"Harvest" - interesting license agreement!

Posted by: BillyBob

"Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/22/03 06:55 PM

I'm sure that most of us, if we look at the licensing agreement at all, seldom read it in much, if any, detail. I finally installed "Harvest" today and learned that one of the requirements for "using" this game (we don't own it, only the disk it's on) is that we cannot loan it out.

This requirement may be present in other licensing agreements but it's the first time I recall seeing it. If some of these games, and eventually all, I imagine, are going to put this into their licensing requirements maybe the disc should cost less since that's all we're buying. laugh
Posted by: Kickaha

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 04:21 AM

Seems odd doesn't it? Buying something only to find a licence which says you don't own it in the normal sense of own.

Coins have two sides. Trading swapping loaning copying for friends all mean people playing the game but the developer getting nothing. It's a little contradictory to expect new commercial games and expect technical support for them yet not worry about the developer's income.
Posted by: mbc841

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 07:59 AM

Billybob, the License Agreement that is included with "Harvest" is a "generic" - you know the deal - one of these fill-in-the-blank jobs, sort of like those fill-in-the-blank wills you can buy. I went through and inserted my name and the games name in all appropriate spots. I really don't remember seeing the part about not letting anyone loan the game out, but I'm not surprised it's in there. These license things are so long and so detailed. I personally have absolutely no problem with anyone loaning the game out - or trading - or re-selling - or pretty much anything. I'm not a legal person, and generally, don't really understand half of what's in these types of agreements - but I did have to put a license agreement in the game to protect the game. So anyone reading this, please, FEEL FREE to loan the game out to anyone you want. smile smile smile
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 09:11 AM

Most, if not all, license agreements will have something about loaning - I think what it really refers is the act of "public lending", rather then trying to stop you loaning it out to a friend or relative - if you were offering to loan it to anyone who happened by, you would, to all intents and purposes, be loaning it to the public - video/game rental stores are allowed to do this through purchasing special copies of games and movies or however they do it because that's the business they are in and the developers make money from these "legitimate" loans.

A lot of things now, especially DVDs are marked "Rental Copy" or " Retail Copy - NOT for rental", so you know exactly whch version you have - so, a rental store found renting "Retail" copies would be in trouble as they wouldn't have paid the same (as they would for rental copies) for them and therefore the developers would be out of pocket.

I'm sure this is the reason why the "floating game" thing was stopped on this site - since Game Boomers is a public forum where anybody can join, lending out games to people who simply add their name to a list, amounts to public lending.

And you never own what's on the disc - that belongs to the copyright holders.

Feel free anyone, to correct me if I am wrong.

Posted by: BillyBob

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 05:16 PM

This is an excerpt from the Harvest agreement:

"You have no right to sublicense, resell, lease, rent or [b]loan "Harvest" without the express written permission of Michael B. Clark."[/b]

As a kid I was among the neighborhood borrowers and loaners/traders and sellers of comic books. At five cents they were still a problem to buy. After all, being a kid with no income, a nickle was a lot. Eventually they rose to ten cents a copy. Was this caused by the loaning/trading/selling of comics? Doesn't matter, really, because I have to assume the price increase took care of the problem to the satisfaction of all those who had a hand in the comic before I bought it. The difference between then and now is that no one thought of stopping all this by making it illegal. Once we have lost the right to own what we have bought then we will find this practice used in everything.......everything! Already, prices rise because not enough people are buying to keep the "profit margin" up or they are rising because everyone is buying and the profit can be greater. laugh

Of course, it is not important (in the long run) to me personally. I won't be around to see what all this brings about. So, if you accept without question all the changes that are occurring from day to day you will one day find yourself with little to call your own. Actually, it is already that way to a large degree but few people seem able to comprehend it. If you live long enough, you will.

Long ago, only the poor lived on waterfront property. Then the more well-to-do folks began wanting to live on the water. Waterfront property was either bought at a price higher than it's worth at the time or politicians taxed the poor folks out and the rich got it anyway. Now all waterfront property is valued and high priced and only the rich can afford it. The analogy to the above is a little hard to see untill you realize that those in power are going to squeeze the rest of the people as hard and as long as they are permitted to do so. Aren't the "people" supposed to be the ones in power?

I am well aware that many will think all this foolish but that's O.K., I understand. laugh
Posted by: randwill

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 05:45 PM

If I buy a book and loan it to my friend after I read it, have I stolen from the author/publisher? Do I own the book, or have I just purchased a license to read it?
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 06:23 PM

Like I said, it's highly unlikely you will be sued and forced into a court battle for loaning a game to your friend, because a: who's going to know about it, and b: would it really be worth the expense to the developer/publisher?

However if you stood outside your house and proclaimed to everyone around that they could come and rent/borrow games off you, and they could tell everyone they knew about this, and they could also come, and people could also log onto your website to put in an order, then that's going to be a different matter - I really don't see that as a problem or as anything new - people who create things, whatever they may be, have the right to do with them as they please, and also to govern how they are used and distributed.

Books are a different matter - there isn't anywhere that rents books as far as I know - there are libraries of course, but they are allowed to loan out books, and if I'm not mistaken are entitled to a free copy of every book published, on the proviso it is loaned out for free.

Also, prices of things like games and movies rise because of the ever increasing mass illegal market that sees millions of illegal copies changing hands every year, making the "pirates" lots of cash, and the developers and publishers nothing! This has been made even worse in recent years thanks to the internet and the ability to download anything you like for nothing, resulting in even less legitimate copies being sold - many more millioons are lost to the game industry as a whole every year due to these problems, than are made through the sale of legitimate copies.

I guess though that that's alright - game developers are rich, they can afford it right? They sell zillions of copies and make zillions of dollars - while this may be true for some games such as GTA3, which admittedly did sell a heck of a lot copies (money also made to Take 2 through an exclusive PS2 deal), it is simply not true for smaller developers, who struggle sometimes to even sell 100,000 copies of a game - imagine if those 100,000 legitimate copies sold were only 100,000 of 400,000 actually "bought" by people through all available channels, and you can see the problem.

