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The BSA Going After IRC Warez Channels 335

Nova The BSA is cracking down on the IRC warez channels. I tend to think that its sorta like a game of wac a mole, you squish one channel, and another will pop up. But then again, I'm not selling any software (or for that matter, pirating any).
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The BSA Going After IRC Warez Channels

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  • by Just LJ ( 93851 )
    But why, that is the question.
  • don't get too worked up about this: it's just a wheeze to get into the papers..."Evil Internet Ruins Business" "Pirates use bit of internet also used by paedophiles - shoot them both"
    that sort of thing

    quite clever in a pandering-to-clueless-journos sort of way

  • by sloth jr ( 88200 )
    I think the Boy Scouts of America should stick to tying knots.
  • ~# scp /home/ftp/pub/warez/*

    *cough* How long until somebody gets clued and realizes that since there's no way to prevent information from travelling between countries (and hence have different laws!) on the 'net? These aren't physical packages, and you there isn't a single point of control.

    Sounds like another 'war' on something. The war on drugs, war on crime, war on... ever noticed that every time politicians declare war another one of your rights slip away? Wierd. Why don't they just call it what it is - the war on privacy, the war on human rights....

  • Stupid Boy Scouts shouldn't be getting into this anyways ;p

  • And the check is in the mail.

    I'm from the government, I'm here to help you.

    Of course I'll respect you if you sleep with me on our first date.

    Microsoft is an innovator.

    Har, matey!

  • Ever wonder what would occur if those who pirated took their skills and applied to really hammering out the system? Piracy has always used mechanisms that are at their present disposal (bbs,irc,hotline,etc) .. but I was in the game way back when and I'm grown now with skills of my own.. What would happen if people took those skills and build double blind secure measures.. a new underground if you will.. a good client/server architecture all encrypted and yet free to all.. hurm..

    Why worry about US piracy.. Go worry about china and their CD houses.

    Keep'n it Real,

  • It would be soooo difficult to patrol even 10% of the warez channels. Besides that, many of the kiddies involved are not within their jurisdiction. I think they do this entirely for publicity, and as a lame scare tactic.
  • ..really well. After all, trafficing in warez completely stopped after "Rusty'n Edie's" BBS was busted in 1993.
  • Am I the only one who read this and thought "The Boy Scouts of America are monitoring this stuff now? Wow, things have changed a lot since I was in scouting." Of course, BSA could stand for Black Student Alliance too, that's what it called at Iowa State University, anyhow. Do I get bonus moderation points for posting this from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport while I wait for my connecting flight to D.C.?
  • Try to enforce it.
    They'll just move. And become even more antisocial and organized for it. Particularly against members of the BSA. Anyway, post the JP interview already. I'm bored.
  • Well, it's about time they realized that IRC is a huge median for pirating/trading, etc. It's too unfortunate though that are trying to crack down on chat rooms. Reading the article on the BSA cracking down, I guess they have already slapped some suits on a few members of the #warez4cable room. But even if they were to suceed and clear IRC of anything illegal, there are so many medians available. I bet they would go to trading via ICQ or some other IM. What cha all think about this?
  • Software piracy on IRC is nothing new. I'm surprised it's taken them this long to start going after it. I don't think it'll be easy for them to go after the people who do it privately, or in +i channels.

    However, if someone did "infiltrate" a channel, it would probably be rather simple for them to get more information on the people doing the transferring.

    The problem with public offers is that anyone can see your ip, and easily contact your provider to get the account cut off. But there are an abundance of shell providers out there, so I don't see how they'll make even a small dent in the issue.

    From what I've seen, there's a greater abundance of software on IRC freely available to the public, in public offers, than there is on most public FTP and Hotline sites.

    Regardless, if this gains publicity and a few people go down, it'll get a little quieter and people won't send others software without being a bit more cautious. It's easy to say "no" to someone who comes in asking where all the "warez" are.
  • For those of you who read 1984, I would have to say this is humerously similar to the 'spies' that all the children were a member of, in which they would rat out their parents to the thoughtpolice. haha,

    seriously tho, while piracy isnt good, and the script kiddies and warez d00dz and whatever other 'leet names they make up on IRC are easily some of the most irritating people in the world, what do the boyscouts have to do with this?

  • Don't any of you read the link before you post? This BSA is the Business Software Alliance, not the Boy Scouts of America (also BSA).

  • It seems to me more than anything else that the BSA wants to make an example of those "awful, awful" people who pirate software. Though I hope that fighting warez IRC channels is kind of like "wack the ground hog/prairie dog/octupus" or the like, I have a feeling that people are going to be a lot more wary, and we won't see quite as many popping up after each iteration of this.

    Actually, a lot of punishment in the legal system works the same way -- more as a deterrent to others than actual reformation of the "wrongdoer".


  • by GW Hayduke ( 19878 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @05:04AM (#1539068)
    I remember considering myself quite the little pirate back in the late 70's early 80's copying out my TRS-DOS and Apple games... trading them over 100's of floppies...
    Then I started learning how to program and realized the ramifications of what I was doing, I felt like crap after a couple of my programs that were picked up by BYTE magazine and the like for some contests had the source listed on the magazine.. yeah I had a little recognition (not bad for a 7th grader to get a letter from Broderbund :)) but I started to understand the harm I was doing to the programmers... I was cheating them out of recognition and $$$$
    Now Fast Forward to our Free-as-in-beer vs. free-as-in-speech software movement.
    Granted I like picking up free stuff, and testing it out.. But now if I REALLY like something I'll go buy it. Case in point, I picked up half-life after borrowing a friends CD for a week to test it out.
    Nothing is really going to crack down on piracy and warez on a full force level IMHO except a shift in how the end-users perceive themselves. Do they want to respect others, or just believe that they are getting a one-uppance on everyone else.
    Now that I'm done rambling.... what's next?? going back to the days of the little cryptic disks (aka Bard's Tale III and AD&D games) that you had to match up the words and symbols or look up the nth word on the nth sentance on the nth paragraph on the nth page??????
    OKOK -1 me allready I've rambled enough
  • This is probably off-topic... but this is one of the reasons I switched to Linux/opensource products. Why pirate when you can get GPL's software -- legal yet free products, which often is higher-quality than commercial equivalents? Before I knew about Linux and opensource, I was a frequent WaReZ visitor... (How else would a poor penniless student be able to afford the latest games and apps on windows?) Not anymore, because I've found better things. (ie. opensource software). IMNSHO warez channels are for those poor people oppressed by the "M$ regime" who have no choice but to pirate in order to survive. Let them see the beauty of opensource! :-)

  • After all, the porn buisnesses are the most profitable on the net, so they can't stop that (even though they've tried), so no-one's making money from pirating stuff, and as someone else said, it looks good in the papers, cos at least they're trying to do something about it, even if there's nothing they can do. Does anyone else remember the article on how Lusacarts lawyers chased pirate copies of TPM across the net and "that time was running out for pirates, cos there was nowhere they could hide"? Now that was a funny/clueless article. iain
  • I write software, and I make a living off selling my software. When I see someone pirate _any_ form of software, it makes my teeth cringe, knowing it's maybe my paycheck they're taking away.

    And don't start saying 'Microsoft is plenty rich, I don't need to buy their software'. You forget about the economic roll when you say this. Think about the companies that make money from Microsoft: Printers, CD-ROM duplicators, software wholesalers, retailers, etc... They all lose money if you pirate software.

    IRC Channels? There are so many warez servers out there, and most of them are run by kiddies who have no clue. If we start busting them, they'll be afraid. One less opportunity to obtain illegal software.

    On the other hand, if I buy a car and that car crashes and does not perform as I expected it to, I will return the car to the dealer for a total refund. And if there is only one car dealer in the world and I have no choice but to buy their car, well, that's another story. Bottom line: some people pirate software because they don't have any choice but to use that software, but they feel they're being ripped off by paying hundreds of dollars for crap.
  • by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Friday November 12, 1999 @05:08AM (#1539074) Homepage Journal
    I think this is a great idea. It keeps all those BSA people off the streets.

    Seriously, if someone pirates commercial software and offers it for sale (or for free) on a public forum, it's hard to feel sorry for them if they get caught.

    I'm also having trouble shedding any tears for those who buy or download warez. If you want to get unsupported, unmaintained, bug-ridden software for which you don't even have the source code to either fix or link to newer libraries, that's your business.

    Given that the alternative is to download Open Source for free, have it maintained for free, have the source for free if you need it, and have all the features (and sometimes more) than those commercial closed-source warez packages, I think anyone who does that needs to check into the cost of white jackets, but that's just my opinion.

    If you get caught with warez, when you could have been using an Open Source alternative for less and gained more, legally, what's to complain about? It was your choice. Nobody pointed a gun at you and said "You Must Pirate Office 2000!".

