Sunday, January 22, 2012

EPISODE 64: "Beyond SOPA"

SOPA and PIPA are dead for now, and even the ESA has dropped it's support. This episode isn't about that... this is about what happens next...

ALSO! The "RetroThinker" story takes a surprising turn, and a bit of "tweaking" to the show-format is announced. Spoiler-ish discussion of all that and more after the jump.



Believe it or not, when I recorded the voiceover audio for this I had no idea that the SOPA/PIPA/ESA thing would tumble as quickly and as soon as it did, though I'm obviously happy for the serendipity. I hope I don't come off like a "downer," but I thought it was important in the midst of all the "fight the power!" mythmaking to acknowledge that the entertainment lobby DOES have a point about digital piracy being out of control and that at some point the same kind of mutual give-and-take sanity that prevailed in the downloadable-music fiasco has to prevail in downloadable-everything-else.

As to the ongoing saga of poor RetroThinker... well, if you think his situation seems unusual now; you won't believe what's in store for him next episode. I was a little nervous about this character/arc (still am, really) because it's a bit less of outright comedy as the AntiThinker or Ninja stuff, but so far I'm happy with how it's come together and very happy that people seem to have taken to him - for now, anyway...

Now, about the format business. Fun fact: Most of the live-action footage that you've seen since "Ninjamageddon" was shot over a few weeks in late October with some pickups in November; which has a lot (but not all) to do with why the change announced here (i.e. the bulk of the story/comedy stuff happening at the END of most episodes with just a setup teaser at the very beginning) is happening now instead of awhile ago - the footage had already been edited and finalized for "bookend"-style breakdowns. Now that I've "caught up" (Episode 65 will feature the absolute last of that "pre-shot" footage) I can start writing/shooting/cutting with an eye to "back-loaded" serious-part/silly-part divides.

ANYWAY! Next episode's topic will be of the educational variety; while the "story" segment will feature the return of a character not "seen" since before "War of The Thinkers" and a plot-turn that I have a feeling will be fairly divisive. So stay tuned for that...

72 comments:

Jannie said...

Hmm, am I first? Never got to use that FIST meme before:)

Anyway, I must say I agree with Bob for the most part. At least ethically he's correct that piracy is an actual problem, in a way that some internet users have ignored for quite some time. But the thing is I don't see an "iTunes" set up ever replacing the kind of piracy you're talking about Bob.

The music industry (or the artists anyway) doesn't really make money off of records or songs as much as much as they do concerts and marketing deals. Selling a hundred songs for a dollar to a thousand people people is a drop in the bucket when you're also getting three million dollar advertising deals, or going on a tour that will definitely net you a million in cash upfront.

Games and movies can't say that. If a movie doesn't make a profit, it simply doesn't, the advertising deals associated with it won't help that. Same for games only more so, since the used games racket (and despite what anyone says it IS a racket) cuts into their profits far more than piracy does on a regular basis.

Furthermore, it's just not possible to stop this at this point. It's all fine and good to say that the internet will "change" soon but the question is "how?" or more specifically "who will make it?"

The reality is that the pirates' technology, which mind you is off the shelf, is far too advanced for these industries to compete...and wow I just realized how this sounds like a Metroid plot now. DRM barely works, if at all. And any kind of real anti-piracy bill, with enough teeth to "change" anything, will, like SOPA and PIPA threatened to do, merely make it hard for EVERYONE ELSE while pirates will still pirate, just how it is now with the DRMs and online passes and so on and so forth.

What is really happening is that we're all moving away from the time when it was possible to stop the dissemination of ANYTHING online, and now that SOPA and PIPA are effectively dead, the industry knows that...as hard as it is to accept we're probably the last generation where a "movie industry" or "games industry" or even "music industry" will exist.

In the future, I imagine, it'll be more about aftermarket sells. DLC and such. The game is free to play but the stuff inside is sold separately, or a real money market place will be integrated into it in some way, or some other similar means to create a "concert tour" backup for the games industry. For movies, special editions and nerd bait (says the girl with several box sets on her desk) will be the norm, not the exception, and more and more actual movies will exist as free digital copies. The GOOD stuff you pay for, the movie is just "there". Basically legalize piracy, but make people pay through the nose for the "real stuff" they "need". MMORPGs are doing this already and winning huge so the economics model is sound, and hopefully they'll see that. Or at least that's the best case scenario.

In a worst case scenario, "Big Movies" and "Big Games" fight an ongoing war with companies like Google and Yahoo who will gladly support piracy (cause it won't effect them, and cant) as long as it means they continue to run willy nilly as they have in the past. And I believe, based on what has happened, in the end the Google-Pirate Confederation will defeat the RIAA/MPAA/ESA Alliance, though with much bloodshed. This Anon thing is just a sign of fucking Megaupload going down...if they ACTUALLY tried some kind of REAL legislation, whether it makes sense or not, hactivists and pirates across the internet would collectively declare Jihad on these people. And I think now they see that, so hopefully they go for the "free to play/download" route, which I believe is the most beneficial for everyone concerned.

Mike said...

I beat my head against the desk every time TGO referred to piracy as stealing. I now have a concussion.

Izzy Leonard said...

Great commentary. I have a non-episode related nitpick: please increase the width of your content column so the Screw Attack flash player fits in it without spilling over the edge. It offends my design aesthetic. It is overly narrow anyway - nobody views webpages on a 640x480 monitor anymore, dude.

Tom said...

I remember once reading something about certain endorphins being released in the brain when people bought stuff. It didn't really mattered what they spend their money on, the simple act of buying some luxury product is pretty satisfying to a lot of people. Besides that, a product you spend money on feels more valuable than something you grabbed off the internet for free.

I think these are important reasons that, if an accessible digital distribution channel like iTunes or Steam is available, people prefer using it above pirating media. Even if downloading a pirated copy isn't that more difficult.


I personally have almost stopped pirated anything in the past few years. I used to only pirate games that were not available in local stores because of their age or rarity. But thanks to platforms as Steam and the Virtual Console and the possibility to order games online this is no longer necessary.

I still think piracy is justified in some cases though: the game Earthbound for instance was never released in Europe and is very unlikely to ever get a re-release here due to possible copyright issues with the game's music. The same holds for its sequal Mother 3, which will probably never be available outside Japan but does have a great fan translation.

David said...

The problem with online distribution is that, on the cotrary of many people believe, it's not economically sustainable for the vast majority.

At least, not as it is right now.

The average income in video games in the App Store is 4000$ A YEAR.

How in hell is a studio supposed to get by with that?

And even the games that earn enough money are those that are, either overpriced for App Store standards, or low-budget games.

Triple A games can't survive in the App Store model. They just can't.

Yeah, we have Steam for Triple A titles, but the prices on that aren't significantly different from normal retail prices. Most people have to wait to weekend sales.

Maybe the solution is in that direction, but we are still ways to go.

Rubik said...

It's immoral for me to write a long comment when I have no intention of reading the long comments left by others.

While I understand that copyrighted material has value and that it costs money to produce, media piracy differs fundamentally from other forms of theft by virtue of the fact that you aren't physically depriving anyone of content by obtaining it.

You'd probably argue that if everyone pirates material instead of paying for it, the creators suffer, but this outcome is the same if the pirate does nothing. You may claim that pirates should be paying for the content they obtained, but often if they hadn't pirated they likely wouldn't have accessed the content at all and the outcome would be strictly worse: the product both doesn't bring in money but also suffers from a lack of cultural penetration.

It's easy and a little bit lazy to say that internet piracy is wrong. Is it only wrong because you got content from a stranger? What if it was TiVoed by a friend or relative? What if someone lent you DVD? If internet piracy became impossible tomorrow, I'd likely be doing that (that's what I did before the internet made content sharing so easy), is that as morally repugnant? I know that it's a tired cliche to bring up libraries in this context, but I'm not clear on why: books take time an money to produce and to promote, and most people will only read a particular book once so it's not as though they'll eventually buy the book. Is the issue scale?

