Speaking up against our would be soviet overlords.
Published on January 21, 2010 By taltamir In PC Gaming

DRM as a whole is not meant to stop piracy; no form of DRM has ever been effective in stopping piracy, nor has any of it ever been designed in a way that could be effective in stopping piracy. DRM is nothing but a trick to force customers to purchase the same product again and again; which several big DRM advocates (such as the CEO of sony BGM) have publicly declared as their ultimate goal. DRM pushers also came on records as saying that libraries are nothing but massive scale piracy by the government and should thus be shut down. It is no surprise that the library of congress (and many others) have been complaining about their inability to archive works with DRM as libraries are another of the real intended targets of DRM.

Software companies like to pretend that their product is both intellectual property which they license, as well as a physical product which they sell you at the same time. Furthermore, they pretend that somehow the two are combined so that the consumer gets the responsibilities of both and the benefit of neither while they get the benefits of both and the responsibilities of neither.

When you sell a DVD you are transferring a physical product, one that was manufactured, transported, purchased, and has to be disposed of (at taxpayer expense) when trashed. And has to be repurchased if damaged. Just like a car. This is taking the "physical object" approach.

Digital distribution does not do that. Digital distribution treats it as 100% IP that is licensed to you. You have one lifetime license to use a game/song/movie/program/etc. A license that does not need to be repurchased if your CD is scratched, degrades from age, or otherwise damaged. Therefore you are getting the benefits (you can make copies, transfer devices, and get a duplicate of the data at no cost) and drawbacks (you may not resell it) of the IP licensing method. Which is fair and reasonable; you must remember that in the license approach, you should not have an inherent right to resell an item.

If you wanted the model in which you the consumer could resell the DVD than you have to agree to a model where DVDs can not be duplicated under any circumstances, that the DVD has to be in the drive to run the game. And that if the DVD breaks then you are obligated to buy a new one at full price, even if you already purchased the game/software. This is a ridiculous notion since a DVD is worth under 10 cents, but the software on it is worth at least 50$. It isn't a car, it is a method of transferring the software, which is pure information.

Most unauthorized copying (called piracy by DRM advocates) exists to reclaim the benfits of either the license or the physical property method, but many users forget that if you reclaim both at once than you are going from protecting your rights as a customer and into the realm of thievery (which, ironically, is what the content owners do to you when they claim the rights of both and the responsibilities of neither).

I am very happy with license type digital distribution. Now in a system that no longer tries to exploit me and steal from me (which is exactly what software companies do when they pretend that their product is two different things at once) I am quite satisfied with purchasing software again. This is why services such as impulse are so much better than buying a DVD at the store.


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 21, 2010

reserved

on Jan 21, 2010

I have a saying i have heard all my life.

A lock only keeps out a poor thief.

Not exaclty a 100% fit you get what i mean.

I hate DRM very much and have had it ruin almost all my games sooner or later.

There is no point ever to have to the cd/dvd back into my pc unless i want to reinstall the game.

Long live Stardock and Impulse.

on Jan 21, 2010

Just because DRM has not been an effective method to stopping piracy does not mean that its purpose is to screw customers over.  Some forms of copy-protection have been very effective (look at consoles for a strong example).  Looking at big businesses as evil money grubbing organizations is a good way to alienate yourself from the real picture.  They may be near sighted, but every decision they make keeps their target consumer base in mind.

That all being said, I'm a huge proponent for Steam and Impulse and the like.  My main concern is that the ease of entry into the business will lead to numerous copy-cat companies, which in turn will cause some to fail and us to lose our products licensed through them.

on Jan 21, 2010

I would think simply not releasing patches except through in game menus or some other online way that would involve you registering your game would be sufficient and much more preferred than any conventional form of DRM. There is nothing that sucks more than having to put the damn disc in every time you want to play one of your games. That just seems so.....broken, even games like Fallout 2 (1998 if I remember correctly) allow you to play without the disk. Yet we are still often force by newer games to have a disk.

Ultimately, I agree with all of this thread. I think DRM sucks, but I also agree with FutileEmotion in the part that DRM is not made to screw us over. Unfortunately it just doesn’t do what it IS made for. Which begs us to ask, why have it at all? Someone needs to seriously re-think DRM procedures.

on Jan 21, 2010

DRM is nothing but a trick to force customers to purchase the same product again and again; which several big DRM advocates (such as the CEO of sony BGM) have publicly declared as their ultimate goal.

That idea is an epic fail with this consumer. I never buy activation limit games. I will buy games that don't have DRM several times over.

on Jan 21, 2010

FutileEmotion
Just because DRM has not been an effective method to stopping piracy does not mean that its purpose is to screw customers over.  

How do activation limits not just screw the customers over? It's not as if pirates are going to run into them... they pirated the game remember? I would say a huge portion of DRM being pushed does nothing but punish customers, try to get them buy games more than once AND ensure that current games never outlast the company publishing them.

on Jan 21, 2010

I'm going to say that I don't think this is a giant conspiracy to make players rebuy games... I'd say by the time most players reach their activation limit the game maybe costs $20.  I certainly would never rebuy a game for over $20.