    Yes, there are unusual cases (such as "Frontier: First Encounters" and "Elite"), where there are classic programs which simply don't exist on the commercial market any more, and for which no Open Source equivalent has ever been written. These I can understand, and I doubt any commercial vendor would chase up on these. If they did, they'd get a lot of ill-feeling from the people they depend upon for sales, without making a single cent more money.

  • Well...Data is kind of a physical package right?

    The packet is traceable, has form and definition and can be how is that not a physical package?
  • I've already seen several of the inevitable "Well, the warezers will move somewhere else" posts. Yes they will, but that's not the point.

    The point is that if even half of the 25 lawsuits that have been filed come out in favour of the software industry, it will not only frighten a few people away from piracy, but it will also set some legal precedent.

    I've been on IRC for six years now. IRC is rife with piracy. I'm glad that someone is trying to do something about it. I bet there will be several posts complaining about this; complaining against the software companies. Why? I don't know. I can't figure out why people, several of whom write software for a living, would want piracy to continue...

    - Drew

  • Money? The members of the BSA aren't in the business out of the kindness of their hearts, and it's arguably not in their interests to be ripped off.

    They can likely pursue the big distributors -- such as folks who spam with ads for illegitimate CD's, or those who distribute "w4r3z" on their own sites, through FTP, HTTP or SMB -- through other means, since they're more obvious. A relatively stable, high profile increases the chances of detection.

    OTOH, IRC person-to-person transactions are less likely to be logged and harder to note unless you've actually got either help from the admins, or somebody else watching at the time.

    I'd frankly be surprised if industry folks weren't watching IRC and USENET for years, or at least occasionally checking the Moron Muster (when that was still being maintained). This helps one nail the clueless folks on the cheap...
  • by adimarco ( 30853 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @05:13AM (#1539079) Homepage

    The BSA knows as well as you and I that cracking down on 1337 w4R3z h4X0r5 in IRC channels will do nothing whatsoever to combat the "problem" of software piracy. At best, raking IRC chanels will net you a few 12 year olds trading copies of software they'll never use like baseball cards.

    The real "threat" to the BSA in terms of lost revenue is organized, commercial piracy, and they know it damn well. Even if you somehow counted up all the Hotline and IRC transfers of pirated software, you'd come nowhere near the supposed billions in revenue they "lose" every year.

    What the BSA is doing is playing the Public Relations game. This is all a big, flashy show intended to attract a lot of attention and give us all warm fuzzy feelings about them combatting software piracy. At the same time, this is intended to distract us from the real issue: they're powerless to actually do anything about it.

    Large scale pirates duplicate and re-package software en-masse, and sell it. This is what the BSA should be worried about. This is also very hard to track, and even harder to prosecute because (to my understanding) it occurs primarily in other countries.

    Busting script kiddies trading video games on IRC and claiming this will help stop piracy is like busting a stoner for posession of a dime bag and and claiming this will stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country. It just makes no sense.


    Segmentation fault (core dumped)
  • hey! you stole me joke!

  • Information cant be kept locked from the general public's eyes.
    Megalocorps can't keep charging huge amounts of money for each and every game.
    Someone will always find a way to get what he wants for free and then a way to disturbute it.

    Combine all of this and you can see how pointless and stupid the BSA persuit of dangerous "pirates" is.
    (common IRC quote:
    "Captain> Arrraghhh Mates, lets crack this here Windows 2000....
    Scoutee> HO NO!!! It's the dreadful BSA! ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!
    Captain> NOOOOO! My life's work is ruined! Quick, we must return to port!"
    [I can go on and on...])
  • And they're *just now* getting around to the IRC channels?

    Sounds like a PR move. And really bad reflexes.
  • Which right were you talking 'bout here?
  • Agreed, but politicians are no longer representative of the public - it is not by the people for the people it's so the politician can have a career. In other words, they want to make everyone feel good... warm and fuzzy. Dumb idiot voters in the US of A don't seem to care about the obvious.

    And when the people do speak out the government punishes us, an example would be I-695 [] the government looses control of a relatively small amount of money - the end driver is positively effected BUT the government is forced to cut idiotic programs instituted so that the politicians get votes...

    Unfortunately they won't do that - they are in the business of staying in office, I mean hell they can make Millions by listening to lobbists and the like.

    So what do they do? Punish the individual - the voter has spoken, and there will be repructions. The voter has elected not to protect programs such as transportation, education, Ferry service, [which is a very important form of mass transit in Western WA] and state funded bus systems.

    They forget that we elect them, and theat when the people have spoken they have spoken ... deal with it and do what the hell we say.

    Human rights are another issue - people, private citizens can be killed by the federal govt to protect "National Security" - have you ever thought about that? Half of us Linux geeks run ssh - which can be "detremental to national security" ...

    I am about pissed off with Big Brother, they have no right to be doing what they are - I always thought we lived in a government structured to represent the people at large - not special interests or large fat cat company interests. But then again, I'm just a punk to these elitist pigs, and I don't know anything about what it 'really means'.

    What it really means is that the government needs to stay out of our business, and we need to remember to not ask them to step into them.

  • "Anyone who thinks that they can hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to commit copyright infringement had better know that the law gives them no quarter," continued Kruger.

    Surely if you're hidden by the anonymity of the Internet, the law doesn't know who you are, so it gives them lots of quarters.

    I guess he meant to say "partial anonymity", but then it's not very hard to have total anonymity if you really tried.
  • IRC does indeed have useful software for trade, etc, but how many IRC servers are there? They're going to go after ATT/Undernet? OK. Then there's Dalnet #movie-central. Each transaction on that channel is a $10,000 fine. OK, then there's EFnet... there is just WAY too much to do anything. My roommate's an ircOP and he pirates software like there's no tomorrow. I know people that have not paid for software in years, and that don't intend to start now. They're not scared. At most, they're amused. Long Live Silent Bob and 901United ~zero
  • by G27 Radio ( 78394 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @05:22AM (#1539088)
    This will have no effect on piracy overall. But I expect to read about a bunch of students losing their computer equipment, getting kicked out of school in some cases, and that kind of thing. In some cases they may not even be guilty.

    It's not that I condone piracy. I just hate the fact that the BSA is probably going to come down hardest on the people doing the least damage and would have a bright future otherwise. But the BSA has to justify it's existence in one way or another if they want to continue siphoning their "share" from the technology boom.

    If they bust kiddies that are just being kiddies, the punishment should fit the crime. A small fine, maybe some community service. Not hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Save that for the big bad pirates are totally devastating the software industry.

  • Freenet [] is a system currently in development which will allow the distribution of information while providing anonymity to both information providers and consumers. It is designed in such a way that it is virtually impossible to remove a piece of information from the system provided anyone is actually interested in it (information that nobody cares about will be discarded by the system automatically). Further, the system operates in an anarchistic manner, there is no centralized control of any form capable of influencing how the system operates. Follow the link above to find out more, and if you can code in Java, your help would be appreciated.


  • by Otto ( 17870 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @05:26AM (#1539092) Homepage Journal
    Let's talk about game piracy. I apologize in advance to all the game programmers out there whom may be offended by this rambling comment.

    I'm sorry, but I just don't see how "Warez" can hurt a companies bottom line by that damn much.

    Let's say you publish a game that's not pirated.
    Figure how many units you sell. Now, add the fact that your game is pirated. How many less units do you sell? My answer: not that damn many less, probably more.

    Your game is more popular, reaching a wider audience (warez d00dz have friends too) who may possibly buy the game. But, even if they don't buy the game, if they'd never been exposed to it, they sure as hell wouldn't have bought it previously.

    In other words, the only time you lose money from a pirated game is when a person who would have been a buyer does not buy.

    Of course, in reality there's no way to measure that. So, instead, they estimate total copies of the game and say,"Hey! All those people would have bought it if it wasn't pirated! No fair," even when this is clearly bunk.

    I have pirated many many games. There is not one that I kept that I wouldn't have bought. I bought Quake. I didn't buy Q2 (i didn't like it, so deleted it). I would NEVER buy a game without first pirating it and playing it for a week. Because all too often you play a game for a day and a half, realize it's total crap, and delete it. At least you're not out 50 bucks this way, eh?

    Yes, game companies deserve money for their work. No, they do not deserve my money if I'm going to delete the game in 2 days. If I don't play, I won't pay. Plain and simple.

    I bought Warcraft. I bought Starcraft. I bought Quake1. I'll probably buy Quake3, but I'll damn well pirate the whole game first, just to be sure I'm not getting ripped off. :-)

    Now I admit, many people who might otherwise buy the game won't, because they get the pirated version. But not as many as the game companies want you to believe. Most of these pirates are kids with no spendable cash in the first place. Just remember that.