Idea ownership is a pretty new, and moderately strange concept, largely an industrial artifact. I challenge that internet piracy (on average though perhaps not in some isolated cases) is a net boon to the industry because it greases the wheels on a given product, allowing people to get caught up on a show they missed the first few episodes of, or try something new without worrying about initial investments.

While one should financially patronize content creators who you'd like to see do more work (I tend to be in the pirate first, buy later category on a lot products, particularly television shows that originally aired for free along side commercials for products I don't want) IP ownership and constantly changing media formats is impermanent and convoluted enough that I don't personally buy into the stark morality of the whole thing that you posit. For example, I see no reason to pay for the infrastructure of, say, cable television when I can completely circumvent it.

You're right that a big move to widespread digital distribution will mitigate this eventually. Prices will come down and the availability gap will vanish. But ownership by the consumer will likely become more hazy.

I'm a big fan of Louie CK's big project. He produced his most recent stand-up special himself, sold it online for $5 a pop without DRM, made $1,000,000. Of course, not everyone has Louie's money, but I'd like to think with things like Kickstarter, this is the business model we'll see more of in the future.

YouriX said...

Now, the idea of just putting your skit in the end of your reviews is quiet brilliant! I might enjoy your show even more this way! :D

75percentg said...

Thanks, Bob. Much of what you said is the common-sense argument I've wanted to see more of in regards to media piracy.

Stealing a nonessential item (like entertainment) is wrong in nearly all cases. We should stop doing it. People are stealing because it's easier than buying. Sellers should work to change that.

The philosophical questions are important, and they are worth discussing as we look for solutions. They do not change the fact that pirates take what doesn't belong to them without recompensing anyone.

Yes, there are plenty of hacktivists/pro-grade pirates. This does not make inevitable the behavior of those who pirate more casually. I have yet to meet anyone in meatspace who pirates on principle - most pirate when they do because it is easy and culturally ambiguous. I do not know how much my experience matches what others have experienced, but it makes me suspect that there are plenty who would not pirate if they had a simple paying alternative.

Bob doesn't know how these industries need to change to keep making money in a digital age. The industries don't either. We can wish he did, but not having a solution to the problem doesn't make the problem nonexistent.

By all means, we can talk about all of these things. I just don't see how they're going to defend piracy as an acceptable action.

Wildcard said...

Hi Bob. Long time watcher first time commenter here. I did like what you had to say here but I feel like your ignoring a big issue here. No one I've seen has of yet brought it up, and that issue is obscurity.

Despite the fact that you can find at least two or three fan sites for ANYTHING on the internet there are certain things like old TV shows that will never be profitable to release on DVD. It would also be unreasonable to expect any company to re release a rare video game which is rare because it didn't sell enough in it's initial relese to justify more copies being made.

If you can't find a copy of something like that and there is little to no chance of it ever being released, would you really say that they should never be able to see it again and have them wait on the vain hope that a company will do something unprofitable just to satisfy a niche market? If moviebob or anybody else here has an answer on how to get around this without piracy then feel free to let me know.

Anonymous said...

It's easy for you Americans to say "buy original items don't download them form the internet"

Well you don't think I want to buy a box set of all the Animaniacs episodes? Fuck yes I do but I can't FIND it anywhere in the country.

And If I want to say buy it off amazon with the money I use to pay the DVD and the custom and the mailing I can buy enought food to last me a month plus pay my electric and water bill.

So I end up pirating Animaniacs of the internet.

So baiscly if you're poor or if you live in a shit country you can go fuck yourself and you don't deserve entertainment?!

Jannie said...

That's a good point too, a lot of countries have so many weird laws and setups or are simply so poor and downtrodden they can't afford to NOT pirate most stuff, as it is simply the only way they can access it.

Which is why I would suggest a free-to-play, pay for everything else, way of going for video games and movies releasing free, bare-bones digital copies and keeping all the "good stuff" (like 3D, commentaries, special features) for exclusive box sets and "special editions" sold to--lets be blunt--rich nerds like us. That way those who literally cannot afford to buy them can still access and use these items for free, while those who can will also do so with the knowledge they only HAVE to get the downloadables they need.

And let's face it, people ARE willing to shell out $70 for a set of horse armor or a monocle. It happens all the time. That is, as I mentioned, why so many MMORPGs are free-to-play now and I believe that the games industry will go the same way. Charge people real money instead of "microsoft points" for some extra weapons skins or whatever, and those with disposable incomes will shell it out because they can, those without...well they couldn't have anyway, so at least they still get the free game to play.

At least I believe that would work, judging by the MMORPG market it seems to be a sustainable model.

Timzor said...

What you say is definitely true to a certain extent. If I want to watch something--a TV show or movie--first, I check Netflix, which I pay for (streaming only, thanks to the price increase). Next, I check Hulu, which is ad-supported. Only if both of those fail do I start scrounging around in the depths of the internet for the particular item I want to watch.

It's notable that in neither of the first two options do I "own" the content in any way--I only "rent" it for the brief time that I'm actually viewing it with my eyeballs. If I ever want to watch it again, I have to come back to them, and continue either paying the subscription, or watch more of the ads. It's only when I have to resort to the third option that I have something I can burn to DVD and keep forever.

I do prefer Netflix and Hulu because they have huge advantages over pirating. They're well-organized and easy to use. They're instant and on-demand. And of course they lack any real moral ambiguity.

Old media, take note: ease of access. Organization. On-demand. Single-use rather than ownership. And a low, monthly rate, or free with ad-support. These things, I think, are the key.

Jannie said...

Also I'm pretty sure Diablo III is set to have something like this, a "real money" market place, in it at launch.

If it succeeds, I believe it will help the other companies see the way forward, a way to both gouge people for money while effectively legalizing piracy, by making the game the least valuable part of the game "purchase".

Or maybe that's a pipe dream.

Jay said...

Bob...

Please educate yourself about piracy. You're living in a fantasy world where you do NOT understand what piracy is at all.

http://piracy.ssrc.org/the-copy-culture-survey-infringement-and-enforcement-in-the-us/#more-1306

Marcos Cassini said...

As an anonymous said before me, it's easy to condemn piracy when you live in the United States.

Some products never get released outside of the US, and importing them is so expensive it's not even worth it.

I believe that stuff of cultural value should be easier to obtain and share.

If more companies adopted the Online Distribution System, piracy would significantly diminish.

I used to buy/download pirated games or movies when I was a kid, now I use Steam/iTunes because I'm of age to own and international credit card.

Yet stuff that is unobtainable by any legal means, I have no problem downloading (i.e. very very old/obscure games or tv shows).

Anonymous said...

Yes, the games and movie industry has to change. Unfortunately it cannot change with games as they currently are. If the whole digital distribution push has taught be anything the whole industry is a big act of charity and everyone is constantly undercutting each other because gamers have a warped view of value.

I make games and sell them independently and really can’t make a living off it, it’s an act of passion. Part of the problem is no one is willing to pay past a certain amount. Even independent games that far exceed the art and production values of games made in the SNES era can only sell for £15 at max because no one will pay any more. Yes games in the SNES era sold for £50 and had to print the games, distribute them and could sell less units because they didn’t have the ability to make an infinite number of digital copies, BUT would you consider them worth £50? Taking into account the music, game play, art etc.

Yes, products now days need to sell for less, but we need to put in just as much effort as we always have. Nothing we can do about that. Games will need to look into new ways of making money, but gamers are already complaining about that with DLC and in game advertising. They want to have their cake and eat it.

Creativity is just going to suffer, and people are going to complain about that.

Arturo said...

