Author Topic: Digital Rights and Economics  (Read 41195 times)

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #75 on: May 19, 2011, 01:06:48 AM »
Text editors, word processors, compilers, code analyzers, etc, are all examples of what I referred to as software.  In fact tools were (and are) the driving force behind opensource software.  Guys got sick of having no way to get anything done on their own without resources provided by their employers (and frequently results therefore claimed by their employers) or major cash layout, and built tools for themselves.  Everything else, all the free applications, games, etc, came after the tools.
This handly ignores a large chunk of my post, and it just states the obivous. The whole point I made was that you are comparing operating systems and video games, but both are consumed diffrently and have different markets.

It's a copy market.  Information products have the peculiar property that they can be copied easily, quickly, and without noticeable expense, where physical objects can only be transferred (depriving one person of the object) and services can only be performed (which requires time and effort).  Musicians playing concerts, painters painting portraits and commissions, programmers supporting games (and tools, etc) or running tournaments, etc, are providing a service.  Farmers growing food are providing a physical object which, afterwards, they do not have anymore.
Yes, but that is not what you said. You pointed out that, since having stuff is good, and price makes it hard to have stuff, having free stuff must be good, and you concluded that, because of this, all intellectual property should be free. Now, you threw in the “intellectual” part, and none of what you said supported that restriction. Your reasoning would require that all goods be free.

Except that if the thing they give away is information, they still have it.
Except that they can never get back the time it takes to produce the information originally.

Physical objects are not a copy market, so the analogy does not hold.
By the reasoning you used in your previous post, the analogy does hold. I was pointing out that your reasoning led to a logical extreme that did not make sense. Now your argument has changed.

But in both cases, the people involved experience an increase in total value.
Um, no. Not necessarily. If you give away a physical object, you experience a decrease in total value. If you give away intellectual property that you have created, someone is getting something for which they did not need to spend time, so the increase in net value was not equal.

The man who breaks a pact for his own gain has committed a morally wrong act against a single entity, who can take action to stop him.  Adding content controls to information, without provision for ensuring that the protected content eventually enters the public domain is committing a morally wrong act against future generations who cannot yet defend themselves.  

Copying while it may be in breach of a pact and therefore wrong, increases information and the access to it, which is a net good.  DRM, while it may be legal, decreases information and access to it, and is therefore problematic.  But DRM without ensuring that the content eventually is available in the public domain is more accurately theft than copying.  It is theft from members of future generations, and it is theft that deprives them of access to information rather than “theft” that deprives someone of exclusive control of information.

In short it is more precisely theft (as in depriving them of something with value) it is a theft against more people, and against people who are defenseless.
That logic is absurd, if I may be so blunt. By not writing software, you are depriving everyone something of value, and, as you define theft as “depriving someone of something of value” every piece of software you did not write you stole from everyone. By this reasoning, every piece of software, music, literature, and other art that you do not create and give to society, you stole from them. Should society come to your door and demand that you generate information for them? If you do not comply, should they throw you in jail for theft? Are you robbing future generations by not churning out music and video games?

You have mostly ignored what I posted in my initial reply to you while shifting the topic to a matter of morality. If you recall, the initial point of discussion was whether all intellectual property will become free. You said that it will, but you have yet to give a decisive argument to support your assertion.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 02:42:11 AM by Fenrir »

Bear

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #76 on: May 20, 2011, 05:59:06 PM »
 :)

You know what?  I'm sick of the argument, and what we believe won't affect the outcome anyway.  If this is a "what will happen" thing for you, then let's just wait 20 years and see who's right. 

I can't NOT make stuff.  I can't imagine what it would be like to be so depressed I was not creating anything.  I really hope that never happens to me.

Do whatever you like, pursue whatever dream you have; I wish you the best.  In my opinion, that information which is not free is far more likely to wind up as a footnote to rather than the main story of the future.  I've worked on a lot of commercial projects on day-jobs, and what all that code has in common is that it all ceased to exist.  For marketing reasons, for corporate reasons, for whatever reason to do with the companies, all that blood, sweat and tears and really EXCELLENT work, all went down the drain, and it was heartbreaking for me.  The stuff I've made free, by contrast, is still around and people are still finding it useful and making it better, and I'm more satisfied with that than I was with paychecks from a software company.