Let's not forget where a lot of this "pirate" money goes - drugs, arms, terrorism - and more - organsied criminal gangs will make money any way they can, and usually through the fastest, easiest, and most effective ways possible, such as ripped of software, games, and movies - we're getting slightly off topic here but still worth mentioning.

I've also seen teenage kids on message boards telling of how, now they have cable internet, they're going to download games, copy them and sell them to their friends - while this is not in the same league as mass produced illegal product, it still amounts to a problem, and just adds to the amount lost overall.

Don't forget also, games are getting more and more complicated and take longer and longer to make - games can be in development for up to 4 years and have a whole army of staff behind them, and costs millions more each year to make - some increase in price is a natural bi-product of those changing technological innovations.

Things just aren't as simple and laid back today as they might have been years ago - business has grown and grown - raising money for projects is becoming harder and harder, resulting in more and more people being involved in any one project, all of whom want a piece of the pie - financiers and investors want a return on their investment, sponsors want exclusive deals for this and that, and they want this in return for that - there are so many things going on, you NEED a license agreement that governs everything and its dog, just to cover yourself in case someone tries to rip you, as the developers/publisher, off - it's not about trying to stop you personally lending out a copy of something to a friend, it's about stopping mass groups of organsied career criminals from making money through unlicensed means - how can you be against that?

Phewwwww, that was a long one eh? laugh wink
Anyone else have any thoughts? I'm off back to my Harry Potter, which I CERTAINLY WILL NOT be lending out to anyone lol

Posted by: Jenny

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 10:07 PM

Originally posted by BillyBob:
This is an excerpt from the Harvest agreement: [b]"You have no right to sublicense, resell, lease, rent or [b]loan "Harvest" without the express written permission of Michael B. Clark."[/b][/b]
And Michael just said in his post "I personally have absolutely no problem with anyone loaning the game out - or trading - or re-selling - or pretty much anything."--so I guess we're off the hook... laugh
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 10:42 PM

Originally posted by TheDerman:
Books are a different matter - there isn't anywhere that rents books as far as I know - there are libraries of course, but they are allowed to loan out books, and if I'm not mistaken are entitled to a free copy of every book published, on the proviso it is loaned out for free.
Oh - I wish that's the case here... libraries (at least here in Australia) are definitely not entitled to a free copy of every book published... and libraries here get such a measly amount of funding from councils that they're often forced to sell older copies of their books that nobody reads anymore just to scrap in (barely) enough money to buy 1 copy of a new release.

Oh BTW - there are stores that lease out comic books and stuff... smile Usually those anime comics I admit, so not the usual types of books you'd see in the libraries...

...as for that particular line in license agreements about not lending games out to friends, it only exists for some license agreements I believe (alas, I am one of those bored people that have nothing better to do than read through the software contracts out of curiosity). Anyhow - out of all the games contract I've read so far I've only seen 1 other games where lending of game was mentioned - and it only refers to the lending of games under a commercial environment (which was not permitted). Any other form of lending is apparently ok. I guess there's quite a few "standard" software contracts out there...

Now, as for how effective the licensing agreement is in the battle against piracy, I am not sure I've heard from anywhere where its effectiveness has won for its company a great deal of lost profits etc... except for Microsoft that is wink People seem to be pirating as much as ever (if not more than the past)... I do my bit to help companies survive by purchasing legal softwares, but given my limited abilities, that's all I can do.

Personally though, I still don't see why there's anything wrong with lending games (or books or audio CDs etc) out especially to friends without the intention of making money or making a copy...
Posted by: mszv

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 11:11 PM

Here's a brief aside on libraries and books - in the US, libraries have to buy them. You know, I bet that's how it is in the UK too. As for getting rid of books, all libraries do that, even well funded libraries - it's called "weeding". You can't keep everything forever, so you make judgements as to what to keep in your collection. Also, it doesn't make sense to keep all books - examples are "how to books" for computers, which date rather quickly. (Aside, there is a librarian in my family, so I learned this stuff). You also throw out books in bad condition. We aren't talking about the rare 1st edition novel here, depending on the library those are books a library will keep, and if it's really valuable, it won't circulate - you only get to look at in the library.

As for software - you don't own ANY commercial software you buy - you never did. As far as I know, you have a license to use the software, and that's it. This is not new. The exception is open source software such as Linux. The Linux operating system software is free (it's "open source") and you can even modify the source code. Different companies can charge you for Linux (the packaging, extra services, etc.) but the software is open source and it's free.

I think Michael was very smart to include a license agreement. We know he's a good guy, but he has to protect himself and his work.
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 11:24 PM

oh - weeding out books are to be expected naturally wink But libraries in Sydney seem to be doing an extraordinary amount of weeding... they're definitely getting a lot less books than a library normally sells... and books are still expensive even though libraries here don't have to pay taxes on them.
Posted by: gatorlaw

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/23/03 11:36 PM

Well this is why I hate generic contracts and forms. I know there's little choice for people who have to watch their money - but want to give themselves protection. The problem with them is that they are overbroad, have everything known to man in them - whether it's relevant, helpful or even correct given the ever changing sea of laws. Every time a court rules - the law is altered. Of course I am very biased on this as I write contracts/ legal forms for a living. With a clear preference and goal to have them written in lucid and plain english . Granted there are always a couple of "terms of the art" type phrases that have to be present for "legal" reasons - all would be much better with contracts, documents and user manuals that people can understand, easily and without a legal dictionary at their side. smile

But the main thing is "common sense should rule" No one is going to know, care or prove you loaned a game and technically there's nothing wrong with lending your game. You can re-sell it so lending certainly wouldn't be a problem. Trust me - if selling used games wasn't permitted - oportunistic attorneys all over the place would be raking in the bucks going after EBay. laugh

Posted by: Kickaha

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/24/03 04:02 AM

Laura you're speaking about countries like the US and UK when you say when a court makes a ruling the law is changed. That's case law (IIRC) but that isn't the way law works in say France. (They have statute law is it?) That's by the by.