You make it sound like a big part of Youtube is also going to disappear

Aiddon said...

I'm a bit more gray about piracy when it comes to stuff that has little to no chance of coming out here. Battle Royale for instance was so infamous practically no foreign distributor was willing to carry it until recently. Not saying it's right though, but sometimes people have no other choice.

However, if it IS done for stuff readily available in your territory, then do us all a favor and shove your foot in your face before you have the desire to torrent it. There's a reason stuff like Netflix and Gamefly nowadays. The film industry is starting to wake up and let digital distribution and rentals become more prevalent and the gaming industry will follow (though in all honesty that'll take longer).

Darknight910 said...

Um, as important as all of this was... what was that pirate game that looked like one part Sid Meier's Pirates and one part Commandos?

Spongey Blob said...

The worst thing is this; this isn't an agreement that has to go through any world governments. It's being passed, in secret, without anyone knowing what it is or even an announcement of the passing. In Europe, it's not even being enacted by elected officals. It's an even stronger information suppression power than SOPA, because nobody can fight back, nor does the judiscory have to know what is being blocked and by whom.
It has been enacted in the US, Canada and Japan. It has been temporarily enacted EU until this coming February, and will likely be enacted again. Whenever you go onto Youtube being blocked because "This video is not available in your country" that right there, is the beginnings of ACTA. And MovieBob says that the problem is that digital piracy is out of control, right as we are being observed without ever being told, or knowing that we are, and having content randomly blocked from us.
IP protection should be left only to people who seriously know about how the internet works. These lawmakers don't know how the internet actually works, but they know how they want it to work, and they know how to get it.

Spongey Blob said...

That comment above is a mistake. I didn't realise that the first part hadn't been uploaded, or that it was awkwardly spaced. Underneath is the actual post.

Spongey Blob said...

The worst thing is this; this isn't an agreement that has to go through any world governments. It's being passed, in secret, without anyone knowing what it is or even an announcement of the passing. In Europe, it's not even being enacted by elected officals. It's an even stronger information suppression power than SOPA, because nobody can fight back, nor does the judiscory have to know what is being blocked and by whom.

It has been enacted in the US, Canada and Japan. It has been temporarily enacted EU until this coming February, and will likely be enacted again. Whenever you go onto Youtube being blocked because "This video is not available in your country" that right there, is the beginnings of ACTA. And MovieBob says that the problem is that digital piracy is out of control, right as we are being observed without ever being told, or knowing that we are, and having content randomly blocked from us.

IP protection should be left only to people who seriously know about how the internet works. These lawmakers don't know how the internet actually works, but they know how they want it to work, and they know how to get it.

lordlundar said...

Arturo, both the MPAA and the RIAA have been practically salivating at the chance to shut down Youtube if given half the chance. Had SOPa or PIPA passed, Youtube and google would have been shut down in a matter of days.

lordlundar said...

As an addition, Valve has understood this with their Steam client. It (often) costs less to purchase as oppose to a retail copy, and when purchased you simply select a button and the game and any DLC purchased that's for said game is immediately downloaded. Once done, you press play and it starts up. Yes there's sometimes some extra codes and such to put in, but largely it's probably the simplest approach.

And it's not just Steam, Impulse does it as well, as do a few other systems as well as GoG. To quote Gabe Newell, "Piracy is a service problem."

Sabre said...

One big problem is internet concetivity, alot of people in the UK, for example, have conections that are capped so watching streaming films, or downloading a large game would use up a large portion of their bandwidth.

However, the biggest thing you missed imo is the greed and control of old media. For decades, film, game and TV companies had people by the balls. This allowed price fixing, staggered releases, region locking, DRM, limited releases ect. These are bad for consumers, but now consumers don't have to put up with it and old media is throwing a fit.

Spongey Blob said...

The worst thing is this; this isn't an agreement that has to go through any world governments. It's being passed, in secret, without anyone knowing what it is or even an announcement of the passing. In Europe, it's not even being enacted by elected officals. It's an even stronger information suppression power than SOPA, because nobody can fight back, nor does the judiscory have to know what is being blocked and by whom.

It has been enacted in the US, Canada and Japan. It has been temporarily enacted EU until this coming February, and will likely be enacted again. Whenever you go onto Youtube being blocked because "This video is not available in your country" that right there, is the beginnings of ACTA. And MovieBob says that the problem is that digital piracy is out of control, right as we are being observed without ever being told, or knowing that we are, and having content randomly blocked from us.

IP protection should be left only to people who seriously know about how the internet works. These lawmakers don't know how the internet actually works, but they know how they want it to work, and they know how to get it.

Sorry about multiple posts. My internet lagged out a load and wouldn't let me upload the first bit

Biff said...

Let me say I appreciate the gesture of rearranging the format of the show to accommodate criticism of the format. It's very nice of you to consider the wishes of your audience.

Having said that, I don't think the problem with the story content on your show is where it is placed in the final cut. Moving it all to the end will allow people who don't like it to ignore it, so that's good. But the heart of the matter is why people don't like it. This episode's a good example.

The story is that Retro got zapped to god-knows-where, and somehow Ivan is aware of it and TGO is poking a couple of gems. This has nothing to do with SOPA or online piracy. So it feels like you're producing two completely unrelated shows and jamming them together, and once in a while they happen to have some Pink Floyd/Wizard of Oz synchronicity.

More to the point, it doesn't matter if the story content is relevant to the main idea because the story content isn't all that well executed. Go back and watch this episode like a viewer--not as the guy who spent hours trying to get Navi to float just right--and really look at how shoddy this whole production looks. I would swear TGO spends a full ninety seconds doing nothing but slowly poking his rocks. There is no story here, it is just a bunch of characters wasting time waiting for something to happen--even Retro is just standing around in hell until someone shows up to explain why he's there.

I don't mean this to be a criticism of your filming budget or your special effects skills. It's a homebrew web show, that's part of the charm of the genre. But the difference between an AVGN story and an Atop the Fourth Wall story is that James Rolfe has a story to tell, and Linkara just wants people to think he's a storyteller. I never get the sense that the TGO storyline is headed anywhere or has any sort of point, except to justify the opening narration that TGO is a quasi-adventurer.

Thomas said...

Bob, I understand how you are trying to take the reasonable view that both sides need to realize that they can't have everything their way and come to a reasonable middle ground (1), but the problem is that the MPAA, RIAA, and their constituent corporations are willfully stubborn about trying to keep their distribution models in the pre-internet age with legislation. At least the ESA flip-flopped, but the MPAA/RIAA are digging in and using your money and their control of old media to mobilize THEIR demographic into influencing Congress (2).

We made them rich beyond their wildest dreams, and they respond by trying to take your freedom on the internet. They respond by using made up statistics (3) about the 'jobs' that are lost. And SOPA included FELONY provisions(4). Do you think they are justified in trying to send a lot of people like you to fucking jail? You like Linkara? You think his stuff is covered by fair use? The sensible response to copyright infringement is not criminal charges, but the MPAA thinks so. The MPAA thinks that, and the US Government seems to agree, that copyright is enough serious business to pursue deportation of foreign nationals. These people are not your friends, Bob. And there is nothing stopping them from getting the provisions of SOPA passed one at a time attached to critical legislation (NDAA 2012) and using every dirty trick in the political book (Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011).

Every dollar that you give to the MPAA/RIAA is a dollar that they will use to lobby Congress. Until they show some sign of backing down, the only sensible response is to meet their extremism with our own. Boycott Hollywood movies. Boycott major label music. And yes, that would hurt a lot of artists, until they jump ship and form a new association that isn't trying to stay in the 20th century with government rent-seeking.

It's a lot to ask of you- I reckon much of your income comes from telling people to go see movies about half of the time. It's not as hard for me, but I really wanted to see Red Tails and missing Avengers and DKR will be tough. But until geek culture on the internet can take a hard stand on principle that they won't support their money being used against them, these bills will continue to be introduced and the MPAA only has to win once.

