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Piracy / Linkage (Read 62027 times)
Nigel Bree
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #30 - Jul 14th, 2008 at 8:33am
 
Just a note on this; do not rely on the technical measures of activation to divine the nature of the license, and do not rely on what a company's technical support say as the "official" word - licensing is subtle and it is easy for two parties on the phone to end up at cross purposes (especially since technical support folks are generally trying to give narrow answers to specific questions, not general answers which can be construed as any form of legal permission).

The EULA text is a legal document, and regardless of anything else you are told by anyone or infer yourself, the text of that agreement is what you (and Adobe) would be held to in any dispute. Read it! It isn't there for show.

In particular Adobe have their current EULAs online and the EULA for v9 states very clearly in section 2.4 "Portable and Home Computer Use" (with restrictions in section 2.5 for volume licenses, and in section 15 for some specific products) what you are permitted to do, and this specifically permits one single secondary installation for individual use provided it is not used concurrently with the primary install.

But don't take my word for it. Read the EULA yourself. That above refers to Acrobat V9 - If you have V6, you must consult the specific V6 EULA text since that is the governing legal agreement for that version of the code.
 
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #31 - Jul 14th, 2008 at 11:01am
 
Nigel, you are absolutely correct.  It is the EULA (and not advice received from a technical support specialist) that determines the proper use of a software product.  That is one reason why I cautioned Zmdmw52 to “check to be sure”.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #32 - Jul 14th, 2008 at 3:15pm
 
I realize that's what you meant, I just thought I'd be explicit about that since I've seen people on these forums and on our official ones argue these things wrong with respect to Ghost (viz, claims that "I didn't install it" meaning licenses don't apply).

I've also seen some rather silly person on the official forum misrepresent the results of badgering some poor support tech as proof that "Ghost isn't licensed", when the tech meant to just say that the Ghost executable doesn't need a license applied to it through an activation procedure - not the same thing at all.

What still gets me though, is how many people never bother to read these things at all.

The wider point this leads to considering is whether the existence of DRM checks in support of these kinds of quite liberal usage policies works overall to increase user's rights over what vendors would otherwise do. I'd argue that it's clear that they in fact do tend to result in more liberal licenses, but then I've been closely watching this process evolve for decades since it affects my wallet from both sides. If the alternative to strong DRM is going out of business (which it pretty much is, nowadays) that is the worst outcome of all for users, despite the anti-business venom of a large chunk of Slashdot types who seem to believe that having great developers put out of work will make the world better via magic.
 
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #33 - Jul 14th, 2008 at 5:07pm
 
Quote:
the anti-business venom of a large chunk of Slashdot types who seem to believe that having great developers put out of work will make the world better via magic.

I'm sure this is a sensitive subject for you with good reason, but I think calling the attitudes "anti-business venom" is a little unfair.  The Slashdot crowd doesn't dislike DRM because they want anyone to go out of business or because they want to take your paychecks away.  I think that open source enthusiasts are keenly aware of the value of quality code and the value of people who can create such code.

The anti-DRM attitude comes from bad experiences they have had with DRM.  CSS kept them from watching DVD's in Linux.  When DeCSS was written, the industry acted quickly to outlaw it.  Note that part of the argument they used against DeCSS was that there were several licensed DVD players coming for Linux, but to date (10 years later) there are no licensed DVD players available to consumers for Linux.

Sony's DRM on several BMG music CD's was actually a badly written root-kit that created security holes in the OS.  Worse, the uninstall created more security holes and caused crashes.  The Slashdot community sees that as an invasion of privacy (especially since the root-kit phoned home reporting usage...) and the Slashdot community takes their privacy very seriously.

Recently, the "Mass Effect" DRM included in the new Spore game has created all kinds of headache for legitimate users trying to play the game.  Other games' DRM, like Starforce, has caused trouble in the past.  I'm not a big gamer, but the last thing I want to deal with is some DRM issues when all I want to do is play a game. 

I've personally had corrupted Windows DRM lock my music files which I had legally purchased from Rhapsody.  Rhapsody was able to help me resolve it after some time, but it was a huge frustration when I just wanted to listen to music (and a common occurrence, according to the tech that helped me.)  I'm too busy to deal with things like that and I don't buy music on Rhapsody anymore so I don't have that happen again.

