1997-11-03 - Re: Copyright commerce and the street musician protocol

Header Data

From: Ryan Anderson <ryan@michonline.com>
To: Marc Horowitz <marc@cygnus.com>
Message Hash: a300445a4af6134c37dcf23985304bb0c30cc157e0013bc08739c39b8e545d22
Message ID: <Pine.GSO.3.95.971103163124.18441B-100000@king>
Reply To: <t53yb35r8pl.fsf@rover.cygnus.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-11-03 22:15:04 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 06:15:04 +0800

Raw message

From: Ryan Anderson <ryan@michonline.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 06:15:04 +0800
To: Marc Horowitz <marc@cygnus.com>
Subject: Re: Copyright commerce and the street musician protocol
In-Reply-To: <t53yb35r8pl.fsf@rover.cygnus.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.95.971103163124.18441B-100000@king>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

On 3 Nov 1997, Marc Horowitz wrote:

> Someone recently told me that game manufacturers have stopped worrying
> about piracy.  Why?  Because most new games come on CD-ROM, and
> copying a CD-ROM is an expensive, time-consuming operation.  Bulk
> duplication of CD's is substantially cheaper than one-off duplication,
> and since games are cheap, people will usually buy them rather than
> copy them.

No, most game manufacturers have stopped worrying about piracy because no
matter wht ehy do about it, some cracker defeats it in under a week and
posts the whole game (or a useable subet) to the Internet.

Take Diablo, one of the more popular games of the last year.  It filled a
CD - 600 megabytes of sound, animations, etc.  It was *one* big file,
encrypted, with dlls stored inside it.

The guy who cracked it broke this in a week, chopped out a bunch of the
sounds that weren't adding anything to the game (most of the music, and
the voices of all the characters).  He ended up with 1 150 megabyte
version.  This got passed around the net.

This is *common*!  Over the last 20 years, the long-time game companies
have realized that it simply isn't worth th effort.  ID for example
doesn't even bother with a pretense of copy protection (at least with
Quake they didn't).  This probably contribted to the overwhelming success
of Quake.

In an even mildly technical group of friends, even teen-agers, somebody
probably has access to a CD-Rom burner.  It's trivial to spend a coupld of
days connnected to the net downloading the archives of a game, and burn
them onto a cCD to pass around to several friend to play.  (Or, have one
person buy the game, copy all the CDs, and return it.  This is trivial
with large computer chains such as CompUSA and Computer City)

Typically it will costy $6-$12 for a copy of a popular game in incremental
costs, with the game costing either $0 ro $50 depending on whether or not
someone wants the manuals (increasingly useless portion of the product,
BTW).  Startup hardwar costs are typicall $300-$500, and occassionally the
access is through work or school, reducing even this to virtually nothing.

It is interesting to note, however, that this problem seems to exist where
the lack of jobs and income prevent people from purchasing the games.
Typicall this is with students of middle-class (to upper-middle class)
families that are going to college and have little spare cash.  As soon as
this group begins to get the income necessary to support such a habit,
this trend changes.  So, I'm not sure it's something the game companies
care about, becuase they're simply locking in a portion of the market that
wasn't going to purchase the games anyway.

Ryan Anderson - Alpha Geek
PGP fp: 7E 8E C6 54 96 AC D9 57  E4 F8 AE 9C 10 7E 78 C9
print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack"H*",<>