  • Like I said, Microsoft are in a class of their own. That's why the DoJ is after their butt for monopoly reasons. But if there was decent competition, where you weren't basically 'forced' to buy anyone's software, the market would be much healthier.
  • Do you pay for movie and concert tickets, or always sneak in?

    Do you break into museums, just to see the exhibits for free?

    Do you believe everybody deserves everything they want, for free?

    There's no fundamental right to owning software -- in fact, there are laws against theft going the opposite direction. If you choose to spend your money in other ways, fine -- you can. There's still no right to claim that you wouldn't *buy* the software, and therefore aren't hurting anybody by *stealing* a license to it.
  • by mr ( 88570 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @05:29AM (#1539095)
    (Keep in mind one of the big menbers of BSA was Microsoft)

    The effect of this BSA action will be:
    The public trading will go down.
    BSA will then go to its members and say
    "See how hard we work for you! Piracy is down! Give us more money."

    The 'small time' pirate has nothing to worry about. For, if s/he is caught, what is the court going to do? Bankrupt them? That is why piracy continues. Until the software industry adopts a 'no tolerance' policy, AKA suing EVERYONE who pirates, forcing local DA's to press charges, the piracy will continue.

    The NEXT group to go after the IRC channels will be, the Recording industry. When bandwith gets great enough, the film industry. (College campus trading of films show this)

    And when IRC becomes burdonsome, yet another on-line method of swapping bytes will happen.

    Its a loosing battle for the producer of bytes. The only way for them to make money is to offer better service. And, with Microsoft held up as the model of how to be a software company, I don't see quality or service improving anytime soon.
  • The BSA needs to wake up! 1) They will never control software piracy. The mechanisms by which it works and the nature of the 'net make it impossible to police effectively. 2) Software piracy losses are exagerated. I can't speak for everyone who pirates software, but it seems to me that the majority of software trafficked on the net is traded and not sold. Furthermore, I don't use pirated software that I would consider buying, so they're not losing any profit from me. I just think its ludicrous to charge $50-60 for software that I need to use once, or a couple of hundred dollars for software that I NEED for my already costly education. Hopefully the Linux/OSS movement will make old school software companies realize that there can be profits made without gouging the public by charging exhorbitant prices for software. With this realization piracy becomes less and less of an issue.
  • If you can't get commercial software for free, you might as well get non-commercial software for free ;-)

    Seriously though, I think this is a good thing. There are lots of very active channels out there, one channel I used to use had over 200 Gigabytes of traffic on peak days, sometimes up to 400GB. I think that is worth going after.
  • is at Intel. Hardware on occasion too.
  • there I said it once and I won't repeat myself. Anyway, I'm going to do my part to help
  • an interesting point......
    How popular was doom2??
    Could it be because it was easily pirateable?
    Same with quake, and most of ID's games.
    Is ID software broke, because there are about a billion copies of quake 2 floating around that haven't been paid for?
    Nope, they're the most respected and in my opinion the best game makers out there today!
    and all their games don't require a CD in to be able to play. Isn't that great?
    Piracy makes games more popular. quake has about a million unlicenced copies, but about 6 million registered (of which i own 2 - i bought one and lost it, and a replacement was only $10)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The big difference between this and the "moles" metaphor is that moles aren't particularly intelligent, nor do they communicate the way people do. When you whack a mole, the rest of the moles just keep breeding, and sticking to the only way of living they know. Put a few of these warez traffickers into jail and the message will be delivered to everyone. At least then it'll be a Darwin-correct phenomenon (stupid people who don't figure out go to jail and are prevented from breeding- though big Roy the cellmate may have other ideas.) The message has been delivered regarding other crimes, which limits greatly the number of people who will engage in bank robbery. People just have to catch a clue.
  • Nothing is really going to crack down on piracy and warez on a full force level IMHO except a shift in how the end-users perceive themselves.

    While I'm not advocating piracy, you say that its the end users view of themselves that has to change. I would argue that part of the reason that so many are willing to violate their own sense of ethics and steal software has to do with being ripped off again and again.

    I've bought countless pieces of software that I've been very dissatisfied with. Software that does not work as advertised (on the box no less) and/or does not work with my hardware. Can I get a refund? Nope. Most software stores will not take a piece of software back after it has been opened. Do I get any satisfaction for my 39-49 bucks? Nope. According to the EULA, its all my fault. So why do I need to change the way I perceive myself?

    I too buy software I really like. I'm probably one of the relative few who actually bought quake (when they released the cheap cd that you could call and get the unlock code for). I knew it was broken, but I called anyway and put my $$ down to buy something I *knew* was worth the price. I got more value for my money than I have in most software. I've paid for MS products that I feel are worth it. I'm probably one of the few who actually plunked my money down for win95 (much to my current embarressment).

    So why do I download warez? Simple. Most of the stuff is dreck. I delete over 90% of what I download for the PC. Its often not even close to what was advertised and not terribly useful to me. When i do find a program that is useful, I buy it. Simple. May not agree with your ethics, but it works for mine. I sure feel a lot better than when I was getting screwed everytime I bought a piece of software.

  • hi,
    I guess I have outgrown warezing but I remember it from my younger days. Nowadays, I don't fancy warezing that much but there is a soft spot in my heart for kids who trade warez, because it could have been much worse.

    Most warezers are probably between 10 and 20 years old and in an age where hormones flow and one has to oppose adult society in one way or another. Some kids find that opposition and rebellion in drugs or violence, while others trade games and expensive office-cd's knowing that the big corporations hate them and that they have the (albeit small) risk of getting busted by dumb cops.

    As all rebels they form subsocieties where they have their own "secret" languages and codes. Warezers are not unlike hackers, crackers, addicts, rednecks, etc in this respect. This gives them a place to belong to which is important in that age I guess. But warezing by kids is really mostly harmless compared to alternative ways teenagers have rebeled earlier and a lot healthier. (OK, maybe staying 20 hours a day in front of a monitior is not awfully healthy :-)

    Leave the kids alone and go after the corporations and government-offices who pirate programs. Though, BSA, is probably not an organisation that appeals to intellect so expect raids on #warez* channels.

  • I remember a well written and level headed article by Dave Pogue in an older issue of Macworld. He talked about some kid named Jake who had cable, a burner and heaps of warez and traded them freely. Talked about Hotline and IRC aswell. The interesting thing to note was that since Dave had a good idea of what this was really all about, he shared my viewpoint. Software companies don't lose hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars a year to piracy. With warez kiddies it's more like collecting baseball cards. Instead of having Babe Ruth's rookie card, they have the newest gamez or 3d Studio Max plugins. What do they usually do with them? Not a damn thing. So how can software companies lose money to people who get their programs but never install them? For warez kiddies it's all about bragging rights. Sure, there's a small percentage of warez traders who actually use what they leech. And a percentage of these guys go buy the programs they can afford which they used for free until they liked them enough to buy them. Half Life is a good example. It's internet play was so broken after being cracked alot of people loved it and went and bought the full game. I know I've done this type of thing on one occasion, and will do it again. I'm not ashamed. I think fully functional demos are wonderful (hats off to Macromedia). Whatever your take on this, you should realize that it's gonna happen no matter who steps in. There have been so many FBI operations in the past to take down warez traders, and guess what. Whoever falls gets their place taken by someone else. As long as computers exist, and software costs money, this will go on. If you use warez, do the right thing. Buy something eventually.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I sent off $100 to register a nice piece of shareware this past week. It was one of those programs that needs a serial number to uncripple the binary.

    I got back the registration key from someone with the same last name as the name of the software company. Being it appears to be a software company in northern Minnesota, I suspect it's a small operation: someone ekeing out a living producing high quality applications and making enough money to keep shingles on the roof and pay for the packets of wildflower seeds that make the strip of land out by the road look so nice in the summer.

    Most software pirates could care less what size company it is, and pretend to themselves that all software comes from big faceless corporations. It helps them pretend they aren't hurting real people when they commit their crimes. Sadly, some seem to embrace the ol' "Bonny and Clyde" mentality where they consider themselves "freedom fighters" for stealing software.

  • i think there's too much porn on IRC as well, i don't care about warez (i'm on 56k), but do a /list *sex* and you have hundreds of channels, and there's +i and others without *sex*. Instead of going after some kids that download w2k, US gov must do something for all the sexual deviants there's in USA!
  • My GOD! How could be be so stupid!! I can't believe that we really thought that it was the Boy Scouts, and that we really didn't check out the link before posting such ill-researched drivel.

