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Illegal Distribution of software

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Illegal Distribution of Developer Product.Hi Simmers,After discovering today even more of my Textures and artwork being poached and illegally distributed by http://www.simnetwork.net (pay for access site) I have decided to write to the forums and express my displeasure about the outright abuses of Developers Rights and the flagrantly offensive behaviour of sites like this charging simmers for the privilege of downloading my products which are intended as FREE from selected sites.Many of you know me and my work, my commitment to support of the simming community, and my provision of hundreds of aircraft textures and artwork to the simming community FREE through my site and my distribution of some of these through authorised and legal flight sim sites.Firstly let me clearly identify the sites that this correspondence is in reference to, those who are obvious repeatedly and consistently abuse developer rights and continue to abuse all simmers integrities and rights. Some Examples:http://www.fsplanet.com http://www.simnetwork.com http://www.simnetwork.nethttp://www.fsdome.com You may not be aware that there is now a serious growth in flight sim sites, like the ones mentioned above, which provide files for download but have restricted access to files unless you pay for membership to have privileged access to these files. Now the curse of this is of course that you are paying for products that were provided by developers to preferred and authorised sites for free and with the developers consent knowing that some of these sites were charging fees to help to cover costs of providing the services to you, the end users. These preferred sites have genuinely proven histories of servicing the community and warrant the support of developers as they avidly protect the developer

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I should relax, Garry. With 131 visitors on their silly public counter since 2003, I don't think simnetwork.net are much of a threat! And most simmers who download online are far too wise to be taken in by their claptrap.Keep up the good work, old chap.Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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My vote is option 1. :-)

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Gary, I do agree with you and have recently wondered about our hobby. I see more and more freeware developers migrating to the payware companies. Why is this? Probably so they can get some reward after many of them have been providing excellent quality freeware to the flightsim community for years. Maybe, they figure if people are going to blast some software errors or complain about a texture not being perfect, they may as well join a company and let the company take the nonsense from the kids and idiots.I don't use the sites you mentioned and most here do not because they know the best is here first and it is always free and usually supported by the author and users who lurk on these forums to hear comments and go back to fix code or move a letter on the registration for the community.Piracy is rampant on the internet but then so are generous hardworking contributors who have something to offer and are willing to give of their own time and effort to help others.We won't stop piracy but can actively discourage on forums and through our VA's (if we belong and many do) to ignore those pirate sites and the others that will pop-up from time to time. It says a lot for our hobby that people would actually pay to get freeware files. Or maybe, just maybe, those users don't know any better.

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I agree that we will never stop piracy of software for the simming community.However, maybe we need to take a much more active step in being very public on our sites on who are known sites that offend and abuse the flight sim community.I for one am going to add a forum entry and lock it to the top of my forum - Known Flight Sim Abuser Sites.I will publish the list and willingly look forward to their attempts at stopping me from publically declaring that they abuse the rights of Developers and charge fees for their illegal distribution and profit off other peoples work without consent.I think if all legitimate flight sim sites had the courage and the genuine desire to at least reduce this piracy and abuse of our environment then you too would be willing to publically declare these abusers.Regards and happy simming,

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Hi GarryMy guess is, people aren't stupid! I'm also pretty sure, the vast majority of users CARE A LOT about legitimate use and avoid places like FSPlanet etc. Compared to Mark's numbers, the thread in which Tom (our boss!) outlined the new freeware license, got more hits and perhaps even messages, than that simnetwork got in years! However, I do see one powerful possibility to avoid such things and I'm sure it has been mentioned in the past; we should address those companies advertising at those Idontknowwhattocallthem sites and remind them, that their helping useless organizations. Case there's a consent that 'we' don't buy from them as long as they advertise there, I'm sure the advertisers will prefer to stick with sites who care about such details and -last but not least- have large user bases, like Avsim. If we're really going to be serious about copyrights, I think it's the only thing we can do. Even though 'only' a couple of hundred people regularly contribute in writing, IMHO, the bandwidth of sites like Avsim is fairly large. To a certain extent, even Microsoft could help if they i.e. publish a notice on their FS homepage about such practices. I for one am prepared to play a watchdog if you want, Garry. But ideally, there would be a concerted effort. Finally, thanks a lot for taking your time and expressing your feelings. I really appreciate the insight and am trying to share your pain. I wish you all the best and beg you to take it easy. Just think of the thousands of people who enjoy and are truely grateful for your efforts. I realize this might be easy-speak if I say so, but it would be a real pity if your hard sentiments are stronger than our feeling of gratitude for your work. Please excuse my lenghtly reply, good luck and kind regards Jaap PS: Freeware authors sometimes just move on and rightly so. Personally, I feel the widening net access and FS' continued succes, will always provide an influx of fresh blood and talent. Everybody can play his favourite part. I'm a shite designer but can sometimes help out people with technical troubles. Etc, etc. It's the diversity of talent, personal stories and -usually- high level of cultivation, which makes this hobby and community so special. Cheers everybody