1: Rather ironic, considering your view on partisan politics in the American Bob segment “Get Along” 2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpyLGlIsAWM
3: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/how-copyright-industries-con-congress/
4:http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111207/04193216996/harvard-law-professor-explains-why-felony-streaming-provisions-do-put-justin-bieber-risk-jail.shtml

Nathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan said...

As far as the music industry is concerned, MC Lars said it best. "You've overcharged us for music for years and now we're just trying to find a fair balance". This applies to the movie and video game industry as well.

Sylocat said...

So, I take it the Retrothinker is going to be approached by the Sinister Voice™ we heard during the "Quest of the Overthinker" Arc, and be offered a devil's bargain ("Join me and together we can slay the demons that have corrupted modern gaming, once and for all")? Now that would be an awesome arc idea.

In other news:

Unfortunately, pirates won't listen to reason, because when humans are trying to rationalize and justify their own bad behavior, they become immune to any form of logic. So, when discussing any course of action among the internet denizens, we must keep in mind that a large chunk of net users are not going to listen to any recommendations or guidelines... and another chunk refer to the internet as "The Facebook."

As for the whole "centralized DNS" thing, which is also at the core of PCFIPA (the "Protecting Children From Internet Pornography Act," because you can rebrand any censorship legislation as anti-child-pornography legislation, and it will automatically pass without even being put up for discussion), well, xkcd covered that in a hidden message in its anti-SOPA comic. Decentralized DNS, which is pretty much the only hope of beating PCFIPA, is a pipe dream, for the reasons outlined above.

Maybe we could pitch our case to the Roberts court and frame it as an assault on corporate freedom, which is pretty much the only thing that motivates SCOTUS these days. Barring that, or else getting the internet at large to care enough about something that won't kill them within the next 30 seconds (which would be a miracle in itself) to actually momentarily inconvenience their own web browsing habits, well... at least I can take solace in Maddox's take on the matter, though I'm not even sure THIS will be enough to get the public to drag their bloated asses away from the pretty glowing rectangles long enough to actually do something.

Pat said...

Yay! I'm glad you decided to embrace the Linkara formula. I think it's a tried and true way to make everyone happy.

As for the content, yeah, I basically agree wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

Give me the stuff to buy, and I'll buy it.

Don't give me it, and I'll pirate the living hell of it.

It's as simple as that.

(Scotland)

gunmano said...

Hi Everyone!

I've never ever commented on anything before, because I didn't considered my opinion to be interesting to anyone. However, this time, I simply felt the need to do so, and I'm keen on the reactions, if any.
I like the gameoverthinker very much, but find, that Bob missed the point of the argument this time. I like to ask something: Bob, how much did You pay to the game companies/IP owners for the clips You used as a "background" in this episode? You think pirates are stealing? How about people, who are using the creative works of other for own gain? It's one thing to watch a pirated movie at home, which you wouldn't have watched at all, if not for the internet. But it is a whole other thing to use copyrighted material in your videos, so that you don't have to create 8 minutes worth of material to show. I don't even think you recorded this in-game footage yourself. Didn't you just download it from somewhere else, infringing the copyrights of both IP owner and creator of the original footage? And this also goes for images. Does anyone think fair use covers using material without any review/satirical purpose, just as a filler to a vaguely related subject? I don't think so.
Now, do I find this bad? Of course not. The material was appropriate for the show, it was used in a creative way, and is a fine representation of the principles the internet as a medium stands for in encouraging creative artists without big financial backgrounds. Do you think that for example Adobe is hurt by the millions of teenagers downloading the $3000+ software to create art with? I think they should see the future company owners all fixed on Adobe products for a lifetime. That's of course not entertainment, but an example of piracy and creativity going hand in hand for a greater cultural and perhaps economical benefit, like - in my opinion - in your case. But it is just the same with people creating own cuts from Hollywood movies, doing musical montages, lipsync, or autotune on Youtube, or telling their opinion about current events without having to tape and cut hours of footage themselves to avoid having a black background on their videos.
Bob, don't you think that this is something to speak out for, rather than condemning it? Don't you thing that a culture with widespread means of creativity is worth more than a big landscape of gray, with the occasional multimillion dollar color-patch of art? This time, Bob, it seems like you're living in a glass house. Just my two cents...

Michael Durant said...

Gunmano is right about using clips of piracy in games (which Bob didn't pay for) in a video ABOUT piracy. It's clever... but it's also sort of infringing on IP. You also use the Megaman theme as the GO theme... you can't tell me that's not stealing. And you can't, well shouldn't, sit there and tell me piracy is bad when you're pirating video game music and footage...

(And no, I don't think the theme music is Fair Use... it's not a parody, you clearly are just using it as your own theme music... and doesn't ScrewAttack pay you for these videos?)

Anyways, my actual point: Hollywood and Netflix need to reach a deal, so live-streaming of movies and television shows are profitable. My one issue with Netflix as an end-user is the sparse streaming library. I'm sticking it out with a streaming and DVD plan because I can't find the stuff I want to watch in the streaming library.

Netflix, for $7.99 a month (streaming plan), would be ideal: the "iTunes" solution. In addition, maybe a viewing fee for movies that aren't on DVD yet ($4.99 is what I think On Demand charges to "rent" the movie for 24 hours) would bolster profitability. It would still be cheaper and easier than the theater.

X-Calibur said...

@Michael Durant

I agree with you.

The iTunes solution would be ideal in my opinion. The problem is, the big companies don't want to lose one "potential" dollar that they could earn if we were stuck on last century's paradigms.

They aren't willing to lose a single buck, therefore they're willing to shut down the internet to achieve their goals.

Such a behavior deserves to get piracy as a response.

munchie64 said...

@Mike
You've got to be kidding me... If piracy isn't stealing than what the fuck is it?

Mads said...

Firstly, piracy isn't theft. This has already been argued here, and it should be obvious to everyone. Secondly, all considerations of software as some type of physical property are severely misguided.

Consider the following to see why it's especially ridiculous on the subject of piracy.

A movie on a blueray is a piece of data. When you purchase and use the movie in a blueray player, that player generates data that's processed as it runs through several chips and buffers, through a digital cable to your receiver where it runs through several buffers, then to your screen and speakers, where it's rendered by yet other (digital or analog) buffers.

In total, the blueray or data uniquely generated by the blueray player and the blueray, exist in 10 or so copies before you get to appreciate it as a movie.

Presumably this is all completely legal.

What if your computer isn't in your room, but in another room? Then that's fine. What if you run it through an extender cable? That adds one to two buffers. Surely it's still the same thing.

What if your computer is merely somewhere in your city, and your blueray is the same? Assuming direct cabling, it would be the same deal.

What if you don't have private cabling, but lease a cable for about 0,1% of every second? The cable is then yours for the time you rent it. the transfer through the cable happens with a frequence of 15ms, so only a single frame's worth of movie is ever stored anywhere; the cable is really quick, so if handles the transfers in less than 0.0001ms for each frame.

Clearly, if the above is legal, this should be legal. There's no law that the equipment needs to be next to you.

What if you've bought your computer and blueray in order to watch this movie, and you're going to sell it to a stranger right afterwards? Not a problem, surely. That's just like trading stocks online; even though you never own it in a location near your person, you still own it, it's still yours.

What if a company set up a warehouse to store computers with bluerays in them and buys and sells these computers at full price, but charges half a buck off of any sale?

Now any single blueray movie may be watched more than a thousand times over the lifetime where it doesn't break. All legal.

Everybody knows that this scheme is set up to circumvent piracy laws, and that it's completely legal in accordance with the first sale doctrin. There's no reason it couldn't work with games, too.

