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AdamR

Leaked Beta

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The problem with that chart is that it only shows how they get their revenues, as opposed to the hit they took post-Napster.
That graph doesn't show what you think it does. You might want one that shows sales, rather than a percentage, if such a thing exists.

Sorry, should've been more explicit.

I used this graph as an example that music industry clearly served its customers poorly for decades, because even in purely legal channels percentage of full album sales sharply drops once record labels began introducing adequate ways to get single tracks.

So yes, piracy played the role in revenue decline, but the reason piracy became so popular - is because music industry screwed their customers for ages, and instead of correcting themselves quickly once it was obvious what people really want - they fought for implementing more and more ridiculous drm without creating viable alternative to napster,kazaa,etc as Valve did with Steam.

I don't know that the graph shows that either. I would certainly hesitate to call the decline of the album a good thing.

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I can tell you directly and personally that yes, music sales are and were a very important source of revenue for musicians, not just touring, and that yes, the huge drops in sales in the internet age impact them greatly.

http://www.webpronews.com/pirates-more-likely-to-pay-for-digital-and-physical-media-than-non-pirates-2012-10

http://www.webpronews.com/new-research-once-again-confirms-that-pirates-are-the-best-customers-2013-01

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21856720

I will take experimental over anecdotal evidence any day.

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Since we're talking about the ethics of piracy, as usual I think it's probably a bit more complicated than those on either side of the argument would like to admit.

I think that the person who owns the rights to a work has the right to decide how that work is distributed.

If the rights holder wants to make something and just keep it to themselves or a few friends, that's fine. If they want to release it but only on vinyl, that's up to them. If they want to release it but only make it available in certain countries it's their decision to make.

However, they should do so with the understanding that that decision is a statement of intent. If I don't release my thing in France, then I am showing a disinterest in the French audience. Or, I suppose it's possible, I'm showing a disdain for them - but more likely it's just that I don't care enough about that audience to cater for it. So then it seems like an awfully strange thing to do to complain that French people are pirating my thing.

In other words, I have some sort of responsibility as the rights holder to cater for my audience. If I think my audience is [HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE] but I'm only releasing to [bIIIIG] then the remainder are going to start complaining that they can't get my thing. And if I do nothing to correct that, or if the only ways of access I provide are unreasonable, then there comes a time when the balance of sympathy starts to tip in the other direction.

This simplifies things a little, as it's not always up to me how the release plans go - I might have shareholders to consider, or there might be technical reasons why certain things can't be done, but in general, my efforts ought to be towards making my thing available to anyone I am interested in having it.

As for 'consumers', I think they have a ethical responsibility to buy things they want when those things cost money, but only when the rights holder has held up their end of the bargain. I had little sympathy for latter day LucasArts, failing to release versions of their classic adventures, and the Disney Vault is an emblem of everything that is unbalanced about copyright legislation as it stands.

So, Broken Age - it's a bit of a trickier case because it's still a game in development and I think that affords Double Fine some right to restrict how it is made available, particularly because they are beholden to certain promises made (like the backer beta). However, I do think that it would be best to release the remaining planned versions of the game as soon as it is feasible.

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My only real issue with the way piracy is treated legally is that someone who is judged guilty of having pirated something is fined way out of proportion. Basically the amount of money they need to pay compensates for all the pirates the legal system wasn't and isn't able to catch. How is that justice in any shape or form? If someone is judged guilty of having pirated e.g. a film, they should pay the retail price of that film and that's it. "You watched X without paying for it? Ok, pay for it."

Also, I'm not sure if this applies to the USA and the rest of the world, but in most of Europe, empty CDs and DVDs are additionally taxed because they can be used to burn pirated material onto them. Uh... what the hell? So if I buy some empty CDs or DVDs and I've paid for pirating by paying that additional tax, shouldn't I then... you know... be allowed to pirate things? Because I've paid for it?

My point is that the way the entire legal system is treating piracy and copyright is analogous to what would happen if cavemen were coming up with ideas on how to legally treat aeroplanes. It's outdated and ridiculous.

