The hypocrite Jolly Roger

This is a discussion on The hypocrite Jolly Roger within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm sick and tired of the hypocrisy that permeates the world of piracy. Most notably those that under the cover ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    The hypocrite Jolly Roger

    I'm sick and tired of the hypocrisy that permeates the world of piracy. Most notably those that under the cover of technology news and information websites, allow themselves to treat the theme as a grand scheme of the evil big corporation against the innocent and good working class. Particularly Ars Technica, that since it was bought by Condé Nast Digital has seen its editorial line became an increasingly more aggressive supporter of online piracy. This used to be a website that I actually visited everyday for technology news. Unfortunately, it's treatment of piracy is but one of its problems these days.

    A string of articles (and there's hardly a week for the past year that doesn't have one) constantly treats the theme. And in these articles, there's never an attempt to inform in the expected way of a news article. Every article, without exception, is editorialized to exhaustion.

    The hypocrisy of condemning the ways lawyers have been finding to circumvent the law limitations to actually pursue and sue these pirates, while never condemning pirates abusing the law limitations in order to remain so far virtually untouched by the arm of justice is too much to bear.

    Ars treatment on this matter has been so intense and constant, that there's actually members with nicknames evoking the concept of online piracy and debates where pirates participate openly admitting they do it and supporting it should be done. No different from starting a thread here suggesting we should go rob a liquor store.

    I confess it frustrates me that these websites treat this issue with such irresponsibility. The lack of a deontological code (obligatory outside the web) for web journalists -- Heck! The lack of actual journalists in web news sites -- means, as a source for information, the web is not a place for everyone. Values, or the perception of those values may become quickly skewed by the rhetoric of those pretending to be a reputable source of information. Without guidance, without a proper environment at home that allows us to arm our kids with the proper filtering and analysis abilities, I fear the web is becoming increasingly more dangerous.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Registered User C_ntua's Avatar
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    Every journalist that presents a fact from only one point of view and states that he is speaking the truth or he is being objective is as hypocrite at one degree, but the truth is that is is actually hard to find journalists that are not biased or not presenting a fact from one side only. Not really surprised that the same is done on websites.

    The only solution for piracy is being strict with torrent sites and the like where piracy becomes massive. I believe companies and government should take a serious war against digital piracy. Then the digital market can flourish and you will be able to get what you think was available only in torrents (like a down-loadable old movie). Personally I see that there is a big opportunity for downloadable products with a good price to be available. You can go to Wal Mart and get a movie for a buck, but I am not that sure that you can download it for half a buck which would make sense. Which I would guess that without piracy such products would become available.

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    You can already do that, it's called iTunes. The store sells movies and other A/V stuff. Not that I care about iTunes. I'm sure the retail statistics are staggering. I know it seems like a tired argument but copyright is pretty ........ed up in America, and you will probably never see some stuff again, depending on who the owner is and what they understand about and want from the digital market. I'm not nearly as optimistic about seeing old stuff in new file formats. It's much safer to keep it in physical format, where media companies can control distribution. Normally stuff would lapse into public domain where downloadable versions could happen anyway, but it takes so long now.

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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    No different from starting a thread here suggesting we should go rob a liquor store.
    O_o

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    Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    Ars treatment on this matter has been so intense and constant, that there's actually members with nicknames evoking the concept of online piracy and debates where pirates participate openly admitting they do it and supporting it should be done. No different from starting a thread here suggesting we should go rob a liquor store.
    It's actually quite a lot different from suggesting you should go and rob a liquor store. There's a huge difference between infringement and theft. It's the difference between stealing your neighbor's car, and going out, looking at your neighbor's car, and building an exact replica in your garage.

    Personally - and I say this as someone who makes a living in software development - I think piracy is an overblown worry. While the number of pirated copies of a program may be very high, you need to remember it's a smaller number of people who download extremely high numbers of programs. Take gaming, for example - assume the average person buys 10 games a year, and the average pirate downloads 300. If that pirate were to go legitimate, they wouldn't BUY 300 games a year, they'd probably buy close to the 10. So even if you had a million copies of your game pirated, the actual number of lost sales is far, far less.

    Plus, there's always the fact that people can be pleasantly surprised and decide to buy a program they wouldn't otherwise have done because they tried it first and liked it. So while piracy may lose some sales, it may gain other sales too.

    Lastly, while it's true I'd always rather someone buy my product than pirate it, I'd rather they pirate it than not have it at all. Though I don't have any concrete numbers to back it up, I'd wager market exposure and word-of-mouth advertising generate more revenue than piracy costs in most cases, especially for the smaller companies that can't afford expensive ad campaigns to generate awareness. In fact I'd wager that if you have a truly good product, the word-of-mouth advertising from piracy could be a bigger ROI than a traditional ad campaign.

