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Tom Allensworth

Reporting Illegal copying/distribution.

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Hi.Just been surfing around the net and found a link to a bittorrent site that has files for payware scenery. Surely this is illegal?!As a law abiding member of the flightsim communityI feel that I should report this but who to? Preumably I should email the developer directly and allert them. Is this best way to go?I would also like to state the obvious, that I have notand do not intent to use this bittorrent file!Thanks for any comments on this issueAndy

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>Hi.>Just been surfing around the net and found a >link to a bittorrent site that has files for >payware scenery. Surely this is illegal?!it certainly is.>As a law abiding member of the flightsim community>I feel that I should report this but who to? Preumably >I should email the developer directly and allert them. >Is this best way to go?>developer is a good start. If you can you may also want to report the site to the proper law enforcement authorities (especially useful if the site is in your own country) and report it as a crime which means the police will be forced to take action.

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jwenting is correct. Best thing to do first is contact the people who made the software.The bad part is that this is really becomming a big problem, and it is going to end up ruining the hobby. It will come to point where quality developers will not want to work any more because they see their stuff getting ripped off like that all the time, and it has to be hurting them $$ wise. This something a lot of people on these forums dont appreciate. Avsim is the only major FS website I know of that has taken a stand against this. If you look on the front news page you will see a place where you can report this as well. I dont know what kind of action they take, but it could only be a good thing I think.

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I'm sure all the developers know very well that this goes on. Only thing they can do about it is to dream up new and complicated ways to authinticate valid users and hope that there are enough honest people out there to keep them in business. Matt

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>The bad part is that this is really becomming a big problem,>and it is going to end up ruining the hobby. It will come to>point where quality developers will not want to work any more>because they see their stuff getting ripped off like that all>the time, and it has to be hurting them $$ wise. I've heard this argument made here probably fifty times in the last 5 years, but the evidence just doesn't support it. What I see instead is a solid core group of thriving developers and the entrance of more and more quality developers and products into the market, not whimpering capitulation and headlong retreat because there are some thieves out there.Piracy, like shoplifting, will always be around, but I think we can safely assume that both add-on software makers and retail stores are far from extinction. Granted, a few companies (Ariane and FSD, among others) have thrown up a defensive (offensive?) wall around themselves that neither the average pirate nor the average potential customer can (or would want to) get through. They are not victims of the pirates, they are their own victims. Other enterprises (like Flight1 and PMDG) have implemented a fairly balanced set of compromises to protect their investments while not going so far as to make enemies out of their customers. And still others (like MAAM) take little precaution and trust there will be enough ethical people willing to pay them for their work to make it worth doing.>This (sic)>something a lot of people on these forums dont appreciateIt's not that I don't appreciate the conclusion you've drawn. I disagree with it.RegardsBob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-V L-300Santiago de Chile

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>>Other enterprises (like Flight1 and PMDG) have implemented a>fairly balanced set of compromises to protect their>investments while not going so far as to make enemies out of>their customers.>>Thanks Bob. That is exactly what we strive to do.You can never beat piracy. We do our best, but would prefer to trust our customers and spend our time developing product rather than fight a lost cause. Don't get me wrong, we are concerned about piracy and we do try to combat it, but try to do it inteligently.Best,Jim

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"I've heard this argument made here probably fifty times in the last 5 years, but the evidence just doesn't support it."What "evidence" are you referring to? None of us have any information that would constitute evidence. Only the developers themselves would know what their losses are. And I dont think any of them are "whimpering" or "capitulating" either. But I think quite a few of them would tell you that their production level would be much higher if they could put together larger teams of people interested in doing the work necessary. But after you have to split revenue up to a lot of guys and then the thieves pick you clean there is not a lot of motivation among good programmers. Hence the production is a lot slower. Even so, I never said any of them were whimpering or capitulating. But they are most certainly loosing a lot of $$.Perhaps you should consider that if you have heard something 50 times lately there might be something to it? Used to be that all of the software in FS, and really most of what you bought off the Internet or in the retail stores worked on the "trust" system too. Now almost everything you get has some form of protections system. Why is that if this is not a problem?

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It's known it goes on, but being able to catch pirates in the act can act as a deterrent at least against the casual ones.

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so you're saying that companies should do nothing because nothing they can do would prevent it anyway?That would result in piracy (or shoplifting) taking on such proportions that it would indeed become uneconomical to stay in business.Margins are slim, the few percent sales saved by deterring or preventing part of the losses due to criminal operations are enough to make it profitable.

