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Piracy Reports

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Thought I would ask a few questions and make a few comments that have come to mind after seeing this reporting *tool*. What protection is there for people falsely reported, say, someone with a "grudge" or whatever reason "reports" someone through this system? If false reporter Joe simmer says person A has a warez copy of payware bill's super bird, will person A now have to produce a reciept on an accuser's accusation alone? How exactly does bill go about esablishing what person A has to begin with? What if person A had his wife purchase or uses another (fake name) in the community for privacy? Does person A need a lawyer before talking with bill's lawyer? What if person A does not feel he needs to "explain" anything based upon an ANONYMOUS tipstser's accusation since he is a real customer? I think this road is very bumpy indeed. While I am totally for software protection within the law, I feel that such a *tool* really asks for a "police state" mentality from reporters with everyone now playing big brother when it's not their job to monitor such things or should be. I don't recall bill looking out for my car when it's stolen even though it's everyone's insurance rates that are affected. I see many things that I certainly take a active stand against, I am security in RL but there is just something seriously flawed IMO in this approach to stopping software priates when it does not take everyone's intrests at heart only it's own while proclaiming that "piracy hurts everyone" as a incentive for a bad idea. Are there not better ways to go about protecting one's personal property than asking the comunity to be a, well lack of a better word "snitch"? What is the reported doing on a *site* that even has warez files in the first place? Can't bill hire someone to do the same thing? We all know that IRC is a warez trading hub don't we? Maybe bill should consentrate on taking down the large file sharing sites like Kazza insted of making our rights subject to everyday Joe reporters. Best Wishes,[h4]Randy J. Smith[/h4]http://www.rawbw.com/~bdoolin/shinault/Animation1.gifCaution! Not a real pilot, but do play one on TV ;-)AMD 64 3200+ | NEC LCD 1980SXi 19" | ASUS KV8 DELUXE | GFORCE 5700 ULTRA @535/1000 | Maxtor 6Y080M0 SATA 80 GIG | 512 DDR 400 | Windows Xp Pro |

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Now, all you softeware developers here is a question for you, why don't you ask of yourselves what you are asking of the community, namely, working "together" to developer or implement better copy protection on your products? It's easy to see who's software is protected the best is it not? I'm sure EA sports sells 100 times more than all of you together with one product like Battlefield 1942 and because of this there are more bad guys spending lots of time and effort to make "cracks" to get around their protection UNLIKE flight simulator add-ons (maybe except flight simulator releases or other full sims on the market) but certainly these "pro crackers" are not spending time on add-on products that do not generate much interest outside OUR community right? Is not piracy protection your responsibility first? I'm sure our support can come in more meaningful ways like a few extra dollars on the final products for you to develope-implement better protection for your products. The flight simulator add-on market certainly is not a large one, we all all aware of supply and demand which of course tells us that a minority of flight simmers are abtaining software through other means (the fact that you are loosing money speaks for itself). There will always be this to deal with, the best protection starts with you... Best Wishes,[h4]Randy J. Smith[/h4]http://www.rawbw.com/~bdoolin/shinault/Animation1.gifCaution! Not a real pilot, but do play one on TV ;-)AMD 64 3200+ | NEC LCD 1980SXi 19" | ASUS KV8 DELUXE | GFORCE 5700 ULTRA @535/1000 | Maxtor 6Y080M0 SATA 80 GIG | 512 DDR 400 | Windows Xp Pro |

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Couldn't agree more with what you have said Randy...I sincerely think this is going down a wrong road. I'm just waiting for the first wrongly public accusation on this board...it could become a huge mess.

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I somehow missed this one a few days ago. But you're right on the money Randy. I couldn't agree more. A philosophy of "we'll let you anonymously accuse anyone you want" is a sad statement indeed. Virtually all payware, both flightsim and otherwise, is available for free right now to anyone with an internet connection. It would be far more productive to fight the battle against A.B.Games/Warez than ask the community to become an anonymous police force.Doug

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I thought this whole idea died out with the East-German DDR and its STASI intelligence system ;) :-rollQuick! Rat out ur neighbor!Seriously though. If the software producers cant win the fight by their own and need help from ordinary users then its a sad state we're in and frankly its a lost cause - if not already.

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Piracy is bad period.BUT.....is this "initiative" going to alter the fact that people will pirate software?, of course not, there are far mightier organisations who are trying, and failing.Far to much time and effort is being spent on trying to stop piracy, and it will never be stopped, EVER.It has been going on since the year dot, and the ever increasing security measures are making life harder for legitimate customers, whilst the life of a pirate stays the same.Maybe now is the time to stop ploughing so much time and effort into trying to stop an impossible battle?Dan.

