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ethics of piracy: corner cases

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  • Brandon Van Every
    Some corner cases on the ethics of piracy: - when you owned the game, but you ve lost the CD over the years - when you don t want to be required to bring a CD
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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      Some corner cases on the ethics of piracy:
      - when you owned the game, but you've lost the CD over the years
      - when you don't want to be required to bring a CD with your laptop,
      draining your battery just to spin the CD
      - when you don't wish to be required to have an internet connection to
      play a game, because you're somewhere remote where there's no internet
      - when you don't wish to be beholden to whether an internet company is
      still in business or remembers your account information many years
      down the road
      - when a game doesn't have a demo
      - when you just wanted to solve 1 of the above problems, but the only
      available solution in torrent land is a download of the full game


      Cheers,
      Brandon Van Every
    • David Haley
      I agree with your cases except for this one: - when a game doesn t have a demo How is this a corner case? It seems pretty clearly like a too bad for you --
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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        I agree with your cases except for this one:

        - when a game doesn't have a demo

        How is this a corner case? It seems pretty clearly like a "too bad for you"
        -- the seller has no obligation to give you a try-before-you-buy. In the
        other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that case,
        you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like it.
        Sorry, but too bad...

        On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

        > Some corner cases on the ethics of piracy:
        > - when you owned the game, but you've lost the CD over the years
        > - when you don't want to be required to bring a CD with your laptop,
        > draining your battery just to spin the CD
        > - when you don't wish to be required to have an internet connection to
        > play a game, because you're somewhere remote where there's no internet
        > - when you don't wish to be beholden to whether an internet company is
        > still in business or remembers your account information many years
        > down the road
        > - when a game doesn't have a demo
        > - when you just wanted to solve 1 of the above problems, but the only
        > available solution in torrent land is a download of the full game
        >
        >
        > Cheers,
        > Brandon Van Every
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brandon Van Every
        ... I threw that one in there because I thought it would be interesting to compare to the other cases, which we seem to have more agreement on. I would point
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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          On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:

          > **
          >
          >
          > I agree with your cases except for this one:
          >
          >
          > - when a game doesn't have a demo
          >
          > How is this a corner case? It seems pretty clearly like a "too bad for you"
          > -- the seller has no obligation to give you a try-before-you-buy. In the
          > other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that case,
          > you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like it.
          > Sorry, but too bad...
          >

          I threw that one in there because I thought it would be interesting to
          compare to the other cases, which we seem to have more agreement on. I
          would point out, the seller also has no obligation to:

          - replace your lost CD for free, or otherwise facilitate any kind of backup
          copies for you, except perhaps as required by law in some countries
          - save your laptop battery by avoiding the spinning of a CD
          - give you an internet-free way to play the game
          - remember or facilitate your purchase indefinitely against all
          possibilities of bankruptcy or acquisition

          So it would appear that "vendor obligation" is not the crux of ethics.

          The way I see the demo issue is, there are lots of shoddy games out there,
          and reviews are untrustworthy, often being an extension of vendor marketing
          efforts. Furthermore, gamers vary widely in their strong opinions so you
          can't really go to town on someone's secondhand review of a game. Games,
          unlike books or films, represent massive amounts of potential time
          commitment and are far from "completely consumed" by experiencing a demo.
          Whereas I think watching the first half hour of a film to see if you like
          it is a bit unreasonable... although maybe with digital distribution,
          that's a business model that will happen someday. Anyways, since the
          vendor is holding all the advantages before the purchase and one generally
          can't return the game like one can other consumer goods, I think "try
          before you buy" is ethical. And in my personal opinion, failing to allow
          for it is unethical.

          I notice that a fair number of vendors nowadays ship a complete game
          without a demo, then provide one many months later. This I believe is to
          maximize sales during the initial marketing hype. Once the newness of the
          game has worn off and the "long tail" is entered, the vendor changes
          strategy. Thus it would not upset me if people pirated such a game on its
          first release, although personally in practice, I really don't care and
          just look for demos a year after games are released.

          Emotional manipulation is also part of my ethical calculus. I do not
          approve of consumer practices that whip people into a frenzy of perceived
          need. Being a prosumer and occasional open source contributor, I actually
          see the creation of large numbers of needy, jonesing consumers who don't
          produce anything themselves as a form of societal enslavement. Not that I
          expect anyone to give their work away for free, but I do expect it to be
          based on equitable social contracts of tangible value, not frenzies of
          impulse buying that you're stuck with. Let's say I'm very "Consumer
          Reports" about how I think people should be empowered to buy things.