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Gary,I understand your frustration and anger.I took note of the sites, went and look at them and will never go back to them.Or I purchased legitimate products (RC,Genesis,Lago, FlightKeeper etc..) or I unload from AVSIM and a couple of other sites.At your place I would choose option 1 with a link from AVSIM per example.In fact we are too spoiled with freewares. But between free and $20 or more per product there is a margin. Even $ 30 could be cheap in regard what some products offer.Roger

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Garry,Whilst I sympathize with you on this issue, I believe that this will not and never will change, if the payware boys can't stop piracy, I can see no way for us freeware contributers to stop it either.I too have withdrawn from addon creation and also closed my site due to these continuing issues, I just can't see anyway for stop these problems.I closed my site because it was expensive to maintain the bandwidth, I first put a small note on their for a donation for bandwidth, how much did I get?, zero, not a bean, so why should I pay for the upkeep to host my own work, whilst people on the above mentioned site lists get an income from mine and others work?.I have tried, and failed in the past to combat this problem, as I know you have too, but it is an impossible battle that seemingly cant be won.Dan.

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One of the aforementioned sites has uploaded my repaints without authorisation. I have a plan of action that will take this guy by surprise ;)

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MD83,Far be it from me to Preach Ethics - particularly when it comes to sites like the ones mentioned who apparently have very little regards for ethics.But it is not wise to make threats, or imply that you may get revenge for a wrongdoing. These sites poach software, abuse developers and simmers, and make profits from other peoples work without consent, reminisent of a pawn shop that sells stolen property, turning a blind eye to the law as they believe that hidding behind internet aliases that they are beyond the reach of the law. The only way to stop them in their tracks is to shut down their sites - everytime they restart, then shut it down again. Ethically we should employ legal process to do this - even though they fail to apply any respect to the law and general ethics.So in a nutshell, as tempting as it may be to lower ourselves to their standards and "respond appropriately" it is best to aviod this approach and deal with it all in an above the board manner.Regards and happy simming

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My methods will be above-board, legal, and decent :)

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MD83Not a problem then - and good for you - I hope it is successful :-)But how is this for timing:I highlight unethical behavour for some sites and suddenly I am now receiving hundreds and hundreds of e-mail subscription confirmation request - someone (I leave it to your imagination as to who it might be) seems to think now is a good time to subscribe me to a lot of spam mail services. Attempting to fill my mail box with junk mail. Now that is very adult :-) - but not a problem - I have server mail filters which is eliminating them as fast as they arrive. This seems to demonstate the ethics that we real flight simmers would never apply to others - but I guess rocking the boat with some organisations has a penalty :-)Anyway - these things are sent to try us and we will not stoop to such tactics in return.Happy simming and wonder what the next installment is for this story.Regards

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Gary..... I have 2 more sites to add to those.FSFreeware.com and Flightsim.com ( allnodesbusy).FSFreeware downloaded a scenery of mine and had it posted on their site. I asked for it to be removed. They said it would be. 3 months later that is a scenery, same name, 4 bits more, same number of cities, on it for $10. It was withdrawn because I said I had errors in mine and I wonder if his did. yep.... our mr. Tabourett. Joe W.

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Joe,I am not sure I would tar FS.com with the same brush as they will remove any files that you ask, also they don't go "harvesting" files like the others mentioned.Dan.

