Does any portal do *Anything* about piracy

Discussion in 'Development & Distribution' started by cliffski, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    If someone has to be employed or taken off another job to do that for most of a day. Very. Remember you're checking for a couple of games, now check for several hundred as that's what you'd expect the portals to do. You also didn't factor in searching the web high and low to find all these links. I value my own time quite highly, would I make more money by working on a new game or spending a few hours to take down a couple of links?

    Of course, if there's only a handful of these links around at one time then it's quite cheap but I reckon all you're doing is pissing in the ocean of piracy. And no doubt even if rapidshare links were kept on top of the argument would just shift to the newsgroups or ftp sites.

    I'm not saying nothing should be done, but just because it takes a few seconds to send an email doesn't mean it's cheap to prevent piracy. And I think all the complaints should be aimed at the DRM solutions but everyone seems content to make it the portals fault.
     
  2. cliffski

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    It seems that way. What are you suggesting? that the portals carry on as before, and rely on people like me to do their anti-piracy measures?

    Why does it annoy people so much that a few of us try to do something about piracy? How can there possibly be anything bad about me reporting pirated software?

    In the time it took you to tell me I'm wasting my time, you could have got a dozen cracks removed. Why not do that, rather than telling me it won't work.
     
  3. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    You asked me a question so I answered. I don't care if what you want to do is spend every minute of your day taking down cracks, that's entirely your perogative. I just disagree that it's the portals fault and that they should have staff who hoover the internet taking down cracks.

    Unless there's an argument for it being cost effective (sale gained > money spent) then I can fully understand why they don't do it. I'd love for there to be zero piracy but this entire thread started because you wanted to whine that it's the portals fault. I think those arguments are better aimed at the DRM developers who clearly haven't done a good enough job.

    I have yet to see one post saying "why aren't activemark (for example) doing more to prevent the piracy of products which are wrapped with their DRM". Do you not think a better solution to the piracy (if piracy is such a big concern to you) is to come up with a better DRM? Is prevention not better than the cure?
     
  4. Promaginy

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    But the developers don't have a relationship with the DRM creators - its the portals who do... that's why it is the portals who are responsible. There is a chain of authority here that you're forgetting about. But you are completely right - it is something the DRM industry needs to be held accountable for - by the portals.

    Again, you're arguing that because it cannot be accurately measured then its not worth doing. We should do what's right - that should be enough. Most people don't get into game development because they have measured that its the most effective way of making a living (which we know it isn't as an indie). The do it because its right for them to do regardless of the outcome.

    Besides the potential sales gained from closing down pirate links, Cliffski's plan to have dummy crack files being created that lead back to the purchase page is a great viral marketing strategy! I can't wait to create an inflated demo of our game that is the same size as the actual game, uploading it as a cracked copy! That will be so much fun. :D

    We can safely assume that a person who is interested in pirating the game is a potential target market. Some of them might break down and with links being built in, it would be possible to track who downloaded a fake crack and ended up registering it. Finally we would have some numbers of how many pirates were converted over into buying customers.
     
  5. soniCron

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    In all fairness, luggage, there has already been a strong argument for the financial benefit of combatting piracy: (in this thread)

    Of course, in this case, the attack wasn't directly against the sites that host cracks and keygens, but with one fell swoop invalidated their effectiveness. It does indicate a measure of responsibility has a positive impact on sales.
     
  6. Promaginy

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    Anti-Piracy Indiegamer Co-op!

    Perhaps we should start an informal chapter of developers who will use viral marketing methods plus dilligent monitoring of sites, forums, etc. to combat piracy? I would be interested in doing something like this. Create a google group and away we go! Being that I am without a published game, I am not sure if I should be the lead on this, but I will definately help out.

    Basically it would be like a co-operative. Your membership is dependent on putting some effort into doing anti-piracy tasks. Benefits of membership would be that your games would be put on the protected list and strategies could be shared.
     
  7. luggage

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    sonicron: I agree with your points, but as you mention they updated the DRM to cut off all cracks instantly. They didn't spend hours going around each crack site getting them removed which is what it appears some folk on this thread are demanding the portals do. Making a change to the DRM to stop all known cracks is a very clean way to prevent piracy and most likely going to be cost effective. Again, sales gained > money spent.

    Promaginy: I agree the portals should be talking to the DRM companies. I don't know if they are or they aren't, I'm certinaly not going to say the portals are doing nothing against piracy because I've found a few cracks on a website. But that's a different argument to "look how easy it is to remove a crack, portals should employ people for this".
     
  8. Sybixsus

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    Yep, for some things that's fine, but when it comes to the non-HTTP methods of distribution, it's considerably more time consuming, and you'd actually have out of pocket expenses too. I'm actually partly in agreement with Luggage about the futility of chasing down pirates, at least in the chasing down websites and forums method alone. The best analogy I can come up with is it's like chasing down nickel and dime drug dealers when what you really need to do is shut down the supply at a much higher level. That's not to say that it's not worth doing, it just has a little of the "pissing in the ocean" feel about it to me unless you do it in conjunction with a concerted effort to shut down the methods of distribution further up the chain.