What can we do to ensure new games keep arriving on a website near us? Some people will do games out of love as a hobby (and good for them.) But if you want more Syberias then somehow a team of people needs to be funded to produce them.

Buskers carry on a long tradition of passing round the hat to collect money after a performance. Perhaps shareware is a good model - if there was a culture of "I really liked that game so I'll reward the creator" that'll avoid a lot of worries about piracy and copying and licences.

But in the Internet age there's an expectation of everything is free. Wonder with shareware what fraction of people actually give?

Regards, Peter.
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/24/03 06:13 AM

You may be right about libraries - that was just off the top of my head.

My comments about piracy were in relation to increasing retail prices rather than license agreements. "Pirates" care nothing of licenses or copyright laws - piracy, especially with games will always be around until we get rid of the attitude that games cost the earth just because developers are greedy and want to rip us off, or the absurd notion that piracy is not a problem.

I do remember actually a certain video rental store in a town near me, that used to buy one rental copy, and then run off around 10 extra copies of it to rent out - they used the video sleeves marked "sample" in each copied version - of course these video sleeves were marked "sample" to prevent that very thing - needless to say, they are no longer in business.

Generic contracts can, I guess, be bad things - but what first tine indie developer can afford to pay huge lawyer fees? Without a lawyer it's difficult to know exactly what the law is, and what you need to do specifically to cover yourselves, so you have to revert to a generic pre-written statement.

One things though - if a license agreements says you can't sell/trade/loan a game, then by law I guess you can't, not once you've agreed - I wonder though since these agreements are usually on the condition that you install and play a game, whether if you didn't install or play it, you could in effect rent them out???

These kinds of things are minefields, and that's anothe reason you have to cover everything - because if you do ever need to go to court, the opposition will be doing everythign they can to find loopholes in your agreements and the law to get out of it - and if you've covered everything from loaning the game to using the disc as a coaster once you're done, then you've a better chance of coming out of it on top.
Posted by: Clare

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/24/03 06:38 AM

The thing about libraries - here in the UK, as well as the other countries mentioned, libraries have to pay for books. frown However, there are a few libraries, known as copyright libraries, which do get a copy of every book or journal published in the UK for free. The two I know of are the British Library in London, and Oxford University's Bodleian Library. They often have books published outside of the UK as well, but have to pay for these I think. Neither of these libraries lend books - you can only read them in the library itself. Membership is also restricted, to scholars or people who can show a need to use the books.
Posted by: Clare

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/24/03 06:43 AM

Another thing that occurs to me - in the UK, books say inside them something like "This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher's consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser". happydance
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/24/03 07:45 AM

Originally posted by TheDerman:
My comments about piracy were in relation to increasing retail prices rather than license agreements. "Pirates" care nothing of licenses or copyright laws - piracy, especially with games will always be around until we get rid of the attitude that games cost the earth just because developers are greedy and want to rip us off, or the absurd notion that piracy is not a problem.
Hrmn - practically every friend I know and spoken to realises that developers are not "greedy" and that piracy is indeed a problem. So attitude from these 2 perspective are definitely not the problem here.

The following are a few scenarios I've encountered through my friends about the issue of legal/pirated games...

One scenario is my friends want games and they don't see why they have to pay for something which their other friends got for free... and so the trend begins.

The other scenario (though much rarer) is they can't afford the game. Some of my friends will buy as many games their budget allows, then pirate the rest.

Yet another scenario is my friends don't see the game as something they'd bother buy or play much - but they are merely curious... so they'll pirate, play the game once through, then wipe it off the hard-drive or give the pirated CD away (or return it to the person who lent it to them if it's borrowed). However, they will buy games that they intend on replaying over in the future.

Another possible case is they can't find the game they want when they visit the shops - so they'll think to themselve "stuff this - I've made the effort to buy the game, but there simply isn't one for sale - I might as well download it"...

The final scenario is sort of a catch-22 situation - they aren't willing to pay so much for a particular game they'll quickly lose attention over, so they pirate... but then piracy causes the prices to rise...

So as you can see from the above, there's a wide array of reasons why people don't buy the legal version of games - and as demonstrated from the above, it's definitely a difficult issue to address...

As far as I am concerned, pirating softwares and games are just like shoplifting - and it is only with this attitude that I purchase legal games (although like real life purchases, I sometimes exclaim with a sigh at a bad bargain or choice). I observed the ability to sell/trade games through ebay and gtz helps - but not much.

Personally, I tolerate a little piracy in the following manner - if I am unsure if the game is something I want or not, and there's no demo (or if the demo is extremely large and there happens to be a copy I could quickly borrow for a day or 2), then I'd play on the pirated version for about a hour to get an idea of whether I like the game or not. Regardless of the outcome, I will stop playing after that 1 hour and return the pirated version to my friend, and then I'll either buy the game or not. I find this comparable to say trying on a suit whilst shopping for suits - after all, you don't buy a suit before you try it out to make sure it fits you.
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/24/03 08:36 AM

There is a definite opinion overall that piracy hurts nobody because the companies involved can afford it - it's not just games, it's movies, and music - are we forgetting the Napster uproar? Now that Napster is all but dead, or at least the Napster how it used to be, we have other things like Kazaa springing up, which are no different and a much bigger problem than Napster ever was - you can go on Kazaa and get anything you want.

