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People will pirate it, but I believe only the most vile will do. Reputation of publishers and devs, I think, is a big facot.

 

Not really, groups will hit anything and this will be from one of the most funded KS game, so it's got a bigger profile. As for the most vile, come on, this isn't anything particularly sacred or special - just the same level of evil as every other one.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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People will pirate it, but I believe only the most vile will do.

 

Huh? It's copyright infringement, not murder. Even if you think copyright law makes sense, violations of it are like trademark violations. I wouldn't call it "vile" to ignore a government mandated monopoly, even if it does exist legitimately.

 

Vile may be an overstatement, but your statement is basically the opposite direction of his. You are dismissing it as some stick it to the government idea. Piracy, above all else, sticks it to the creator. It is bad.

 

You have a creator, and that creator asks for compensation for their creation. When you pirate, you ignore that basic idea. There is nothing good about that.

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Vile may be an overstatement, but your statement is basically the opposite direction of his. You are dismissing it as some stick it to the government idea.

 

Well yeah. Copyright is a government intervention in the marketplace to solve a public good provision problem.

 

Piracy, above all else, sticks it to the creator. It is bad.

 

There's not much I can do with the statement "it is bad". Other than ask why, I guess. I mean, there's the obvious "breaking the law is bad", but beyond that?

 

You have a creator, and that creator asks for compensation for their creation. When you pirate, you ignore that basic idea. There is nothing good about that.

 

And? People ask for compensation all the time. Crazy homeless guys ask for change. If you want money, you monetize. I wouldn't call failing to donate to a charity case ("the creator asks for compensation for their creation"). Uncharitable, maybe, but not morally wrong.

 

Now, arguments that you should follow the law are reasonable (though controversial). But trying to say that people who do things inherently deserve money either reduces to absurdity, or turns into weird labor theory of value stuff that has no relevance to modern economics.

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You have a creator, and that creator asks for compensation for their creation. When you pirate, you ignore that basic idea. There is nothing good about that.

 

And? People ask for compensation all the time. Crazy homeless guys ask for change. If you want money, you monetize. I wouldn't call failing to donate to a charity case ("the creator asks for compensation for their creation"). Uncharitable, maybe, but not morally wrong.

 

Err...exactly what has the homeless guy created that he's asking for compensation for your receipt of their creation when he begs for change? How does the homeless guy scenario apply at all to what Hurlshot is talking about?

I cannot - yet I must. How do you calculate that? At what point on the graph do "must" and "cannot" meet? Yet I must - but I cannot! ~ Ro-Man

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You have a creator, and that creator asks for compensation for their creation. When you pirate, you ignore that basic idea. There is nothing good about that.

 

And? People ask for compensation all the time. Crazy homeless guys ask for change. If you want money, you monetize. I wouldn't call failing to donate to a charity case ("the creator asks for compensation for their creation"). Uncharitable, maybe, but not morally wrong.

 

Err...exactly what has the homeless guy created that he's asking for compensation for your receipt of their creation when he begs for change? How does the homeless guy scenario apply at all to what Hurlshot is talking about?

 

If you ask for compensation without providing a product of service, you're essentially begging. Monetization is an essential part of any business, and neglecting that in favor of asking people who receive your product from another party to toss a few dollars in the tip jar strikes me as charity more than anything else.

 

The analogy does get strained, but I was trying to respond to Hurlshot's claim that if people make things they inherently deserve money if someone else sells them to you. Or really to get him to expand on it, because it's not clear how he reaches the conclusion as things stand.

Edited by Diagoras
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If you ask for compensation without providing a product of service, you're essentially begging. Monetization is an essential part of any business, and neglecting that in favor of asking people who receive your product from another party to toss a few dollars in the tip jar strikes me as charity more than anything else.

 

Are you referring to receiving the product via piracy as "receive your product from another party?"