The more people are able to use the same product in succession, the lower the price can be, completely regardless of everything else.

What you have then, as a logical concequence of treating software as physical property, is a legal functional equivalent of current-day piracy. All it requires is a bit of infrastructure.

That's patently ridiculous, so you shouldn't consider digital data a physical property.

And if it's not, you can't steal it, you can't even really own it, and most of our laws dealing with it make no sense.

So can we please get this debate onto the course where it belongs: Figuring out how to keep our IP makers in business as digital technologies become evermore ubiquitus?

Jannie said...

@Munchie

Well that depends on what your definition of "theft" is really, since traditionally theft means taking something that isn't yours but piracy is always COPYING it not taking it. The original still exists, its now just duplicated. So if duplication doesn't fall under your definition of theft then its not theft, but copying.

Now the bigger question is "is it wrong to copy someone else's property, not for money but for personal use".

See the 800 lb gorilla in the room is that pirates don't make any money off of this. Which is why I say that used games are more of a real problem than piracy, because at heart pirates are copying something and giving it away for free to anyone with a computer, while GameStop is running the table so they can make a profit knowing that they're doing so in a way that amounts to running a pawn shop for games...and if you've ever watched Hardcore Pawn you know how above the table pawn shops are

Spoiler warning: the twist ending is, they're not!

Technically speaking pirates aren't even really "pirates" in the classical sense, stealing for money or anything. They're, well, cloners really. They clone existent material and give it away for free. The thing is our laws were never originally designed, especially not our copyright and trademark laws, for a world where it was fully possible to "take" someone's movie, replicate a hundred thousand times, and disseminate it across the internet within hours.

And while its nice to say we need to "civilize" the "wild west" of the internet, I've yet to hear an actual argument as to WHY we should. Civilization is fun and all but so far literally no one is being actively hurt by piracy, like I said the games industry gets far, far more trouble from GameStop than the Pirate Bay and the movie industry is hurting more due to a shitty economy than pirates. Hell the music industry doesn't even have an argument here anymore sense iTunes hit and everyone started putting their videos on YouTube instead of TV. So I'm not entirely sure if there is even an actual logical argument AGAINST non-profit piracy. Other than simply "it's legally wrong, because it's morally wrong." which contrary to popular belief isn't an illogical argument per se (we've all had a time when our moms' said "Because I said so" as the be-all-end-all argument) but even then that's a moral argument not an objective one.

So yeah...what is piracy? I got no clue. But really, as long as its not for profit, I'm not getting worked up over it as some do. But then again I'm one of those wide eyed idealists who buys into all that "open source", wikipedia, freedom of data for everyone futurist stuff. Also full disclosure, I've pirated some stuff in the past, but not recently.

Jay said...

Here's the damn problem with piracy. It has not cost the US one job in entertainment, the statistics are off, and it has not a damn thing to do with wanting wanting one damn thing for free:

It has been about senators being bribed for laws that make it more difficult for anyone to actually innovate. Further, they do not know one damn thing about why people pirate movies and songs. Bob himself doesn't know about the incredible hip hop culture that embraced filesharing instead of shuttering services. The point of copyright was "To progress the Arts and Sciences". This is a utilitarian concept. This changed because of the Berne Convention where authors implied "moral rights" to the equation and it's been downhill from there.

In the last 35 years, we've had 16 changes to copyright law. Enough is enough. We don't need copyright laws. We've needed innovations in the tech sector that allow more creativity. Copyright law does not allow that at ALL.

Jannie said...

Something else, I was going to mention this yesterday but got sidetracked.

A friend of mine (friend of my boyfriend actually...mutual friend, whatever) well we were talking about this and he said that even IF all this SOPA, PIPA stuff passed and someone tried to "civilize" the internet it wouldn't stop one single game or movie or song from being pirated and would probably make it worse.

The worst case scenario he pointed out, and I admit this never occurred to me, was that the pirates may start charging fees for the material they copy, only far lower fees than the games, movie and music industry. Cause if 100,000 people download Gears of War 3 from them for a dollar that's a hundred grand--more than these "pimple-faced kids" (his words) would make in their entire lives otherwise. Meanwhile, no matter how cheap the industry makes the game, it can't compete for a dollar. Same with movies. In trying to crack down on this we may drive the pirates to actually become more successful for-profit, than they already have been for nothing.

He pointed out that, given a choice between paying top dollar for something and paying a vastly lower price for a knockoff, most people would take the later choice. And ironically this has happened in the past--prohibition was designed to "kill" drinking in America and ended up giving rise to the mob, who made literally hundreds of millions off of illegal alcohol bootlegging.

My point is, the industries in question here should maybe watch that they don't accidentally empower these people by creating such ill will they drive otherwise law-abiding citizens into their arms, and the pirates start running the table.

Mr. Ellaneous said...

Man... I forgot how many pirate-themed games suck.

Michael Durant said...

"Now the bigger question is 'is it wrong to copy someone else's property, not for money but for personal use.'"

YES.

Well, I'll qualify this. It's not personal use. You're copying it so others can download it without paying for it.

This hurts creators. It mildly inconveniences giant media conglomerates, for sure, but what about the up and coming indy director? The debut author? These people don't deserve your money?

Don't get me wrong, we've been swapping books back and forth for as long as there have been books. But cloning art and passing it onto others so creators don't get money for their hard work? Does that sound right to anyone? That's not letting someone check it out. That's giving it to them for free because they don't want to pay for it.

You can make alot of arguments. But don't try to convince me that internet piracy is the same as copying something for your personal use.

Also, can it with the developing countries, and people being too poor there to afford to get the latest books and movies. That's setting up a straw man. We're talking about your average pirate in the developed world. That's derailing the discussion.

Michael Durant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jannie said...

Michael:

Pardon? How is it "derailing" the discussion? Why are we ONLY talking about the "average pirate in the developed world"--assuming that even exists (and people in the developed world apparently are never poor or simply have no access to this stuff obviously, because, what, Twilight Sparkle magics it over to them?) they're clearly not the only ones who pirate stuff.

What about the people in countries where a movie is outlawed? What about people in places where they simply never can or will see a film? What about people RIGHT HERE who have to make a choice between getting their kid a computer game and paying the rent? Are you saying they don't exist...because if so you're wildly out of touch with people's economic situation.

So no I will not can it, unless and until you can show why these people should be deprived off something simply because the creator chooses to ask some absurd, set price that only the developed world can afford. That's not even a moral argument that's just saying screw these people because they're poor.

And since you bring it up, how is that a straw man argument? A straw man argument is an argument that is if I asked you "did you ever stop beating your wife", or some bullshit like that. Pointing out that everyone in the world doesn't have the time, money or resources to spend sixty dollars on a game or even may not be able to SEE a movie when it is released because it isn't showing in their country or the law forbids it, is not a strawman it's simply a fact.

Finally, you still have yet to show how copying is the same as theft. As I said, theft implies that the actual item has been stolen, it hasn't. It still exists in the owner's hands, it has simply been cloned. YOU can make a lot of arguments, and I don't deny you're correct about it effecting SOME creators (though the "young indie director" and "debut artist" are not some Dickensian paupers who need this to live, or else they wouldn't be able to produce it and market it in the first place) but the reality is that just because it screwed over someone's money, doesn't mean its theft. Theft is not actually about money its about property, and more specifically its about taking someone else's property.

But that's my point: the property isn't taken, its duplicated, and this is the first generation where that is possible. Sticking our fingers in our ears and treating something that doesn't even technically EXIST except as ones and zeroes as physical properties is not going to work. We need a system that acknowledges that this stuff IS going to get out, and deals with it accordingly.