          Cheers,
          Brandon Van Every


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David Haley
          No, obligation wasn t the crux of the issue -- it was that in all the other cases, you *bought* it. ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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            No, obligation wasn't the crux of the issue -- it was that in all the other
            cases, you *bought* it.

            On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

            > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:
            >
            > > **
            > >
            > >
            > > I agree with your cases except for this one:
            > >
            > >
            > > - when a game doesn't have a demo
            > >
            > > How is this a corner case? It seems pretty clearly like a "too bad for
            > you"
            > > -- the seller has no obligation to give you a try-before-you-buy. In the
            > > other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that case,
            > > you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like it.
            > > Sorry, but too bad...
            > >
            >
            > I threw that one in there because I thought it would be interesting to
            > compare to the other cases, which we seem to have more agreement on. I
            > would point out, the seller also has no obligation to:
            >
            > - replace your lost CD for free, or otherwise facilitate any kind of backup
            > copies for you, except perhaps as required by law in some countries
            > - save your laptop battery by avoiding the spinning of a CD
            > - give you an internet-free way to play the game
            > - remember or facilitate your purchase indefinitely against all
            > possibilities of bankruptcy or acquisition
            >
            > So it would appear that "vendor obligation" is not the crux of ethics.
            >
            > The way I see the demo issue is, there are lots of shoddy games out there,
            > and reviews are untrustworthy, often being an extension of vendor marketing
            > efforts. Furthermore, gamers vary widely in their strong opinions so you
            > can't really go to town on someone's secondhand review of a game. Games,
            > unlike books or films, represent massive amounts of potential time
            > commitment and are far from "completely consumed" by experiencing a demo.
            > Whereas I think watching the first half hour of a film to see if you like
            > it is a bit unreasonable... although maybe with digital distribution,
            > that's a business model that will happen someday. Anyways, since the
            > vendor is holding all the advantages before the purchase and one generally
            > can't return the game like one can other consumer goods, I think "try
            > before you buy" is ethical. And in my personal opinion, failing to allow
            > for it is unethical.
            >
            > I notice that a fair number of vendors nowadays ship a complete game
            > without a demo, then provide one many months later. This I believe is to
            > maximize sales during the initial marketing hype. Once the newness of the
            > game has worn off and the "long tail" is entered, the vendor changes
            > strategy. Thus it would not upset me if people pirated such a game on its
            > first release, although personally in practice, I really don't care and
            > just look for demos a year after games are released.
            >
            > Emotional manipulation is also part of my ethical calculus. I do not
            > approve of consumer practices that whip people into a frenzy of perceived
            > need. Being a prosumer and occasional open source contributor, I actually
            > see the creation of large numbers of needy, jonesing consumers who don't
            > produce anything themselves as a form of societal enslavement. Not that I
            > expect anyone to give their work away for free, but I do expect it to be
            > based on equitable social contracts of tangible value, not frenzies of
            > impulse buying that you're stuck with. Let's say I'm very "Consumer
            > Reports" about how I think people should be empowered to buy things.
            >
            >
            > Cheers,
            > Brandon Van Every
            >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Brandon Van Every
            ... It was, however, what you initially cited as your reasoning. I believe I ve defeated an obligation argument, because none of the other listed items are
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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              On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:19 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:

              > **
              >
              >
              > No, obligation wasn't the crux of the issue
              >

              It was, however, what you initially cited as your reasoning. I believe
              I've defeated an "obligation" argument, because none of the other listed
              items are based on obligation either.


              > -- it was that in all the other cases, you *bought* it.
              >

              The definition of a demo is you *haven't* bought it. So I think it's
              pretty unreasonable to apply "bought it" reasoning here. I do agree that
              it's a different category of reasoning, as the vendor hasn't been
              compensated in any way.