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If you ask for compensation without providing a product of service, you're essentially begging. Monetization is an essential part of any business, and neglecting that in favor of asking people who receive your product from another party to toss a few dollars in the tip jar strikes me as charity more than anything else.

 

Are you referring to receiving the product via piracy as "receive your product from another party?"

 

What else would it be? Within the framework of copyright it would be a crime, but the context of that quote is talking about the morality of the act outside of copyright law.

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So you actually think that developers wanting compensation because someone else took their work and distributed it for free is nothing more than asking for charity?

 

 

What else would it be?

 

In this case it's just a sense of entitlement (someone acquiring something for free, simply because they can and they want to). At this point it's nothing more than an honor system of "Buy the game, which is effectively giving away to charity since you could simply acquire it for free through other means."

 

So what sort of monetization are we talking about here?

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So you actually think that developers wanting compensation because someone else took their work and distributed it for free is nothing more than asking for charity?

 

Someone else copied their work. And yes, pretty much. Note that there's nothing wrong with charity, but by itself it's not a very sustainable business model.

 

In this case it's just a sense of entitlement (someone acquiring something for free, simply because they can and they want to).

 

Is entitlement being used as a pejorative here? Because I'm not really seeing how consumers seeking the best price for a product is morally incorrect.

 

At this point it's nothing more than an honor system of "Buy the game, which is effectively giving away to charity since you could simply acquire it for free through other means."

 

If, in this constructed hypothetical, you release a product and then ask people to give you money for it when there are cheaper options, and you offer no other extra benefit, then yes.

 

So what sort of monetization are we talking about here?

 

When I referenced it, I was talking about the general principle that the value of a thing is what people pay for it (ie. marginal theory of value), which means that you need to monetize goods if you expect payment for them. Business 101.

 

Copyright is exactly that, an attempt to create a form of monetization for artistic works through government fiat, namely by trying to force them to adopt the properties of physical goods (ie. rivalry). The question was about the abstract morality of acquiring non-rivalrous goods from a second party, excluding the question of breaking the law itself.

 

Now, there is a question about whether copyright is necessary, or whether other monetization systems exist that might make a government-provided solution unnecessary, but those are disconnected to the particular question I was addressing.

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Is entitlement being used as a pejorative here? Because I'm not really seeing how consumers seeking the best price for a product is morally incorrect.

 

It's self-defeating. Taking it to the extreme, imagine the viability of the games industry if all games were free (i.e. 100% piracy rate). Even some piracy circles agree with this notion that leeching is detrimental, in that they require users to NOT leech in order to have access to their software.

 

I agree that piracy is mostly about the consumer getting something they want for as low of a cost as possible (which is a fair expectation of what a consumer should do).

 

 

This is starts to delve into the area of tragedy of the commons, and it could be argued that self-regulation isn't viable since those that choose to violate the self-regulation typically benefit more (to the long-term, less immediate detriment of all).

Edited by alanschu
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You have a creator, and that creator asks for compensation for their creation. When you pirate, you ignore that basic idea. There is nothing good about that.

 

And? People ask for compensation all the time. Crazy homeless guys ask for change. If you want money, you monetize. I wouldn't call failing to donate to a charity case ("the creator asks for compensation for their creation"). Uncharitable, maybe, but not morally wrong.

 

Err...exactly what has the homeless guy created that he's asking for compensation for your receipt of their creation when he begs for change? How does the homeless guy scenario apply at all to what Hurlshot is talking about?

Clearly Homeless Guy is an ex developer who got sacked by the IP rights holder immediately after his six months of 100+ hours/ week crunch (no overtime) ended while said IP rights holder pocketed the benefits of his labour; never got his bonus because the metacritic was only 84% and a game that sold eleventy billion copies somehow failed to make a profit :che:

 

Fundamentally IP law overall is rubbish and desperately needs reform at exactly the same time as vast quantities of money are being spent on lobbying to try and tighten the screws even further in a manner that would make minipax blush. Piracy would be a whole lot more easy to get all "BEHEAD THOSE THAT INFRINGE IP RIGHTS" about if many of those IP rights holders weren't a bunch of asterisking asteriskholes themselves.