Now, maybe you're not like me.  Maybe you never feel a loss when some marketing idiot throws away your work because joe-average-user can't understand how to use it, or when some rival corporation buys out the company and trashes your code in order to limit competition with their product, or when a project which you've given some of the best work of your life gets canceled, or whatever.  Maybe you can stand to just not make stuff if nobody pays you, and not miss doing it. 

That's okay.  But ...  well, best of luck, I guess.  You pursue your happiness by trying to get paid, but I've been there and done that and although I love programming, working in the industry made me profoundly unhappy.   So, I'll pursue my own happiness by releasing stuff for free.

Bear

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #77 on: May 22, 2011, 11:20:15 PM »
If this is a "what will happen" thing for you, then let's just wait 20 years and see who's right. 
I thought this was a “‘what will happen’ thing” for you too, since you were telling me what will happen. You were also wrong, which is why I corrected you, which is why this argument started, which is why we are here. I do not get your point.

So, some work you liked was discarded by some person to whom you had willfully given the rights to said work when you willfully entered their employ while presumably knowing that you would be in their service, taking their orders, and generally being their employee, and, by mentioning this, you are now trying to justify and validate your assertion that intellectual property is dying, it is immoral, and it is stealing from people that do not exist. Furthermore, by objecting to your assertions, you think that I have demonstrated that I am developing software just for the money.

Firstly, while I am sorry that you are not happy in your job, and I do hope you find some occupation that does make you happy, your unhappiness does not at all support anything that you have asserted in this thread. It does not mean that everyone in the profession is unhappy. It does not mean that no one can be happy in that profession. It is not a criterion for what will happen to intellectual property as a whole, and it is not a criterion for what should happen.

Secondly, all of your work has ceased to exist (perhaps because it was too hard for the customer to use?) Does that make intellectual property bad? Does that mean that intellectual property is dying? Should I not sell software?

No.

Thirdly, I have not once stated anywhere that I develop software just for the money. Nowhere. If you think that no one could possibly make money doing something that they love doing and be happy, you are sorely mistaken, despite your own failure.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2011, 11:41:15 PM by Fenrir »

MrMorley

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #78 on: May 23, 2011, 01:26:54 AM »
Thirdly, I have not once stated anywhere that I develop software just for the money. Nowhere. If you think that no one could possibly make money doing something that they love doing and be happy, you are sorely mistaken, despite your own failure.

I did say that I wish to be a programmer to make a living off of a career that does not bore me. It's not so much trying to buy happiness as being paid and doing something I find interesting at the same time ^^
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siob

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #79 on: May 24, 2011, 01:21:55 PM »
Before you can say which they should focus on doing, we would need to find some way of judging the efficacy of what they are doing to prevent piracy and compare it to how many converts they would get if they used that money and effort made the product better (if they even COULD use that money and effort to make that product better); which is nearly impossible.

Converts: there are always more people who do not even know about your game then there are people pirating your game. That's almost always true unless you built Modern Warfare or similar.

But even for such triple A games the number of people in the world who don't know about them but might be interested is always higher then the number of pirates.

edit: in fact, that's the whole point of the article so i'm not sure you read it ;)

siob

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #80 on: May 24, 2011, 01:28:49 PM »
1) The uploading is illegal distribution. The downloading or receiving of a copy is about on par ethically with the intentional purchasing of stolen equipment. Legally I'm not sure what that's called.

The uploading is illegal distribution. The downloading is not illegal at all - at least in the EU several courts have confirmed that. Downloading is never, under no circumstances illegal.

Actually in the UK I believe The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, as amended by the Copyright and Trade Marks (Offences and Enforcement) Act 2002 holds that people who distribute and download copyrighted material without permission face civil actions for potentially thousands of pounds of damages. If you can be proven to be distributing the material further, it becomes a criminal offence and jail time is a possibility.
....

thanks for looking this up! I can assure you that in austria no download is illegal. In fact that is the wording the judges used. 'a download is never illegal'

Fenrir

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #81 on: May 24, 2011, 02:05:32 PM »
Converts: there are always more people who do not even know about your game then there are people pirating your game. That's almost always true unless you built Modern Warfare or similar.

But even for such triple A games the number of people in the world who don't know about them but might be interested is always higher then the number of pirates.

edit: in fact, that's the whole point of the article so i'm not sure you read it ;)
I read both of your articles, but that was not the point of either of them.

Firstly, in the context of your first article (if you mean that one) and my post, a “convert” does not mean someone that does not know about your game.