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It's a totally ridiculous and misguided effort for all the reasons stated above.

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Well this one will probably get popped over to the Hangar Chat forum, but since you ask I will add my bit.I am on the piracy mailing list so I can shed some light here. I think the comparisons to some of the darker periods of our history are a little fanciful. I wonder why this initiative conjures up such ideas? The fear is irrational. The comparisons I can think of are more like some of the helplines where folks are encouraged to call in and report crimes, even anonymously. Does that mean countries that employ this are engaging in such practices as the STASI did? Are innocent folks charged with crimes when there is no proof? Hardly.The reports that have come in so far are not wild accusations, generally they point out a website or newsgroup that are giving out free copies of commercial software. Now what happens next? That's for the developer whose products are involved to work out and if he takes any action he will obviously only do so after having checked the facts himself otherwise he wouldn't have a leg to stand on.It's only ridiculous if your livelihood does not depend on it. I would compare it to having someone walk into your shop and take an item and walk out without paying for it. Would you simply say "Well we know it happens, get over it"? No, you would obviously take any reasonable measures to stop or minimize this and the frequency of it would not diminish your objection to someone cheating you out of what is rightfully yours.

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Well you are right in certain ways, but there is a slight difference here. To stay in the example with the shop. Of course this will then be the shopowner's responsability (software developer in this case) to stop and catch whoever stole the merchandise.It not up to the shop to put up a sign telling the customers, if you ever heard of anyone or anywhere where somebody has taken something, please let us know!I know its a far fetched comparison with the old STASI and the like - but who draws the line and when? We live in a time and age with "patriot acts" and other misguided laws to officially protect people, but end up doing the exact opposite. Do we want a society where everybody police everybody and end up in Orwellian society?This is as much a philosophical debate as it is a debate about crime.Also, to conclude the little shop example - its not that much the same since if you steal from a shop he wont have the merchandise to sell anymore whereas piracy only copies it and leaves it to be sold anyway.And this is not condoning piracy in any way or form, just to put things into a little perspective.

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Ok then, lets hope it works, then payware companies can stop using the ridicolously restrictive (to the paying customer) security measures, which obviously are'nt working in the first placeDan.

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OK let's go back in the shop one more time. :)What if a thrid person is in your shop and witnesses someone take something while your back is turned, would you expect that person to tell you? Would that be "denunciation"?BTW even with an anonymous tip-off it is still the developers responsibility to follow it up. I just don't want people thinking this is a "police state" thing, the comnparison just doesn't fit and is too extreme.Yes you're right it is very philosophical, but when you've worked your butt off for 6 months on something it really does hurt to see it pedalled on a warez site.

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Depends what you mean by "work". If you mean stamping out piracy altogether then obviously it will not work. But if you start with a zero-tolerance toward piracy then it will get you some way along that goal. This is not a reluctance to accept that piracy will happen, as is suggesed on another post, every developer knows that obviously, but it is a refusal to accept that it should be allowed to go on without taking some measure. Some developers don't care, others do.I understand your thought re the overdone security. My own software has very little protection and in some cases none! Striking a balance isn't easy and out of sheer frustration some have gone to the extreme, but they were pushed, sometimes their products appear withing hours of release on the warez sites - not nice.

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>What if a thrid person is in your shop and witnesses someone>take something while your back is turned, would you expect>that person to tell you? Would that be "denunciation"?Well thats a valid point of course :)My main gripe with this mainly is that it could lead to abuse like stated earlier above, its a dangerous road to take.Anonymous tip-offs especially tends to make me cringe my feet. You end up thinking, well whats this persons motivations if any.Reporting a warez site - well thats a honorable venture endeed, but as soon as 1 closes - 10 more pop up. I just dont see how this "battle" can be won with the means available at the moment.I guess bottom line is, I just cant make sense as to how this will help in the greater scheme of things other then a small (rightfully so) satisfaction of seeing 1 out of maybe 1000 websites closed with one's work put up.Piracy or the old term "bootlegging" has always been around ever since old 60's taperecorders and early 70's computers. How many people on this forum alone havent at one time or another played a shady copy of a C64 game.I still believe that piracy wont ever hurt a product as much as quality of it will make it a hit. This goes for wichever product, music, clothes or software.