Your friends may not think that developers are greedy etc. and may agree piracy is wrong, but this is not the overall opinion - people can understand that piracy is illegal but that's as far as they get - the attitude that it doesn't hurt anyone and doesn't really matter prevails over all else, I think - if it didn't then piracy would not exist and wouldn't be a problem - and the feeling that companies are greedy and want to make as much money as possible any way they can is all too present - "if a blank CD cost me 50 cents how can a game cost me 50 dollars?", is one attitude they have - they don't seem to grasp the idea that making games costs money in areas beyond the actual physical production of the CD and packaging - they will think nothing of paying $5 for a game, movie, CD off a guy on a market stall - why? - because it's a lot lot cheaper - and while this may be the underlying reason for buying the game, it doesn't stop anyone sleeping at night, or have them worrying that the developers are now out of pocket.

Of course not everyone shares these views, and most dedicated gamers will not touch pirated games - but don't forget the majority of the gaming public do not visit Game Boomers or any online forum - the people who do visit forums regularly and who DO understand the problems of piracy and who DO feel it wrong, are not the majority and are not the problem.

Piracy is NEVER right - just because you want to try out a game and don't intend to ever really play it, doesn't mean you can go buy a pirated game - you are still giving money to criminals who will put it to use elsewhere in yet more criminal activities.

Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 12:53 AM

hrmn - I think the problem here is people do realise companies get hurt in some way or another - but they couldn't care less about it. Most people only say "they didn't realise companies get hurt" as an excuse I find. I've spoken to a few of my friends and their view about that is as follows:

If a games (or software) company goes down - who cares? another one will spring up in time... that's their perspective... there will always be a software company that will make a software for this and that...

Movie industry are less affected (compared to the software and music industries that is) because people still go to cinemas for the "experience" - and that's still where they rake in a significant portion of the money...

Music industry, though, I know is severely hampered by the recent trend... but most people I know who get illegal music couldn't care less either - because they have the opinion there will always be another music artist that will make the music they like...

Unfortunately, I don't think there's a viable way to solve any of the above perspectives relating to the music and software industry... perhaps the only way to solve such attitude amongst the general public is to boycott the customers by refusing to make any more of a certain product until people do the right thing - which obviously won't work in the commercial sense...

PS. any idea how much money criminals and gangs gain through pirating software, music and movies?? I'd be curious about its influence...
Posted by: Becky

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 07:45 AM

As far as I am concerned, pirating softwares and games are just like shoplifting - and it is only with this attitude that I purchase legal games
This is the attitude you must have in order to resist the pirating temptation. It can seem rigid and a bit prudish -- until your favorite software developer goes belly up and you know their work is available for free through pirates.

I've been offered pirated games by friends who felt they were being extremely generous -- it's as though knowing how to pirate is regarded as a kind of gift you can give the unitiated, unexperienced computer user.

Maybe we need a Software Developer Sim game -- where piracy in certain scenarios puts your character out of business. I think that at least some of the piracy is a simple lack of putting yourself in the other person's shoes.
Posted by: Singer

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 09:26 AM

Of course, part of the argument is that small scale, end user piracy ISN'T really the problem, and everyone knows it, including industry insiders and law enforcement officials.

No, Joe Q. Pirate and his borrowed-and-burned copy of Syberia are not toppling the games industry. The (potential) loss of individual sales from consumer copying amount to peanuts. Otherwise lending, trading, and re-selling WOULD be made illegal.

The problem is really in large scale illegal distribution, as others have noted. This is true in music with Napster, etc., movies with bootleg homemade recordings and illegal DVD's, and games with warez and pirated CD's.

Hopefully governments can get together and help stop this kind of larger scale piracy. Every time I go to eBay Canada, I have to wade through a slew of auctions for cheap "new" games from Thailand or Belarus. I'm 100% for raising public awareness and promoting strong ethical values, but it's still not good enough to sit on our hands while people commit crimes right in plain view and pretty much thumb their noses at the law. I say let's lynch 'em! laugh

I'm not discounting each individual's responsibility, of course. But you'll never be able to penetrate SOME people's apathy about the issue if action isn't taken to stop it on the grand scene.

Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 09:35 AM

I think people generally overall, not just a few people you know, but overal, think piracy does not affect anyone as it's not really a problem.

And I'm unsure how much criminal gangs make, but if you imagine a $3 billion loss to the games industry due to piracy, then you can imagine, it's quite lucrative.
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 05:30 PM

Oh - I'd like to point out a few things also about pirating that you may or may not have heard of.

Awhile back, one of my friend visited Thailand and bought some games - the quality with which the games were made were just absolutely exquisite (for a lack of better term). It was fully boxed and jewel cased and the CD was labelled and printed just as if its a legal version, and the manual was full colour and beautifully bounded - all of this was just worth $10 Australian dollar (about 6 US dollars - and this is for a brand new game so it's obviously illegal). Now, I've gotten the same game as my friend so I could tell you there was absolutely no visible difference between a legal and an illegal copy - if those Thailand piraters came to Australia, set up a store, and sold them for the standard retail price of 90 or 100 dollars, the chances are people will go in and buy them, thinking they were fully legit - and I'm sure this is happening somewhere... for all I know, some of my games may actually be made by game pirates and I'm simply unaware of it!

The same is also happening in the music industry - a few years back, many Australian retailers were fooled into thinking a whole batch of music CDs they got was the one direct from the publishers. After careful scrutinisation, the only difference they could find is that the illegal music covers (to be placed in the front flap of the jewel case) was a tad (just a tad) lighter shade than the legal copies... By the time they found out, they've already sold a considerable amount of stock.

Given these, I'm more willing to believe that if a criminal gang is really set on making money from the public by pirating music and games, they'd be so good at the job that the public doesn't even know about it. More likely the ones you could spot as being pirated are made by those small-time gangs or one-person pirate in the neighbourhood. It's those extreme quality pirated copies which are probably made by the larger criminal gangs, and those are definitely hard to track and trace...
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 09:42 PM

The criminals gangs ARE set on making large amounts of money with piracy and DO make large amounts of money from it.