And it's not just copyright and piracy either, basically everything Internet- and digital distribution-related is, business-wise, treated in an outdated way. Why the hell do games which are distributed digitally via Steam cost as much as a physical copy? What sort of sense does that make? How can that physically be? So you're trying to tell me that manufacturing CDs/DVDs and packaging for them and packing them and shipping them from one side of the world to the other costs just as much as just sending electrical signals from one side of the world to the other? Boy, I must have some sort of gold mine up my bum then, if I still haven't starved to death after playing Minecraft for so long with my friends in the US and NZ!

[/ramble]

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Just to be clear - I never said that music piracy was good, or defended anyone pirating music. I was just trying to argue that putting all blame on those who listen to music without having obtained proper license is extremely one dimensional. Even based on purely ancedotal evidence without any charts off the internet - none of my friends buy albums anymore, and I can't even remember when someone I know last bought an actual CD (some buy albums on vinyl, but I doubt it matters much). It's not because all of them are hardcore pirates, it's just that even youtube alone is more than enough to provide all the music a casual listener needs. And even now, those album sales remain the main source of income for publishers. No wonder their revenue streams are fading!

With fixed-rate subscription services like Spotify or GoogleMusic it is at last becoming much easier to listen to the music legally than searching for it on torrents, but they arrived far too late to adequately compensate for diminishing album sales. If record labels exec pulled their heads out of their asses years ago and started organizing something like that when Napster first appeared - I bet pirating would be nothing more than a minor nuisance by now.

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I'm really glad to read you guys' responses. I thought we were heading down the path of There's Nothing Wrong With Piracy, while most of you have been pretty quick to point out that piracy is not a good thing, you were discussing more of its true effects, which is great.

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I never said that pirating music (or pirating anything) was a ok or a good thing and I'm certainly not condoning it. I hope you're not getting that impression. But record companies do take advantage of music artists. There are more than a few testimonies to that effect. And record companies had it coming when they fought online piracy with obtrusive DRM. I also never said that it never affected the livliehoods of musicians. I only pointed out that concerts were always the primary source of revenue for successful mid to low-tier music artists and that they never got much of a percentage from album sales to begin with.

Again, I'm not condoning piracy, it is a threat. Just not to the extent that game publishers would have us believe. It's the general consensus that piracy has an extremely negative effect on the games industry, but it's only so because they told us it was. Anyway, I'm no advocate of piracy, I'm just stating my thoughts on the matter.

So true it was a reason I stopped buying pc games for a while even though I like to buy them was because of the insane drm that was just screwing up my pc. And it was easyer and faster and more customer friendly to download illegal games. I started buying them again when I could get them online with very little DRM (steam).

Also hated DVD's when you need to wait so long for the anti-piracy crap to go by and the commercials that it was just faster and easier and more user friendly to just buy the pirated version. I'm happy even though the blue ray have some serieus drm the ones I bought you could play the series/movies almost instantly without any commercials.

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I'm really glad to read you guys' responses. I thought we were heading down the path of There's Nothing Wrong With Piracy, while most of you have been pretty quick to point out that piracy is not a good thing, you were discussing more of its true effects, which is great.

Of course it's not true that there's nothing wrong with piracy. In the end it really all depends on how you do it (and by that I don't mean which torrent site you use).

Some people really can't afford 50 €/$ for something as mundane as a video game, regardless of how much work went into making said video game. Also, some video games are just not purchasable legally in certain regions. For example, where I am, there is no way for me to legally obtain Dark Souls. I haven't pirated it because I'm not really interested in it, but what if I was?

And I don't see anything wrong with pirating a game to try it out and then buying it if you like it. Sure, a lot of games have demos, but a lot of companies cherry-pick the content they make available in the demo to make the game seem better than it actually is. For example, you might be shown an instance of "one type of puzzle" in the demo, from which you conclude that there are a bunch of different puzzles in the game, but then when you buy the game you find out that all the "puzzles" are basically exactly the same as that one you've done in the demo (Skyrim and unlocking the doors with those claws, anyone?).