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It's self-defeating. Taking it to the extreme, imagine the viability of the games industry if all games were free (i.e. 100% piracy rate). Even some piracy circles agree with this notion that leeching is detrimental, in that they require users to NOT leech in order to have access to their software.

 

Hm, I think it's just that leechers just take their releases without contributing to the scene so to speak, rather than some overarching concern for the industry as a whole.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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It's self-defeating. Taking it to the extreme, imagine the viability of the games industry if all games were free (i.e. 100% piracy rate). Even some piracy circles agree with this notion that leeching is detrimental, in that they require users to NOT leech in order to have access to their software.

 

Yeah, I wasn't saying it was economically optimal. I'm just responding to the assertion that copying materials in and of itself is immoral.

 

The question of whether copyright is needed is...interesting. There are multiple monetization options that exist right now that aren't dependent on copyright (Software-as-a-service, advertising, crowdfunding, microtransactions, etc.), which makes the case for that sort of government intervention far weaker than before. More technically, IP is now way less rivalrous and hugely less excludable than it used to be, turning it from something that can pushed into the private goods quadrant to something that is firmly a public good. And you throw in exactly how heavy handed copyright law really is, and it gets even harder to justify.

 

I mean, if we were talking about ye olde 28 year terms, strong fair use, civil action, and only really targeted at other publishers then that would be one thing. But copyright is far from that nowadays.

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Hm, I think it's just that leechers just take their releases without contributing to the scene so to speak, rather than some overarching concern for the industry as a whole.

 

Actually I wasn't even talking about the leechers that leech hurting the "industry" but rather the piracy scene itself (although some of the cracking groups do hate the idea of people that pirate games, enjoy them, and don't buy the game). Piracy itself benefits when people properly set up their torrents and don't excessively restrict their uploads and don't simply disconnect when they have 100% of the file.

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Yeah, I wasn't saying it was economically optimal. I'm just responding to the assertion that copying materials in and of itself is immoral.

 

You could argue that the reason why it's self-defeating is because you are exploiting someone else's work, who put that time in with the hopes of some sort of compensation, and willfully do so despite this recognition. Similar to the idea of cheating on an exam or copying someone's idea and presenting it as your own (regardless of the circumstances - you could say "hey I think we should go work in a soup kitchen" and if I go off to our friends and suggest it and take ownership of the idea and claim I came up with it, there's no law against it but if people find out it was your idea they're not likely to think I'm a stand up guy for taking credit). That it's in response to a law (or more generally, a rule) doesn't undermine its ethical considerations. Indeed, rules/laws come into existence because of a society's moral compass. Though we're starting to enter the realm of moral relativism here.

 

I'd be willing to open to the idea that someone that is ignorant and not aware of the self-defeating nature of piracy is likely not acting immoral. I don't have any idea of the breakdowns of how common this is.

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Ah ok you meant leeching in torrent context, fair enough. Scene's opinion of P2P users is pretty low, overall.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I could see it. My understanding comes from second hand accounts, in that I had a roommate that actively torrented a lot. Was frustrating to have my bandwidth compromised for it! XD.

 

Most of my exposure to western piracy is through p2p methods.

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We can argue about the publisher model, about copyright and IP law plenty. There are major flaws there. But piracy isn't going to fix any of those problems. It's just a way to get something without paying for it.

 

How is it not immoral to copy someone else's work without permission? We aren't talking about a cure for a disease, we are talking about entertainment media. You can live without it if you don't like the distribution system.

 

Why would anyone bother creating something if they didn't have some protections in place for their work?

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You could argue that the reason why it's self-defeating is because you are exploiting someone else's work, who put that time in with the hopes of some sort of compensation, and willfully do so despite this recognition.

