in the article: paying to use a program that runs remotely, or the good old Gatesian Empire idea of "renting software". The key problem: you are still paying for it. Many pirates either have no intention or do not have the means to pay for the software they pirate - whether it is a $5000 lump sum or $5 per hour. Assuming for a moment that you do find a way to remotely run programs, securely and quickly over a network (which places a fairly high barrier regarding high-bandwidth connection cost on anyone who wants to use the system for a start) you then have to ensure that your application remains on the server - no mean feat as if you have one leak and it'll be all over the place in minutes, that everyone using the system is billed correctly and equitably and that you can get people to trust you enough to allow the mechanism to work. The problem is even more interesting with software you rent for local use. Even if you code the software so that it has protection mechanisms that prevent it from working without certain things being true (no local run or no run without a connection to a central server, or other tricks) it will be cracked out faster than you can believe, which brings me to my second point:

    However smart you think you are, there's someone out there who is smarter than you.

    Put another way, ANY protection mechanism, no matter how cunning or devious, no matter how long you have worked on it, no matter how many millions have been poured into it, can be circumvented one way or another. And once one, just one, copy has been cracked your multi-million pound, Evil Overlord Organisation Certified, Ultimate Protection System is as worthless as sticking your hands on your hips and telling people to stop being naughty. Once one copy has been cracked, THAT is the version the pirates will use. They won't bother about the version with the protection in it, or they'll use a crack program that disables the protection.

    If people want to copy your program they will find a way sooner or later. It doesn't matter whther it is remote, local or distributed, sooner or later a way will be found. The only way to stop it is to make the program free - how many pirate copies of Mozilla are there? - or change human nature completely. IMESHO spending time and effort on copy protection, copy prevention or retal systems is rediculous and pointless: all it does it waste your money and give the crackers a few minutes challenge.

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