    ... here's $.25. go buy a sense of humor.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    My attitude has become (I have matured over the last several years) that I am stealing from myself if I give away copies of software I paid a lot of money for. Friends are always wanting copies of Adobe Acrobat ($250) Visual C 4 ($275), Micrografx Suite ($60), etc. I've been refusing for a number of years now. If I give away copies, I've essentially thrown away the money I spent on the software packages, because I've invalidated the license, which is what I paid big bucks for in the first place. Once you've invalidated the license, you're on the same legal (and moral, and ethical) footing as the lusers who get their copy over IRC or off Warez FTP sites.
  • When I was in high school I pirated some games, more as an act of rebellion (and because I had almost no money) than anything else. Many weren't very playable without the manual. Once or twice I may have actually gone through the effort of xeroxing a manual to a particular game, but that costs money too, so why not just buy the damn thing to begin with. It generally it wasn't worth the trouble, so the pirated game usually ended up rotting on the shelf and was never being played. Someone compared this to trading baseball cards -- a very accurate analogy IMHO.

    It didn't take long to learn that piracy was at best useful for previewing a game which, if it was good, I went ahead and bought in order to have (a) the original media and (b) the docs necessary for really effective play. Piracy is a juvinile behavior most people quickly outgrow, for pragmatic reasons having nothing to do with draconian laws or big-brother gestapo organizations such as the SPA and BSA.

    Ironically, the gaming software industry probably came out ahead financially in the additional game sales that resulted from our piracy at the time, however inappropriate or illegal it may have been. The makers of Wolfenstein 3d, Doom, and Quake (id) as well as the makers of Descent obviously learned this lesson and put it to very good (and very profitable) use, as have others.
  • Why are the Boy Scouts of America concerned about this?
  • Most respected? {shrug} Depends on your audience. Talonsoft (turn-based wargames), SSI (ditto, and the "Gold Box" series...), Jane's (military simulators), Blizzard (RTSgs)...

    Well, almost everything has been pirated on this campus, but they're not all equally popular (at least judging from what I recall seeing when in the dorms.)

    "Doom" found itself in the PC clusters before its official release; heck, there were even USENET bug reports/support pleas for the registered version ('tho not from CMU, IIRC) -- not smart when the developers read the NGs...

    "Doom II", then, had a fairly receptive audience who already knew what id was capable of beyond "Commander Keen"-type games; and, for whatever reason, FPS games are were, are, and probably will remain popular -- witness "Half-Life", the "Quake" series, and so forth. Some of them are likely still popular; OTOH, I'm not sure I ever saw a "Duke Nukem" game in the PC clusters, suggesting that it just didn't appeal to the local FPS fans as much.

    Same thing for the RTS market -- I've seen far more *craft here than, say, C&C. Why? Presumably taste. Piracy probably didn't boost C&C's much here, and may have hurt 'em (if people decided that they *wouldn't* buy the game... heh.)


    It all suggests that it's not completely one-way; that if it's not that popular, it might not be pirated as much. And if you're cynical, you may consider that piracy can also depress sales by letting people know early when your product bites...
  • I disagree. I strongly am against warez, and am glad that with larger games, more and more people that relished in warez are finding they can't go via that route anymore.

    However, Warez is not a non-issue. I'll point to a very specific example: Half-life, for those in a cave, is an outstanding Quake 2 clone with excellent net play, released by Sierra and Valve, with net play controlled by When you play multiplayer, your CD key is verified with to make sure only one registered copy is playing on that CD. (Privacy advocates are probably all over this one, but remember the Blizzard incident a while back -- the industry has learned well). At least once a day there's someone asking for a HL CD # generator, and at least one person complaining that they own a legit copy of the game and can't play because someone got lucky with the CD # generator and got their number.

    There's about 100-150K HL players in the world. Each payed about $30-40 for the game, at least legit people. Assuming about 10% of those are warez d00ds, that's a cool $300k that Sierra has lost due to software sales.

    It's significant, and while the tools have changed, warez d00ds will still be around.

  • "BSA has filed a lawsuit against twenty-five individuals allegedly participating in the 'warez4cable' IRC channel"

    I assume "participating" in an irc channel means more than your presence there, otherwise they wont get far with this lawsuit. Secondly, I dont think a log of the channel will be considered criminating unless you break down a door and actually find the software at someones house. A channel log where a guy says he will send a piece of software to another one is not proof that the transfer did in fact occur.

    I assume transfers are done by DCC which establish a direct connection between clients anyway - so checking server logs wont do much good either.

    The thing they -might- do is to go after the ops, trying to scare people from running channels like this, but I dont really see this working. An Op can be no more responsible for what people do (hidden) on the channel than root on your server can be for the content of your mail.

    So - that means we are left with "sting" operations, infiltrating the channels and bust people that seem active. The thing is - you only catch small fish like this.

    so, lots of smoke and no fire? Atleast that has been the rule so far in related issues.

  • Microsoft is the worst example you could've picked. "companies that make money from Microsoft"? That's certainly an elite group of people. Microsoft is in business to make money for Microsoft. They don't care about customers; they only care about competition -- as long as people have little choice but to use Microsoft products, then Microsoft doesn't care. [Government regulation will ultimately fail in light of this.]

    Case in point, look at your Windows CDs closely. How much do you think the duplicator made off those disks? It would appear, to save a fraction of a penny per disk, they cut back the amount of aluminium used in making the disk. You only need to read it once (at 1x), right? I've got three win95 CDs. I had to merge those three disks and burn my own to be able to reliably read the damn thing -- I seem to need to reinstall 95 about once a month. (Right now, my 98 machine will not boot with the video capture driver loaded -- all I did was install IE5. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it replaced half the OS.)

    As you allude in the end, if you make something worth paying for, then people will be much more likely to actually pay for it. I "borrow" software all the time -- much less now-a-days as I don't have the time to care about what new shit is on the market. I don't buy software I've never used. You can not return opened software products. If there's no "demo" and no one I know has a copy, then I have no other option but to find something else, do without, or steal a copy.

    I never buy games I've never seen/played -- most places have learned this and offer demos.

  • I'm also having trouble shedding any tears for those who buy or download warez. If you want to get unsupported, unmaintained, bug-ridden software for which you don't even have the source code to either fix or link to newer libraries, that's your business.

    If that's what you want, just buy Microsoft products.


  • Well, most companies release full demos these days that have all the functionality that will be in the final product so I think the argument about buying a lemon product is bunk.

    However, I think piracy helps fill the internet game servers with more people which brings even more interest to the games themselves. Whether or not this results in more sales I really couldn't say, but it seems like it helps make the game more popular.

    "It's Brazilian"

  • Why not pirate software? I'm tired of people defending buiness (well, big business).

    you are a fucking idiot.

    do you really think all software comes from "big business" ?

    go down the list of serial/cracks on your favorite serial number site. i will guarantee that 80% of what you find comes from small to very small software companies.

    Besides, i know if people couldn't pirate the software, they wouldn't have it anyway. So where's the loss for the business?


    if you need something that costs money, pay for it. i you don't want to pay for it, you don't get to use it - just like everything else in life.

  • Kids without spendable cash? Better tell all the advertisers, then, that they tend to focus on the wrong people...

    At least, there are reviews. Plenty of 'em, in fact, some of whom will at least occasionally mention things like how a game might lack an in-level save feature, or whether any crashes occured or whatever, or whether they feel that you should wait until a patch is released. I've read some pretty harsh reviews at times; combine that with personal tastes -- such as a preference for turn-based strategy -- and the field might be narrowed significantly.

    One can also monitor USENET. For instance, on one SMAC group, you could find out that an expansion pack apparently disables the ability to start the game w/o the CD in the drive, and that the balance may have been upset...
  • i think that the bsa is full of crap.
    they put out ads comparing copying software to shoplifting. the problem is that they are wrongly identifying the criminals.

    the real crime is making a profit from leveraging shitty software onto people.
  • Just a quick note. I can confirm that this is the case with Half-Life. Sierra's revenues have skyrocketed for this game because of the server-client login architecture.

    However, most games are bought on a quick whim, and played for a week. Half-Life is something you can play for many months (yay, counter-strike).

    For the record, I've bought one copy of half-life. Unfortunately since we only have one copy here at home, the same person can't play on the same server on at the same time. So I downloaded a keygen and sat there for 40 minutes generating some. Not one worked on won. So I took my lazy ass over to future shop and purchased a 42 CDN year old copy of half life. Now we want to play 3 way games online.. going to have to pick up another copy (150 bucks to play a 3 way game is such a rip off).

    So in defence of Sierra, they did save some money by setting it up this way. However, I don't agree with the fact that they may have lost 10% revenues. Most of the people who would seriously pirate the game would never purchase it in the first place.

