Brad Wardell's site for talking about the customization of Windows.
Published on March 3, 2008 By Frogboy In GalCiv Journals

At the end of the day, the people who "do stuff" will always have the advantage over the people who "don't do stuff".  Pirates are slowly motivating ever increasing levels of DRM and in time, I hate to say it, DRM is going to win.  That's because the people motivated to make the DRM work (the people who do stuff) greatly outnumber the motivation of the people who don't do stuff. 

One can easily picture a future in 5 years in which the telecoms, the PC makers, the OS makers, and the software makers have teamed up (and you only need any two of them to do so) to eliminate unauthorized usage of a given piece of IP. If you don't think it can be done, then you probably don't have much experience in writing software. The DRM and copy protection of today is piddly 1-party solutions. 

The DRM of tomorrow will involve DRM parternships where one piece of protect IP can key itself off another. Thus, if even one item on your system is pirated (whether it be cracked or not) it will get foiled as long as there is one item in the system that you use that isn't cracked (whether it be the OS or something in your hardware or whatever).  It will, as a practical matter, make piracy virtually impossible.

Computer games and video will likely be the first two targets because piracy of them is so rampant.  A pirated copy of something doesn't mean it's a lost sale. But piracy does cause lost sales.  Moreover, it's just incredibly frustrating to see people using the fruits of your labor as if they were somehow entitled to it.

I have long been and continue to be a big proponent of alternative ways to increase sales. I don't like piracy being blamed for the failure of a game because it tends to obscure more relevant issues which prevent us, as an industry, from improving what we do.  But at the same time, I don't like pirates trying to rationalize away their behavior because they do cost sales. I've seen people in our forums over the years boldly admit they're pirating our game but that they are willing to buy it if we add X or Y to it -- as if it's a negotiation. 

I don't like DRM.  But the pirates are ensuring that our future is going to be full of it because at the end of the day, the people who make stuff are going to protect themselves.  It's only a question of when and how intensive the DRM will get. And that's something only the pirates can change -- if you're using a pirated piece of software, either stop using it or buy it.


Comments (Page 1)
on Mar 03, 2008
I've seen people in our forums over the years boldly admit they're pirating our game but that they are willing to buy it if we add X or Y to it -- as if it's a negotiation.


Sounds more like a hostage situation. They want these things, and they say they will give you X amount of hostages, but when they get their stuff, they keep the hostages and ask for more.

The reality is, if they really want you to add X and/or Y feature to a game, then they should support you... by buying the game. It shows that they respect you enough that they will buy your product, and the money will help to encourage you to further develop the game, or future games.
on Mar 03, 2008
In the past, I've used pirated games as extended demos, but I did a lot of thinking about software copyright in the early '90s (for my bachelor's thesis) and I ended up both rejecting the entire notion of copyright and becoming a consistent game buyer.

I buy software because I understand that good games, like great music shows, fine paintings, and restaurant meals, are all made by people who "do stuff," and folks gotta eat.

That doesn't mean anyone has yet persuaded me that John Perry Barlow was wrong when he wrote The Economy of Ideas. Copyright is the bloated legacy of mercantilist thinking born in an age of absolute monarchs. Applying it to software is a perversion of a perversion.
on Mar 03, 2008
The whole controversy stands on one thing alone, IMHO... Value you get and value you can't have if the product you own ISN't genuine and properly purchased (as it should, always for anything).

What killed most of my interest in a HUGE amount of softwares (not only games, btw) is the fact that corp would pretend handing over a fair program with limited features in exchange for my 'testing time' until i do feel the formal acquisition of such unlocked version (with everything allowed for a cost) is worth my hard-earned money which, in fact, is humping away to somebody else's hands. My karma is better for it, i honestly shared my evaluation with that corp by spending what i should (by law!).

Now comes, the afore-mentioned Piracy of stuff; kiddy idiots patching a few asm cracks and inserting (90% of the time) some embedded trojan just for kicks - and running away with it behind the curtains of anonymous coda tricks. Sure, most people would condemn the whole activity (as they should) and actually try DOING something about it... but tell me, in all good thoughts, have you ever figured out why ISP fat and gigantic corporations never cared much about bazillions of viruses spreading through their 'private' servers. As long as everybody pays their invoices, the web loops and waves carries on. As they say, wheels are turning and investor X gets its monthly dividends straight out of my deepening communication pockets, as it seem.

75% of global Internet traffic is junk and who do you think hides behind that truth - you guessed it, Piracy -- again. Criminal gangs, mafia, prohibition, police, jail, judges... society has and HAD its way with our money. Can it stop? Even i can't solve that puzzle of human behavior. Theft as in what we are discussing here, is an offspring of mankind intellect and conditional attempts at survival. Individual or collective, too.

Although, i agree some sort of protection must de devised (in a hurry) to prevent formal stealing of binary properties (copyrights, anyone?)... i'd also gamble my very last dime on one inevitable conclusion -- say, not even weeks later, some bad genius out there would tackle the new challenge and actually succeed.

There is only one solution, AFAIC - trust (and true value(s)!) invested ONLY in the real customers who pay. Besides, everyone knows the legend; Cervantes couldn't fight the wind mill.

- Zyxpsilon.
on Mar 03, 2008
At the end of the day, the people who "do stuff" will always have the advantage over the people who "don't do stuff".  Pirates are slowly motivating ever increasing levels of DRM and in time, I hate to say it, DRM is going to win.


Haha, oh wow. I think you are overestimating any kind of unified front towards pirates, aswell as underestimating the tenacity of the pirates. If that's a future we as pirates will have to face, then have at thee!

