> "Spoken like someone who has never lived in the Middle East. They're blowing things up with regularity. Just not in the U.S."
So, what's your point? It's obvious that you were talking about airport scanners in the US. Now, you want to change things up and talk about blowing things up in the Middle East? Additionally, when bringing up the Middle East, you've decided not to confine "blowing things up" to airports anymore (which is the whole point of airport scanners). So, I'm calling you out on: (1) switching the subject from the airport scanners in the US to airport scanners in the Middle East, (2) hardly any planes blow up in the Middle East, largely because Israel is so heavy-handed about scanning people going on planes. My point still stands and it's pretty obvious that the existence of airport scanners is dependent on the rates of terrorism. If airplane terrorism rates are low, then airport scanners are a waste of time and money and are only a product of our fear, but if airplane terrorism is high, then the existence of airport scanners is reasonable and prudent. So, whether airport scanners are reasonable or not is dependent on the rates of terrorism. To pursue the analogy: comparing US airport scanners to DRM is a bad comparison given that airport terrorism in the US is low but piracy rates are high.
> "There's no evidence that DRM actually increases sales if any cheaper alternatives exist (or any non-DRM alternatives, regardless of cost). If someone cannot pirate the game they want to play, they are likely to pirate something else rather than buy the game."
First of all, if you're assert a statement like "There's no evidence that DRM actually increases sales if any cheaper alternatives exist" without evidence, then I'll assert the opposite: "There's no evidence that DRM DOESN'T actually increases sales EVEN if any cheaper alternatives exist". Afterall, if there's no evidence on either side, I'm not going to let you get away with suggesting that your side is right without evidence. Also, I don't believe that's true. In fact, I can think of a specific case where a girl told me that she pirates all her music. But, sometimes she can't get her iTunes to sync her music with her iPod, so she actually buys a copy of the song since that seems to help things sync. I also think that sometimes pirates really want something and if they can't get it through piracy, they will buy it because they want to play it that badly - and other games just aren't a good substitute.
> "All the pseudo-studies that ask people if they would have bought some product if they could not pirate it are completely missing the point. Most people don't generally pirate things that they can afford."
A few months back, I was hanging out with some friends and somehow it came up that one of my friends pirated a copy of Photoshop. But, the thing is that the guy who pirated it comes from an extremely rich family. I've been told that his dad made over $100 million last year. He has plenty of money, but he still pirates shit. (And I've got plenty more examples further down on this comment.)
> "Further, those studies completely ignore network effects. The term "network effects" refers to the perceived value of a service increasing as more users join that service."
Oh yeah, we should be thanking pirates for their piracy. There's evidence to the contrary. First, the music industry's revenue has declined by 2/3rd over the past 10 years - where are all the "network effects"? Second, sales of games on the PC (the easiest platform for piracy) have also declined over the past 10 years. Meanwhile, console sales (which are much more difficult to pirate on, thanks to hardware) have skyrocketed. I looked up the sales of COD on the PC versus the XBox 360. There were almost the same number of people playing the game on the PC as the XBox360, but the rates of piracy were so much higher on the PC that the game sold 20x as many copies on the XBox360 as on the PC. What happened to all those great "network effects"? The "network effects" are over-exaggerated in my opinion. You sound like someone saying, "It's not a bad thing if people steal alcohol from liquor stores because maybe they'll come back and pay next time or maybe their friends will..."
> "Also, many people buy games because their friends are on there. If one of those people buys a game and makes a copy for three friends, that's one sale. If that one person is deciding whether to buy that multiplayer game and can't copy it for those three friends, that may well result in zero sales."
Well, I doubt that the cases where that happens outweighs the reverse situation - where nobody buys any copies because who needs to pay when you can download it all from the PirateBay. I know people who look at you like you're crazy if you buy software or music or movies.
> "For this reason, every study that has looked at actual numbers instead of doing bogus surveys has consistently shown that piracy increases sales on the whole."
What studies? As the math teacher used to say: show your work.
> "Most people don't pirate what they can afford, so the downside of piracy is bounded."
Nonsense. I know people who pirate everything and will look at you like you're crazy for buying stuff because "why pay for it when you can get it all for free on the internet [via piracy]". That's an actual quote a pirate said to me once. Once I was at a bar and my friend was talking about some new music she bought, and this pirate looked at her incredulously and said, "Why do you pay for music?" In this case, the girl who bought the music was fairly wealthy (earned almost six-figures a year), but she was getting flak because she paid for something she could've gotten "for free".
Another guy I know pirates everything. He also has the nicest laptop of anyone I know. A while back he came in with some expensive noise-cancelling headphones. I just shook my head because it's obvious that he's pirating everything and then using his money to buy expensive electronic equipment instead. I once saw him lay into a guy that had just bought some software - he laid into him "You paid a $100 for this software? I could've gotten it for you for free."
Both of my examples above illustrate the case where people were willing to buy something (as proven by the fact that they did buy it), but the pirates around them gave them crap because they payed for it. Their reactions to other people paying for stuff is a pretty good insight into how they view paying for stuff versus pirating it.
I should also point out that a lot of countries have terrible problems with piracy. It's next to impossible to turn a profit there because there's so much piracy going on. But, you know what makes money? Subscription services to online games. Funny, those Chinese people who pirated everything ("because they couldn't pay for it") suddenly have money to pay for online games when piracy isn't an option. What this says to me is that piracy isn't as simple as "people will pay for it if they can afford it, and they'll pirate it if they can't afford it, therefore there's no revenue loss". Rather, there's a certain amount of "why pay for something that you can get for free?" and "why not pirate it and keep your money to spend on other stuff" going on, which makes sense from a personal economic standpoint.
Therefore, the notion that DRM could improve sales is unfathomable.
Yeah, unfathomable. I think you're lying to yourself if you believe that.