    Pirates usually just like playing the flavor of the day. From what I've seen, they usually play a game for like 45 minutes and delete it and then move on to the next one.
  • If software wasn't so expensive people wouldn't need to pirate it. The software publishing industry has only themselves to blame for this problem. I'm going to pay $499 for MS office? yeah, right.. I'm going to pay $45-50 for a game I'll play two days then put on the shelf to collect dust? yeah, right...

    The "booming economy" may be helping rich people but it isn't doing a thing for the average working person.

  • BeOS isnt free? I am gonna find that guy who let me download it and tell him ASAP.
  • Patronizing my generation with rhetoric by a condensending tone will only help fuel the demise of medicare in the future.

    The point here is not that you are right and we are wrong - the point is the inverse of that.
  • Why pirate an entire game when you can just get a legal demo of most games on the Internet for free?

    I know for certain it has nothing to do with bandwidth. Downloading the Quake demo is going to be a heck of allot quicker to download than trying to download a huge 60MB compressed pirated game file.Why do you need the entire game to discover how the gameplay is on the first level? The first three levels should be enough to convince you how the gameplay is. I doubt anyone who ever played DOOM needed another 32 monotonous levels to see how the gameplay is. It was basically the same for each level. Kill monster, get key, leave level.

    And if you pirate games just to see if you like it why don't you just read a on-line game review of it or just download the demo? I doubt they go through all the hard work to make a demo just for you to pirate the entire game.

    Playing the full pirated version then saying "I don't like it" is ridiculous. Try stealing someone's car, use it till the gas is empty, it needs a oil change, the tires have nails in them, then set it ablaze saying, "I didn't like it." Who are you to say? It isn't your car to be burning. It's just as bad to pirate some company's videogame use it till your through with it then delete it saying "I don't like it." I suppose that means I can steal someone's car then pay them later if I like it? That's just ludicrous. That's why car dealers let you test drive a car. So you can see if you like it or not! Not so you can steal it and maybe return it someday if you like.

    /End Rant

  • They should stop wasting time trying to bust the warez chans and try busting those rape/kiddy porn chans. Those are much more of a problem IMHO. Now this is going to get me in trouble, but I like to get a warez game to check it out. If its decent then I will buy it in the store to support whatever company made it.
  • No, no, no. It's:

    !!!!! W4r3Z d00000dz !!!!!

    3l33t FtP w4r3z 51t3! 5 GB 0f W4R3z 0nl1n3 @! C0nn3cT3d bY 4 T3 f0r ph45t d0wnl04d5!

    W4nT 1n? R3plY t0 tH15 M3554g3 w1tH y0uR 3-m41l 4dDr355 f0r 4 l0g1n/p455w0rD.

  • Warez channels are lame, and so is the BSA. BSA, get a life.
  • As far as I can tell most frequenters to warez channels are younger people, often in their early to mid teens. They are going to have a fun time cracking down on the thousands of 12-18 year olds exchanging software on IRC, as most of these people would not feel bad about putting a DoS against the BSA site in a while loop or being otherwise annoying to the enforcers. They also have by invitation channels and will kick enforcers out. The BSA will have a fun time. An analogy is that lone 60 year old teacher you all remember from elementary school who would come break up the schoolyard fight, and then have the fight turn on them.
  • I think the only game that was smart in this area (where they knew that others would want to play, but not necessarily spend the cash for extra copies) was Marathon for the Mac. Each of the 3 versions came with 2 keys. One unlocked the game for single and multiple player games, the other unlocked it for multiple player games only. Register users, I believe, could buy additional multiplayer keys for $5 for 2 keys.

    I wonder if such a system can work now; Q3Arena will change the playing field as there will be no solo options in that. Additionally, the playability of Marathon was limited mostly to local LANs, so....

  • I, for one, would love to see some market research on this sort of thing. It's my belief that game piracy is actually increasing sales of games. The majority of people who download a game either delete it (archive it for posterity -- I did spent a week collecting it :-)) or go buy it. Had these people never been exposed to the game, then they would likely never have bought it.

    Once someone buys one game from some game shop, they are generally more likely to look at the other games that place had made. This only furthers the amount of money generated from game sales.

    Of course, there aren't any numbers on any of this and likely never will be. But I can dream...
  • I hate to reply to my own post, but I indicated sarcasm around the words "totally devestating" with pseudo-html--it showed up in the preview, but seems to have disappeared now.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    At the request of slashdot readers and warez channel operators, the SPA has raided the BSA and found numerous discrepencies in their software licenses.

    In a bizarre coincidence, BSA agents raided the SPA offices simultaneously, noting a nearly identical percentage of unlicensed operating system and office-type software products.

    All joking aside, Joe's Business Inc. probably uses WAY more illegal software than any warez kiddies. Most of the warez and cracks I've seen are just people trying the software out, or looking for a little excitement. Often the cracks only work for awhile, and the sw crashes a lot and they give up.

    On the other hand, I've been in companies with hundreds of computers, all running software installed from the same set of CDs -- companies making upwards of $20M or more a year.

    So give me a break -- this group of idiots (the "BSA") is just giving a small group of people a hard time to publicize the issue and get their name in the press.

    The 'net needs more privacy.
  • Doesn't work for me. I don't really care what color the flowers by the guy's house are or if his roof leaks or not, and most people don't, I imagine. Fact is, a high-school kid isn't going to pay $500 for Adobe Photoshop or even $100 for Bob's Neat-O App from Minnesota, and, thus, no money would be lost if a copy somehow magically appeared on his hard drive, no matter how you or anyone in the software industry try and convince people otherwise.

    Honest people with enough money can and will pay for software; the booming software industry is a testament to this.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • I assume "participating" in an irc channel means more than your presence there, otherwise they wont get far with this lawsuit.


    , I dont think a log of the channel will be considered criminating unless you break down a door and actually find the software at someones house.


    A channel log where a guy says he will send a piece of software to another one is not proof that the transfer did in fact occur.

    Also correct, but such a log would go a long way towards getting a search warrant to proceed with a real investigation, or at the very minimum it would attract the attention of real investigators, who can do a more thorough online look.

    I assume transfers are done by DCC which establish a direct connection between clients anyway - so checking server logs wont do much good either.

    There are no 'server logs' one could check, even if they wanted to. The only way monitoring like this could work is if law enforcement were willing to tap the network connection (at the ISP for instance). The resources required to do this seem a bit prohibitive for a relatively minor thing like software piracy.

    So - that means we are left with "sting" operations, infiltrating the channels and bust people that seem active. The thing is - you only catch small fish like this.

    I don't think this would be nearly as difficult as you think. Just hop on some warez channels, and under heavy monitoring/recordkeeping, download all of the warez you can from as many people as you can. If you get a legitimate copy of a piece of software this way, note who it is, contact his ISP, subpoena his user records, get a search warrant and search his house and/or arrest him. Most would confess in short order.

    Rinse and repeat.
  • I'm reading some of these comments, and it seems there's a lot of parallels to the MP3 scene, but with a few differences. In both cases, a cadre of large companies (Microsoft in particular in software, Sony, Warners, Universal, EMI, Bertelsmann and PolyGram in music) have a hammerlock on competition -- there's basically no way you could, say, write a competitor to Office 97 or 2000 and expect to charge as much as Microsoft does, nor could you make a CD full of music and expect to sell more than a few copies unless you signed up with a label. Most programs written by small companies fall outside this; someone is trying to make it on their own, and with the Internet, it's possible to get a decent customer base for your program quickly, without having to (say) take out ads in magazines. If I used these programs enough to justify it (like mIRC, Opera, etc.), I'd pay up -- it's not that expensive. As for MP3s and CDs, if I found an atist I like on, say,, I'd listen to a few songs, then buy their CD if I thought it was good -- the difference being that they'd get fully half of the profit from the CD.

    The problem comes in when you're as big and mean (read the findings of fact!) as Microsoft or the record companies. It's not about the little guy anymore. I figure piracy doesn't hurt a megalith like M$ nearly as much as, say, its stock losing 25% of its value, no matter what they say (keep in mind that most of Microsoft's employees have stock options); as a matter of fact, it keeps Microsoft in clover because the unlicensed copies sell licenses for other copies, generally by either word of mouth or skittishness on someone's part. The fact that Microsoft's products are (generally) highly proprietary and of mediocre structural integrity doesn't help, either. And the record companies try to keep their subjects at bay by slapping excise taxes on blank media, suing people (even the artists themselves!) that try to distribute work their artists recorded in a way Mr. Executive doesn't like, screwing artists on royalties, and trying their best to eliminate MP3. Also, the stuff they put out isn't that great; most CDs in the past few years have at most 2 or 3 good songs on them, the rest is filler, and since singles aren't common anymore, you generally have to get all of it and pay through the nose for it.