//Varenus Luckmann, pirate and proud owner of an original copy of GalCiv2 with all it's expansions, thanks to piracy.
on Mar 03, 2008
Besides, everyone knows the legend; Cervantes couldn't fight the wind mill.- Zyxpsilon.
Wait, what? Cervantes? Cervantes was the writer of Don Quixote. Don Quixote was the one fighting the windmill. Don't try to sound smart unless.. well.. you are.

Edit:
[...]Copyright is the bloated legacy of mercantilist thinking born in an age of absolute monarchs. Applying it to software is a perversion of a perversion.
Wow, while I support national mercantilism, that is such a great quote. I hope you don't mind if I borrow that?
on Mar 03, 2008
Yep, but that WAS the point, ya know.
Cervantes wrote and had to think it over. I guess it takes a huge open-mind to fully grasp the whole reasoning behind a story protagonist (from a simple book, btw) versus whomever holds the wires that animate it.

- Zyxpsilon.
on Mar 03, 2008
If such tag-team DRM would work, why hasn't it been done? (honest question)

For software, how on earth would Windows(or whatever is determining this) decide whether software is legit or not? I can't think of how, though admittedly I don't know much about programming.

For video, surely no matter what protections they put on DVD/Blu-ray etc, someone will figure out how to turn the picture into an MPEG? Worst case they video the thing

Second, it seems there is a danger (well, a danger to the IP industries, I would consider it a blessing myself) of going too far, and causing a backlash. The current attempts at DRM already cause headaches for many legit consumers (and are completely and utterly useless besides), if they get more restrictive I imagine the number of problems would grow too. (if not, why aren't they already implemented?)

Personally I kind of hope they do, the whole IP system stifles innovation* and is utterly unenforceable, it could all do with a big rethink, and that kind of thing only tends to happen with a "revolution", for lack of a less...explosive/melodramatic word.

*not to say it doesn't encourage it as well, while some sort of copyright clearly does encourage it, I think the length and restrictiveness stifles it far more than needed.
on Mar 03, 2008
For years while I was growing up my family survived through a family company we owned and ran. Nothing frustrated me more then when people would decide that they were entitled to our product without paying the cost, or that some perceived issue meant that they were not obligated to pay.

As a result I hate pirates (music, movies, games, whatever), and hold them in the same regard as someone who physically stole the item from a store.
on Mar 03, 2008
Oh and not everyone is "rationalising", some people in the world do actually have principles :/ Admittedly most don't seem to though.
on Mar 03, 2008
Oh and not everyone is "rationalizing", some people in the world do actually have principles :/ Admittedly most don't seem to though.


If you are talking about those who pirate, then those who do not rationalize are those who openly admit that they are stealing, in which case their principles are already somewhat dubious.
on Mar 03, 2008
Oh and not everyone is "rationalizing", some people in the world do actually have principles :/ Admittedly most don't seem to though.If you are talking about those who pirate, then those who do not rationalize are those who openly admit that they are stealing, in which case their principles are already somewhat dubious.


Copyright infringement is completely different to stealing, I really don't understand why people try to equate them. OK that's not true I understand smear attempts just fine. It's nonsense though.

One can disagree with the natural rights idea behind it, one could simply disagree because one thinks unenforceable laws shouldn't exist, right or not. Probably other reasons, but I've never had much of an imagination.
on Mar 03, 2008
Oh and not everyone is "rationalizing", some people in the world do actually have principles :/ Admittedly most don't seem to though.If you are talking about those who pirate, then those who do not rationalize are those who openly admit that they are stealing, in which case their principles are already somewhat dubious.
I take offense! >

My moral fibre and principles are stern, and in no way dubious. Do I rationalize? Yes, of course I do. I rationalize everything I do. That doesn't mean that the rationalization is dubious, or somehow skewed to fit me and me alone.

on Mar 03, 2008
I hope your wrong about the direction it's going.

From the other side of the fence I see people picking products with less DRM because it causes less of a hassle. And you under-estimate the pirate's skills, once a protection has been hacked once it'll be hacked on all other systems using the same DRM.

The way you get extra support from stardock from buying the game made me buy it. I see it as the way things should be moving forward but aren’t. Make the idea "free to use by any company" and spread the word. In another post you say you don't go to many
"Meeting of the Competitor" things (can't remember what it's actually called). You should stand up in one and speak your mind, not about what you see happening, but how you yourself (as a company) have handled it.

In other words: Spread the gospel according to stardock.
on Mar 03, 2008
Copyright infringement is completely different to stealing, I really don't understand why people try to equate them.


Ok, tell me what the moral difference is between making a copy of a CD and stealing the CD from a store? Both crimes have the same motive and outcome, the motive being that somebody wants to use the product without paying for it, and the result being that they obtained an illegal copy. In both instances the rightful owner of the material does not receive the money that is rightfully theirs for the use of their product.

Now, disagreeing with a law isn't the same as disobeying it. I disagree with laws that say I cannot purchase a handgun outside of my state of residence, I disagree with laws that say I cannot park on the street after midnight, and I disagree with laws that say that on an interstate I may only drive at a certain speed or below. That does not mean I am free to violate those laws because I disagree with them.

You may disagree with intellectual property laws, but that does not mean you have either a free pass or rational to disobey them.

I take offense! >


If you take offense over the fact that I called people who steal things thieves, then perhaps the issue lies not in what I said but in your conscious.

on Mar 03, 2008
Copyright infringement is completely different to stealing, I really don't understand why people try to equate them.
With more statements like this is one reason why the industry has to be so aggressive in protecting their investment and sees Brad move of no copy protection as risky. I really believe there are more people who has this view.
Even if the aggressive protective measures fail we the consumers will have to pay for it in the long run.