It is reckless and stupid, though, to just pirate things because "lol I can have things without paying for them so why not lol".

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No, getting something that costs money without paying for it is morally and legally wrong. I won't pretend otherwise.

For sure. Would you say this is fair, though?

7400a6b8d9a22ec5afadce3a27149082.jpg

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Perhaps not fair, but I find it absurd that DoubleFine and Steam has anything to do with that, let alone be a platform for a discussion on prison reform.

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Perhaps not fair, but I find it absurd that DoubleFine and Steam has anything to do with that, let alone be a platform for a discussion on prison reform.

Well, that's where the discussion ended up going...

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I still fail to see what that has to do with anything I've said. What is the case, that he's being accused of hacking or pirating and he's arguing his reasons? Or flat out denying it? The video doesn't really explain.

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I still fail to see what that has to do with anything I've said. What is the case, that he's being accused of hacking or pirating and he's arguing his reasons? Or flat out denying it? The video doesn't really explain.

My point is, as I've already stated, that while piracy is illegal, the punishments for piracy are way out of proportion.

And by the way, as far as I know he's still actually not accused of anything. He's one of the people behind TPB and they're having him imprisoned while they try to figure out what they may accuse him of. Talk about innocent until proven guilty.

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Ok, so nothing to do with what I'm talking about.

Not quite. You said that piracy is "morally and legally wrong" and left it at that. I just felt that it needs to be pointed out that, while that may be so in certain cases, the amount of "legal wrongness" attributed to piracy at the moment is wildly disproportionate.

If you don't feel the need to comment on that then you don't need to.

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I said that stealing content that otherwise costs money is morally and legally wrong. Regardless of whether the punishment is too severe or not is entirely irrelevant. I do believe that case is overkill, but this conversation has nothing to do with punishment. Especially this case because he hasn't been charged with anything. Torrenting is not wrong. Torrenting copyright content is wrong and condoning it in cases where the content is not available otherwise is no excuse. Just because you really want it doesn't mean you have a right to it.

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Just as a side note, I've [as a curious party] watched the speed and popularity of a number of the Kickstarter adventure games on the torrent sites. Since LSL:R, they've all routinely leaked when the backer-releases went live, and they've all been fairly close to the top of the "most popular game torrent" charts for the day/week.

There is the usual curiosity-factor (a lot of them won't even play it), and the unique fact that Double Fine is still taken hostage by us for their promises of exclusivity.

Right now there are quite positive reviews of the game, and no way to get it legally. So people like what they read in reviews, go to Steam - and told they have to wait till 28th. They go to Pirate Bay (promising to themselves they'll buy it later, but a lot of them won't) - and play it in minutes.

This exclusive two-week period amounts to Double Fine simply loosing money because of the promises to us, and there is nothing they can do about it.

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Yep, that's a prime example of what bagaganoosh posted on the first page about the "4 types of currency" in piracy. I think HBO suffers from this a lot, too, since there's literally no way to get their content unless you have cable service and HBO on top of it. People that WANT to buy the shows can't, so they just get it illegally.

I think it speaks a lot to how much DF cares about this whole backer thing, in that they're willing to take the hit to keep their promise to those of us that supported them.

I also think this goes to show that the gaming journalists who insisted on publishing reviews because "DF can't tell me what to do" are missing the whole point of trying something completely different with an early games release.

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I think HBO suffers from this a lot, too, since there's literally no way to get their content unless you have cable service and HBO on top of it. People that WANT to buy the shows can't, so they just get it illegally.

Unless they wait for the DVD/Bluray, but I get your point.

Edit: Wait, what about HBO GO? I thought that was their Streaming service?

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Thats sort of the problem with not having the game available. If i had missed the chance to back i would have pirated the videos (good thing slacker backing was invented) and right now i would want to play and obviously pirate the game instead of waiting since that would be my only option instead of waiting.

Thats why a Show like Game of Thrones is the most pirated thing around. It´s interesting, it´s great but there is no reasonable way to "just" get it. Obviously there always will be people that dont want to pay, but the success of a service like netflix (28 Million subscribers?) shows you that being available is what it´s all about.