 

That doesn't really fly. Labor theory of value isn't the way we value things, unless you're a Marxist. Many things take little effort and are greatly valued, and many things take lots of effort and are considered worthless.

 

Similar to the idea of cheating on an exam or copying someone's idea and presenting it as your own (regardless of the circumstances - you could say "hey I think we should go work in a soup kitchen" and if I go off to our friends and suggest it and take ownership of the idea and claim I came up with it, there's no law against it but if people find out it was your idea they're not likely to think I'm a stand up guy for taking credit).

 

But those are very different circumstances. One is cheating, and the other lying. They don't really apply to the issues copyright is meaning to address.

 

That it's in response to a law (or more generally, a rule) doesn't undermine its ethical considerations. Indeed, rules/laws come into existence because of a society's moral compass.

 

To be clear: copyright has never been about morality. Nor has it been about "creator's rights", as copyright isn't a right. Rather, it's about the economic interest of the general public - not the publishers or content creators.

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It's just a way to get something without paying for it.

 

...yes. And?

 

How is it not immoral to copy someone else's work without permission?

 

How is it moral to insist that no one replicate your work, and to use coercive force against them if they do? Companies copy each other's trade secrets and business practices all the time, artists have shamelessly paid homage/copied each other's work through history. I can't think of a system of moral philosophy which states that copying people's stuff is immoral. If you don't want people to copy it, don't sell it to them. But they're not your slaves, and you can't tell them what they can do once they own something. It's theirs now.

 

We aren't talking about a cure for a disease, we are talking about entertainment media. You can live without it if you don't like the distribution system.

 

Yes...and?

 

Why would anyone bother creating something if they didn't have some protections in place for their work?

 

I want to note that this is an entirely different question than one about the abstract morality of replicating media, ie. the one I've been addressing above.

 

Anyway, what you're saying here has never been the justification for copyright. Indeed, it would have seemed ridiculous as there had been centuries of artistic development up to the point of its creation. Creators have either not needed a financial incentive to create art, or they've found one. Once again, copyright is not about the content creators.

 

Rather, the primary purpose of copyright was censorship. That's not relevant for today, so it's the secondary purpose that we care about: publishing costs. Essentially, copyright was a mechanism for funding the expensive printing presses that publishers needed to operate - and copyright continues to be a tool aimed mainly at publishers rather than creators (though some 20th century developments tipped the other way).

 

But to address your question: you seem to be assuming that content creators/publishers don't have monetization options outside of copyright. Is that really the case?

 

Second, are distribution costs so high that we need dedicated publishing entities to exist at all? That's complicated by the diverse roles that publishers take now, from marketing to capital, but copyright was intended to fund the distribution of works, not the creation of high capital work.

 

Note that negative answers to those questions don't necessarily mean the abandonment of all kinds of government intervention, but just point to the idea that copyright might not be the best choice as it was designed for a particular purpose.

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To be clear: copyright has never been about morality. Nor has it been about "creator's rights", as copyright isn't a right. Rather, it's about the economic interest of the general public - not the publishers or content creators.

 

You keep repeating this like some religious mantra. Repetition doesn't make it true. Copyright, trademarks, patents, all originally invented to stimulate invention, innovation and creativity. You are right in one point though, it's about the economic interest of the general public. The general public will try to pay as little as possible for anything. They will sometimes go to ridiculous lengths, trying to avoiding paying for both goods and services provided. The latter is really the crux of it all. Watch this space (and a number of previous threads) for explanations ranging from the laughable to the bizarre when people have tried to justify what is basically "Why should *I* pay for somebody elses work" (especially when the chances of being brought to justice is close to non-existent).

 

Tl;dr; version: Self-entitlement.

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“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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That doesn't really fly. Labor theory of value isn't the way we value things, unless you're a Marxist. Many things take little effort and are greatly valued, and many things take lots of effort and are considered worthless.