All this... and then the industry starts suing individual users with sneaky, heavy-handed, and sometimes even illegal tactics asking for huge judgments.  These people aren't pressing illegal CD's and selling them en-masse on every street corner, but the industry lawyers act like they are going after the mob - or maybe like they are the mob.

This is where the negative attitude toward DRM and big business comes from.

No one has any issue with you getting paid for the excellent work you do.  The issues comes in when big companies take protecting their IP rights too far and the protection becomes a frustration, a privacy invasion, or a lawsuit against an 8 yr old girl sharing accidentally sharing some files in Kaaza (because Kaaza indexes your music and shares it using the default settings.)

I don't think the desire to balance consumer rights with business interests is worthy of being called a 'venomous attitude.'
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #34 - Jul 14th, 2008 at 10:59pm
 
MrMagoo wrote on Jul 14th, 2008 at 5:07pm:
The Slashdot crowd doesn't dislike DRM because they want anyone to go out of business or because they want to take your paychecks away.

I know the minutiae of every issue you raise, and the fact is that those are mere pretexts used to drive a sense of outrage (and motivate the footsoldiers) and the over-the-top Slashdot responses to them are indeed appropriately described as vicious.

More painfully, the interests of anyone who writes software are of no concern whatsoever to the Slashdot end users, and indeed not just them - it is also very specifically of no concern whatsoever in Stallman's GNU Manifesto; driving creative people completely out of the business is considered a perfectly acceptable outcome in his philosophy. People not being able to make a decent living from writing software is explicitly stated as not important because his concept of freedom is more important than that.

[ I don't mind his expression of his philosophy, by the way. I believe it is a sincere and profound belief of his, so even if I have not ever agreed with it I still appreciated his work and indeed happily paid the fee to the FSF for the source to GCC on 1/2" mag tape back in the 1980's when I ported it for myself as part of writing my own UNIX kernel. Edit: oops, 1/2" tape - gcc on one reel, X Windows on the other - not that X was going to port to real mode MS-DOS heh. It took a lot of major surgery to get gcc running in a 16-bit platform. Kinda a fun story, actually, hard to believe I pulled it off. ]

Unlike the days when Slashdot was created, now the vast majority of people there do not write code nor understand the economics of software creation at all - if I or indeed the vast majority of paid developers have their livelihood lost and exit the industry that is not just simply an acceptable loss; if you do not hold their philosophy, to them it is a victory to be celebrated.

The reality is if you take the paycheck from a corporate, to that community that's all that matters and you're just a bad person, and deserve to have your work pirated. Having that said is something I've just had to become resigned to, and is just a sad part of being in the industry now. All one can do is try to concentrate on the rare bits of positive feedback.
 
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #35 - Jul 15th, 2008 at 12:49pm
 
I think that you are very accurately describing the most extreme members of the community.  I disagree that the extremists are the majority. 

It is simply logical that in order to have free software, you need developers.  To have developers, you need to have some sort of incentive for people to invest the huge amount of time, energy, and money it takes to learn to write code.  Someone has to be paid for something at some point, or nothing can be free.  I think you probably under estimate the number for people who understand that.
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #36 - Jul 15th, 2008 at 7:49pm
 
Just checking in.

Good thread.

(Court tomorrow.)
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #37 - Jul 15th, 2008 at 8:51pm
 
MrMagoo wrote on Jul 15th, 2008 at 12:49pm:
I disagree that the extremists are the majority.

People who hold precisely those views in precisely that way are indeed the majority; the difference is that it is simply rare to get any of the members of such echo-chamber communities to consider that any negative impact is real or anything but a temporary roadbump on the path to their utopia. And even for the few that are capable of this, they can paper over it using the same cognitive trick that pirates do.

People who choose to pirate anything do not conceive what they are doing in any way morally wrong. Why, and how?

