As a concept, people know that there's a real person behind every application. But it's not until moments like these when they're actually confronted with that person. Much less offered a deal for trying to rip them off.
The message would thank you for trying out the game. It would usually talk about how the game was awesome and what you were missing out on. It was clearly genuine. You didn't feel like you were purchasing something from some giant company trying to sell something. You felt like you were supporting some people who were passionate about the art they created.
I miss this about games and think it may be the reason that I've sort of stopped playing the big titles after 25 years of non-stop gaming. I find myself much more drawn to independent developers on the mobile platform or the wonderfully simple and innovative games from small teams.
I expected "something nicer" maybe not using the word "stealing"
Still, my paranoid side thought of something:
"Oh, they're giving away this code so we give them our contact info, then they know who pirated the software"
Not sure it's scalable, but sure makes for a fun alternative to perpetual legal battles
Thankfully free demos are coming back so it is easier to test a game legally before making the decision on the purchase.
I'm not sure if a developer is allowed to intentionally leak their software without proper licensing and then claim that the user must still purchase a license to use the software. And if they openly admitted in court to having uploaded their software for anyone to download, I'd assume a judge would laugh them out of court.
Legally? No, copyright law doesn't work that way. The people who own the copyright to a given work have an absolute right to give away the rights copyright law gives them, to conditionally give them away, to sell them, or to share them with others.
Morally? Of course not. We must fight tooth and nail to prevent copyright laws from becoming that insane.
In practice, what are they going to do? Ban publishing things anonymously on the basis you are violating your own moral rights?
Entirely correct. My post was based on American copyright law, which has no concept of moral rights.
FWIW TRIPs includes an element of moral rights in Art.s 13/14 but specifically disclaims the inclusion of every right in Berne Art.6.
It would be interesting to know why the US dont want to allow people the right to be named as author of their own work? (and if they led the exclusion in TRIPs).
You can have that right if you negotiate for it in a contract or make it a condition of the license you release the work under.
The more interesting question is why other countries want there to be rights granted by law that authors cannot give up.
Moral rights to me are embodied in the right to be named as author of your works. And I can't see why you'd want to allow that to be taken away, eg in a contract of work, against the authors wishes. Where's the benefit in stimulating creative expression or for the public domain?
Generally USA has rights that can't be given up; though you can chose not to exercise some of them. For example you can't sell yourself in to slavery AFAICT (or at least it wouldn't be lawful to be bought which in practical terms is equivalent).
Certainly not from getting the game from the developer, assuming the developer owns the copyright as opposed to having signed away the right to control distribution.
Also, copyright law doesn't control use. So using it is legal assuming you don't find a way to use a game that is in violation of some other law.
If the developer doesn't want the pirates redistributing the game, though, any pirates who do are violating the law. Redistribution and the right to control it are granted by copyright law. Again, this right can be sold or given to others.
It hit me hard, made me realize that it isn't a victimless crime and that I was literally depriving this guy of what he deserves, payment for his hard work. Definitely one of the leading factors that caused me to stop piracy altogether. Even pirates have a heart, and by humanizing the product, it is way harder to steal it and feel okay about it.
The logic also demand that there is a zero sum game going where every copy equals a lost sale. Copying is as about as simple as needing. If needing results in lost sales, then each time I am hungry, I create lost sales for restaurants if I dont buy something immediately. That might also sound fine logically, as if I am hungry I will buy food, and if I didnt need to buy said food, I am depriving someone of payments for their hard work to create food I could have eaten. It is also crazy! the world is not a zero sum world. It is way more complicated and social economics (how should creative people get payed for their work) should be decided by economics and politics, not law.
Also, you've extrapolated from "non-zero sum, not all equations balance" into "there is no math", which makes your argument more fallacious than that to which you were responding.
Call me extremist but, I don't agree with this. There's no deprivation happening. It's a crappy thing to do, no doubt, but I can't see any analogy to the 'lost sale' meme tossed around by the various *AA groups that doesn't break down immediately upon any kind of scrutiny.
On another note, I pretty much winced every time the author said "steal". Can we all agree to stop doing this? It's wrong, we know it's wrong, we chide the AA's for this every time they do it, and it's just the same when anyone else does either, going back to one simple fact: nothing has been stolen.
I'm not saying you pirate (that's your business), more observing the disconnect between the argument ("it doesn't hurt anyone") and the tone ("but DON'T call it stealing!!")
That is, there is either the proper meaning in context (e.g. infringing copyright) which does not mesh with the common definition or there is the common definition (depriving somebody of property) which does not mesh with the context. People framing copyright infringement as "theft" want to take advantage of emotional connotations of the word in much the same way as people capitalizing on the fact that evolution is "just a theory".