Piracy with all media is BIG BUSINESS, and it does not stop at the guy in a cinema with a camcorder - people working in all the respective industries are heavily involved too - prerelease copies mysteriously disappear off the back of trucks or warehouse shelves, review copies get lost and are never seen again, and even the raw files have a habit of being copied and smuggled out of offices - those "exquisite" copies you mention were probably produced using the same artwork files that the final releases would be produced with - the differences are simply in the quality of the CD/DVD, paper, and equipment that is used - Eminem actually rushed through the release of The Eminem Show in a last ditch effort to actually beat the pirate copies onto the streets, because he and his label knew, if you leave it too late, the CD will be out there anyway, thanks to some dude who works with you.

Just recently, a few months prior to the release of Harry Potter 5, some pages of the book managed to find themselves in the parking lot of the printers, and one worker there decided he would steal them and try to sell them to the newspapers - he was of course, arrested - one week before Harry Potter 5 was due on sale, an entire lorry filled with copies of the book was stolen - it was later found, empty!

The reason some people may not know what they are buying is stolen because it looks so like the real thing, may be, because it actually is the real thing, stolen and sold with no profit to the real developers - and the reason pirates strive to make better copies? - so they can sell more to more people in all different areas of the retail market place.

And I have to disagree about John Q and his CD burner not being a problem - this is a very large problem - for example, if people don't know where to buy a pirate game/dvd or whatever, they will almost certainly go buy it for real if they want it - this is not out of some loyalty to the developers or because of some pangs of guilt or fear of the law, it's just, that's the only way they'll get it - now, if one of those guy's buddies comes along and says, hey I've got a copy of so-and-so, do you want to borrow it - that person is going to say yes ok - they'll borrow it, play, may even copy it for themselves - that results then in 1 less real copy sold - multiply that by 10 million people, and multiply that by the 50 dollar price tag of a real game, and hey, the industry has just lost another 500 million dollars - that seems like a big problem - this is my point about people not really caring about piracy and not really understanding that companies can't afford it - some peope even feel resentful because they nave to pay so much and will pay less for a pirate to make a point - other people just don't care one way or the other, the cheaper the better - also, the law isn't really going to care about arresting a guy for making one copy of a game for himself, because they'll simply never know, and also they haven't got the time or resources to be chasing down Mr Smith and Mr Jones for copying 1 game - they have to go after the more organised elements, because it is those elements that are the real problem in a bigger sense - every pirate is a problem to the actual industry, but as far as the law in concerned, it is the criminal gangs that will put that illegal money to use in other areas that are the real problem - the law isn't interested in the industry, they are interested in stopping bigger and badder crimes being fed by game/movie/music piracy - if pointed in the direction of Mr Smith and Mr Jones, they are duty bound to investigate, but doing so off their own backs is way down their list.

The world is a big place - when you add up all those "small insignificant" pirate copies, it all amounts to a lot more than just John Q and his CD burner - and when you add that to the major organised piracy gangs that make use of industry insiders, you just have a bigger problem - then add to that the people who place copies for download on peer to peer file sharing apps like Kazaa, which results in less people buying the real things, you have an even bigger problem - in the end, it doesn't matter whether you buy an illegal copy from an organised gang, from a guy on the street, borrow an illegal copy from your friend etc - whatever stops you from buying a real copy results in loss of sales.

And yet still people walk around, saying the companies can afford it, it's no problem, why should I pay 50 dollars when I can get it for 10? Naivety and ignorance are bliss to some people.
Posted by: Singer

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 10:48 PM

Poor Joe Q. rolleyes You're saying something is a big problem based on a hypothetical projection. I was simply basing a statement on realistic figures. If 10 million people did it (assuming also that all 10 million would purchase a game otherwise), of course it would be a problem, but that just doesn't happen. Not even close. Of course, if 10 million people traded or re-sold the same game to each other, that would amount to the same loss of income for the developers (and that would be legal).

I'm not defending end user piracy. But it's a drop in the bucket, plain and simple. It's an interesting ethical argument, but let's just be realistic about which issues are the ones threatening the industry.
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/25/03 11:38 PM


Where are these realistic figures coming from?

Of course end-user piracy is a big problem - I can understand the argument that they may very well NOT buy the game anyway - but, if they don't HAVE TO buy the real game due to availability of pirate copies from their buddy Frank, then they won't ever buy the game, regardless of whether or not they were prepared to - who can say how many people operate in this way? 10 million people out of the billions on the planet is not a lot.

Napster was an example of end-user piracy as far as I can see - people downloaded what other people made available instead of going out and buying the actual CD - these actions resulted in the whole Napster court battle - Napster was just for music - with the arrival of Kazaa and other apps that do the same, people are now downloading games, movies, music and software - in doing so they are abstaining from actually purchasing a real copy - if these file sharing apps did not exist then they would find it a lot harder to find the stuff for free and would be much more inclined to go and buy - just because you are getting it for free and criminals are not making money out of it, does not mean it has no effect on the industry - it does.

And the whole sharing, lending thing is different - you're NOT dealing in stolen goods - if you borrowed a real game off someone and you really liked it, you might go buy it, because your friend would want it back - if it's a pirate version, you can just make a copy yourself and hence, no need to go buy it - people have always loaned and resold things - the effects of this will never be the same as the effects of piracy.
Posted by: Singer

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 12:06 AM

Napster, Kazaa and the like are a totally different situation, which is what I've been saying. Those are NOT examples of "end user piracy", but wide-scale distribution, which precisely IS what hurts the industry.

As for your question, I've read several articles in gaming/computer magazines in the past that examined the issue of end user piracy (both games and the much pricier programs). Do I believe everything I read? No, but whoever these people are that make studies of such things, presumably they're doing more than pulling numbers out of a hat.

EVERY single gamer I know (and I know many) buys as many games as they can, and I'll gladly stand by my assertion that the odd schmuck making a CD for himself or a buddy isn't crippling EA or Microsoft.
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 12:32 AM

So "end-user" piracy equals a lone solitary guy making a copy of something for himself? And he's the only one is he? Nobody else does that? You know that's not true - millions of people do the very same thing - if this wasn't a problem, they wouldn't bother to put copy protection on their products, and other freeware developers out there wouldn;t bother making little progs that can easily get around those protections, but only on the computer you have copied the game to - cracking that protection completely is no problem for a guy who knows what's he's doing - he then adds it to Kazaa or dedicated Warez sites, or sells to to some crim - that copy protection is there to stop YOU or ME from copying that game.