One of the cognitive tricks (of course, there are many aspects to the blend, but this one is one of the two or three that are key) they use to pull this off is to depersonalize things. "Symantec" did me wrong, I will punish "Symantec" - the depersonalization of the corporate name lets them disconnect their actions from the human sphere. Even the existence of people who will be actually harmed by their actions is not something you can easily convince them of. I've studied and interacted with people who have pirated product I work on many, many times over the decades and indeed something you pretty much always find is that you cannot get these people to acknowledge the connection between their actions and the effect on another human being at the far end of the chain.

[ You can briefly, sometimes, get them to acknowledge that such people exist, but they will not connect their actions to that other person. You can see it in their language. I can say "I made this thing" and the response will almost always be "Symantec", rather than any direct dealing with me as a human person. In the few occasions when does not occur, the response is always abusive, which is again a simple psychological defense mechanism on their part - defending their conception of themselves as moral by attempting to put the content creator at the level of deserving their actions. To do this requires projecting ALL the (real or imagined) failings of the corporate body onto the individual creator. These are constants of the psychology; anyone who works on the creative side will see this precise pattern repeated endlessly. ]

MrMagoo wrote on Jul 15th, 2008 at 12:49pm:
To have developers, you need to have some sort of incentive for people to invest the huge amount of time, energy, and money it takes to learn to write code

Correct. But then Stallman's manifesto says precisely that you do not need that, and how many consumers have sufficient knowledge of economics to know he's wrong when enough people repeat over and over that you can get something for nothing?

MrMagoo wrote on Jul 15th, 2008 at 12:49pm:
I think you probably under estimate the number for people who understand that

Not at all. The Open Source movement as a whole crossed over many years ago from being mostly composed of (well-intentioned, idealistic) developers operating in academic or noncommercial contexts - leavened by a smaller number of commercial developers with sympathy for some of the goals, as I have - to being primarily a consumer movement which takes  Stallman's agenda as a whole as truth and does not examine it with a critical mindset.

What's interesting now is that even as academic computer science programs are declining all over the world, this is not really acknowledged as a consequence of making it a wholly unattractive career. Software has become such an undesirable career choice that the mid-range candidates are not enrolling in either the science or engineering degrees with software specialties (there's a problem in engineering more generally but it's less sharply pronounced).

There continues to be a small stream of the very capable candidates, people at (for argument's sake) >4 sigma on g, who are not sensitive to economic factors as much as others. People in the lower sigma ranges and who don't have an interest in pure academic careers have largely transitioned to different fields of study. The GPA requirements for undergraduate academic programs is being reduced to make up the absolute numeric shortfall in enrolments so that the downsizing in departmental staff can be managed during the transition to a new equilibrium (at dinner on monday with an academic tutor at Auckland he dated the phase transition they saw in enrolment to about 2000).
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #38 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 12:50am
 
By the way, remembering that Stallman is the founder of the entire free software movement, more choice quotes from the man whose views are the orthodoxy around which the GNU movement revolves:

Excerpted from http://kerneltrap.org/node/4484:

Non-Free Software:
JA: What is your reaction to tools such as gcc, gdb and GNU Emacs being used for the development of non-free software?


Richard Stallman: Any development of non-free software is harmful and unfortunate, whether it uses GNU tools or other tools. Whether it is good or bad, in the long term, for the future of computer users' freedom that one can use these tools to develop non-free software is a question whose answer I could only guess at.


JA: How do you react to the opinion that non-free software is justified as a means for raising dollars that can then be put into the development of completely new software, money that otherwise may not have been available, and thus creating software that may have never been developed?


Richard Stallman: This is no justification at all. A non-free program systematically denies the users the freedom to cooperate; it is the basis of an antisocial scheme to dominate people. The program is available lawfully only to those who will surrender their freedom. That's not a contribution to society, it's a social problem. It is better to develop no software than to develop non-free software.

So if you find yourself in that situation, please don't follow that path. Please don't write the non-free program--please do something else instead. We can wait till someone else has the chance to develop a free program to do the same job.


JA: What about the programmers...


Richard Stallman: What about them? The programmers writing non-free software? They are doing something antisocial. They should get some other job.