    To sum up:
    • If someone wants to give it away, that's wonderful (and if it's software, opening the source makes it better).
    • If someone is working on their own, are small and trustworthy, have a useful or entertaining product and charge a fair price ($50 or less for software, $10 or less for CDs/MP3s), then I'll pay it. BTW, this is the idea that started Borland in 1983 -- they wanted just $50 for Turbo Pascal, whilst others were charging several hundred dollars for their products.
    • If someone is a large, hungry corporation, and expects people to pay exorbitant prices for every copy (even if it's total crap), then it loses a sale. Whether or not I use a warezed copy or use the product at all is at my discretion now, and since it's software, they didn't lose a physical copy if it's warezed -- that copy will still be sold to someone, eventually, and the boxmarkers and the CD pressers and the print shops that make the manuals get their money. I simply can't justify paying more than $100 for any software package for personal use (which is one reason my home machine runs FreeBSD), and I don't want to pay $12-15 for a CD that cost at most $1 to press, either.
    • And shooting the protesters doesn't help either. If you give them what they want, on mutually agreeable terms, both parties will be much happier. I'm not saying everything should be free; I'm saying that some things just cost too damn much.


    PS: The BSA has a reputation of being in Microsoft's pocket. I've seen horror stories of BSA making people with any unlicensed software do multi-thousand-dollar "upgrades" to Microsoft products, or face a possible 7-figure lawsuit. They're evil.
  • Let's see... There are Open Source:
    • flight-sims (eg: FlightGear)
    • arcade games (eg: Dig Dug, Repton, Zarch, Thrust)
    • geometry games (LOTS of Tetris & Trojka clones)
    • multiplayer games (eg: xpilot, xtrek, netrek, paradise)
    • strategy games (eg: xconquer, empire, lincity, freeciv)
    • single-user adventure games (eg: dungeon)
    • multi-user adventure games (eg: LPmud, MOO, MUSH, MudOS)

      I'm having trouble thinking of many more categories of game, so either I've never played this 90% that Open Source doesn't have, or that 90% isn't 90%.

  • I hear a lot of Microsoft money changed hands (i.e. bribes to local gov't officials, "donations" to government offices) in order to do these raids.

    Do you have anything to back up these 'bribes'? Could they instead have been payments Microsoft made to the local law enforcement for their assistance in the raid? This is a pretty common thing, as far as I know. Microsoft hasn't the right to do a raid, and law enforcement doesn't always have the time/money to spend on such a thing, so the companies offer to reimburse the law enforcement for their expenses or pay their officers overtime. This seems logical and has nothing to do with being 'bribed'...

    The problem is, they're too clueless

    Clueless or underfunded? Really, if they're that clueless, you should write them a letter and send your resumé. They should be DYING to get their hands on you, since you're clueful, unlike anybody they have on staff right now, right?

    ...just because he happened to be a foreigner

    Umm.. It sounds to me like this is an issue with your local newspaper, and not with those responsible for the raid.

    I knew people who could ship you Microsoft Office CDs in quantities of thousands,

    Wow, you are l33t. Were you saying this to enhance your credibility in this thread, or just to show us how long your warezpenis is?

    You failed in both respects.

    And the raids didn't touch ANY of the big fish, just the small, end-of-the-line shops.

    You have to start somewhere...

    but this time they're turning away anybody who looked like a suit

    Wow you're right, law enforcement really is stupid. Can you believe they're not smart enough to approach them on their own level? I mean geez, you think they'd figure out that they're not supposed to wear suits on a sting operation...
  • by Otto ( 17870 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @07:08AM (#1539193) Homepage Journal
    I know for certain it has nothing to do with bandwidth. Downloading the Quake demo is going to be a heck of allot quicker to download than trying to download a huge 60MB compressed pirated game file.Why do you need the entire game to discover how the gameplay is on the first level?

    You don't. You need the full game to determine how good the gameplay is on the other 30-40 levels.

    Of course a company is going to release the best or more hooking, addictive part of the game as the demo.

    You need the full game to determine if you can beat it inside that week.

    If I can beat a game in a week (can some, others not), then I don't want it. Because that meant it was pretty easy and therefore something I'd delete. I won't pay 50 bucks for a product with a shelf life of 1 week.

    If the netplay is good enough, I'll go all out, buy the game, just to have a copy on a cd, on a permanent medium. To have documentation. In the case of Half-Life, as someone pointed out, to get a key to play on network servers. (I bought Half-Life.. EXCELLENT single player story and game, but way too hard at the end.)

    And if you pirate games just to see if you like it why don't you just read a on-line game review of it or just download the demo? I doubt they go through all the hard work to make a demo just for you to pirate the entire game.

    Did you read anything I said before? These things tell you nothing. Reviews are worse than useless, because often they're simply hype. The demo is worthless as an indicator of the rest of the game play (excepting most of id's games).

    You liken a demo as to test driving a car. But when you test drive a car, you have the whole car; you don't have 3 wheels, half an engine, and no seats.

    Anyway, the comparison of stealing software to stealing a car is pointless. A car is a physical object. Software is not, unless you want to talk of bits being physical. Show me a bit. Hold it in your hand. Lick it, go on, I dare you.

    Let's assume, for arguement's sake, that no matter whether I pirated a piece of software or not, I would never have bought it.

    If I then steal a game, then delete it, without having ever run it or played it, is it theft? Answer me that question. Either way you answer, you're still wrong. :-)

    Now, if I do run it, play it for 1 minute, then delete it, is it theft?

    How about playing it for 2 minutes? Three? Where do you draw the line, personally? What defines theft? What have I stolen? From whom? Where is the monetary damage? I couldn't have possibly bought that software anyway, mind you.

    Just something to think about.

  • You're right. There isn't a way to catch everybody, but they can always try, and so long as they continue to nail person after person for breaking the law, they'll continue doing it, as I hope they would.

    Would you honestly want them to just give up because they can't catch everyone? With that type of attitude, our entire criminal justice system would collapse.

    And what "rights" are we losing as a result of the BSA cracking down on warez pups? I fail to see how you link this with your little "war on privacy, war on human rights" bit.
  • There's a lot of talk on this thread about how "WaReZ channels are okay because..." or "WareZ running hurts industry because..." when it's not that simple. Sure there are going to be some responsible folks who "demo" a game illegally via IRC and then go out and purchase it, just as there are those who don't. Would these people have been exposed to the game in the first place if it hadn't spread prolifically across the net? What is the net effect of sale losses due to small time pirating vs increased revenue due to free advertisement for the game spreading itself across the web? Is that measurable or quantifiable in any way?
    There are so many ways in which this equation for "lost profits" due to piracy can be skewed or manipulated to support one side or the other. It's all just meaningless conjecture without hard data to back up these claims, and a decent way of interpreting that data, all personal anecdotes aside. Of course companies are going to due something about piracy if they percieve they're losing profits, and of course users are going to defend their rights to "free" software in whatever thinly veiled way they can.
    There are pros and cons to piracy from both a coporate and an end user point of view, though coporations would probably deny this. Piracy spreads the particular software package's meme and brings it to the users consiousness as effectively as any other medium (print ad, TV ad, etc.) which can direct interest to the company and next time you're at the software store or shopping on-line you're more likely to buy that product. But piracy unchecked will undermine the software profit margin, prices will go up and more draconian software protection measures will be inplemented. A certain balance must be struck. Anyone who believes that piracy is all bad or the converse has a much too simple view of the dynamic here.
  • Good Luck BSA!

    Copyright Control Services [] tried to do the same thing with audio warez, with little to no success. The fact is that there are no real means to shut down these irc channels. The servers are wide and far, the channels limitless, and irc warez hounds have the upper hand when it comes to IRC related technology.

    And what does it take to get a shell in a country that rejects international copyright? Not much. What is the BSA going to do then, with no legal grounds for stopping it?

    I can see channels like #warezdcc and those vanishing for awhile (but not for long) and I doubt many in the warez community consider the BSA much of a real threat. I know the audiowarez community regards the CCS as a joke, and they pretty much are.

    The trick is how dirty BSA will play and how close to skirting entrapment they will come, much like CCS. Setting up fake FTPs, faking logs of what is actually on a ftp, etc. None of this will stand up in court btw, computer logs are not exactly what you need to succeed at burden of proof!

    The sinister mister earache.