That is why I suggest using DLC and real money markets in-game, and super exclusive special edition BluRays, to offset this problem with movies and games. A play for free, pay for everything else, mechanic. It would allow people to freely access the material, while still allowing the owner to make a tidy profit, but not actually something as asinine as pretending code on a computer is the same as a physical book or bag of money which is what our current laws are attempting to do and why they're failing at it. Also it'd get rid of online passes and DRMs while also killing the used games market which I consider to be a win-win situation.

Jay said...

@Michael



Well, I'll qualify this. It's not personal use. You're copying it so others can download it without paying for it.

So? Moral rights have nothing to do with how much you should pay for anything. You can utilize free as part of a business model and still be paid in other areas.

This hurts creators.
Pay very close attention to what I said above and all of the links that prove you wrong. Further, there are other scarcities that creators can sell instead of just a copy. The notion that creators are hurt by piracy is a false notion once someone recognizes the problem.


It mildly inconveniences giant media conglomerates, for sure, but what about the up and coming indy director? The debut author? These people don't deserve your money?

They're not entitled to it. They have Kickstarter projects as well as other tech industry ideas on how to make money that don't rely on enforcing a copyright.

Don't get me wrong, we've been swapping books back and forth for as long as there have been books. But cloning art and passing it onto others so creators don't get money for their hard work? Does that sound right to anyone? That's not letting someone check it out. That's giving it to them for free because they don't want to pay for it.

Have you ever heard of xkcd? Order of the Stick? Dan Bull? Busta Rhymes? They all used piracy to get their names out and make a living through different business models. That's hard work. Making a living by shutting down services is a quick way to make people not want to support you.

You can make alot of arguments. But don't try to convince me that internet piracy is the same as copying something for your personal use.

Don't have to. Someone studied it and did that already.

Also, can it with the developing countries, and people being too poor there to afford to get the latest books and movies. That's setting up a straw man. We're talking about your average pirate in the developed world. That's derailing the discussion.

No, it's recognizing that the average pirate is not Joe Schmo in the US. When you have more availability to legal channels, piracy decreases. The US has the most tech out of any other area. Compare that to Russia or Germany that don't have access to Hulu or iTunes. Guess where piracy increases exponentially? Then you top that off with a look into the pricing and unavailability of good translations. So come up with a better argument than saying "but... but... piracy!"

X-Calibur said...

@Jay & Jenny

You guys made my point better than I could ever do. Thanks!

As a person from a developing country, I'm grateful that somebody thinks I'm more than a "Strawman".

Clifford said...

To people who are complaining about Bob referring to piracy as stealing (rather than copyright infringement), I think Bob was speaking colloquially. In the eyes of the law, piracy doesn't technically count as theft because the owners (music/game/film Studios etc) aren't physically deprived of anything. Despite that technical definition though, I think it is still reasonable to call piracy stealing, at least on an informal level, because it bears all the other hallmarks of theft. It involves taking a copy of something which doesn't belong to you, without permission from the owner. Most people would casually describe theft as taking something that doesn't belong to you, and piracy fits that description.

Spongey Blob said...

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE

And this is just about the average person. What about students like me who need to have access to a large amount of free resources, so we can balance getting a decent degree and living comfortably? What about scientists, journalists and researchers who have to study already existing texts, quote and reference them, so they can get good findings? What about people who desperately need information that is just not available in their country or area, such as a doctor in New Zealand trying to find out what new drugs are being made in the Denmark? Are we thieves too? Or, for a single example that comes to mind, what about yourself, MovieBob? Those clips of the Monkey Island series are not yours. They are the property of some fatcat businessfolk. Should you pay for using those images? Should your audience pay for seeing them? According to the entertainment industry, we should.

Because companies brought this on themselves. They keep making their business model as if their customers are their main opposition, rather than their customers. They don't want to provide you with a service that we pay for; they want us to give them the service of making them richer, with the price of a new game every so often. And when we stop playing by their rules, they try to rescrict our freedoms as if they somehow have a say now. Would you like it if McDonalds employed people to come to your house and smash your oven so you can't cook your own food? Because that's what these guys are trying to do with SOPA, PIPA and ACTA. Well, I say fuck them right back.

Spongey Blob said...

Here is the thing about so called 'piracy'. So many people condemn the activity by calling it theft or counterfeiting, when in fact, internet piracy, with exceptions, is simply sharing. Whatever you call uploading a broadcast to Youtube or Livestream, or uploading games or books, so long as you don't claim that the product belongs to anyone BUT the original IP owner, it is neither counterfeiting OR theft. To counterfeit is to fraudulently imitate something else, but when a file is copied on the internet, it is exactly the same as the original. Nor is it stolen, because the original is not removed. This is just sharing.

This is the equivalent of me giving my mother a book that I have read. According to MovieBob, the entertainment industry, and the people behind acts such as SOPA, PIPA and the much less known about but far worse ACTA, I shouldn't be allowed to do that. I can't let friends borrow a DVD, or copy albums that I have already bought onto their computer. Libraries are in a massive debate over whether or not they should have digital resources, but unless you call . This is exactly what putting a song or a movie clip onto Youtube is; it's just people sharing a singular broadcast. That broadcast was paid for. If I invited a friend to watch a film with me in my house, are they a thief because only I paid for the DVD?

The problem is that only one kind of company benefits from these laws; distribution companies. The RIAA, the MMPA and their ilk, who are using an increasingly irrelevant business model because without it, they are done. Publishers will still kick around; after all, they publish the product and sell it, for the most part. The internet might make them less necessary but they'll stick around. As will developers. But distribution would be completely bypassed, and they don't like it.

And they force the same lies down our throats. That this sharing is actually piracy, when it just isn't. While indie developers do need the support, and there are plenty of instances of people using fake or unpaid-for copies of a product, there are so many instances too where the publishers are guilty of just the same abuse of IPs. How many developers find themselves without any access or even a say in what happens to their creations? Hell, if I was in a band, I'd rather have my album pirated that benefit the publishers who rip me off constantly. Do you know how much iTunes actually go to the original artists, the creators of a musical piece they are selling? The exact figure is usually 0.01% of a sale. That is nothing, considering it only passes through three hands - Apple, the publisher and the artist, who is left in the dust.

cass said...

Sure piracy is theft. that does not make it wrong.

I dont get why people think theft is wrong. No one actually OWNS anything. Everything else, their work, their art, their cash, everything, existed in some form or another before they did, so what made that object or thing yours? Even if its just an idea, the idea itself was created using chemicals and energy that came from the universe.

nothing is "yours" to begin with, so i have no problem taking it.

munchie64 said...

I wasn't talking about whether it was right or wrong in my comment, that's something that will debated forever, I was just saying that I thought it was theft. Now I must admit some of the responses did kind of push me into the direction of believing that it isn't, but still I've always thought of it that way.

Anonymous said...

The argument that piracy isn't theft because nothing is removed from anyone else is ridiculous. That implies that riding a bus without paying is also not theft.

Dr0w said...

Here's an issue that always strikes me when I see all the debate over piracy as theft or counterfeiting.

It's neither, not in strict definition, though it is very close to both.

I feel piracy or "sharing" is wrong, because that game, movie, song book, whatever? It was created with the express purpose of being exchanged for money to provide income to the creator, and it is being accessed, viewed, used without providing that income. You got the benefit without the creator getting THEIR benefit.

That, in my mind is wrong, nothing justifies it, not destitution, not lack of access, nothing.

Arguements that the price is unfair, or its not provided fairly are lame(as in crippled) because the terms of sale are yours to accept or reject, the option of "I think you are a cheat and so I take what I want with no exchange" wasn't on the table. If that model were used in the larger world, the entire economy would burn.

Anyway, the issue of the pricing isn't relevant, because that issue isn't decided by the pirating parties. Evidently the model still works, break the model for real(i.e. boycott or simply don't purchase at that price point) and watch the invisible hand at work.