While Mr. Stallman would not, I believe, condone piracy as a legitimate form of direct action (even though he thinks all copyright is harmful to human societies) the painting of commercial software developers as parasites on society is not helpful and when taken up by a wider political-consumer movement it's hardly surprising to see this used as a moral justification for theft as "direct action" and its targets as deserving.
 
 
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zmdmw52
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #39 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 1:56pm
 
Pleonasm wrote on Jul 14th, 2008 at 7:40am:
On a more general note, the logic of your argument presupposes that you are entitled to selectively adhere to the terms and conditions of the license agreement as you deem appropriate.That is false.  

It was not so much an argument, as a line of thought; the *tone* of the post reflects as much (IMO).


Pleonasm wrote on Jul 14th, 2008 at 7:40am:
If you want to purchase a license for Product X, then you are obligated to honor its terms and conditions.If you don’t like those terms and conditions, then don’t purchase Product X.The situation is “black & white”, and really is quite simple & straightforward.  

I totally agree; that is how I have 2 separate licenses for Windows XP (one each for laptop & desktop PC).
However, not all PC users see things in such strict terms (*black & white*). Reflected in this CNET article (quoted here for your ref)-


When it comes to software piracy, Microsoft may just be aiding the enemy.
Microsoft has been counting on gains against unlicensed software to boost revenue from the Windows unit, which accounts for a huge chunk of overall profits and sales. However, one of the company's own decisions could make its anti-piracy battle more difficult.
With Windows Vista, Microsoft took an extremely tough stand on piracy. Computers that were not properly activated within a short period of time went into a virtually unusable state known as "reduced functionality mode."I n the newly released Service Pack 1, however, Microsoft is softening its stance somewhat ...

Tho' the author argues against MS's logic above.


As of 2004, The Economist estimated upto 35% of all PC software installed was pirated, resulting in a $33 billion loss to the industry. This recent (2007) Global Software Piracy study reflects continuing dismal s'ware piracy figures & resulting revenue losses. Though detailed cost-benefit and revenue analysis is beyond my scope of knowledge, a 'gut feeling' (no scope for further debate here) approach would lead one to suggest that harsh measures may further aggravate the problem. One adverse effect may be genuine customers (using licensed software) facing difficulty due to sterner anti-piracy measures (from CNET article)-


Counterfeiters aren't Microsoft's only opponents in its effort to combat piracy: Some of its customers are against it, too.
The company is forging ahead with a program, Windows Genuine Advantage, tied to its free software downloads and updates, that checks whether the Windows installation on a PC is pirated. But some people, including some who say they own a legitimately acquired copy of Windows, have challenged the need for such validation ...

Quote:
In particular Adobe have their current EULAs online and the EULA for v9 states very clearly in section 2.4 "Portable and Home Computer Use" (with restrictions in section 2.5 for volume licenses, and in section 15 for some specific products) what you are permitted to do, and this specifically permits one single secondary installation for individual use provided it is not used concurrently with the primary install.

Thanks, I didn't know that!


Pleonasm wrote on Jul 14th, 2008 at 11:01am:
Nigel, you are absolutely correct.It is the EULA (and not advice received from a technical support specialist) that determines the proper use of a software product.That is one reason why I cautioned Zmdmw52 to “check to be sure”.

Point is well-made and taken. However, do bear in mind that most day-to-day/SOHO users rarely have the time to go through the fine print (literally!! Smiley) of EULA's >> EULAlyzer (tho' that app is more directed towards detecting clauses for spyware, personal info & such).
 

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Nigel Bree
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #40 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 7:18pm
 
zmdmw52 wrote on Jul 16th, 2008 at 1:56pm:
As of 2004, The Economist estimated upto 35% of all PC software installed was pirated

A minor correction, since I have the full article; that is the BSA's estimate and not that of the Economist itself (or of its sister body which does do econometric surveys, the Economist Intelligence Unit) and in fact the primary thrust of The Economist article cited above is that the BSA's methods to extrapolate projection of sample data provided by a firm called IDC are not robust (and this criticism has been directed at the BSA throughout its life).

And as the article notes, the true actual economic impact of piracy is very hard to study. That the total amount is eyewateringly huge is not in doubt; but as a an illegal activity it is difficult to measure really closely and in particular look at the total system effects in the wider economic sphere.