Secondly, of course there are more people that do not know about your game than people that pirate it, but what kind of point are you trying to make with that? Are you trying to say that we should not deal with pirates because there are more people in the world that just do not know about the product? (People that may pirate it anyway.) What kind of sense does that make?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 04:05:21 PM by Fenrir »

siob

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #82 on: May 26, 2011, 10:46:36 AM »
Secondly, of course there are more people that do not know about your game than people that pirate it, but what kind of point are you trying to make with that?

i was answering to this: "we would need to find some way of judging the efficacy of what they are doing to prevent piracy and compare it to how many converts they would get if they used that money and effort made the product better"

i misunderstood "converts". with convert i mean: get new people to buy the game. and you meant "get pirates to buy the game". pirates don't buy the game by definition, so yes: i would rather focus on making the product better & more well known to enhance sales. most developer interviews i read agree with me.

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Are you trying to say that we should not deal with pirates because there are more people in the world that just do not know about the product? (People that may pirate it anyway.) What kind of sense does that make?

yes! why does that not make sense? you want your product to sell well. ignore pirates, focus on the people that want to *pay* for your game.

Z

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #83 on: May 26, 2011, 09:47:36 PM »
Linux (which I do use alongside Windows) isn't "I'm going to make this cool game!" it's "I'm going to make this OS!". Linux is one thing being modified in a million ways. Each games is it's own unique thing.

I think this uniqueness is what actually makes people want to develop free games. There are more free roguelikes (even good free roguelikes) than free OSes, free vector graphics programs, or free office suites.

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There's a reason most free/open-source video games become abandonware. I'm not saying free games can't be good or compete with AAA games or just paid games in general, I'm saying it's inevitably rarer that they do.

I think you use a wrong word here (abandonware is contradictory with freeware). And saying something about "most free games" is useless, 90% of free games are crap because 90% of everything is crap. As I try lots of roguelikes, including experimental 7DRLs or ones in early development, I find lots of them to be bad, but still, the best games I know are free roguelikes.

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Besides if you're good at something, why do it for free when people are willing to pay?

Of course it is always nicer if you get money for what you are doing, but...

By writing your own game, you hopefully get: a game that you really like, this great feeling that you have created something that people like, experience, fame, and probably other benefits. Fame and experience actually have real material value (if you can show that you have created a great game, you have a bigger chance of getting an interesting job at a game company, instead of working 25 hours per day on making menus work -- that's maybe a bit of exaggeration, but I think that's what the normal job at a game company looks like). That's why it is good for you to create your own game.

Now you could release it for free (possibly still getting some cash from donations), or for money. If for money, in many cases it is not worth it, since you have do to boring things like the legal stuff, and if it is a niche indie game it probably would not sell anyway. Also, the conscience. I would feel very bad if I requested money for playing my game, if it was designed using free tools, and based on the ideas I got from playing free games myself. If you have been playing free games or using free tools, or, even worse, you have ever been a pirate, then you should allow everyone to play your game for free. :)

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Especially after you've sunk thousands of pounds going to University to study Computer Science...I'm sure as hell not in it for the revolution, but because I want to make enough money to live off doing something that doesn't bore me.

As a Computer Scientist you have lots of awesome jobs even without relying on copyright. Look at Google or Facebook: although most of their services are free for ordinary people, they earn a lot. IME people working for them are happier than those who work on commercial games. If you are into games... try online games, since they sit on an online server, it is impossible to pirate or "steal" them. For example, the games on Facebook I have seen are free for "normal" players, but you can pay for additional powers or customization.

MrMorley

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Re: Digital Rights and Economics
« Reply #84 on: May 29, 2011, 07:45:54 PM »
I was of course thinking of only the projects with notability, or at least clear potential for notability. Well planned out, well designed, solid foundation, skilled programmers and artists willing to work...only for it to just stop. Doesn't happen just to games...

Roguelikes are an even different beast, anyone with appropriate mathematical and technical interests can be kept entertained for days just tweaking the level generation algorithms xD

And sure there are alternatives. And there are alternative ways to generate profits, like putting ads inside the program itself (a practice that has took the mobile phone app market by storm ^.^). But you still need people with skills, and people traditionally work on a flat commission instead of a % of profits basis. It grants economic security for the time invested.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 07:51:57 PM by MrMorley »
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