    Of course, it's all a matter of how large you are, and a matter of how much piracy there is. Certainly, if everyone pirated we'd all be out of jobs. But some level of piracy is probably a net benefit to the company, not a harm.
    Last edited by Cat; 12-18-2010 at 09:36 PM.
    You ever try a pink golf ball, Wally? Why, the wind shear on a pink ball alone can take the head clean off a 90 pound midget at 300 yards.

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    It's the difference between stealing your neighbor's car, and going out, looking at your neighbor's car, and building an exact replica in your garage.
    Well that sort of argument doesn't really work either. It comes down to paying for labor or not. You could build a car through personal labor or buy one. You could build a program through personal labor or buy one. Both are not theft. In today's world you could easily circumvent a license agreement and not think you've stolen anything, just "built a replica," but distribution of anything is the method of controlling replicas.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    The theft argument is usually seen in the context of the business relationship that is established between the buyer and the seller. Meaning that, if I don't pay for the license of a product and I'm instead getting it for free through some illegal means, I'm effectively stealing the product as if I would from a store. No wonder it's copyright holders that most use this term informally. The law however disagree entirely and I think the law is right. But people were always too hangup on the word "theft", when I think it has almost always been used colloquially and shouldn't deserve so much debate.

    As for the remainder of your post Cat, we have discussed this before. No doubt it's true. Piracy doesn't have such an expression on most industries, and on some it even has the ability to benefit the content creator. It was Bill Gates himself that once admitted piracy was a major partner in Microsoft's ascension. But careful with one thing: Piracy affects more the middle chain than it affects the industry that can even take some benefit from it. It's the book store, the music store, the home rental, and others that most suffer from piracy. Keep that in mind.

    But the whole point of my badly written OP was that what I don't like, what I personally have a real problem with, is hypocrisy. People that break the law and then get all offended when a law firm uses gaps in the law to try and sue them. Or people that pretend to be fighting copyright excessive laws by pirating products. Or people that choose to condemn every attempt at fighting piracy, when never balancing it out with putting an equal amount of effort at condemning piracy.

    Because at the end of the day, for those doing the piracy thing, this is all about getting a product for free that otherwise they would have to pay. This is not about some higher objective, not about a change to the system. It's about getting for free the result of other people's work.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 12-19-2010 at 06:01 AM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    I hope nobody minds if I toss one of my feeble opinions in here...

    First I don't think piracy is as simple a term as we'd like. There are variations in both definition and law, around the world that complicate our understanding profoundly. For example, in Canada there was/is and attempt to outlaw the making of backup disks of commercial software (and assumedly movies and music, too). This same law also seeks to prevent offloading a CD into an iPod or similar device for portable use. The proposal is that we have to pay *again* to download the same content to our iPod. Within this definition of "Piracy" iTunes is a more dangerous piece of pirate software than uTorrent...

    Moreover, I happen to think these laws are getting just a tad ridiculous. It's all fine and good to pay for a first copy of some expensive piece of software. But you have to know almost everyone with a lick of sense is going to make a backup copy to protect their investment. I do, always. My NAS even has it's own share for "ISO Backups".

    Is this Piracy, if it never leaves the confines of the machines it was originally purchased for?
    I would certainly hope not.

    While I will condemn flat out theft of intellectual property, I see nothing wrong with "ripping" a DVD to a NAS box for local area sharing in a multi-computer home theatre setup. The sheer convenience of not having to go to your HTPC and insert the DVD or CD every time is worth the risk alone... then there's the matter of playlists, portable players, etc.

    To brand this as "Piracy" or "theft of intellectual property" rings a much louder "Cash Grab" bell. It speaks to an industry that lacks vision and common sense trying to redeem itself through brute force obstruction of techological progress rather than embracing the new mediums and finding a way to make a legitimate living with in them.

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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    I have code pirated all the time. It's quite annoying.

    I sell scripts for anywhere from $2 to $20 each. Not big ticket items, by any stretch. But, amazingly enough, people will buy them and then post them on forums and bulletin boards for anyone to download. Happens in the USA, but more often abroad. An email to the forum owner, touting a forthcoming charge of $x, where x = (# of downloads * retail price of the script) usually gets the thread erased in short time.

    We've (me and my website partners) also had paypal scams. Yes, for $5 scripts. It's amazing to me. Someone risks jail time for a $5 script. But, how can I have them caught and prosecuted?

    So, does a $2 theft (and I call it a theft) make a dent in my pocket book? Well, if I didn't care about money, I wouldn't be selling them in the first place. So, yes, every $2 theft makes a difference. It adds up.
    Mac and Windows cross platform programmer. Ruby lover.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dino View Post
    So, does a $2 theft (and I call it a theft) make a dent in my pocket book? Well, if I didn't care about money, I wouldn't be selling them in the first place. So, yes, every $2 theft makes a difference. It adds up.
    It's happened to me too. I've written a number of "tiny utilities" for companies around my area, doing simple things like verifying files on CDs and such. Suddenly I'm getting emails from other countries asking about some part of my code (common complaint: lack of help file) and I'm having to write back and explain the program they have was never intended to get outside the IT department of the company I sold it to... One guy even tried to argue that I had no right to restrict my code that way... What a moron!