I don't think anyone is claiming it doesn't hurt anyone (if everyone did it... etc), rather protesting against the fact that the copyright maximalist lobby has campaigned, with great success, to conflate two unrelated crimes in people's minds. (I'm not even going to touch the whole 'piracy' thing)
I don't know about you, but I hate seeing people be played for fools.
Copyright infringement and stealing have about as much to do with each other as speeding and vehicular manslaughter.
It's like calling bullying 'murder'.
* (pirate) copy illegally; of published material
* (pirate) someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation
* (pirate) commandeer: take arbitrarily or by force; "The Cubans commandeered the plane and flew it to Miami"
Copyright infringement is just that, or 'unlawful copying' if you're afraid of longer words.
Considering how often Somalian criminals have been hijacking ships, and how this has been covered on pretty much every media form, I don't think there will be any confusion on this matter anytime soon.
Also, the verb form (Someone is pirating something) is in my experience almost exclusively used for copyright infringement. I've never heard of pirates pirating a shipment, but I've heard plenty of pirates pirating music.
When you take something without paying for it, and that thing has a price, then you're saying that society owes you more than what it has judged your own value to be. That price of that object has been set relative to the price of your wages, in a long process of trial and error. Others need to work in order to pay for this thing, but you don't think that you do. That's how I see it from a moral standpoint.
I'm not following your train of thought in the second paragraph, but the statement "copying is needing" needs more qualification. And on the topic of needing: if you truly don't need something, then you should in fact let society "cut the fat". But if there was no one to make the software that you pirated, and if you actually never got to use the thing which you claim (I think) not to need, then would you have been just as happy? I think, if you use something that you "don't need", then you're just lying.
My own restaurant analogy for this is that piracy would be like a very stupidly run restaurant opening a free all-you-can-eat buffet out back, in addition to a full price menu. In the absence of a disincentive, no self-serving person would pay full price.
The supply of copyable software is infinite, but not the supply of time needed to make it. In order to make sure that B isn't undervalued, we can do any of the following:
- Artificially limit supply of A (drm).
- Find someone who values A more than you do (advertisers).
- Make people pay for B rather than for A (kickstarter).
Copying is as simple as needing, that is the amount of energy and action needed to copy something, is about the same as just simply needing something. Like star trek replicators, you ask for something, and a perfect copy materialize. If I was hungry and I asked the replicator for a piece of bread, would I be depriving the baker of salary?
So the question ends up, how should the baker be payed for the first loaf of bread. A dollar for each copy made from it? When the poor is then denied said bread and dies because he does not have that dollar for a copy, is that then murder or good for society?
So how do we make it valuable to develop. My answer would be:
- Society should pay for infrastructure, be that roads, water, or network infrastructure. (Tax)
- Industry regulations should regulate the industry, not private people. If a company want to do earn profit by using software made by others, they should pay. (CC-BY-NC)
- Concepts like media tax would work quite fine, if distributed "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". The current media tax seen at places like Canada and Sweden are twisted forms of that where the collectors take the largest share, and then popularity in radio takes the rest. (Media tax).
- Products do compete against free and sometimes wins. Look at the "$9.99" bin at the supermarket. When the product is offered as convenience, it does not matter if at the back, down the stairs, through the window, next to the gutter, there is a "free all-you-can-eat buffet" of pirated goods. This goes back to Industry regulations. Regulate people who are running for-profit operations and that is enough to create value for the producer. (lets call that economics)
Earlier this year saw some referrals from a hacking forum from a young gentleman petitioning the cracking community to crack our software for him:
(You may have to register to view the thread)
I engaged in conversation with that community briefly and told them a little about us, and asked them what was unfair about our pricing and if they had any better ideas for us.
The response was extremely positive and supportive, and we received some emails with helpful advice about how to protect our program from crackers like themselves.
I've no idea if we got any more sales than we would of otherwise, but we engaged with a community in a respectful manner and it's likely we delayed cracked versions of our software being made freely available.
The problem I see with the OP's method is firstly I would be peeved if I was a legitimate customer and interpreted this post as rewarding bad behaviour.
Secondly as OP has publicly posted this he might actually lose revenue from future customers purposefully entering wrong keys to gain access to the coupon code. If OP redacts this now, customers might be annoyed by this and ask for discounts, or even find alternatives. So it's quite short sighted to post this in my opinion.
Thirdly and possibly most importantly is that it's boiling the company-customer relationship down into a purely financial one. A relationship with a potential customer (no matter what their software ethics are) should be more than that, and it can have unexpected rewards like we experienced.
The message in the OP is disrespectful as well, it's highly accusing (is there any risk legitimate customers could see this?). It's my opinion that these sorts of tactics don't do your company and favours in the long term, although in the short term you might collect a handful more dollars.