In particular, the field of software has never reached any kind of stable equilibrium point in which only one thing is happening at once, and given that most of the feedback effects in it are non-linear in nature (viz. the formation of monopolies and network effects in general) and subject to long time delays relative to the pace of the technological change (so the overall system still exhibits unstable dynamics) it's extremely difficult to generate robust correlations between cause and effect.

[ And in particular it's hard to measure the chilling effects of things that have not occurred because of people choosing not to pursue, or failing in, innovations that are undercut by piracy and popular anticapitalist movements. ]

That piracy is already massive percentage of the total installed base is not in doubt; that funding of startups for desktop software has ceased is not in doubt; that the supply of good engineering talent is dropping (nonwithstanding the temporary supply disruption of the entrance of India and China to the work labour markets) is not in doubt; that levels of innovation overall are plummeting is not in doubt.

The only thing in doubt is whether the situation can be rescued; whether (or when) a stable equilibrium point short of outright crash will be found.

zmdmw52 wrote on Jul 16th, 2008 at 1:56pm:
harsh measures may further aggravate the problem

The measures taken are not harsh (especially given that they do not, in fact, actually harm consumers who remain protected by consumer and privacy-protection law, breathless rhetoric to the contrary) especially if you consider that the only real available alternative for business is to exit that market segment because it is no longer profitable to serve it.

The fact that the numbers are so large (and of course, they are just as bad for digital entertainment media) represents a public-policy problem of immense proportions; massive, widespread disrespect for the law is not a healthy state for any society to reach, and usually what is necessary to resolve this is that the social contracts underpinning the law have to be renegotiated.

However, there will be losers in this. The people whose livelihoods will be wiped out (are already being wiped out) by the mass disobedience, and the future cost to human society of eliminating the technological innovation and cultural products those markets bring. Changes that can affect long-term GDP growth of industrial nations are what we're talking about here.

By the way, some thoughts about wider issues of genuine human freedom  including economic freedom are touched on by this brief look at Milton Friedman's writing. Timely to see it turn up in my feed this morning so I can put it in contrast to Stallman's views.
 
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #41 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 8:00pm
 
Quote:
People who hold precisely those views in precisely that way are indeed the majority

Another point on which we are simply going to have to disagree. 

There may be a loud minority, hell bent on pushing their agenda in article comments and forums, but my experience with the open source community is that they respect professional developers (even though admiration doesn't necessarily follow that respect.)  It is unfortunate if you haven't had much opportunity to interact with the segment of open source enthusiasts that makes you feel your skills are appreciated for the innovation you bring to software as a whole.

Quote:
how many consumers have sufficient knowledge of economics

Simple logic is all that is required to arrive at such at the conclusion that you need developers to make software, and developers have to make a living somewhere along the way - not a detailed study of software economics.

Quote:
when taken up by a wider political-consumer movement it's hardly surprising to see this used as a moral justification for theft as "direct action" and its targets as deserving

I don't think an average consumer has an understanding what open source software is or any idea that such a debate exists, so I don't think it is that easy to equate piracy and the open source enthusiasts.  Open source isn't about disrespecting licenses.  If it was, the GPL would be a contradiction of it's writer's intentions.  Piracy and open source are separate issues.

Mass piracy occurs because a few scrupulious people supply consumers who are unaware that the products are stolen or unaware of the magnitude of the impact supporting such piracy has.  Awareness is important in combating that, and probably more effective than restrictive DRM measures that take options away from legitimate customers and only barely slow down the pirates.  When the RIAA started suing customers several years ago, they said it was to raise awareness, and I think it has succeeded at that.  I just think it is a very negative way to raise awareness among your customers and they have been very evil about how they go about it.
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #42 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 8:01pm
 
Checking in.

Killer thread. Very interesting.

Court today. I did good (which means nothing bad happened).
 
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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #43 - Jul 17th, 2008 at 3:52pm
 
Rad wrote on Jul 16th, 2008 at 8:01pm:
Court today.

What's with that? (Court thing)
 

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Re: Piracy / Linkage
Reply #44 - Jul 17th, 2008 at 5:01pm
 
 
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