Napster was the same - end-user makes copy of something - whether they get it off a friend or off the net, so what? They're still getting it.

My number of 10 million was used to highlight how easily a huge amount of money could accumolate - if it's 5 million, it's still a huge loss - if it's 1 million, same thing - however I wager that in any one year there are easily 10 million people in the entire world who copy a game from a friend - not the same game, but a game - even if it's just 1 game for each person, that's still 10 million games not bought, and still a massive amount of money that could have been.

And I stand by my assertion that this is as much a problem as every piracy outlet.
Posted by: Marian

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 12:46 AM

It may well be true that wide-scale distribution is hurting the industry far more than the end user. However, piracy is against the law; therefore, all the reasons that people give for why piracy is "okay" at times fall under the heading of situational ethics. Thus, what it ultimately comes down to in regards to choosing piracy or refusing it is whether or not a determination is made to exercise individual conscience and principles.

Unfortunately, in the increasingly cynical times in which we live, the attitude of most, being that all they see from "authority" and higher institutions is greed and graft, and that the ideals above are not being upheld, is a feeling of hopelessness that the exercising of conscience and principles will ever make so much as the slightest difference in the outcome overall, and this is what I see as one of the single biggest problems confronting society as a whole.
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 01:09 AM

Hrmn - I've got an ethical topic similar to this that I'm fairly interested in, due to various debates with fellow peers...

I don't think that copyright or licensing agreement legally end after a certain period of time. Given this, how old would a game have to be before copying/distribution of the game is considered morally or ethically justifiable?

I know there are some very old games that are considered quite good, but unfortunately are very hard to obtain or find - despite services such as 'ebay' or 'game trading zone'. So does people think there's ever a point in time when the copying of game would be considered alright?... would 5 years be considered long enough? 10 years? 20 years? (not going to bother go back any further - I am not sure if there's going to be a computer capable of running games older than 20 years *giggle*)...
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 01:38 AM

Hey guys,

Interestng news item relating to our current discussion:

News Item
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 01:54 AM

Hrmn - I thought they already started suing individuals awhile ago...

My university recently sent out emails to all staff members (yes - apparently teachers use Kazaa as well apparently) and students warning them that the continued use of Kazaa on the school network would attract disciplinary actions, because the university doesn't want lega actions taken against it for allowing its teachers/students to use its facilities to exchange games/music/movies...
Posted by: Singer

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 09:29 AM

TD, I'm really not sure what point it is you're crusading, or why. I've yet to defend piracy in any way, shape, or form. No one here has. Hey, I haven't even GIVEN my opinion on piracy, since it's illegal, and I'm not challenging the law of the land.

Ultimately, though, there's arguing to be RIGHT, and there's arguing to affect change. If all we're doing is the former, then yes, all piracy hurts the industry and every individual should do their part to stop it... Agreed. That was never in question. But what have we accomplished by agreeing on that here in the ivory tower? Zip.

You're free to stand by whatever assertions you wish, of course, but if the credibility of your practical argument can't convince ME, you sure as heck won't convince someone who's pirating games illegally. That's all I'm trying to say. If we want to create change, we need to find common ground and speak the language of those standing in opposition.

As I said earlier, on an individual end user basis, piracy is an ethical issue, not a practical one. Indeed, each person must "exercise conscience and principles" for its own sake. It doesn't matter if it's hurting anyone - that criterion makes it situational ethics. And as Marian pointed out, too many people now look around and ask "what difference will it make?" As far as piracy goes, that was the "side" I was trying to (neutrally) debate. So long as Kazaa, warez, and "professionally" pirated CD's are around, we won't convince anyone that their lone acts DO make a difference, so that's the very question we should be trying to AVOID, not defend.

Truth be told, I believe in positive ethics as a vital foundation for the human heart/soul and society, so poor moral choices are far more damaging than dollars lost to an industry. I just joined this discussion because I felt some points were too simplistic to be left alone. laugh

Posted by: Kickaha

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 10:09 AM

I believe lone acts do make a difference, perhaps you can't measure it in pence or cents, but they make a difference. Anyway of more use may be to ask where do we go from here?

The current industry model we have isn't working that well. The increasing cost of development coupled with piracy mean that as a business proposition developing an Adventure game is not a sure-fire winner. So are there any other models?

Well how about companies like Microsoft and Apple sponsoring the development of Adventure games? Apple at least develop software to sell hardware and I've bought at least one computer for playing games on.

A variant on that might be Advertising - consider wandering round Uru with Coca-Cola adverts at strategic places? Easier with online games.

Shareware is a possibility but needs that culture of "I liked that, I'll give the creator something" to be established.

Otherwise we're down to people doing games in their spare time as hobbies - some of which can be really good.

Regards, Peter.
Posted by: taf4

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 10:20 AM

Copyright does end after a certain period of time... IF the game is made after 1978 (which most are) it will end in about 95 years if it is renewed. If not renewed it lasts 28 years.

So get ready because unrenewed copyrights of games made in 1978 end in 2006 smile I am gearing up to play pong for free laugh

Note that congress keeps extending the copyright though (they last did in 1998). The theory is that they don't want Disney to lose their protection..
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 10:40 AM

You said end-user piracy, the act of copying a game for yourself from someone else, was not a real problem, because you seem to think there aren't many who do it, or those that do do it, would never have bought the game in the first place.

I'm not saying you are defending piracy - I am arguing against your assumption, and yes it is an assumption, seeing as YOU have no evidence of how many people actually do it, that these individuals are not a huge problem. I've yet to hear you argue exactly why this is not a problem, beyond your magazine articles and "this just does not happen" - it seems quite obvious to me that individuals copying games for themselves and therefore not buying them, is going to be a massive problem.