For an extra $29 in the bank, you've risked alienating your other customers, and could even lose revenue going into the future - mainly because you posted it on your company blog which I'm sure is read by a lot of your legitimate customers.
It's a precarious position because the $29 isn't much upside at all and can easily be negated by one single customer who reads this post and finds an alternative.
I understand that you feel celebratory about this, but it would be fair to assume that some of your customers will not feel the same way about it.
A lot of the funnier strings convinced me to give money to the authors of software I'd never have purchased or used to start with (I used to download a lot of shareware just to explore its copy protection).
Famously, Mac OS X also contains the "Don't Steal Mac OS X" poem mapped into virtual address space by DSMOS.kext.
The people cracking/pirating software are just as human as the authors - any kind of communication at a personal level increases the chance of a sale IMO.
If the software thought you were running it under a debugger it would try to trash the disk. Unfortunately several errors made the software think it was running under a debugger even if it wasn't, and a few people lost data.
Some as benign as popping a "gotcha" message like the author here, some as evil as nuking the registry or boot sector. The armchair lawyer in me wonders what would happen if someone who had their drive trashed by gotcha code like this initiated legal action.
The first result for "blurity serial number" points to https://www.trademarkia.com/blurity-77870929.html
Edit: Entering the serial number does indeed produce the easter egg dialog, with a coupon code that still works. BTW, there is a typo on the buy page 'regsitration'.
After I discovered people were doing that, I was rather surprised that they thought that the trademark serial number would be a valid registration key. I guess people don't read.
Edit: Thanks for the heads-up about the typo. Oops!
If they were modifying an existing valid key, it doesn't seem like people would keep using the same one. Unless people are downloading a keygen or something.
Any more hints?
You seem to suggest here you track user information to such a degree that you can Google for the individuals in question. That's creepy as hell!
I think you've scared me away from your software forever.
OP: does your software tell people up front (i.e. not hidden in some 10 page EULA) it's going to phone home? Do you allow them to opt out? If there is an option, what's the default?
If you don't like your software doing that (and, believe me, most of it does), then lock down your firewall and only let a whitelist of programs communicate with the outside world. A lot of your software will stop working, but at least you'll know that no information (well, not none, just less) is getting sent out to various servers.
It shows you care not a whit for your customers' privacy or consent; only the data on their computers which, for some bizarre reason, you feel entitled to.
As I said before, most desktop software phones home. In fact, by necessity, any software that auto updates and most software that requires registration phones home. Thinking otherwise is just naive.
1. The user is not ever made aware that their registration attempt will involve sending out information over the Internet. The application is therefore surreptitiously phoning home.
2. There is no reason to keep logs such as the OP currently has -- the kind that enables him to segregate people into buckets like "honest", "pirate", "converted" and then crow about it online.
It's 2012. This should be assumed. Mentioning it explicitly is nice to do, but at this point it feels like it should be taken for granted that a registration key will be checked against an auth server. There's not really anything that you can categorize in good faith as "surreptitious" about it. It reads more like you just want to harsh on the guy.
Why not? Should a developer not keep track of the number of times a key (valid or not) is active? Why? It's his software. It's his business. I can't think of an argument why it wouldn't be his job to keep that data.
Registration of a toaster is sending in a card. Registration of a phone is sometimes done by clicking the eula, sometimes by sending a post card.
Registration of software downloaded over the internet is almost always done by...telling the company you have their product over the internet. Windows still lets you print out something I believe.
I think you missed the definition of registration if you're surprised by the fact information is sent when you register.
That's like being surprised information is sent when you email something.
1. User tries to enter a bad SN or whatever;
2. You challenge him to let's say file X valid bug reports;
3. User gets 50% off or something like that.
It could work!
Look at the failure that is the legal system and how badly it addresses the problem of crime. Even under the threat of the harshest penalties, crime still happens. Even after locking someone up in a cage, they are still likely to re-offend.
Think about it - people cooperate with people they like. Trying to take someone's money, physical freedom or whatever else makes you their enemy. People are very unlikely to cooperate with their enemies. The trick is to not trigger that "you're an enemy" response. The result is an open line of communication and a real chance that the behavior will change.
In other words, we're not Pavlov's Dogs and a little common sense goes a long way.
Given how many people are enamored by computing devices which only have one button, it's clear that the vast majority will pay full price instead of going to the trouble of downloading the pirated software, installing it, doing whatever needs to be done for the coupon code to come up and then paying. It's much simpler to buy the damn thing and be done with it. If someone is going through all that trouble, they probably can't afford the retail price.
My guess is that the time this guy spent on this info box and coupon code far exceed the money from one license.