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>What if a thrid person is in your shop and witnesses someone take something while your back is turned, would you expect that person to tell you? Would that be "denunciation"?http://www.hifisim.com/images/as2betateam.jpg

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Well your concern about abuses are certainly understandable, but let me assure you that none of the reports have read "Person X is giving out pirated registration keys". That would be meaningless anyway. They are more like "Site (or newsgroup) X is handing out pirated copies of ...". How can this be confirmed or discounted? A quick visit to the site will suffice. I know that one of the major developers is actually bringing legal action against several individuals right now (probably ring-leaders) so believe you me it does lead to something.

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>No, it wouldn't be - but there is a big difference. The>witness in the shop has the option to tell the owner or the>police. The analogy would only be correct, if the witness also>had a third option, i.e. informing a privately run>'anti-shoplifting' agency, and this is where I would have>serious reservations.Well an analogy is only that, I certainly didn't mean for it to be an exact parallel to the situation, only to highlight one aspect, but even so when someone submits a report it is sent to the appropriate developer so it is like telling the owner. And as you say there is the option of dealing with it any way you choose, some contact the developer directly, some not at all, no-one is forced to report anything. I think the "anti-piracy" icon is a way to keep the issue constantly before the FS community, there is no suggestion there is some kind of a task-force or organization here.

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>Ok then, lets hope it works, then payware companies can stop>using the ridicolously restrictive (to the paying customer)>security measures, which obviously are'nt working in the first>place>>Dan.You know what Dan, couldnt agree more. When i first saw this piracy campaign on the front page, i got worried for the reasons that Randy outlined - please before i get flamed, i dont use pirated s/w but had a "disagreement" with a certain payware company that a few of you from previous posts, i know have had similar misfortune to deal with. My concern was that they may now post my details as a pirate because, well they think i could be.After a number of heated discussions for a new licence, i was getting nowhere, each request coming back with "protection of software against piracy" with my final request to them challenging that as a legitimate user, who would have no benefit in supplying not only my key, but my personal email address, along with s/w i'd payed for (err, no thanks, its mine, dont want to share), it would probably be less bother and find a pirated version that would bypass any security mechanism than to request my licence key.Of course, this was NOT a threat, and was specifically stated as such; I wanted to put across clearly that their over protective security was a disservice to legitimate customers, and the whole security was negated by the ability of piraters out there to bypass in the first place. But nonetheless this company whose mission statement is to "Serve our customers and our community with respect and goodwill using the highest standard of ethics and integrity" suggested i was an individual who had no compuncture in using pirated software. i found this to be not a very good example of respect. To continue the analogy of the shop and shoplifter, that you know how to shoplift does not a shoplifter make. Knowledge is one thing, action is something entirely different Software houses must understand that over zealous security can act as a deterrent to the desire to purchase legitimate software, and certainly means i wont be using this company again given my experience. A shame, cause the product i had was really really excellent quality.By the same token, end users must be vigilant and not offer their purchased software to all and sundryRant over, Leo

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The BEST way to stamp out piracy is to issue the product at a price point and value that makes pirating the software almost meaningless.Take for example VHS tapes of movies. When the VCR first came out, video tapes of movies often approached $100.00 when first available. Now a days, first run video releases are often priced below $20, and in many cases, VHS tapes can be purchased under $10.00At $10.00 the work it takes to "copy" the movie is generally more hassle than to buy the legitimate copy.I think what needs to be remembered is that many "piracy" sites pirate software simply because it's there. Many of these sites do not crack "warez" to actually use them, but rather just for the satisfaction that they "beat the system". Unlike shoplifters and other criminals who either use the product or fence it for cash, these "warez" sites rarely if at all "resell" their broken copies, so they have no financial gain from the process.Instead of setting up a system of "piracy" hotlines, perhaps developers should look at re-pricing their products more in line to what is provided. Why, in many cases, are direct downloads the same cost as a CD or DVD. The overhead in providing a file for download is miniscule compared to authoring CD's providing written inserts, packaging, and shipping. Yet in many cases, the consumer gets little or no part of the cost savings the developer sees when he publishes his items electronically. If companies would routinely offer deeper discounts to direct downloaded products and pass some of those savings to the customer, then we might see a decrease.Also, pricing is a huge issue. FSGenesis, which I feel is one of the premier add-on shops, has no item over $15.00. Justin provides significant savings for bulk ordering of product, and even a "membership" which gives people almost an all they can eat buffet.At $9.99 for a wide area mesh, I get what I feel is an incredible value. I don't see Justin fighting piracy that much, and even if there are warez sites available, that host it, most honest people buy from Justin because his products are of high quality, he offers free upgrades to people who purchase, and his prices are more than reasonable.There will always be honest and dishonest people in this world. You can either tailor your business to meet the demands of the "honest" folks and provide for THEIR needs, by taking "appropriate" measures to discourage piracy by realistically pricing your product, eliminating intrusive and frustrating copy protection. ORYou can tailor your business to go after the the "pirate" and outrageously price your product to foster further dishonesty, provide ridiculous copy protection schemes, that more often than not, frustrate your "honest" clientile, refuse to pass on your savings due to electronic distribution, and charge equal amount to download as to get in a car and by the CD at EBGames, and generally focus on the bad instead of the good.Again, looking at FSGenesis, I think Justin has provided the ultimate answer to the piracy question. Great Products, Good Service, Reasonable prices, and unbelievable customer loyalty.