Now there are numerous reasons it was hard to get around this with a project like this so we will just have to deal with it. :)

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Edit: Wait, what about HBO GO? I thought that was their Streaming service?

HBO GO is only available to those who have HBO Cable service. Its a bonus for cable subscribers, not a separate service you can subscribe to independently (I wish!).

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Right now there are quite positive reviews of the game, and no way to get it legally. So people like what they read in reviews, go to Steam - and told they have to wait till 28th. They go to Pirate Bay (promising to themselves they'll buy it later, but a lot of them won't) - and play it in minutes.

This is why we can't have good things. The Internet age is the real broken age.

No special beta access, because it will just get leaked. No exclusive peek at whats going on, because people will share it. You can't even make a quote and say it's just between us, because that becomes tomorrow's news headline. That's why amazing things like this probably won't happen again in the same way.

Super sad is DRM. A lot of companies don't offer no-DRM solutions at all, let alone a linux build. Instead of looking at DF at being forward thinking, this has just generated bad press. I wonder how much drama would have been skipped by not doing that? It's sad to me that the people who are against DRM and want open operating systems can't at the very least be a little more civil about things.

*frustrated*

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Right now there are quite positive reviews of the game, and no way to get it legally. So people like what they read in reviews, go to Steam - and told they have to wait till 28th. They go to Pirate Bay (promising to themselves they'll buy it later, but a lot of them won't) - and play it in minutes.

Would you have preferred that DF maintained their embargo on reviews because of this?

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From serious game reviews i expect reviews about a finished product, not a Beta, that's what previews are for. Sometimes they are annying, sometimes they can provide some reasonable feedback. The quality of game journalism can be rather low. Reading a good newspaper is a completely different kind of thing.

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This is why we can't have good things. The Internet age is the real broken age.

No special beta access, because it will just get leaked. No exclusive peek at whats going on, because people will share it. You can't even make a quote and say it's just between us, because that becomes tomorrow's news headline. That's why amazing things like this probably won't happen again in the same way.

Why do you even need exclusive or special access to anything? Would that somehow enhance your experience of playing?

It was a mistake to make those promises of exclusivity, and Double Fine acknowledged that (I don't remember where though, possibly it was one of Tim's interviews, not documentary). That's why their Massive Chalice development is totally open to everyone, and won't suffer from the same problems.

And getting news-worthy info is basically what any journalist does, both pre-internet and modern. They got the info? They did their job.

Sucks being on the other side for a change, but that's how it was for hundreds of years.

Would you have preferred that DF maintained their embargo on reviews because of this?

Of course not, the whole embargo thing was just extremely stupid idea that was entirely unreasonable and unenforcible.

I can't think of anything they could realistically do after the end of Kickstarter to prevent this, this is catch 22 sort of thing that they themselves created.

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I think HBO suffers from this a lot, too, since there's literally no way to get their content unless you have cable service and HBO on top of it. People that WANT to buy the shows can't, so they just get it illegally.

Unless they wait for the DVD/Bluray, but I get your point.

Yeah, I/others certainly can wait for DVD/Bluray - but way do I even need to wait for something that other people can legally buy it?

I want to posses the stuff I buy (whether it is books, music, games or videos) - for that reason I don't buy things with any kind of DRM (and even using DVD's is kinda comprising that).

But that just means I can't buy most videos/series and I'm massively hindered in buying games/books (luckily music works. Unfortunately most big music stores only sell lossy digital formats, which sucks, but that is not the topic).

The reaction I have is that I just don't buy the stuff (so I'm just more or less a lost possible paying consumer) - maybe I can wait some time to get it eventually, which just sucks in itself. But I can understand why others that want something without bad service (in my eyes DRM is just bad service. If I buy a dead-tree-book I don't need a "certified reading lamp" to read it.) acting differently (In this case: pirating). And from a standpoint of the seller a pirate is probably even a better consumer than one who doesn't buy. The pirate at least can share how awesome this thing was and make some advertising that maybe more other people buy legally.

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