My point is simple - if there is 1 person out there who will copy a game from a friend instead of buying it, then there are also MORE people out there that will do this - if there are billions of people in the world, do you really think a few million is a lot? Your argument seemed to suggest that 10 million individuals copying games for themselves was ludicrous - again, 10 million does not seem like a lot to me - and as I said, even if only a million (surely you can't think 1 million is too many), at a $50 price that's still $50 million loss - loss as in, the people who should and would have bought the game, didn't, because they copied it - some games will never even make $1 million - I would think that those developers are concerned about this - what are your counter arguments that this is wrong?

I haven't mentioned an ethical or moral side of things - I don't think piracy is a big issue to anyone beyond, "oh no I might get done for that if they catch me" - people simply do not care that the industries are losing money - it's as simple as that - if people see a guy selling knocked of games/movies/music, they don't walk round the block for 10 minutes fighting their consciences - they just buy - they give no thought to the fact their actions may cost the industries - "1 person buying this won't be a problem will it" - sure enough, 1 person woulnd't be a problem, either buynng or copying their own, but there isn't just 1 person doing it.

There's only one way to stop piracy, and that's to just simply go and GET the pirates in an aggressive manner - the pirate gangs, are the biggest problem, you are right, but only because their actions have effects elsewhere due to reinvestment of the money they're making - if you stopped the gangs, the industry would still be losing millions of dollars a year through end-user piracy.

To back up my argument, I mentioned copy protection - this is put in place to stop the average Joe copying the game for himself or his friends - that's end-user piracy isn't it? So, if ths is NOT a problem as you have said, why bother with the protection? Crackers can easily get around it, but the average person would not know where to start cracking protection, so it serves its purpose to a degree - however there are things to download to get around copy-protection on a temporary basis, if using a copy just for yourself - these things are developed as freeware just so we can copy games - end-user piracy.

Also, the movie industry is now cracking down on developers who develop and distribute DVD to VCD ripping software - this stuff is freely available on the net and is easy to use - copying a DVD movie is the easiest thing in the world, even you and me can do it - why are they stamping down on the devlopers of such software? To stop average Joes copying stuff, because it is, and always has been, a huge problem.

Now, argue that it is NOT a problem?

I'm not accusing you of anything Jack, or saying you have defended piracy, but you did put an opinion forward, the opinion that end-user piracy was not a massive problem - I would like to know why exactly it is not?
Posted by: Singer

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 02:16 PM

I'll try to sum up, because I find academic debates useless. I wasn't even planning on revisiting the thread, but I've been addressed, so I will a final time.

First of all, I don't believe I've made any assumptions. I may have used the research of others as the basis for my reasoning, but that's not the same thing. As I said, it wasn't people pulling numbers out of thin air. But the articles I'm referring to were ABOUT copy protection, and the ridiculous waste of time and expense they are, since they do so very little to alleviate large scale piracy that DO cost the industry millions of dollars a year, all for the sake of limiting the relatively few numbers that home pirate.

Secondly, arguing theories is futile. We could just compliantly agree that end user piracy is a gargantuan problem, and that anyone who does it is a selfish, ignorant fool, and we would have accomplished nothing.

You want the burden of proof to fall on ME, but I'm just offering a perspective you don't seem inclined to recognize. We can rant and rave and demand that piraters prove they're not hurting the industry, and they'll scoff! THEY don't think they are, and until you can prove that they do, then we've made no inroads whatsoever.

I was not putting out an opinion for its own sake. I was simply saying that until you are able to substantiate yours with anything more than hypothetical reasoning, your argument will fall on deaf ears for those pirating the games.

All this is moot for me, but every discussion requires balance. If anyone comes up with some staggering numbers of end-user piracy stats, I'll GLADLY look them over. My opinion is flexible, but it's currently based on the best research I've come across. Had I known I'd ever be asked for a bibliography for my posts, I'd have surely made note of them.

And on that note, I'm outta here!

Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 03:39 PM

ohhhh let's not stop playing just yet.

You made a statement that "end-user" piracy was not a problem, it would not cause massive damage to the undustries, and the industries did not even consider it a problem - I challenged this statement with my own thoughts and opinions - I thought that's how discussions worked??? You still have not given your arguments as to why end-user piracy is a problem, and I too am at a loss as to what you have been trying to say.

Arguing theories is not useless - it happens all the time - it opens us up to new ideas, things we may not have considered.

I'm not looking to put the burden of proof on anyone - there's nothing to prove - I'd just like to know why you seem so adament that end-user piracy is not a problem and that, as you say, "relatively few people do it" - I consider this to be completely wrong, and you have not argued your corner against me - or was it that YOU weren't actually making this statement, rather just quoting from an article? If that had been the case, you would have said, "according to so and so" or, "this is what so and so said", but you SAID it as if you agreed wholeheartedely, prompting me to challenge.

My opinion has not been unreasoned - it is based on what I know and what I have read, which leads me to believe end-user piracy is huge problem - I have thought over all the evidence myself and drawn my own conclusions - I have not just taken a single magazine article or two, to be the one and only true opinion.

I don't want to rant and rave and demand that pirates proove they are not hurting the industry, and don't believe that's what I've been doing. I know they don't care - gangs don't care because they can make money - endusers don't care because either, they feel the companies are greedy, or they are simply ignorant to the fact that they ARE hurting the industry.

Finally, in my opinion, file sharing such as Napster and Kazaa is end-user piracy in the same way as copying your buddies CD is end-user piracy - the end-user is solely responsible for making THEIR particular copy (by downloading it) - and furtermore it feeds the kind of end-user piracy you are talking about - someone downloads a game from Kazaa, they put it on CD, pass it onto friends, who then make their own copies, and so the problem continues - that IS end-user piracy and is a very BIG problem.