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>If I witness piracy, I would tell the developer directly,>and let him decide which action to take.The important point which is being lost here is why should the developer believe an anonymous tipster? The abuse would come from false accusation, in many ways a more destructive crime, and impossible to police against with an "anonymous tip" service...Just my thoughts.sg

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For the record flight sim add ons already have the best protection of any PC games. And the hard truth is the pirates or hackers is always one step ahead so the question is if harder protection really benefit us customers or the developers. I mean is there any popular FS software which isn

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A very intersting and difficult subject that indeed has much to do about ethics and social behaviour.I think we can agree on many of the basic problems such as:1. Piracy has always existed in many shapes.2. Piracy will continue to exist regardless of what countermeasures are put on place, unless we end up in a extremely totalitarian state of affairs.3. Piracy is wrong, it

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I once ran into a person on the internet that become enraged at me over nothing. He went so far as to accuse me of illegally signing him up for spam type inquiries. Of course I had not done that. Luckily the forum the guy used to declare me falsly guilty was one that already trusted me and therefore I was not harmed in anyway by this nutcase...but what is the chance that will always be the case?The last thing this world needs is ways folks can anonomously cause others grief. The fact that currently only valid inputs have been received is not good enough. Even if its not happened yet, anonomous accusations will be abused, people are just not trustworthy enough. Too many innocent people will be wronged, even if it only happens once.If folks want to expose criminals, let them do so publically and stand behind their accusations. That will allow the credibility of the accuser to be considered. Bob B

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One mistake I make is to assume that Microsoft is the norm amongst software developers, I know its not. But......we also know that microsoft has made a sincere focus on protection.Isn't it a hoot to think that we're all now going to work to see that Microsoft isn't impacted by piracy...(they have 41 BILLION in cash at the moment). LOLSeems like they've done ok without help so far.I think too much is made of piracy. My belief is that pirates do not represent certain lost sales. I believe pirates are not paying customers that found an alternative way to get a product. I suspect if the pirates could be magically stopped, no appreciable impact to sales would occur. That because the pirates would simply not have the products, and would NOT be buying them. They'd be busy creating the way to beat the system that is stopping them from piracy. Bob Bernstein

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"At $9.99 for a wide area mesh, I get what I feel is an incredible value. I don't see Justin fighting piracy that much, and even if there are warez sites available, that host it, most honest people buy from Justin because his products are of high quality, he offers free upgrades to people who purchase, and his prices are more than reasonable."Not only that, he also offers a DISCOUNT for MORE ITEMS added to cart. I got the whole US, Canada, Hawaii, and Southern America for dirt chirp. On top of it, there is NO protection either. I guarantee his model which is one I completely agree on for my own software is the absolute way to stay sane.The issue of course is when people/companies get greedy and just have no faith in their fellow man. Which means you and I the paying customer. It really is an insult to us not pirates. Funny how these authorizations and companies which we legitimately purchase from accuse us from being pirates. GUESS WHAT "IF I PURCHASE SOMETHING I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE IT AWAY!". The best words for the feelings I have about that to those people/companies is not mentionable here. But I would like to beat them 53 8" Floppy Discs & 2 Commodore 64 Cassettes and then install 1541 drives in their computers.And for the record, here is the REAL DEAL:If something gets pirated it is not a LOST SALE which is completely ignorant. It is that more people have it and that is ALL. The percentage of the people with pirated software that would ever BUY the item I GUARANTEE you is 1%. So wonderful, let's all start reporting the people we know and end up with liability and slander lawsuits to inconvenience everyone.Carmine http://ftp.avsim.com/dcforum/Images/wave.gif

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This is what worries me the most, especially since it's anonymous. What's to stop someone from coming up with false claims about someone. I know you say it's easy to check whether or not there is anything behind the accusations...but were it me being accused, well that's one time too many. I know it's way out of proportion in this aspect, but people that have been wrongly accused of something, other than piracy, may never return to whatever they where doing before because of the implications that an accusation brings.

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