              Cheers,
              Brandon Van Every



              >
              > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...
              > >wrote:
              >
              >
              > > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:
              > >
              > > > **
              >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > I agree with your cases except for this one:
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > - when a game doesn't have a demo
              > > >
              > > > How is this a corner case? It seems pretty clearly like a "too bad for
              > > you"
              > > > -- the seller has no obligation to give you a try-before-you-buy. In
              > the
              > > > other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that
              > case,
              > > > you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like it.
              > > > Sorry, but too bad...
              > > >
              > >
              > > I threw that one in there because I thought it would be interesting to
              > > compare to the other cases, which we seem to have more agreement on. I
              > > would point out, the seller also has no obligation to:
              > >
              > > - replace your lost CD for free, or otherwise facilitate any kind of
              > backup
              > > copies for you, except perhaps as required by law in some countries
              > > - save your laptop battery by avoiding the spinning of a CD
              > > - give you an internet-free way to play the game
              > > - remember or facilitate your purchase indefinitely against all
              > > possibilities of bankruptcy or acquisition
              > >
              > > So it would appear that "vendor obligation" is not the crux of ethics.
              > >
              > > The way I see the demo issue is, there are lots of shoddy games out
              > there,
              > > and reviews are untrustworthy, often being an extension of vendor
              > marketing
              > > efforts. Furthermore, gamers vary widely in their strong opinions so you
              > > can't really go to town on someone's secondhand review of a game. Games,
              > > unlike books or films, represent massive amounts of potential time
              > > commitment and are far from "completely consumed" by experiencing a demo.
              > > Whereas I think watching the first half hour of a film to see if you like
              > > it is a bit unreasonable... although maybe with digital distribution,
              > > that's a business model that will happen someday. Anyways, since the
              > > vendor is holding all the advantages before the purchase and one
              > generally
              > > can't return the game like one can other consumer goods, I think "try
              > > before you buy" is ethical. And in my personal opinion, failing to allow
              > > for it is unethical.
              > >
              > > I notice that a fair number of vendors nowadays ship a complete game
              > > without a demo, then provide one many months later. This I believe is to
              > > maximize sales during the initial marketing hype. Once the newness of the
              > > game has worn off and the "long tail" is entered, the vendor changes
              > > strategy. Thus it would not upset me if people pirated such a game on its
              > > first release, although personally in practice, I really don't care and
              > > just look for demos a year after games are released.
              > >
              > > Emotional manipulation is also part of my ethical calculus. I do not
              > > approve of consumer practices that whip people into a frenzy of perceived
              > > need. Being a prosumer and occasional open source contributor, I actually
              > > see the creation of large numbers of needy, jonesing consumers who don't
              > > produce anything themselves as a form of societal enslavement. Not that I
              > > expect anyone to give their work away for free, but I do expect it to be
              > > based on equitable social contracts of tangible value, not frenzies of
              > > impulse buying that you're stuck with. Let's say I'm very "Consumer
              > > Reports" about how I think people should be empowered to buy things.
              > >
              > >
              > > Cheers,
              > > Brandon Van Every
              > >
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ------------------------------------
              > >
              > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David Haley
              Wait, what? I said: In the other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that case, you re just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                Wait, what? I said:
                In the other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that
                case, you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like it.

                Obviously you didn't buy the demo. That's why I said "in the other cases".

                On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 5:23 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

                > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:19 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:
                >
                > > **
                > >
                > >
                > > No, obligation wasn't the crux of the issue
                > >
                >
                > It was, however, what you initially cited as your reasoning. I believe
                > I've defeated an "obligation" argument, because none of the other listed
                > items are based on obligation either.
                >
                >
                > > -- it was that in all the other cases, you *bought* it.
                > >
                >
                > The definition of a demo is you *haven't* bought it. So I think it's
                > pretty unreasonable to apply "bought it" reasoning here. I do agree that
                > it's a different category of reasoning, as the vendor hasn't been
                > compensated in any way.
                >
                >
                > Cheers,
                > Brandon Van Every
                >
                >
                >
                > >
                > > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 5:15 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...
                > > >wrote:
                > >
                > >
                > > > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 10:51 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...>
                > wrote:
                > > >
                > > > > **
                > >
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > > I agree with your cases except for this one:
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > > - when a game doesn't have a demo
                > > > >
                > > > > How is this a corner case? It seems pretty clearly like a "too bad
                > for
                > > > you"
                > > > > -- the seller has no obligation to give you a try-before-you-buy. In
                > > the
                > > > > other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that
                > > case,
                > > > > you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like
                > it.
                > > > > Sorry, but too bad...
                > > > >
                > > >
                > > > I threw that one in there because I thought it would be interesting to
                > > > compare to the other cases, which we seem to have more agreement on. I
                > > > would point out, the seller also has no obligation to:
                > > >
                > > > - replace your lost CD for free, or otherwise facilitate any kind of
                > > backup
                > > > copies for you, except perhaps as required by law in some countries
                > > > - save your laptop battery by avoiding the spinning of a CD
                > > > - give you an internet-free way to play the game
                > > > - remember or facilitate your purchase indefinitely against all
                > > > possibilities of bankruptcy or acquisition
                > > >
                > > > So it would appear that "vendor obligation" is not the crux of ethics.
                > > >
                > > > The way I see the demo issue is, there are lots of shoddy games out
                > > there,
                > > > and reviews are untrustworthy, often being an extension of vendor
                > > marketing
                > > > efforts. Furthermore, gamers vary widely in their strong opinions so
                > you
                > > > can't really go to town on someone's secondhand review of a game.
                > Games,
                > > > unlike books or films, represent massive amounts of potential time
                > > > commitment and are far from "completely consumed" by experiencing a
                > demo.
                > > > Whereas I think watching the first half hour of a film to see if you
                > like
                > > > it is a bit unreasonable... although maybe with digital distribution,
                > > > that's a business model that will happen someday. Anyways, since the
                > > > vendor is holding all the advantages before the purchase and one
                > > generally
                > > > can't return the game like one can other consumer goods, I think "try
                > > > before you buy" is ethical. And in my personal opinion, failing to
                > allow
                > > > for it is unethical.
                > > >
                > > > I notice that a fair number of vendors nowadays ship a complete game
                > > > without a demo, then provide one many months later. This I believe is
                > to
                > > > maximize sales during the initial marketing hype. Once the newness of
                > the
                > > > game has worn off and the "long tail" is entered, the vendor changes
                > > > strategy. Thus it would not upset me if people pirated such a game on
                > its
                > > > first release, although personally in practice, I really don't care and
                > > > just look for demos a year after games are released.
                > > >
                > > > Emotional manipulation is also part of my ethical calculus. I do not
                > > > approve of consumer practices that whip people into a frenzy of
                > perceived
                > > > need. Being a prosumer and occasional open source contributor, I
                > actually
                > > > see the creation of large numbers of needy, jonesing consumers who
                > don't
                > > > produce anything themselves as a form of societal enslavement. Not
                > that I
                > > > expect anyone to give their work away for free, but I do expect it to
                > be
                > > > based on equitable social contracts of tangible value, not frenzies of
                > > > impulse buying that you're stuck with. Let's say I'm very "Consumer
                > > > Reports" about how I think people should be empowered to buy things.
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > Cheers,
                > > > Brandon Van Every
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > ------------------------------------
                > > >
                > > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > >
                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >
                > >
                > >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Brandon Van Every
                ... In a previous email, I think I responded to your reasoning at length. To summarize, I basically don t agree with you re just unhappy as the ethical
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                  On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:29 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:

                  > **
                  >
                  >
                  > Wait, what? I said:
                  > In the other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that
                  > case, you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like
                  > it.
                  >
                  > Obviously you didn't buy the demo. That's why I said "in the other cases".
                  >

                  In a previous email, I think I responded to your reasoning at length. To
                  summarize, I basically don't agree with "you're just unhappy" as the
                  ethical dimension. I believe that 90% of the time the game vendor is
                  trying to pull a fast one on you, to lock you into an expensive purchase
                  for which you have no recourse. Emotional manipulation is part of the
                  tactics; it's a "hard sell" like an aggressive car salesman.


                  Cheers,
                  Brandon Van Every


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • David Haley
                  You have no recourse for the purchase? Are you buying it at gunpoint or something? Sorry, but I have little sympathy for you claiming you are somehow being
                  Message 8 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    You have no recourse for the purchase? Are you buying it at gunpoint or
                    something?

                    Sorry, but I have little sympathy for you claiming you are somehow being
                    "locked" into this purchase. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Yeah, it's
                    a "hard sell", and yeah, it could be manipulative, but you're still a free
                    agent.

                    Of course, maybe they don't have a demo because they didn't feel like
                    producing one for any number of perfectly reasonable non-manipulative
                    reasons. (E.g., they didn't feel it would get them enough business to
                    warrant the extra work.)