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No he's stating that you need some measures to stop the casual pirate type but you have to take care not to overdo it because you wil scare away some of your customers that way.IE if in every shop you would be accompanied by a guard that will walk behind you and makes funny noises even when you just touch the mercandise you will solve the problem with shoplifters but you will also lose a big part of your clientele that will not tollerate being treated that way.Nobody realy knows how much is lost by pirating software because a part of the pirate group will never ever buy software the only reason that the software is on their computer is because they could pirate it.Recent discussions (for example about FSD) give reason to believe that we have reached the point where paying customers are mistaken for pirates and they are left without the product they paid for. When anti piracy goes bad and becomes highway robbery watch it tonight on Fox News ;-)

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The 'evidence' is that the add-on market is still growing with new developers entering the market almost every month. For example 1 year ago whe only had 1 add-on developer that did a FS texture set (FScene). Now we also have texture sets by BEV and by GE.Interestingly the price for such an add-on has decreased dramaticly due to some healty competition we can now have a full set of replacement World textures for $ 25,- (GE) instead of $ 150 (FScene).You could even say that FScene is more harmed by competitors then pirates.

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"Recent discussions (for example about FSD) give reason to believe that we have reached the point where paying customers are mistaken for pirates and they are left without the product they paid for." That would be one interpretation. You are assuming that the "paying customers" were not also poaching software. Or that the "incidents" they are reporting even happened. That they were falsely accused of committing piracy. You and I don't know that one way or another, and you have no evidence to support that accusation, just as I cant speak with authority about a software company's claims. But I have seen enough trolls in the forums over the years who just love to stir the pond, and if they sense they can get a good fire going going against a person or company you will see them more often, so I don't believe everything I read and im not impressed by how often accusations come up.I do note that these companies are not making public accusations against any person. I have previously stated when topics like this get started that it is really easy for an anonymous individual to make accusations against a company. It would be very foolish to simply believe that at face value. If it seems to you like there have been a lot of complaints (I have really only seen a few very vocal ones) it could also be because there is a lot of piracy going on, as is illustrated in the original post above.Personally I find it a bit hard to believe that any of these companies, FSD included, that are trying to make money in such a small market would form some kind of search and destroy hit squad to find innocent people to abuse. Im gonna bet they have better things to do. I'm more inclined to think on the occasional instance where it comes up they have good reason to make such an accusation and they are just trying to protect themselves.

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'That would result in piracy (or shoplifting) taking on such proportions that it would indeed become uneconomical to stay in business."It obviously has not become so bad that the devlopers are going out of business, because that it not happening, at least as we look on the outside. But I think thats mostly because they have been protecting themselves with anti-piracy measures, at least on some level. But when I look at all the peer-to-peer sites out there, and all of the Warez sites and newsgroups, I have to think the problem has become an epidemic. Not at all like it was a few years ago. Its become a serious problem.

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"It's known it goes on, but being able to catch pirates in the act can act as a deterrent at least against the casual ones."I think the problem is the casual ones, not a group of dedicated hackers looking to steal stuff. There are people like that, but they just get into cracking the software, like a sport. They probably never even run it, except to see if it works.But with the pirated/cracked versions of the software so easily accessible now, unlike it was just a few years ago, I think a lot of people who would normally buy the software get tempted into seeing if they can get it for free. That is probably particularly true with hobby/niche software like flight sim. Its not an exclusive club of techno-geeks cracking software for sport. Its just plain folks casually installing cracked software.

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>That would be one interpretation. You are assuming that the>"paying customers" were not also poaching software. Or that>the "incidents" they are reporting even happened. That they>were falsely accused of committing piracy. You and I don't>know that one way or another, and you have no evidence to>support that accusation, just as I cant speak with authority>about a software company's claims. So you admit you don

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>But with the pirated/cracked versions of the software so>easily accessible now, unlike it was just a few years ago, I>think a lot of people who would normally buy the software get>tempted into seeing if they can get it for free. That problem is easy to solve: just abolish the internet and all problems are gone! In other words: modern technology produces its own problems. It is the same with CD-writers: first they are advertised so that everybody spends his money to buy these machines and then record companies realize to their big surprise that people really use these writers to copy music! What a surprise! Don

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>...(and the illegal ones do not cost them any extra money>anyway)...That is a fallacy. If the 'pirates' download the complete package from the software vendor, then use a KeyGen they obtained from some P2P site, the software vendor is "stuck" with the cost of the bandwidth used and receives no income from that download...TANSTAAFL**There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch... Robert Heinlein (1950)Simply put, no matter how you parse it, someone ends up paying for it!