 

That people can acquire something for free doesn't mean they don't place value on it. They clearly do (otherwise they wouldn't spend time, a resource in and of itself, acquiring it). In fact, the mere fact that they are acquiring it only demonstrates that they feel that price by which they are acquiring it is below the value that they place on said product.

 

But those are very different circumstances. One is cheating, and the other lying. They don't really apply to the issues copyright is meaning to address.

 

You're nitpicking the example. You cite that copyright has no moral foundation and the only reason people may think that is because there's a Law for it. I was addressing the idea that things typically get rules put against it because society deems it so. If our society highly valued cheating and lying, it wouldn't be considered immoral to do so.

 

To be clear: copyright has never been about morality. Nor has it been about "creator's rights", as copyright isn't a right. Rather, it's about the economic interest of the general public - not the publishers or content creators.

 

In this case I'd disagree. As a content creator, the advantages around the ideals of copyright pretty clearly serve to help provide me with some security that the motivation for substantial financial reward is a potential outcome. You can argue until the cows come home if this is actually accomplished with current copyright laws, but the I disagree that it's not about morality. When I realized I wanted to become a content creator is when I decided that I should stop pirating because it's not something that I would want done to stuff I made. Given that I was able to experience an ethical conflict with my actions, it's trivial that it's a moral consideration. If it wasn't, people couldn't be morally influenced by it.

 

TL;DR I actively do not pirate because I feel it is wrong to do so. Not because there's a Law that says I shouldn't. Especially given how trivially easy it is to circumvent such laws and come up with justifications to prevent any cognitive dissonance.

 

 

This is why, to use game development, game developers themselves often implement ways to undermine piracy (and have been doing so for decades) to help monetize the product. If a pirated/bootlegged copy was unusable, then the pirated user would then have to reevaluate whether or not they wanted to play the game with the cost of a legitimate copy and determine if the expected value obtained is worth the cost. Of course, this DOES cause issues for the legitimate owners, especially with more modern forms of DRM. Which is, perhaps paradoxically, despite being a content creator my stance has significantly softened on DRM.

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You keep repeating this like some religious mantra. Repetition doesn't make it true. Copyright, trademarks, patents, all originally invented to stimulate invention, innovation and creativity.

 

How is that different from what I said? It doesn't have to do with "creator's rights" or quasi-moral reasoning, but an economic calculation. It looks like you're violently agreeing with me here.

 

You are right in one point though, it's about the economic interest of the general public. The general public will try to pay as little as possible for anything.

 

Yes.

 

Watch this space (and a number of previous threads) for explanations ranging from the laughable to the bizarre when people have tried to justify what is basically "Why should *I* pay for somebody elses work" (especially when the chances of being brought to justice is close to non-existent).

 

...why should they pay for someone else's work? Consumers seek to acquire the cheapest goods, and producers try to make as much money as possible. Are you positing a moral necessity for consumers to spend more on things? How much more? Why?

 

I really have no idea what you mean in that sentence, and I've read it at least three times. Would you mind explaining in detail?

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First, thanks to Diagoras and alanschu for starting such a candid and interesting discussion.

 

While I don't share Diagoras' degree of scepticism re: copyright law, I do agree with him that copyright is, by definition, gov't intervention in the free market. It's a government system, supported by taxpayers and completely dependent on public money.

 

One thing that doesn't get enough attention is the fact that copyright is supposed to last for a limited amount of time -- in the United States, it was 14 years. I seem to recall that you could make a one-time renewal so that it would last a total of 28 years, at most. The American Constitution states that copyright should be "for limited times" but, unfortunately, the US government believes that this length of time can be extended retroactively. This has been abused by copyright holders, so that the term now effectively lasts forever. Personally, I think that 14 years is more than enough time to profit from a creative work.