  • The cops/investigators (who could be employees of the company I suppose) doing this would naturally be doing so with the permission of the software company, so it ceases to be illegal, as I see it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't hangout in "warez" channels but I must admit that I do pirate software that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars. I just recently "pirated" HP unix. I don't have a license nor will I purchase one. I also pirated several versions of Apple's MacOS (why I don't know). I've told several large companies that if they didn't help me get a multi-thousand dollar operating system or application that I would pirate it. Some chose to be decent and help while others had their software pirated just like I told them I was going to do. Hey, I'm just a guy who likes to fuck around with interesting hardware and learn new operating systems/apps. I'm not costing these huge software makers anything because 1.) the software cost for just the operating system alone almost always exceeds the value of the hardware and 2.) I would not spend $1500 on an a piece of software because I don't have $1500 just laying around to totally waste it that way. Now I might buy an O2 with $1500, but if it doesn't have Irix on it, either SGI is going to give it to me (or sell REALLY cheap), or it's getting pirated.

    I know a lot of people here like to bitch about Sun, but I think their current offerings of Solaris for non-comm. use is a step in the right direction. They know that hobbyists will not spend a large sum of money for something they'd just like to toy with, and it has the positive effect, for them, of making Solaris more widely known to the public, and hence more likely to be recommended in a commericial setting by those who've had the chance to get to know it a little.

    I really think it's the BSA who needs to grow up a bit. Pirating a $50 game is a little lame, but then again I can't imagine just going into a store and blowing $50 on something and having it turn out to be total shit. You don't buy a car if you can't test drive it do you?

    The big thing that pisses me off about these people like the SPA/BSA is that they go after people with force. I'm not hurting anyone so therefore no one better try and hurt me. Force deserves force. I hope someone teaches them a good lesson.
  • I'm not advocating simply buying based on a review; but what I am saying is that there's little reason to be flying blind here. Between demos, multiple reviews, and USENET, there's usually a pretty decent amount of information there.

    If the publisher *isn't* willing to provide a functional demo and otherwise show off their product, then perhaps it's simply not worth it; if they won't even go that far, they're probably not going to support the product. There's a lot of games out there and not that much time.

    For instance, with wargames, one can consult various grognard sites about the level of detail. For instance, I used to play quite a bit of "Close Combat 2"; one site included detailed discussions about tips, bugs (a variety, some quite irritating...), gameplay details, accuracy (down to whether the amounts of ammunition carried by each soldier seemed a bit low, or about the availability of fragmentation grenades...) and so forth. Someone who didn't have that game might be able to at least get a good impression of what it's like.
  • So you're saying that the gameplay changes with each level? It's Quake on level 1 and it PowerPuff girls on level 3? Doubt it.
    Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying. Compare the play of one of the best Quake levels ever to the play of one of the worst. It's not that bad overall, usually, but levels do make a big deal in a 3d FPS. But we're talking games in general here, aren't we?

    (BTW, I really like that PowerPuff Girls show. :-)

    This could be true with some demos. But it could also be just as likely not true with others.
    The point is you don't know in advance. And if bandwidth is not an issue for you(isn't for me, but even if it was, it's just another factor in deciding to dl the game), then it's just as easy to get the demo as it is to get the whole game.

    If you can be three demo levels in 5 minutes, I think you can do the math and figure out how long it would take you. ... However, it only takes a week at the most to beat half-life. Think more on terms of replay value rather than the time it takes to beat it.
    I do. When I've beaten the game, is it fun anymore? If i haven't beaten it yet, is it fun enough to play to make it worth my time to continue to play it? Does it look good enough to buy a copy? All these are factors in a purchase.

    Have you ever actually read an online review? You most likely just have a grudge because one of the reviews gave a bad rating on your favorite game. Hey, they're only human.
    No, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But other people's opinions are not my own. A review is just not useful enough to me to determine my spending. I have no grudge, I hold no grudges, let's not make this personal.

    Demos don't limit what you get, but how much of what you get.
    Any limitation is degrading the product to the point where it may not be enough to make a purchase based upon. This is product dependant and demo dependant, however.
    Actually, I usually do play demos first, and then use that as a basis to decide whether to get the pirated game or not. :-)
    I'm not stating that this is a decision I make, it's just the way things usually occur. I get the demo, play it for a while, then maybe get the whole game, then, if it's worth keeping, buy it. If not, delete it. That's it. That's just the way it goes. Sometimes this process takes all of 3 hours. :-)

    Steal: to take and carry away without right or permission. -Webster's Dictionary
    Stealing is taking something that's not yours. It doesn't matter whether you use it or not.

    I have not taken anything. "Taken" implies removal. I don't delete the software from the shelf. I don't remove it from anyone's system.
    I have copied the software. I have evaluated it. I usually delete it from my machine. After that, things are as they began in the first place, with the exception that I now can make a truly informed choice on whether to buy a product.

    If the game you pirated is worth $50, have you not stolen fifty dollars from ID? If you didn't purchase the game you have no right to take it from the Internet and no right to play it.
    Remember that my assumption was I would not buy the product anyway. Therefore they were getting no money from me, whether I pirated the game or not. Therefore they lose nothing. Once I delete the game, I have nothing in my possesion that is theirs.

    Don't blame me if you don't like the law.
    I never said this was legal. I never said I cared much either way. I also don't think this should be legal. I just don't let the law restrict me in my choice of actions.

    Note: I have no illegal software currently on my computer. I do not pirate software daily, or even often. I never pirate anything other than games even then. I always buy games I feel are worth buying. This is just a disclaimer, not a moral defense.

    Suppose Microsoft use Linux code in their new os and didn't use the GPL. Is that not stealing? Or is it not a crime just because it isn't in the physical sense?

    It is a crime. So is piracy. I never stated otherwise. But does the fact that something is illegal stop you from doing it? Are you totally restricted by the law?
    I prefer to rely on my own personal code of ethics. Stealing food for a starving child may be illegal, but it is not wrong from my viewpoint.
    Stealing game software is illegal, but I do not consider it to be wrong, as long as I abide by my code of ethics, which states that it is wrong to USE software without payment to the authors. Using and evaluating software are two entirely different things. If it's against the law, fine. I accept responsibility for my actions. Call me a rational anarchist. :-)

    Oh, and you never answered my big question:
    If I download pirated software, then immediately delete it WITHOUT running it, is it theft?

  • There's no fundamental right to owning software That's right. And it includes the author of the software (or any other string of bits), too. there are laws against theft...*stealing* a license... Making copies is not stealing. When I steal something from you, you no longer have the use of it. When I copy a program, we both have the use of it. "Ownership" of information - i.e., copyrights - is an artifical invention of the state meant to promote creativity. It worked reasonably well before the digital age, but it's dead now. Finished, over, dead, done, gone, kaput, this is an ex-parrot. Let's pull the plug, bury it, and move on to finding a new method of supporting the creation of programs, stories, and songs.
  • - I hear a lot of Microsoft money changed hands (i.e. bribes to local gov't officials, "donations" to government offices) in order to do these raids.

    You know, I hear you molest cats. That's the thing about rumors, they are rarely true.
  • I found myself in the same situation. To do anything in windows, you have to lay down big bucks. When I was a kid, of course this meant, not having the bucks, that I'd use other means (occasionally) or, more frequently, rewrite the program from scratch. (You don't want to know how many times I had to do THIS...)

    Now I use Linux. I don't have ANY pirate software here, although I did disable a nagware message on a program or two. The only program I'd even CONSIDER buying [a registration key to] is "blender" anyways. (and IMNSHO it's WELL worth the price. Even though it would be really simple for me to crack, I refuse to do so on ethical grounds, it's just TOO GOOD.)

    But then maybe I'm getting soft in my old age ;)

  • What're your opinions of these:

    • 1st Person Shooters (eg: Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein)
    • Problem-solvers (eg: Pingus)
    • Strategy/Guessing (eg: Batalla Naval)
    • Space Combat (eg: Classic Elite, BFRIS Zero Gravity Fighter Combat)

    Besides, what you think of a game is your opinion. Whilst you are entitled to your opinion, that does not make it fact.

  • Freeciv is far from lame. Have you seen it? Get a clue, please.
  • Bullshit. You see, the way the world works is, I do something. You give me something equal to the value/effort/work I put into the doing.
    No, the world doesn't work that way. Unless you and I had some agreement beforehand, I don't owe you anything.

    Let's say I write a song; unless I wrote it for hire, I have no right to force someone to give me something equal to the effort I put into it. Now, if they like my songs, and want me to keep writing, they'd better find some way to reward me; but I have no natural right to demand payment from someone who goes around humming a melody of mine.

    A shitty anology for you. I come over to your house and kick the fuck out of you. Over the next two weeks you heal. No lasting harm.
    (Feeling a bit hostile, are you? Wow, it's been a long time since someone talked about kicking the fuck out of me. Sit back, chill, relax, and have a beer instead. It's much safer.)

    Yes, an extremely shitty analogy. We've gone from comparing copying to theft to comparing copying with assault; this is just getting sillier.