                    On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

                    > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:29 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > > **
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > Wait, what? I said:
                    > > In the other cases, you actually bought the game fair and square. In that
                    > > case, you're just unhappy you have to buy it without knowing you'll like
                    > > it.
                    > >
                    > > Obviously you didn't buy the demo. That's why I said "in the other
                    > cases".
                    > >
                    >
                    > In a previous email, I think I responded to your reasoning at length. To
                    > summarize, I basically don't agree with "you're just unhappy" as the
                    > ethical dimension. I believe that 90% of the time the game vendor is
                    > trying to pull a fast one on you, to lock you into an expensive purchase
                    > for which you have no recourse. Emotional manipulation is part of the
                    > tactics; it's a "hard sell" like an aggressive car salesman.
                    >
                    >
                    > Cheers,
                    > Brandon Van Every
                    >
                    >
                    > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Brandon Van Every
                    ... We fundamentally disagree about the ethics of purchasing then. I believe in your universe, cars would have no lemon laws because nobody was forcing you
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                      On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:

                      > **
                      >
                      >
                      > You have no recourse for the purchase? Are you buying it at gunpoint or
                      > something?
                      >
                      > Sorry, but I have little sympathy for you claiming you are somehow being
                      > "locked" into this purchase. If you don't like [the purchase scenario],
                      > don't buy it. Yeah, it's
                      > a "hard sell", and yeah, it could be manipulative, but you're still a free
                      > agent.
                      >

                      We fundamentally disagree about the ethics of purchasing then. I believe
                      in your universe, cars would have no "lemon laws" because nobody was
                      forcing you to buy a car. Stores generally wouldn't have return policies
                      for consumer goods; you'd just have to keep anything you bought from a
                      store, no matter what. Remember that unlike most other consumer goods,
                      software is sold AS IS, with no warranties of merchantability or fitness
                      for a particular purpose. Add that to your ethical calculus.


                      >
                      > Of course, maybe they don't have a demo because they didn't feel like
                      > producing one for any number of perfectly reasonable non-manipulative
                      > reasons. (E.g., they didn't feel it would get them enough business to
                      > warrant the extra work.)
                      >

                      Demos aren't that much extra work. They're strictly a subset of game
                      content already completed. Modify a little bit of the code, strip some
                      things out, so that the demo can't be converted by a cracker into a fully
                      working game. IMO 1 release engineer should be able to produce a demo of a
                      full AAA game in 1 week, setting up the build paths, build servers and test
                      machines, installation scripts, etc. Not doing it, means you're making a
                      business decision i.e. a manipulative reason, not a technical labor
                      decision. Even as a lone wolf indie I wouldn't avoid doing this in my own
                      work, as I know how trivial setting up that other build path would be.
                      Perhaps because I have a sickening amount of experience as an open source
                      buildmaster, but I digress.


                      Cheers,
                      Brandon Van Every


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • David Haley
                      I don t know how you concluded that I don t believe in return policies etc., but ok. As for how easy it is to set up demos, great, perhaps you can sell your
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                        I don't know how you concluded that I don't believe in return policies
                        etc., but ok.

                        As for how easy it is to set up demos, great, perhaps you can sell your
                        expertise to companies who believe it's harder than that and open new
                        business paths for them.

                        On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 6:06 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