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>>...(and the illegal ones do not cost them any extra money>>anyway)...>>That is a fallacy. If the 'pirates' download the complete>package from the software vendor, then use a KeyGen they>obtained from some P2P site, the software vendor is "stuck">with the cost of the bandwidth used and receives no income>from that download...And if they download it via p2p (which is a common way)?Marco

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Moonraker,>So you admit you dont know the "truth" either...Yeah thats the whole point. But then neither do you, and many of the guys that like to always "pitch in" when a flame thread gets started. But while I really cant say, I am not making accusations at a person or a company hiding behind the rock of anonymity. So I am very skeptical of flame threads.>Statements like "You are assuming that the "paying customers" were>not also poaching software. Or that the "incidents" they are>reporting even happened. That they were falsely accused of>committing piracy." are used by you to make persons incredulous.I am saying would should be obvious. That if you don't know the truth of the situation yourself, anonymous accusations are just that. Nothing more and nothing less. But anyone who has any experience with forums knows that there are people out there who may in fact be in the wrong, but take advantage of the forums and anonymity to trash talk someone. So anything I read in a flame thread I take with a grain of salt. Thats just common sense.Not for a minute would I think you or anyone else in this thread is supporting piracy. I think most people appreciate that it is doing a lot of damage. But when you say "their "safety procedures" do not work correctly" you are again making an assumption based on anonymous accusations. You are doing what you claim the software companies are doing. Leaping to conclusions without hard facts. Just my thoughts.

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companies are going out of business and have been for years.It's just not reached critical mass yet, in other words the remaining market is still large enough to support the companies that are left and the occasional newcomer.But I've seen friends and (former) colleagues loose their jobs because their employers were forced to shut down for being unable to survive in a market with the levels of piracy that exist.And for many others it's ballancing on the edge almost constantly, weighing the cost of adding protection against the lost revenue from more piracy if you don't add such protection.The FS addon industry is in a way lucky in that it's a small and reasonably loyal market with a relatively highly educated userbase (on average of course), a market segment where piracy is relatively low.If a company like Flight1 has to take 50% (guess) pirated content into account, a major creator of mass entertainment software like Electronic Arts has to count on 90% in most markets.That's why you're seeing draconian measures by companies to protect themselves as well as can be (knowing full well there will always be someone cracking whatever you can come up with, but you're buying yourself time to recover your investment).

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>And if they download it via p2p (which is a common way)?Then its still stealing, which is the main point. What Bill said about the bandwidth is true in a lot of cases Im sure. Its just of question of whether they are ripping somone off once or twice.

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not with downloaded content for which key generators are available.For example, someone creating a key generator for UT Europe will host the 100KB key generator on his bittorrent stream, not the 1.5GB product.The users of the key generator will drive F1 to high bandwidth cost by downloading the full product, then not paying for it.That's where companies like FSD and Ariane have a better solution in not handing users a download link until after payment has been processed.And that's exactly the reason they do that too, saves themselves a lot of money (also from repeated downloads by existing customers who don't bother to back up their installers, something everyone recommends).And then there's a the support cost.There's a constant trickle (and occassional flood) of pirates demanding free support and upgrades to their pirated content (sometimes even going so far as to admit it's a pirated copy and can you please tell me how to get it to work, the key generator is faulty).Debunking the fraudulent flames on public forums which are a result of would be pirates taking out their frustration over being unable to crack some protection system also takes up resources (and can cost sales from would be customers who think the flames are true complaints from disgruntled customers rather than fantasies from failed pirates).

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Good point. I had not even thought of the consequences of letting people download the file first. I think you are right. Actually, most download software is purchase first, then get a download link. Probably one reason why.

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Or take a more reasonable approach like the guys who created Galactic Civilization 2, a game which surpassed the sales of the first GC game, _in its first two weeks_.The reason for such a dramatic rise in sales - word of mouth, and the complete lack of copy protection in the game. They've been consistently ranked in the top 10 on GameSpot for the last few weeks, no small feat, and people are saying they've clearly found a winning formula for both protecting their property as well as enabling customers to have exactly the experience one expects with software - no obstacles in your way when you go to use, backup, reuse, or reinstall said software.Now, one may ask how in the world do they expect to stop piracy this way? They don't. But they did make a very smart decision that will definitely severely deter it - updates to the game (which they produce often and are usually chock full of new features, fixes, and tweaks) require a valid serial number, which you can only get if you purchase the game. They check the serial number on their server when you go to update the game, so unless you like being stuck with an inferior version 1.00 game for the rest of your life, you'll pony up the $40 for a legit copy.I think FS add-on developers would be wise to think of alternatives to the draconion, inefficient, unreliable and ineffective methods in use today.

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>That problem is easy to solve: just abolish the internet and>all problems are gone! In other words: modern technologyHahaha... ever hear of BBS systems? Piracy was rampant long ago in the dark ages of the 1980s. }(>produces its own problems. It is the same with CD-writers:>first they are advertised so that everybody spends his money>to buy these machines and then record companies realize to>their big surprise that people really use these writers to>copy music! What a surprise! Don

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