    Your beating inflicts pain and suffering upon me; even if the physical wounds heal, that trauma is a lasting harm. You also deprive me of the full use of my body while I'm healing. That's why self-defense is a basic natural right - it doesn't take the state to create special laws for people to recognize it.

    On the other hand, if I copy software you wrote, no one suffers any truama, and no one is deprived of the use of the software. Now, if everyone copys and no one pays, you're not going to write any more software, so if we want you to keep writing we need to find a way to reward you.

    Making people pay for copies by having the state punish unauthorized copiers is morally problematic, but worked reasonably well until recently. It doesn't work any more. Let's drop it and find a new way to make sure you and I get paid to keep creating software.

  • Security is only as powerful as the people included. You can encrypt, but that doesn't stop anyone from just joining the network, gathering IP adresses and becoming a nark.

    You do not understand.. He is not talking about security through obscurity. He is talking about a system where *statistical* security is inherent, i.e. there is nothing I can do to keep them from busting me, but the system is such that it dose them no more good to bust me then anyone else and it requires a LOT of work for them to bust everyone.

    Example 1: My friends and I all run daemons which talk to each other and broadcast lists of Warez/MP3s that are available. Now, my friens have friends who I don't know and I can requests files from their lists through my friends, but I do not know the identity of the system from which I am ultimatly requesting a file.. just the ``direction'' it lies in, i.e. which one of my friens I need to send the request to. It is a network with a totally local network routing system. Finding everyone on the network is craploats of social engenering.. hell if you don't mind it being a bandwidth hog you can set it up so that there is not even any way to count how man systems are on the network.

    Example 2: Move files at random between diffrent machines.. anyone can put any file into the network and anyone can take a file off the network when it is physically sitting on your machine, but no one can prove that you put a file on or removed it. Now, you the sysadmin should be protected by common carrier status since there is no way for you to monitor the traffic that moves through your site.. well.. execpt for those 50 burned CDs of music you leeched of the network as it moved through your system.. but hey your shit is your problem.. encrypt it or soemthing.

    Piracy can be made safe.. and it's not really to hard.. the hard part is making it safe and user friendly. Maybe Example 1 + a CDs catologer for people to make requests for you to rip CDs you own.. now that would be cool.. especially if it was all automated. The daemon just requests that you insert bla and it rips it.

  • Wrong. The internet is not limited to just you and friends. People don't just trade files with people they know down the street. You may think you know someone, but be completely wrong.

    You're also ignoring the fact that with IP, any system you connect to has to reveal its ip address. If you're just talking about a system of application proxies (which is an incredibly stupid idea since everyone would have to be a t1 or cable/dsl to waste their bandwidth to transfer through each other), all one has to do is get on one box and they will be able to find where the traffic is coming and going. All the feds would have to do is bust one guy, look at the current transfers and go bust the next guy. I'd hardly call that statistically safe. It in fact would decrease security by having more traffic transfer through these hosts which means they can grab more ip addresses.

    Now if you were simply talking about simple point to point data transfer, you can always get IP addresses. If a transfer occurs, the IP is known. As well, encryption doesn't help one bit when the authorities are sitting there watching the files transfer over whatever application you have to transfer. It only prevents network sniffing of things such as plain text ftp commands.

    In other words, a security system is only as powerful as the people involved. You may only share illegal files with the people you know, but the vast majority are sharing with people all around the world. Again, remember also that anyone can present themself as someone else online -- even your friends.
  • You do not understand.. the issues are not so much technical (though that part has to be done correctly) as social. Statistically safe dose not mean that the feds can not bust everyone.. it mearly means that they must bust most of the people to shut it down, i.e. everyone using the network participates as pears instead of using centralized servers. This is sufficent as long as the damage you incure by being brough to trial times the probability of you really being brought to trial is low.

    Yes, an efficent version of the network I was describing would not send the large datafiles though the network. There are two approaches to solving this problem:

    1) It would deposit them elseware on the internet.. like usenet groups, free web hosting sites, free email hosting sites, anonymous email, etc. Users of the software who wanted to avoid having direct connections to their own machine would need to keep updated scripts to exploit the anonymous resources available on the internet for such things.

    2) Don't worry about it and just make the probabilities work out better, i.e. instead of making a seperate daemon which few people will use, integrate the network with a user friendly application. This is the best solution when you need to draw from a large unskilled pirate community for original source material.. like music in mp3 format. Example: Write a CD/MP3 player which keeps a browse list of other player with which it has come in contact and will trade browse lists with other players. Now, the player tracks your CD collection so anyone can request anything in your CD collection and the player will rip it for you if you put in the CD. This system's real power commes from the fact that soo many people will use it and they are all worthless to take to trial since none of them really supply that many more people then anyone else. This system is even resistant to scare prosecution since it will just make people thin out their connectivity (by starting over on another port or soemthing) thus making it harder to tell how much piracy you have prevented. Plus, you can implement various social things like allowing people to put out recomendations and stuff.

    The essence of the above example is that "user friendliness" is a VERY importent a security precausion.

    If you take all the factors into account you find that things really work in the small time pirates favor.. as we see in the real world. The ONLY real problem with modern real world piracy is the time it requires. Systems like the above example which trade a little bit of security for a lot of time and are user friendly could really bring out piracy. I would like to see such a system implemented while large portions of the world's population (China) do not vaule intelectual property, as this will insure the streangth of the pirate community.


  • by gleam ( 19528 ) on Friday November 12, 1999 @09:05PM (#1539334) Homepage
    Sounds wonderful, eh? Like it's working perfectly, right? Oops, it isn't.

    I have a friend who bought a copy of Half-Life. Loved the single-player gameplay. So he wanted to play multiplayer. Oops.

    So he tried to play a multiplayer game, and bang! his key is in use. Yep. Someone else grabbed his key using a keygen, and it's floating around randomly. He can't play multiplayer at all.

    Is there a way to fix this? It strikes me that there's a problem when someone paid $$ for a program, and wasn't able to use all the features promised. He could return it and get his money back, theoretically...but that might not fly with every retailer. I can't imagine Valve would give him much support.

    So whose fault is this? It's the evil person who used his key, right? Of course, sure, yeah. No. Sure, they're wrong on the face of it for not buying their own copy, for depriving someone else the right to use theirs.

    But then we hit the problem of the software company. Deep down, it's really their fault. Sure, they have a right to get paid for every copy that is played, but not at the expense of paid users. That is, if they run into a situation where users who PAID for the program are not getting full functionality, well, they need to fix it. And they aren't. There's no way, as far as I know, to get a replacement key for Half-Life. You're screwed, if you don't just buy another copy.

    Software costs companies next to nothing to produce, only to develop. ROI is always high for popular software, and Half-Life is not an easily pirated game, even without a cd-key problem. Almost no one pirates a game they'll play often. Honestly. It's true. Pirated games (i'm talking #warez950 pirated games, not full-scale pirating) are downloaded, played so the d00d can say "Oh ya, I played UnLife Tournament Action 3 last nite. It was 3133+!" and then deleted. If the game is good enough, it'll usually get purchased. I can't imagine the figure to be as high as 10% for sierra, that seems excessive.

    This isn't really a critique of you, it's of all the people who believe software pirates are at fault for anything and everything. There will always be pirates, it's just a matter of what lengths the software companies will go to to keep a buck or two in their greasy palms.

    It's not always the pirates to blame.. flip the coin.

  • ok ok I admit it.. You got me.
    As I was re-reading this I realized the inevitable was going to happen, catch myself in my own words.
    True enough. I borrowed a CD Which is the same as copying, which is piracy... But mayhaps the entire system should change. would my friend then have to pay for a multiple user license if I went to his house and used his program???
    OK I realize this is going over the edge, but thanks for the insight. I DO agree there are much better things for the government agencies to do than to go pound on warez try to remove there anterior regions from their posterior region :)
  • Exactly my point..... Yes. I agree... except as I found in a lower posting, I just do it via borrowing, not downloading.
    Same thing with shareware... I won't even try to stay on top of a soapbox when it comes to shareware....
    what % of people do you think ACTUALLY register WinZip or CuteFTP, etc.......
    Yes you should try software before you buy. I whole heartedly agree... but as you and I both seem to do, if you are going to use it, show your appreciation and buy it.
    But I also feel that individual piracy is not a major issue, I'm more worried about the international piracy. I've heard from some friends of mine in Belaruse that you can get software for around 20% of the going price in the U.S. Do you really think these are legitimate copies????
    Do yourself a favour.. Go to the next computer show... take a CLOSE look at the CD you're buying
    does it have an "educational" license. Does it say "not for release in the U.S.?" I've found this to be true not only for games, but for full blown OS/office suites/ etc....
    Thanks for your time and efforts in getting through my rambling

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.