I guess this is the end of our discussion then - thank you for your time.
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 04:38 PM

hehe - who would've thought such a heated argument came as a result of stating one of the terms in the licensing agreement.

Anyways - let's agree on a common ground here... from reading both of your arguments, it appears both of you agree that pirating, both as end-user (whether it be the Kazaa variety or the CD-burner variety) and large-scale criminal gang, is a big problem.

Also from your arguments, I think it's safe to assume that pirating due to gangs and organised pirating rings are definitely MORE of a problem than friends copying games for friends (not saying it isn't a problem - just that in comparison, the organised crimes are even bigger of a problem).

Singer is simply stating that given our limited resources, it probably would be more effective if we spend the resources on enforcing ways to stop the large-scale piracy going on. What we really should be discussing here is what viable, effective and cost-feasible methods can anyone think of which would contribute to stop large-scale piracy.

For example, should the industry try to appeal to the general public's sense of moral and ethics, or should they instead try to concentrate on breaking into the crime ring instead?
Posted by: tigger

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 05:05 PM

Ok, we had a question and answer session on our tv just this evening which just Might explain one of the issues..

As far as Kaza goes Music wise.. most folks interviewed thought that if the music industry released cd's at a reasonable price in the first place, more sales would result. Its the same with produced games.. cut the markup and you get more sales of originals and less to the copiers.. I would rather buy 1 original game than 2 copies.. do the maths.. a copy game can cost only $7.50.. any nuber of discs.. So make prices more affordable and punters will buy, no matter what the game is..

Posted by: Marian

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 05:22 PM

Hi Tig,

I understand what those folks were saying, but isn't that also a bit like saying that if you cannot afford the price of a new car (and I sure can't), that it follows from there that it is perfectly acceptable for me to steal one instead?
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 05:27 PM

oh, that reminds me of another (semi-amusing) story that happened to a relative some time ago (think it was last year but can't really remember)...

Anyways, this relative of mine went to the music store and bought a music CD then went home. She was really happy and immediately placed the music CD in the CD player... however, she was rather upset at the bad quality of the music CD (apparently a lot of static or hissing noise or something). Being an unsatisfied customer, she angrily took the CD back to the store and demanded a refund for the bad quality - she got the refund. Anyhow, I assume some time later she laid her hands on a pirated copy - and it turned out this pirated copy had excellent quality music.

After this experience, she never bought anything legal again.
Posted by: Streyken

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 06:12 PM

Magician: "...what viable, effective and cost-feasible methods can anyone think of which would contribute to stop large-scale piracy."
I was thinking about this the other day with regards to Kazaa and the like; if I were a developer and worried about my stuff being stolen why not make an additional 10 or 20 pieces of software with about the same file size as your commercial piece, but which does nothing and put it on the shared network. If it was really that good that people would search and download it, it would propagate through the system relatively quickly. The idea being to make it so cumbersome it wouldn't be worth the hassle for the majority of people to download a dozen or so 500MB files in the hope it is the right one. Just a thought.
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/26/03 06:28 PM

Sean, I think your method is already being used by some of the people in the software/music/movie, as someone else mentioned in one of the reply... smile

That is one way, although considering that broadband in the US apparently are uncapped and provide unlimited download (not measured by megabytes like here in Australia), I don't think it's terribly effective.

Also, from the conversations I've had with my friends in learning how they sort viruses from rubbish/dud files from the "good stuff", it appears they've got a very reliable system going there. I'll try to find out more about this system and let everyone know once I got more info... smile
Posted by: Advpuzlov

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/28/03 03:20 AM

people simply do not care that the industries are losing money - it's as simple as that - if people see a guy selling knocked of games/movies/music, they don't walk round the block for 10 minutes fighting their consciences - they just buy - they give no thought to the fact their actions may cost the industries.
I'm sure you did not mean it in the way it sounds, but your use of people ticked me off a bit since it was so all-inclusive. If you had said "there are many people who, etc." I would not have been bothered. But most of the people I know aren't numbered among the people to which you refer. All-inclusive statements tend to bother me in general, since they are so rarely accurate, and when I feel that characteristics have been attributed to me by having included me in a group, I take it amiss. I know, that's being touchy, but having read RAY's recent rant, I felt encouraged to bring up the point, even though I am quite sure that you didn't mean to apply your characterizations to everybody. smile
Posted by: TheDerman

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/28/03 05:28 AM

I had already mentioned in previous posts in this thread that NOT all people buy pirate copies, and some people are against it - those points are obvious anyway I think - and since we were currently talking about people who DO buy pirate copies, I saw no point in stating (again) that of course not everyone does it - sometimes, it's clear to what you are referring and what you mean, and certain things don't need repeating each and every time.

I too read Ray's article - "I respect everyone's opinion unless they like like Eminem" - does that mean he thinks everyone who likes Eminem is not worthy of an opinion, or at least one that counts? No, I think he was just joking, and saying, personally, he doesn't like Eminem.

Hope that clears it up.
Posted by: Magician

Re: "Harvest" - interesting license agreement! - 06/29/03 06:38 PM

OK, I've talked with some of my friends and found out how they filter the "dud" stuff from programs like kazaa vs the real stuff...

Basically when you do a search for Kazaa, you can find out how many people has the same stuff (or more correctly, I guess it refers to how many instances are available at the time of your search). The chances are, if the program, game, music, movie etc you're looking is really popular then there's going to be a lot of people who have it - which means if you download something which happens to be on a lot of computer's out there, then it's the stuff you're looking for.

So while the developer could put on some computers out there a dud copy, are they going to be putting in on enough computers to make a difference when people are using the above method to choose which copy of the <something> they want to download??

Keep in mind most broadband contracts either charge by the megabytes, or else (if it's on an unlimited plan) don't usually allow the user to set the computer as a server for people to download from... so putting enough dud copies out there for people to download from is going to cost a lot of money, with no gurantees (if the pirate is persistent enough, then he/she can always seek out other sources).