 

The other important point to be made is that, for any copyrighted work, there exist legal exceptions for copying the work. This is called "fair dealing" in Commonwealth countries. (The United States has an even more permissive set of exceptions called "fair use".) These exceptions are what allow me, Gorth, Hurlshot, alanschu, etc. to use copyrighted images our forum avatars. Let alone "Let's play..." videos, screenshots, mods,...

 

Why would anyone bother creating something if they didn't have some protections in place for their work?

 

This is the kind of question that started the discussion.

 

I think Diagoras is arguing that Obsidian should use the success of Kickstarter to consider switching to a commission-based economic model. When artists work for commission, they get paid up-front (commissioned) to produce a creative work. This is how professional portrait painters make money. And none of this relies on a government-funded set of laws, which seems to be Diagoras' criticism of the current copyright model.

 

I agree with him that there are a number of ways artists can make money, that don't depend on traditional copyright. Look at open-source software, which is paid through support (Ubuntu) or advertising (Google).

 

However, I also think that copyright is OK as a general concept. But it should last at most 14 years, and exceptions should be expanded.

 

And, in case no one else has mentioned it, the penalty for non-commercial infringement should be capped so that students are not being bankrupted through lawsuits.

Edited by Tasaio
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That people can acquire something for free doesn't mean they don't place value on it. They clearly do (otherwise they wouldn't spend time, a resource in and of itself, acquiring it). In fact, the mere fact that they are acquiring it only demonstrates that they feel that price by which they are acquiring it is below the value that they place on said product.

 

Yes, it does. The marginal theory of value indicates that the value of goods is determined by the price people pay for it. Obviously, there is some negligible time and effort value involved, but the price of digital goods in and of themselves is at or near zero.

 

On the other hand, the labor theory of value is advanced by Marxists, and claims (roughly) that the value of goods is equivalent to the labor input. I was pointing out that unless you're a Marxist, saying "People work hard on games and thus deserve money" makes no sense.

 

You're nitpicking the example. You cite that copyright has no moral foundation and the only reason people may think that is because there's a Law for it.

 

What? What I said was that the reasoning behind copyright has nothing to do with morality, and everything to do with brute economic utility maximizing. It's like a bailout during a recession - not based on morality, but on achieving an optimal economic outcome.

 

I was addressing the idea that things typically get rules put against it because society deems it so. If our society highly valued cheating and lying, it wouldn't be considered immoral to do so.

 

Yes, but those aren't law, are they? Copyright is a specific law with a specific purpose based on a specific chain of reasoning. Moral discussions are entirely relevant - we don't have copyright because artists inherently deserve to have monetization done on their behalf or something.

 

In this case I'd disagree. As a content creator, the advantages around the ideals of copyright pretty clearly serve to help provide me with some security that the motivation for substantial financial reward is a potential outcome. You can argue until the cows come home if this is actually accomplished with current copyright laws, but the I disagree that it's not about morality. When I realized I wanted to become a content creator is when I decided that I should stop pirating because it's not something that I would want done to stuff I made. Given that I was able to experience an ethical conflict with my actions, it's trivial that it's a moral consideration. If it wasn't, people couldn't be morally influenced by it.

 

Again, I'm talking about the reason behind the law. Your private actions can be for whatever reason, but I'm talking about the reason that we'll take people who copy things without permission and lock them in jail for years. We don't do that because of your desire to make money - as cool of a guy as you may be. ;) We do it for a compelling economic purpose to society as a whole.

 

This is why, to use game development, game developers themselves often implement ways to undermine piracy (and have been doing so for decades) to help monetize the product. If a pirated/bootlegged copy was unusable, then the pirated user would then have to reevaluate whether or not they wanted to play the game with the cost of a legitimate copy and determine if the expected value obtained is worth the cost. Of course, this DOES cause issues for the legitimate owners, especially with more modern forms of DRM. Which is, perhaps paradoxically, despite being a content creator my stance has significantly softened on DRM.

 

Yeah, I think we can agree that DRM is a very bad monetization route. SAAS, crowdfunding, microtransactions show way more promise.

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