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Well sir, I guess the only comment I could add is that you're prolly preaching to da choir here. I know for myself that when/if I buy or DL items I'm pretty sure where I'm getting them from. My advice? There are a lot of scumbags out there; there have been in the past and they will always be around in the future. It's human nature; most people are honest as the day is long, but ya gits da occasional rotten apple. You've done, in the spam mail case, what you needed to do to control it. I'm thinking that you just need to sort of lay things into perspective re the pirating of your creations. If you blow the only one you hurt is yourself. It's your blood pressure that'll go up. They won't even notice. They won't notice if you stop creating, they'll just find the next person and go on cheating. I will hasten to add here; I am not a creator. I don't seem to have the skills to make things for FS or any other game. I can modify some items but making them from scratch is beyond me. I support the community as I can, 'though I'm on a pretty tight budget. I'm grateful for all those who create for FS, it's my recreational "thing" right now.

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Mr. Smith, I can understand your frustration, but you cant let it detract from your enjoyment of our hobby. I have been building aircraft since 2k2 and have seriously cut back on what i choose to release publicly. I have gone to email delivery, or 'secret' sites to download what i dont want dragged all over cyberspace. I use the emails that I get from my 'freeware' released at Avsim to distribute my "mailware". I figure, if people are too busy to drop an email, then maybe they are the types i would like to stay away from. Plus, YOU control who gets what. I still enjoy uploading a plane/scenery here and there, and supporting freeware developers in general, but everything has changed since 2002. From what i can see, the 'community' that was built around sharing freeware and the tools to make them, has gone underground or gone payware. Freeware still exists, but not openly shared like before. The only reason I can see from my chair, is anyone who can push a vert, or paint a poly is charging for their work. Claims of complexity and time consumption abound from them, but I say, the single freeware developer devotes as many, even more hours than a payware TEAM. Using freeware tools to make payware, to me, is just as disgusting as your situation. So, it looks like a 'chicken vs. egg' situation to me... did pirates create the payware rush, or did overcharging for what used to be free/reasonable, anger a segment of the community so much, they turned to breaking the law? I honestly dont know, it is wrong regardless. There is no excuse for what has happened to your work, it happens to mine all the time, but I just adjusted my approach to it all. Im still just as happy, and no one sends me mean emails, or uploads my work w/o my permission anymore. this is just my opinion, right or wrong, i dont really care. I sleep easy at night knowing certain people can not get their hands on my work. and i like having that power. my advice is to only release textures you dont care what happens to, and keep the sweets under lock and key. Make your site restricted to those you trust, get real email addy's and you can keep track of who is ripping you off and bounce them. and dont go payware, it's all too commonplace these days. good luck, I hope this will not keep you from enjoying your niche. joe

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This is preaching to the choir.Anybody reading your post is already here, and most likely isn't searching those other sites or paying them for membership. Your intentions are good, but you have the wrong audience.As a developer, I can agree that things are very challenging in the flight sim community (for freeware and payware developers). However, when I see a developer of either sort threatening to quit for this reason or that reason... I can't say that I have much care for that. If you don't want to develop, if its not rewarding enough. Then quit.For every time one of my files has shown up on one of these other websites, I have recieved 2 emails thanking me for my hard work. Some recounting personal tales of real-world experience in an aircraft I have released for flight-sim. That reason alone would keep me from quitting.There was also a point about these bad websites moving in and taking control of our hobby. I don't see that. However, when I see a flight sim developer in our "good" community threatening to quit if people don't behave or do the right thing, that is where I see an issue of control.Jordan Moore

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Mr. Smith, Joe and all othersThis is clearly a tough nut to crack, as any legal action against these offending, slimeball and parasitic type-sites would cost deep in the purse. I am old to flying and flight simulator in general but young to the design side of things and like most if not all freeware designers place notices in readme files that state my wishes as to distribution, credits etc. Excerpt from my readme (placed at the top of page)// Hello All Flight Sim Enthusiasts.