                        > On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > > **
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > You have no recourse for the purchase? Are you buying it at gunpoint or
                        > > something?
                        > >
                        > > Sorry, but I have little sympathy for you claiming you are somehow being
                        > > "locked" into this purchase. If you don't like [the purchase scenario],
                        > > don't buy it. Yeah, it's
                        > > a "hard sell", and yeah, it could be manipulative, but you're still a
                        > free
                        > > agent.
                        > >
                        >
                        > We fundamentally disagree about the ethics of purchasing then. I believe
                        > in your universe, cars would have no "lemon laws" because nobody was
                        > forcing you to buy a car. Stores generally wouldn't have return policies
                        > for consumer goods; you'd just have to keep anything you bought from a
                        > store, no matter what. Remember that unlike most other consumer goods,
                        > software is sold AS IS, with no warranties of merchantability or fitness
                        > for a particular purpose. Add that to your ethical calculus.
                        >
                        >
                        > >
                        > > Of course, maybe they don't have a demo because they didn't feel like
                        > > producing one for any number of perfectly reasonable non-manipulative
                        > > reasons. (E.g., they didn't feel it would get them enough business to
                        > > warrant the extra work.)
                        > >
                        >
                        > Demos aren't that much extra work. They're strictly a subset of game
                        > content already completed. Modify a little bit of the code, strip some
                        > things out, so that the demo can't be converted by a cracker into a fully
                        > working game. IMO 1 release engineer should be able to produce a demo of a
                        > full AAA game in 1 week, setting up the build paths, build servers and test
                        > machines, installation scripts, etc. Not doing it, means you're making a
                        > business decision i.e. a manipulative reason, not a technical labor
                        > decision. Even as a lone wolf indie I wouldn't avoid doing this in my own
                        > work, as I know how trivial setting up that other build path would be.
                        > Perhaps because I have a sickening amount of experience as an open source
                        > buildmaster, but I digress.
                        >
                        >
                        > Cheers,
                        > Brandon Van Every
                        >
                        >
                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > ------------------------------------
                        >
                        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gamedesign-l/Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >


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                      • Brandon Van Every
                        ... Well you generally can t return game software to stores, so.... ... It s not a bad consulting business model, and maybe in a pinch I ll make a go at it
                        Message 11 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                          On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 12:12 PM, David Haley <dchaley@...> wrote:

                          > **
                          >
                          >
                          > I don't know how you concluded that I don't believe in return policies
                          > etc., but ok.
                          >

                          Well you generally can't return game software to stores, so....


                          >
                          > As for how easy it is to set up demos, great, perhaps you can sell your
                          > expertise to companies who believe it's harder than that and open new
                          > business paths for them.
                          >

                          It's not a bad consulting business model, and maybe in a pinch I'll make a
                          go at it someday. But I realized 4 years ago, when being paid to try to
                          convert Mozilla Firefox from an Autoconf / GMake build to a CMake build,
                          that this kind of work is not my cup of tea. Like a lot of people I'd
                          rather get paid for stuff that isn't sheer mind numbing gruntwork. :-) I
                          am more than capable of doing this stuff in my own work or for open source
                          projects though; I know the drills. I may yet write "the better build
                          tool" someday. But being good at something, and *wanting to continue* to
                          be good at something, are not the same thing. For now I've accepted CMake
                          where it is being used, and I'm planning to use Lua-based Premake for any
                          new projects of my own.

                          Similarly, I know way more about how to fix a carbureted car than people
                          should know. Pity I don't actually enjoy auto repair, as I have the
                          intermediate skills now. The next level would be swapping and overhauling
                          engines and so forth; no thanks! Time to get out of that expertise time
                          sink.


                          Cheers,
                          Brandon Van Every


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                        • TAZ
                          Huh, I actually fall into several of those recently. Had a hankering to re-play Space Rangers 2 and the CD is somewhere buried in all the crap that my step
                          Message 12 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                            Huh, I actually fall into several of those recently. Had a hankering to re-play Space Rangers 2 and the CD is somewhere buried in all the crap that my step son shoved into my garage while he's out of state.

                            Have to decide on digging or spending $4.99 on Steam. Steam may simply win since I'd pay someone $5 to find it for me.

                            Of course, Steam has its own vices, but this is at least a legal option.
                            --
                            TAZ


                            --- In gamedesign-l@yahoogroups.com, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Some corner cases on the ethics of piracy:
                            > - when you owned the game, but you've lost the CD over the years
                            > - when you don't want to be required to bring a CD with your laptop,
                            > draining your battery just to spin the CD
                            > - when you don't wish to be required to have an internet connection to
                            > play a game, because you're somewhere remote where there's no internet
                            > - when you don't wish to be beholden to whether an internet company is
                            > still in business or remembers your account information many years
                            > down the road
                            > - when a game doesn't have a demo
                            > - when you just wanted to solve 1 of the above problems, but the only
                            > available solution in torrent land is a download of the full game
                            >
                            >
                            > Cheers,
                            > Brandon Van Every
                            >
                          • Ryan Fisk
                            ... I have read downthread, but I think my reply fits better here. I consider Try before you buy to be ethically and morally sound. I could care less about
                            Message 13 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                              On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 08:00, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...> wrote:
                              > Some corner cases on the ethics of piracy:
                              > - when you owned the game, but you've lost the CD over the years
                              > - when you don't want to be required to bring a CD with your laptop,
                              > draining your battery just to spin the CD
                              > - when you don't wish to be required to have an internet connection to
                              > play a game, because you're somewhere remote where there's no internet
                              > - when you don't wish to be beholden to whether an internet company is
                              > still in business or remembers your account information many years
                              > down the road
                              > - when a game doesn't have a demo
                              > - when you just wanted to solve 1 of the above problems, but the only
                              > available solution in torrent land is a download of the full game


                              I have read downthread, but I think my reply fits better here.