I think the real issue is what Frogboy has always been saying: these companies view piracy as lost sales when they never were sales in the first place.

on Jan 21, 2010

MagicwillNZ
I'm going to say that I don't think this is a giant conspiracy to make players rebuy games... I'd say by the time most players reach their activation limit the game maybe costs $20.  I certainly would never rebuy a game for over $20.

This seems to contradict itself. First you don't think company's are trying to get gamers to rebuy their games, but when they do it's going to be 20 or less. Which is it? If the former is true, the cost shouldn't matter since they are not trying to force us to buy it. If you are willing to rebuy games at 20 or less and so don't think it matters, then you aren't necessarily saying the former isn't true but that you don't care.

on Jan 22, 2010

Digital distribution does not do that. Digital distribution treats it as 100% IP that is licensed to you. You have one lifetime license to use a game/song/movie/program/etc.

What do you mean by "lifetime" ?

Is it the lifetime of the customer of the lifetime of the game distributor ?

Let take a example... Steam is the biggest Digistal Distributor for now... what happen with these lifetime license if Steam die tomorrow... very simple, you cannot continue play your game since you cannot connect to Steam for start it...

And please, don't say that Steam will never die... in my already long life, i have see plenty of big business, that people have think will stay forever, die for various and multiple reasons...

When you have a CD/DVD, it is your problem to keep it in good state for enjoy it the more long you can... but in case of digital distribution, you are not more in control... and since on the internet, for a lot of business, lifetime is something in the order of the decade, you are screwed...

In fact, the only way to continue play one game that you have pay for but who is not more supported will be to download and use a pirated version since these have crack who allow to play without connecting to server like these of Steam...

In fact, DRM are simply pushing honest customer in the way of piracy... and a lot of them, being pissed off by the game distributor will continue to use pirated game...

 

on Jan 22, 2010

I recently purchased a copy of Resident Evil 4 for the PS2. After playing the game through to the final boss, my disc no longer worked due to a scratch that my disc had developed. Now, I'm not sure what caused the disc - I take exceedingly good care of my discs to avoid this exact situation - to become scratched, but I'm now unable to finish the game, unable to obtain a refund and am unable to replace the disc without purchasing another copy. This is why I'm a fan of Digital Distribution - this scenario simply doesn't exist.

Blizzard have recently allowed their players - who have registered CD Keys - to download their games via Blizzard's website. This is the kind of service that needs to be provided via the retail method - I purchased Half-Life 2 at retail and although I still had to register my copy of the game via Steam to play, I'm now able to play the game without using the CD at all, and I never have to worry about what will happen should my game discs become scratched.

The days of retail sales are slowly winding down in its current form. I suspect soon, even at retail, all you'll be buying are Activation codes/keys for games so you can go home and download them rather than install them from a DVD.

Edit:
I think you'll find that if a service ever closed down, its licenced games would received patches that allow the player to play without the use of the service's platform. I believe Gabe Newell, from VALVe, has already stated that if Steam were ever to close - and it wouldn't be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shut down either - then all of the games available on your Steam account would be unlocked before the shutdown.

on Jan 22, 2010

Just because DRM has not been an effective method to stopping piracy does not mean that its purpose is to screw customers over.

It is not exactly a big secret here, they admit it!

I would think simply not releasing patches except through in game menus or some other online way that would involve you registering your game would be sufficient and much more preferred than any conventional form of DRM.

I agree, stardock for example uses DRM, technically... however stardock DRM is meant to be unobtrusive and prevent piracy, not to screw over the consumer... this is why it is designed in such a vastly different way than traditional DRM.

I'm going to say that I don't think this is a giant conspiracy to make players rebuy games...

How can it be conspiracy when the CEOs of various companies and organizations have given public statements and press quotes saying exactly that.

Sony BGM CEO said his goal is to have people repurchase music every 6 months. The RIAA said they consider libraries to be piracy. Bill gates championed trusted computing, having said "at first we were looking at using it to stop piracy, but then we realized that documents and emails are much more valuable" in regards to the big brother tech of trusted computing.

Activation limits (EA) has only one purpose, to screw the customer. And speaking of EA, the day 0 release of separate "add ons" for dragon age which you get for free if you bought the game new and registered with their spyware program that must be running and connected to the internet while you are playing is targeted at the second hand market. (all the "extras" from dragon age are available with cracked copies)

as for consoles having no piracy... it is a bold faced lie. The consoles get modded and then you can duplicate any game from blockbuster / friend / downloaded / whatever without even needing a crack, you crack the console so you don't have to crack individual games. The current mod chips even allow stealth... recently MS banned, was it 10,000 consoles?, from playing online because they all were playing a game days before it was actually released (meaning they had all pirated it before release, and decided to go play it online days before release) that is the ONLY way for MS to catch them right now... as long as you wait until actual release, or if you don't care about your console being banned from multiplayer (which never works on cracked PC games btw) then you are golden for console piracy.