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    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    But the whole point of my badly written OP was that what I don't like, what I personally have a real problem with, is hypocrisy.
    Oh?

    In that part, I agree with you completely. I don't agree with most of your original post, but the hypocrisy of some "pirates" is absurd.

    I remember one situation relating to a piece of code that allowed burned images to be played on a certain console. The author originally claimed that it was purely for backup purposes. Soon the author started asking for images of different games for "testing purposes". After just a couple of months the author had a site sharing the images. Then someone unlocked the tiny bit of code that patched the ISO images and pushed it out to dozens of forums so that you no longer had to deal with the original author's "nagware" riddled pie of crap. The original author lost his crap! It was a great moment in video game history seeing his countless rants about "not giving me my due" pop up everywhere.



    It's about getting for free the result of other people's work.
    That's not at all true. Sure, a mega huge lot of chappies trading music just wanted to listen without paying for it. Saying that everyone who falls into the quasi-legal term of "pirate" just wants freebies is insulting. Way back in the early days of "JRPG Maker That Must Not Be Named" me and about a dozen other blokes "pirated" the crap out of "JPRG That Must Not Be Named". We never encouraged piracy. None of us even ever distributed the data and object files needed to play the game. (You had to buy the Japanese version.) We just hacked the crap out of the interface so English speakers could access the tremendous joy of "JPRG That Must Not Be Named". We even quit producing updates when we found that our work had been used to unlock the data and object files. (Which allowed people to just copy the files from anywhere.)



    An email to the forum owner, touting a forthcoming charge of $x, where x = (# of downloads * retail price of the script) usually gets the thread erased in short time.
    I'm sure you've never done anything illegal. Ever!

    The hypocrisy thing goes both ways.



    Soma

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    Jack of many languages Dino's Avatar
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    We're all sinners, Soma.
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    Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mario F. View Post
    But the whole point of my badly written OP was that what I don't like, what I personally have a real problem with, is hypocrisy. People that break the law and then get all offended when a law firm uses gaps in the law to try and sue them.
    I think what people get most offended by are the disproportionate responses to piracy, and the collateral damage that paying customers take from anti-piracy measures that do nothing to slow actual pirates.

    I think the actual effect of piracy is small enough in most cases that the response tends to far exceed the harm. It ends up being like the judge that sued a dry cleaner for $67 million for losing an $800 pair of pants -- the judge does have a right to some level of compensation, but the punishment he was seeking far, far outweighed the harm that he received.
    You ever try a pink golf ball, Wally? Why, the wind shear on a pink ball alone can take the head clean off a 90 pound midget at 300 yards.

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat View Post
    I think what people get most offended by are the disproportionate responses to piracy, and the collateral damage that paying customers take from anti-piracy measures that do nothing to slow actual pirates.
    From a bird's eye view -- and looking at an historic account of cases won on court -- I'd say pirates are clearly ahead of the industry in terms of disproportionate answers. Necessarily, when looking at individual cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars against some john doe may seem disproportionate. You just can't get someone to court on 5 thousand dollars and many of those values are an attempt at creating an example of someone, so others may think twice. It's funny though that rarely do these cases actually end up in a conviction. There's a lot of talk, all the so-called civil rights activists scream to the top of their lounges, everyone is offended but courts rarely convict anyways. So who is getting the short stick? Mostly the industry, from major to the smallest copyright holder. The latter can't even fight this cancer anyways.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  15. #15
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Pirates aren't damaging the industry as many claim they are (including the pirates themselves). If anything they are damaging the middle-man and small copyright holders. But where the real damage is being done is to those of us who defend and fight for more balanced copyright laws. Because pirates continually produce the need for a legislative response that invariably goes in the way of further protecting copyright holders and diverting the attention from copyright laws. It's particularly worrying that pirates often publicly use the unfair copyright laws as a motivation for their actions. Because this has exactly the opposite effect of loosening the legislation around them, further removing any social effect that could motivate legislators into reviewing these laws in a more favorable way. If you look at how things have evolved, we have been getting tighter and tighter copyright laws and new and more restrictions to consumers. The ACTA is not better than the DMCA, it's another step up the ladder of restrictions and another lost opportunity to review copyright laws.

    If they were really worried about copyright laws, they would fight for them where they should be fought; with their legislators. And not pirate $5 USD indie games with no DRM, $5 USD music tracks, or a whole book publisher library in a single torrent file.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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