I admit to both participating and accepting it in others, but that doesn't make it right.

Jay said...

I feel piracy or "sharing" is wrong, because that game, movie, song book, whatever? It was created with the express purpose of being exchanged for money to provide income to the creator, and it is being accessed, viewed, used without providing that income. You got the benefit without the creator getting THEIR benefit.

There is no moral aspect to copyright other than what the Berne Convention tries to instill in it.

Let's take two games and figure out what copyright does allow.

Let's first take Cave Story (because I love that game) and look at it for a second. The story of Pixel is well known. He spent five years making the game, gave it away for free, and is just now reaping the benefits of the game by updating the graphics with fans, and putting it on different distribution channels. No where in there do you have to pay him per se. Copyright is not about giving artists, creators, or consumers a free handout in the slightest. Again, utilitarian concept. It's about finding a way to promote Pixel to make more stuff. Now, he's got a way to make a living and it isn't with taking his stuff down. It's with making more.

Now compare this to Chrono Trigger. Modders worked on their own games to make it 3D and/or make new stories. Square used copyright laws to censor those stories. And did the original artists get paid for that censorship? Since they all left except Tetsuya Nomura, that's a confirmed hell no. So which do I care about more? A corporation preventing others from telling a story or those stories being told without interference from a for profit corporation?

If that model were used in the larger world, the entire economy would burn.

The model you described is called crowdsourcing and works for Kickstarter, the Humble Indie Bundle, and any creative artist that wants to make it work. The model you espouse to is the same model that caused the financial crisis. Think about it.

Evidently the model still works, break the model for real(i.e. boycott or simply don't purchase at that price point) and watch the invisible hand at work.

See "Media Piracy in Emerging Economies" and please educate yourself. Piracy is never a zero sum game. Better yet, Look at this:

HADOPI is betting that warnings will be enough to push the percentage of file sharers down–a view the survey says is also shared by 33% of filesharers. That’s not an illogical assumption, and time will tell if it’s right. But the evidence suggests that there are lots of ways this bet could go wrong, even if HADOPI survives the inevitable judicial scrutiny in France and at the EU level (and growing political opposition). If piracy is a sampling and discovery tool for high spenders, then suppressing piracy could depress legal sales.
Read the rest to know why piracy is the inevitable conclusion even if you boycott. Pricing of products is always relevant.

assman said...

My general stance is that you should not feel bad about downloading games/music/tvshows if you're in a rough spot financially, but you should pay for things if you can afford them, especially if you like them. If you have some kind of moral argument that you are using to justify pirating anyway, have some integrity and just don't consume the product, period. Intellectual property law can be pretty dumb, but the most respectable part of it is copyright, and that's what you're violating when you pirate.

Honestly though, I don't think piracy is that big of a deal. I think the record and movie industries just need to accept the new world we live in. The record industry sells more albums than they ever have before, and there were 3 movies in 2011 that made over a billion dollars. The Harry Potter movie franchise has made over 7.7 billion dollars. Boo fucking hoo.

Jannie said...

I'm not exactly a huge "proponent" of piracy, per se. I don't think it is a RIGHT or anything. But I do believe that some of these companies are looking at this the wrong way.

Like I said, used games is FAR more of a threat to the gaming industry than piracy, and movies mainly are feeling hurt because of the economy not because of pirates. In my life I've only actually even SEEN a pirated movie twice, one of which was because my relatives had a bootleg DVD of Catwoman (no bullshit) the other being the Spoony Experiment riff of After Last Season--because I'm sorry, I don't care if he relented and took it down or not, the people who "made" that "movie" don't fucking deserve a dime.

The thing is that, and I've said this twice before now, we now live in a world where it is basically impossible to NOT have this stuff pirated by someone. Making it illegal and pretending a computer file is the same as physical property will only cause headaches for normal people, not pirates, who will circumvent the issue with technology in a few hours the same way they have every single kind of DRM ever developed.

If I were in charge of a major game release, like say Skyrim or an the next Halo or whatever, I'd use a paypal type system so people could buy equipment and weapons in game with real money, but cheaply. If its cheap enough people will not realize they're burning through 200 dollars a week because they're doing it in $5 increments (trust me, you never realize how much you're spending on fast food until you add it up). That's my idea. Yes its a gyp but its also a gyp that makes pirates and used games a non-issue since the player now is paying the game company directly and the game itself would basically be free to play, downloaded directly from XBL or whatever.

Ironically it might make way, way more money if the sheer number of hats you buy for TF2 characters is any indication of how much people are willing to shell out to look natty in a video game. And like I said, it'd also basically kill used games forever since there would be no physical game to trade in anymore, and I must admit I'd feel quite awesome knowing I personally slew the Chimaera of GameStop once and for all.

Aiddon said...

I'll just leave this here for Bob:

http://www.siliconera.com/2012/01/24/samus-varia-suit-figma-detailed-coming-in-june/

They'll be out in June

Spongey Blob said...

@ Jannie

I haven't read any posts of yours other than the very last one yet, so I may be taking this out of context and assuming you made an argument you did, but this little thing popped up that made my eye twitch in a furious rage.

"Like I said, used games is FAR more of a threat to the gaming industry than piracy..."

Now, you may have noticed that our views tend to more or less be somewhat similar... but no. No no no no no no. The only way that used games are a bigger threat to the industry is that technically, when people upload and share a product it is technically neither theft nor counterfeiting like major distribution companies pretend it is.

It's so easy to forget what used games are. Used games. That's it. They are games that have been used. Each used game in a Gamestation or a Gamestop for you cheeseburger-devouring yanks represents one unit being sold. Someone has bought it, but no longer wants it so they sell it, making a little bit of money so they can buy another game brand new. But for that used game to exist, SOMEONE has to have bought it new and then given it away. It's easy to forget, as big publishing companies happily choke people with the same tired lies, that they are losing out of money because of used games, but they actually are not. At all. One game was sold. It is still being used. It's just swapped hands.

And here's another point; you buy a shit game. You thought it'd be good, but it wasn't. For a real world example; you've just bought Metroid Other M. What now? What do you do with it? The answer, is absolutely whatever you like. You paid for it. It's yours. But according to game publishers, it isn't, because they, of course, still have a backwards mindset that sees the customers as their enemy. It's why they keep pushing for stupid acts and agreements and bills like SOPA, PIPA or ACTA. They try to build a wall to stop people from realising that they are increasingly irrelevant and useless. And they have so much power already. They happily sit on IP and licenses they didn't actually make, but when the original creators ask for that IP back they tell them where to fuck off, even if they have no interest in keeping that IP alive. Remember what happened to Bullfrog when EA bought it? The answer is that you don't because there isn't a Bullfrog anymore; they were crushed, and not even hired on later if I've read correctly. We fought against them trying to stop us sharing copyrighted material on the internet. Why also give them the right to cut us off completely and make sure that we can salvage nothing from a poor purchase?

Spongey Blob said...

And this is just about the average person. What about students like me who need to have access to a large amount of free resources, so we can balance getting a decent degree and living comfortably? What about scientists, journalists and researchers who have to study already existing texts, quote and reference them, so they can get good findings? What about people who desperately need information that is just not available in their country or area, such as a doctor in New Zealand trying to find out what new drugs are being made in the Denmark? Are we thieves too? Or, for a single example that comes to mind, what about MovieBob? Those clips of the Monkey Island series are not his. They are the property of some fatcat businessfolk. Should he pay for using those images? Should his audience pay for seeing them? According to the entertainment industry, we should. And I don't think I'm the only person who can see that it's completely ridiculous.