                              I consider "Try before you buy" to be ethically and morally sound. I
                              could care less about legal, excepting that I don't wish to go to
                              court to defend my rights, so I try not be stupid about it.

                              I will add to all of the above that it's willfully ignorant for anyone
                              to expect their game not to end up as a free download somewhere and
                              rather than fight it, just put a tiny clause in the immoral and
                              unethical EULA that says "Downloading this game for trial or review
                              purposes is expressly allowed..." Not that this is going to happen (I
                              vaguely recall one indie saying they were cool with it, but that's an
                              exception that proves the rule I think), but I can waste a few words
                              and moments wishing.

                              I'll also add that I have every intention of putting ANYTHING I create
                              into the public domain within a reasonable timeframe. I lean towards
                              ten years as a vaguely good number, even though I use open
                              noncommercial licenses for my creative stuff nowadays.

                              That all said, MMOs and online games are kind of an odd duck... Much
                              as I would love an offline World of Warcraft to try out stuff with, in
                              the end I'm really paying for server access. As much as I like (and
                              Brandon dislikes) WoW, without the server I wouldn't likely still be
                              playing WoW. Also, most MMOs do not recognize character ownership (I
                              believe it is moral and ethical to sell in-game currency and
                              characters I have spent time and money on improving or gathering)
                              which while not piracy per se, is kind of related, though it's more a
                              violation of (an illegal IMHO) contract than copyright or trademark
                              per se.

                              Ryan Fisk
                            • Brandon Van Every
                              ... I won t. I think J.R.R. Tolkien should have been rich within his own lifetime the way J.K. Rowling is now. Instead he sold his film rights for a pittance
                              Message 14 of 14 , Jan 3, 2012
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                                On Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 8:48 PM, Ryan Fisk <ryan.fisk@...> wrote:

                                > **
                                >
                                >
                                > I'll also add that I have every intention of putting ANYTHING I create
                                > into the public domain within a reasonable timeframe. I lean towards
                                > ten years as a vaguely good number, even though I use open
                                > noncommercial licenses for my creative stuff nowadays.
                                >
                                >
                                I won't. I think J.R.R. Tolkien should have been rich within his own
                                lifetime the way J.K. Rowling is now. Instead he sold his film rights for
                                a pittance in the 60s, and Peter Jackson eventually made the big pile of
                                dough. Not without a fair number of lesser attempts in between I might
                                add. Advancing film technology clearly made a difference as to what could
                                be commercially accomplished. I'm a fan of the serious, rotoscoped 1979
                                cartoon of The Lord of the Rings. It only gets through Helm's Deep, then
                                they ran out of money.

                                Ten years doesn't seem that long to me. Just the amount of time I've
                                pissed away on a few mistakes really. I have no intention of seeing my
                                work as some kind of one-time one-off in a temporary marketplace. I'm
                                planning for the long tail, when games will eventually be on par with
                                film. You can watch a significant film 30 years later, i.e. Star Wars, or
                                50 years later, i.e. Lawrence of Arabia.



                                > Also, most MMOs do not recognize character ownership (I
                                > believe it is moral and ethical to sell in-game currency and
                                > characters I have spent time and money on improving or gathering)
                                > which while not piracy per se, is kind of related, though it's more a
                                > violation of (an illegal IMHO) contract than copyright or trademark
                                > per se.
                                >
                                >
                                Virtual currencies are an interesting question for governments who want to
                                tax them. I believe it's an area that Second Life was exploring at its
                                peak; I haven't kept track of whether anyone cares about SL anymore. I
                                believe the potential corporate backers eventually realized there weren't
                                as many paying customers in cyberspace as they had supposed.


                                Cheers,
                                Brandon Van Every


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