    Done properly, I think it could put a real dent in it, but like Luggage also say, that's not cheap. But you can't do it properly without a very generous, very knowledgeable someone ( or someones ) prepared to offer a huge amount of time and a decent amount of their own money to do it. Failing that you'd need a pretty decent number of serious developers prepared to pay for a proper organized business to do it for them. Perhaps if the portals were more interested, and specifically the mobile phone game portals - because they get hit hard by piracy - then that would be a good start and you would have a good start towards funding it.

    I'm all for donating an hour here and there to do what I can, that's fun when I can spare the time, but I don't see it having any impact in the medium term, because they're just going to pop up somewhere else again when you're working so far down the chain.
     
  9. cliffski

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    This is my last post here, I'm sick of having to justify the fact that I care that people take my stuff for free, and that i reckon we should do something about it. Its not complex. There are hundreds of developers here, and it looks like pretty much none of them make the slightest effort to protect the industry from piracy.

    I'm sick of it to be honest, and from now on I'll only give a damn about my own games.
     
  10. Davaris

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    You're not the only one who cares Cliffski. But honestly I don't see the point in trying to convince people who have an opposing opinion, as they'll argue with you till the end of the world.

    If you want to do something positive, I suggest you create a thread every now and then and ask interested people with finished games to join you on a private board so you can organise.

    At the very least I'd be interested in learning how to prevent casual piracy, as I haven't a clue as to how to find or stop them.
     
  11. Paul-Jan

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    I think many of us agree, and would be very willing to take small steps if someone else picked up the role of 'enabler' and made it more easy for them to respond.
     
  12. Game Producer

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    (edited: nothing, forget it :))
     
    #112 Game Producer, Mar 17, 2007
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2007
  13. mrobert

    mrobert New Member

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    From my personal experience, I got to the conclussion that I could spend X hours to reduce piracy by 0.001%, or use the same hours to improve my products, and boost sales by 1%.

    At the end of the day, it all boils down to math.
    I rather have 10 new customers then prevent 1 pirated copy.
     
  14. stanchat

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  15. Spiegel

    Spiegel New Member

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    Well since this thread came to life once again, I just want to share my oh so humble opinion...

    first of all, I haven't sold any game yet, I have not met the damned piracy world, and cant really argue with people that have sold some games and that say that piracy does not affect their business...

    While I cant argue, I cant agree with them... Of course It matters if 10 pirates copy your game you lose $200.. yes they may never have bought out your game, but still it should not make us say.. "Oh its ok then... he would have never bought my game anyway".. Its not about that... I think the main problem are those people in the "should I buy or not" limbo that may have access to a free pirated game and chose not to buy it... Next time you release a game do you think they will still be in that limbo? would they buy the game or make the same piracy choice?

    Yes you may lose some time going after piracy, you probably would improve you sales by 0.01% only if you do... but you forget that if we help each other out you may, by reporting a couple of sites, improve your income, also cliffski, prinsec, Paul-Jan, even mine whomever may it be... and if everyone did this, you'll probably see your sale improve by not just 0.01% but probably by a lot more...
    I agree with cliffski on this matter, it may not be much we can do, but still doing nothing is a lot worse...
    Separating the full download from the game is a first step... To distributethe full version the pirates have to distriute the full game download...
    Like someone said, to host a crack you a couple of KB to host a game you need 25 megs, now someone has to pay for the increase in the download stream.... make the pirates pay that price...
     
  16. cliffski

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    unfortunately the pirates still don't pay the bandwidth. they let rapidshare and megaupload do that. And those guys happily let files sit on their servers for 24 hours before removing them. It's basically a business model based on the obvious piracy associated with Anonymous uploads.

    One day someone with more money than me will sue these anonymous filehosts big time. I will drink myself stupid with champagne on that day :D.
     
  17. WickedEwok

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    I do think pirating can take a lot of potential sales away. And it's so true that many times, people who would otherwise buy the game, just ask for a free copy from a friend, boyfriend or close acquantaince who knows how to get them. They're the illegal games dealers, who's fees are just relationship points or other favors..

    I wonder if there's a way you can help improve the security of these wrappers by detecting the existance of these wrappers in your game and putting in code that disrupts or corrupts part of the gameplay experience if you've detected a hacked copy. I think it wouldn't be that hard to do for a particular wrapper. But you would have to do it for all the wrapping methods that will be used on your game.

    What DRM software do you use for your games cliffski? Is there one you recommend?
     
  18. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

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    I don't know if there's a way of detecting if the CRM is hacked. If so, the CRM would detect it and try to work around the hack. If you did detect a hack the protal might not be too happy about you locking out the game, especially if a paying customer is locked out by accident. They support won't be able to fix the problem in your game code.
     
  19. datxcod

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    In my opinion I think that in a few years we'll either see PC games adopting an online activation system (sort of like login in to play your single player game) or the PC market will shrink with each year and we'll only see multiplayer games where even if you can get a pirated copy (World Of Warcraft) you won't be able to play the game and so it doesn't really affect the developer since they receive all of their income through monthly payments.
     
  20. Sakura Games

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    Not at all. Believe me, I know someone that sells a lot since he switched from normal serial code to Armadillo. He speaks publicly in his blog of a 30% sales increase. That is, if he was selling 1k$/month now he gets 1.3k$/month.

    I really think many people just underestimate the piracy and accepts it as a fact without even trying to fight...
     

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