Sharing on the internet as it stands today isn't perfect, I'll admit; it cuts out a lot of people of money they do honestly deserve, but it's nothing that libraries don't do. It's probably a good idea to think of the internet as the world's biggest library - I can go to the British Film Institute today, watch all the films I want for free, and no one can or has the right to stop me. But most libraries are limited by resources, but the internet is limitless. And we DO pay for the internet; we pay ISPs, and we pay for stuff over PayPal. Internet sharing is, in fact, completely and utterly legal.

The best system I could come up with would be that a product can be passed around and shared for free, but only with permission from the content's original creator. If you use "remix" content; example, if you use clips from something to make a music video, or sprites from a game to make something completely different, so long as you credit the original sources you should be allowed to do so. It's just fairer that way, in my opinion; people do get a pelathora of free information, but the original creator knows or at least has a say in the distribution. Would it happen, I doubt it, and it's heavily flawed, but it's better than ACTA is, and ACTA'S already up and running.

Irreverent Punk said...

Bringing the "civilization" to the Net is taking away it's freedom.

The beauty of the web is that it is this anarchic place where we're all equals and free to share, modify and redistribute information at will.

I don't want the real-life hierachies to be reproduced online, I don't want the internet to be policed, I don't want the web to turn into the virtual equivalent of a MALL.

Antonio Black said...

When you say "a character who hasn't been seen since before War of the Thinkers", only one comes to mind.
The hooded dude who was talking to Antithinker.
Unless of course you're going to make Wario an actual character in your show since he was revealed to be the old man from "Rygar"
Looking forward to what's coming up next, Bob!

shaurz said...

I disagree entirely. Simply put, dying industries turn to the last resort, heavy-handed legislation, in order to avoid the inevitable. Copyright law is an anachronism that cannot survive the high waves of the Internet. All aboard the ship for pirate bay!

The real threat to them is not people copying their crappy movies/music, it's the self-publishing model enabled by the Internet. That is what they are fighting. MegaUpload was transitioning to becoming an Internet-generation "music label", before it was shut down.

Van the Man said...

I really see "too poor to afford" and "unable to purchase because of region" as sound rationalizations. The outcome is no sale, the alternative is also no sale, so in terms of total value,
the company gains 0 and the consumer gains 1
or the company gains 0 and the consumer gains 0
unless company and consumer consider themselves enemies that are NOT part of the same whole(society), why aren't we happy about a surplus?

movies music games give us...emotional chemical changes... motivation to live love work produce... happiness is part of the economy because unhappy students fail, unhappy workers quit or perform badly and get fired. If they can get happiness for free and do their thing, instead of having nothing and not doing their thing,

what's the moral complication we're imposing here? Something to do with "Rights"? Jimquisition's latest rant isn't exactly...uh..academic in nature.. but it pretty much says the obvious.

Nolan said...

@shaur:

Amen!

You stole the words from my mouth (fingers).

CoolAde said...

I agree with most of what bob said, what I may like to add as well down to my personal opinion is piracy also comes down to quality.
For example, ticket prices at the cinema are quite overpriced to the point where 1 ticket pretty much costs over half of what the films price would be on DVD release.
I don't want to go to the cinema, pay out my ass for 1 ticket and be horribly disappointed when the film is a piece of shit. Instead I would rather watch the film for free at home and if I like the film I will be more inclined to buy it when it comes out on DVD and if I don't like it... well I just delete it and never have to see it again.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Bob, but I'm going to have to side with Jim Sterling on this: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/5268-Piracy-Episode-One-Copyright
I think this is a much more in depth view with good points.

Smashmatt202 said...

What happens next? Well, we start fighting ACTA, that's what happens next! Not to mention, have to make sure SOPA and PIPA STAY down, be on constant alert! Make sure the Government doesn't get any funny ideas, and suddenly turn their backs on the people's rights to free Internet!

But then again, judging by previous Game Overthinker episodes, this isn't going to be about any of that. No, I predict that this will be just like the Red Cross/Supreme Court/Arkham City episodes, about telling modern gamers to "grow the fuck up" for the billionth time. Seriously, I was all for this sort of message when you first said it, but please, can we just move onto another topic? Even for a little bit?

...So, again, I have NO IDEA how the Retrothinker would even know about Sonic if he froze himself in 1990, so yeah Bob, you need to stop jerking off to your retro fetish and get your facts straight.

So the Retrothinker... blew up? I didn't realize Sonic fans could do that...

Overthinker tries his best Spock impression. :P

A law that forces any sketch comedy shows to the end of a video only allowing brief teasers at the beginning? Now THAT kind of law I can get behind! :P

Seriously, though, down with SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, and the like.

Yeah, SOMEONE has to talk about what will happen after this... I suppose. Bob didn't seem to have a problem with taking a united effort against a video games ban, or at least he said as much before, so umm... I don't know, sometimes it's hard to tell exactly WHAT Bob's thinking.

Although... Bob DOES have a good point. What does and doesn't count as piracy is kind of weird, and I don't blame some companies for wanting to protect their IP... But I guess I'm kind of on the same side as Jim Sterling, in that I don't care what pirates do, since most of the copyrights and IP owners aren't in the creators hands, but in the hands of publishers and distributors, who only seemed to be focused on making more money. Ah well, it's still a complicated issue... That I feel should be talked about AFTER SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA are deader than dirt.

I guess I can accept an Internet-changing legislation, if it was actually thought-out and worked on by people who know what the fuck their talking about and WEREN'T freaking hypocrites (Mr. Lamar Smith >:( ). I'm sometimes not good at accepting sudden change, but knowing that the Internet WILL change, I suppose I can deal with it...

Smashmatt202 said...

What I CAN'T deal with, though, is putting this responsibility in the hands of the Entertainment Industry, who had a song about Megauploads taken down from YouTube claiming copyright infringement, WHEN THEY HAD NO RIGHTS TO THE VIDEO WHATSOEVER!!! I will NOT trust them at ALL to do the right thing!

I... Might be inclined to say that I may or may not kind of support piracy IF said pirated thing was unavailable, or very very very very very very very very VERY hard to come by. "It was too expensive" or "I can't wait for it to be released on DVD" are never good excuses in my book.

Yeah, that's why I LOVE iTunes. I don't really like buying CDs because, like Bob said, I'm only interested in one or two songs on a given album. I love that sort of thing, AND I feel good that I actually paid for it!

I like how Bob said "The music industry realized that things have changed, and they had to either adapt or die!" I LOVE the idea that the movie/television/video game industry are still Hell-bent on staying in control of things and REFUSE to use this new technology to their advantage while also giving up some of it in return.

That's the thing with compromise, each side has to give up something. I actually don't mind giving up something, so long as it means everyone's happier or better off and there's no fighting.

I feel like I'm a die-hard, as well... I want My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic DVDs with commentaries and behind-the-scenes features, and I'm willing to pay EVERYTHING I OWN for them! XP

Okay, so I'm a "party-pooper". I actually ENJOY talking about this series stuff that makes you think more than anything in your """"""comedy"""""" show. :/

Wait, Retrothinker had "psychic energy"? So, Retrothinker is psychic? I thought he was just some dork from the 80's who somehow got his hands on a cryogenic chamber somehow... So, what is he something more than that?

So I take it he's in some kind of video game world or something? Maybe the Antiverse or whatever? Eh... Anyway, good show, as usual.

Jay said...

That's the thing with compromise, each side has to give up something. I actually don't mind giving up something, so long as it means everyone's happier or better off and there's no fighting.

Just one question... Why do you have to give up civil rights for an industry that lies to its artists, consumers, and even other larger industries in order to have a free handout on goods that don't belong to them?

That really makes no sense.

Also, entertainment is on the rise.

So if someone wants stuff for free, they can get it. But all of the evidence on piracy suggests that people pay for products and have only done so more as the world has gone on.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ Jay

Yeah, good point.

WOW Gold said...

The trouble with on the net distribution is that, near to the cotrary of countless people nowadays believe, it's not economically sustainable for that huge majority.