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"(3) Occasionally, spend a dollar or two on a donation to a developer to help them cover the substantial cost incurred in providing you the free products."That comment in the original thread is what compelled me to respond..I tried commenting on the thread in the main MSFS forum, but it was in the midst of being moved and my post went into la la land. I'll be briefer this time...All the replies are good, first of all. Sorry to say, these sites exist and the only way to shut them down would be to rid them of their sources of income. We can boycott those who advertise on the sites, but individuals are still attracted to the sites in the same way some are duped by infomercials into paying for products that we can get at better quality and a fraction of the price. Nothing will change that.Legal action is too expensive for most of us who contribute freeware, and these sites know that. They hide behind their own quasi "legal" mumbo jumbo to basically say our copyright is theirs when we use the word "free". That isn't true, but who has the funds to fight? My concern is why leave freeware because there's someone trying to steal from us? Why gripe about the "thousands of hours" of work? Does anyone believe freeware is created for everyone but the author? I am my own "number one" customer. I'm going to do the work for my own satisfaction--I'm not going to ask for a handout to defray the costs, nor am I going to stop doing work if I find my work poached (and it has been). I've cut the amount of work I've released, not because of sites that poach, but due to ungrateful, childish users (from age ten to seventy) who seem to think I owe them perfection or something pretty close to it. But I still do new projects, and if it appeals to me enough, I still release them--just not as widely as I used to.But it would be foolish of me to rant about my work being stolen. I had a home break-in last year. Thousands of dollars of goods were stolen, and even videotaped memories of my daughter's infancy which I will never get back. I can either stop living, write letters to every paper complaining about man's injustice to his fellow man, ask for donations for our crippled family, or just go on with life and take it as it comes. I choose the latter, and what happened to me is far worse than some site poaching some of my files, which I've also had happen.So I like the post which says "you're preaching to the Choir" Garry. Those who participate in the forums here already show their disdain for such sites by participating in one with the highest standards. You can still derive pleasure from your creations by what they do for you--that should be your first and only test of whether you wish to create. Don't give the bottom feeder sites the pleasure of getting to you, and also, be fair and honest about whether your work is freeware, or "freeware in the hopes someone will lend you a dime". I know I will not ask for a dime when my work was created first and foremost for my own consumption. As to the sites that poach, think of their owners and advertisers as being on the bottom of the pond or the bottom of a camel's foot. That gives me more satisfaction than any other thought, because 90 pct. of the lowlifes who steal from us live far sadder lives than we do.-John

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We have been talking about it for nigh on a year, but we are getting closer to actually doing this; opening up a mirror of the AVSIM library. The mirror will allow any site that wishes to link to AVSIM library files via the mirror. All files on the mirror are controlled by AVSIM, and as with AVSIM's base library, the author has the final say as to his/her file dispositions, including whether it appears in the mirror system at all. That is, they can ask that it be removed, up-dates tied to earlier releases, etc. In short, authors will maintain control of their work as always. Why is this a fix? Simple; if there are 5,000 sites out there linking to the library, why would anyone pay to get access via the poacher's sites? I predict a short life for the poaching sites, once the mirror is online and serving up to the world-wide community.

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TomThat's a very cool idea. Hopefully it'll put a stop to people like Ferdy and people like him. A bit OT: Did you recieve my mail btw?BestGrahame (EDHL)

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(Copy of what I posted in the same thread at Simflight.com)I think Francois had it right when he said (On the simflight forum) it's the general attitude of the world now. These days, and especially within my age group (23) it is almost as if no matter what you do, it's ok, just as long as you don't get caught. Or even worse, if enough people do it, it's ok! We have lost our sense of respect, tradition and decency. It really all comes down to respect, or the lack of.Piracy is absolutely rampant, whether computer software, music, or even satellite signals. Most everyone just thinks hey I won't get caught, so what does it matter? Personally, it's not about getting caught or not - it's about doing what is honest. Unfortunately again my generation especially just doesn't seem to care about honesty.On that note however, something I think would help the entire community would be a common EULA created for all freeware developers to use. It would be created by lawyers of different nations to be internationally binding, and easy for all authors to use for their software. This would make it easy for all authors to protect their work.Perhaps an organization could be developed cooperatively with developers, Simflight, AVSIM, Flightsim.com and other honest communities to enforce this EULA as a whole, one single setup. Perhaps even Payware could be incorporated and this same organization could be used to fight piracy as well.I think the only way we could possibly actually tackle this is to work together.

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Like I posted at simflight: the problem is that the poachers have addresses that are likely to be among the first new users of the product try when wanting to find information about it.When I started with MSFS back in '99 the first URL I typed in was www.fs2000 dot com which of course leads to the disreputable payware distributor and poacher site of "perfect" flight.fsplanet is another such natural URL.Maybe a marketing campaign would help but unless kept up indefinitely it'll only cause a momentary blip.You might preempt some things by preregistering fs2006.com/org/net, thus cutting off at least one potential venue for the poachers to snare beginning users of the next likely release.

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