A holocaust survivor had this to say "when a man tells you he wants to kill you, believe him". I am not trying to draw holocaust parallels here... but when the major players in the DRM scene say that their purpose is to have short term lease on content that expires and needs to be repurchased, I believe them.

I think you'll find that if a service ever closed down, its licenced games would received patches that allow the player to play without the use of the service's platform. I believe Gabe Newell, from VALVe, has already stated that if Steam were ever to close - and it wouldn't be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shut down either - then all of the games available on your Steam account would be unlocked before the shutdown.

Many have made this promise, but many companies have closed authentification servers for DRM and left their customers to rot.

on Jan 22, 2010

ZehDon

I think you'll find that if a service ever closed down, its licenced games would received patches that allow the player to play without the use of the service's platform. I believe Gabe Newell, from VALVe, has already stated that if Steam were ever to close - and it wouldn't be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it shut down either - then all of the games available on your Steam account would be unlocked before the shutdown.

Here's my input on that argument, this bold claim these companies offer their customers in regards to putting out thousands of patches for these games as they are escorted out the door by security to go home and not return. While it is possible for companies close-up shop in a planned fashion, sometimes its just herding a bunch of people into a parking lot and giving them a pink slip. Out of all the industries I've seen loose businesses repeatedly, I've never seen any of them rush out sudden fixes or find a way to keep up servers just because they were so loyal to fans. I am with Thoumsin on this one, look back ten years five, hell in some cases as few as three and see what companies some people said were too big to fail and are now just gone.  It's not as if shutting down is a slow gradual process, in all cases, where a company is happy to continue paying employees their full salary while doing nothing to bring in revenue but throwing out patches for games already sold, would even garauntee you would get the support they claim they will give.  If it was a gradual slow process, there is still a risk of employees jumping ship and trying to find a lasting job since what boat they are in is taking on water and fast.

Let's say that Valve, Stardock, Paradox and company all know that when they shut their doors, which is certainly not a plan they have in the books now, that they can't possible throw out that many patches, and would probably need to get permission form the publishers even if they could which would not be an easy process itself, do you really think they are going to advertise that? Oh yeah, spends thousands of dollars inour stores, and by the way, if we go down, you're screwed. I am sure that would play real well to get people to switch to digital distributions. Digi sales aren't even close to retail sales.

on Jan 22, 2010

I understand your point Nesrie, often a companies collapse is a sudden one and no company has a folder sitting on a shelf labelled "In case of bankruptcy". However, I find it difficult to believe that a plan could not be formulated quickly. And despite what Newell said, I think the most likely situation is that the platform itself would be patched - Steam, for example - to remove the online authentication; any game currently installed would be available to the user. I'd even go as far as to say that they'd give a shutdown date for their servers to ensure that their users could download and backup all of their games.

I understand the hesitation of many gamers who don't like the thought of their games being taken away from them; all their eggs in one basket, so to speak. However, if the alternative is to suffer situations such as my RE4 experience, where my disc is useless and I have no chance of getting it back without purchasing a new one, I'm happy to ride the Digital Distribution train. I promise you if Valve ever folded the legal proceedings in its wake would ensure every customer of Valve got their software. We're not talking about a product - we're talking about replicatable code that costs nothing to duplicate or download, and so there are no foreseeable reasons why uses wouldn't be able to download all of their purchased games and play with an unlocked Steam client.

on Jan 22, 2010

Well my opinion on DRM is like 2nd-hand cars, you know it' a lemon yet some people buy it anyway.

Now if something has DRM I will never buy, same goes for "please insert CD/DvD" to play.

For me it's like asking when you try to shut down a program and you have 2 or more boxes pop up "Are you REALLY sure?" Yet it's the reverse imho, "Are you reallt SURE you want to play my game?"

I can see why some people see a need for copy protection or some for of saftey net for their product yet all they seem to do is push people away. These advocates are really only selling another marketable item so that they can get rich (ie. DRM resellers, etc.) they don't give a damn if people get screwed as long as they get their cash.

Now a days everything seems to be going down the lines of F2P, steam clients with internet connected and as much a problem as DRM in my view. If I cannot just simply install a game and play (reinstall later if I need be) then it goes back for a full refund.

But I must admit I don't play alot of games anymore because of these limitations and the hassle of it all. So if you're reading, then YOU loose my dollars because of a stupid round robin approach that hinders a past hobby gaming. Hell if I think of a much better approach way back when remember those coins slots, oh wait they're coming too.

Please Insert Credit Card to play, you want to play again do you? What's you grandmother worth or does she have you in her will?

Get back to gaming and giving us games instead of roadblocks.

[/Endrant]

on Jan 22, 2010

The 2nd one I just download a crack.  Easy to find, and I don't mind.  It is a negative to me.

Unreasonable activation limits will make me go no sale, as will rootkit DRMs such as Securom. 

Unsure what DRM's aren't rootkits other then GOO or Steam (I don't like Steam, but I'll tolerate it)  , but that hasn't come up for me yet.

 

 

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