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Tom Allensworth

How damaging is piracy?

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Graham Waterfield is closing Phoenix Simulation Software. In his statement he says:"The financial difficulties are mainly caused by the individuals who preferred to use sites like (snip) instead of paying to support the growth and continuation of PSS and then clogging up our forums with technical support queries for products you don

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What does it matter? Any amount of piracy is too much! Whether it brought down the company or not, it was still robbing PSS of the dollars they deserved for time spent on fantastic add ons.Then the pirates having the nerve to ask for help from the same company they ripped off? Gimme a break.There is only 2 groups, those who pay, and those who steal. No matter the reason someone had for pirating software, it is stealing and ripping off people who keep this hobby strong and fresh.Come on by my house, steal my TV and say you just want to try it out before you buy it. We'll see if you make it out the front door......I don;t care what group your in, your still gonna be hurting.

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I have no detailed knowledge of the financials of any FS Addon company - but the impression I get is that most are small businesses which run on a fairly low margin.They also have a tremendous problem creating anything close to a sustainable cash flow.I see a lot of those type businesses - restaurants - in my real job - and I see a lot of them fail every year.Like restaurants, FS Addon developers have to put in a substantial amount of capital before they get a product which can sell.Then they have to make enough off the initial release sales to not only payback the loans/ capital it took to create that product - but to have enough to support the next development cycle.Running on such a margin - it does not take much in the way of lost sales to put a company into the red.The PSS market was a very small part of the FlightSim world - it does not take a lot of piracy and resultant lack sales to bring the cash flow below the level necessary to sustain the company.We do know that there are websites and technologies dedicated to sharing files. Frankly I would be very surprised if there are not a substantial number of people using PSS aircraft that do not even know they have a pirated copy.There is a fourth group in my opinion - people who do not question that a file from an internet friend is 'free'.While Microsoft can weather the loss of a million sales of Vista to pirates - small companies cannot weather the loss of a few thousand sales.I do not think the FlightSim world matches the music and movie industry - but their contention that near half of all downloads are pirated copies makes you realize the size of the problem is substantial.I would not be surprised if 25% of the copies in use of any payware product are pirated.

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I asked a similar question in the PSS thread further down this forum"But isn't the issue not how much is available but what percentage of the POSSIBLE purchasing consumer base resorts to a pirated copy rather than a legit copy."

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I question whether many who download infringing copies would actually pay. I get the impression the problem is infringing users demand support, which adds expense with no return for the developer / rights holder.I object to the use of the term "piracy" in this context, though I understand rights holders have been successful in creating this definition or concept.scott s..

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I suspect that Graham's reaction to the pirates is just as much moral as financial. I've said it myself, if I ever walked away from scenery design it would more likely be because I couldn't cope with the thieves, rather than the lack of income (and believe me, sometimes there is a lack). It not only erodes your belief in the value of your own product, but puts you face to face with people who insist on the right to support with no intention of ever purchasing anything.At one time a beta version of one of my airports escaped into the wild, and the reaction was comical -- so many people asking me how to get it working properly. Well, it would have been comical if I hadn't stressed out so much at the time... My reply -- 'just buy the finished product' was normally met with a 'huh?' as if these folk just don't understand the concept of buying something, and would rather whine when you make it difficult for them to steal it.Anyway, I didn't mean to get onto that, what I really wanted to say is this. There is a small group of people who just need to be educated about the ramifications of what they are doing. If you have a friend who says, hey, take a look at this, and hands you a disc, then it may not even cross your mind that this is theft. However once to comes to my attention, and I point it out in pretty clear terms, many are totally abashed and are happy to pay for the scenery. This group may be small, but every convert is an added customer.But for the majority of the thieves, it appears to be a source of pride to them that they never have to pay for anything. I am not going to change that, they'll always be there, I just resent the fact that the nature of the way I sell and support my project -- via the web -- brings them right to my doorstep.Robin, Godzone Virtual Flight, for 'Real New Zealand' sceneryhttp://www.windowlight.co.nz

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I think it is quite simple: if someone says 'You may use my stuff but you have to pay for it' you have to pay for it to use it. Simple as that. Getting it any other way and not paying for it is stealing, piracy, etc.The group three that's introduced by the topic starter is nothing but a big bunch of very spoiled whiners. This part: 'For these people, the prospect of actually spending $30.00 is painful' also goes for me and still I belong to group two. Do you think spending 30 bucks is not 'painfull' for someone who actually PAYS for his software? Of course it is. And that's why I do NOT have every addon I'd like to have. I only have those that are worth my precious money. Right now that's TWO in total for FSX... Not much, I know, but that's how it is. If you haven't got the money for it, don't moan or complain or whatever, just don't buy it and don't use it and be happy with what you've got. Almost everyone nowadays seems to think they are entitled to own everything for free. Ridiculous. Group three exists of spoiled brats. They download stuff because everyone does. How stupid and low can you get. There's a few thousand years of civilization and evolution for ya: greedy people who just can't get enough and want to have it all for free because their neighbour has and does it too... There is NOTHING that justifies piracy. No one in group three can say something that will make me say 'Ah, yes, well, in that case...' and they KNOW it, because they KNOW it is wrong. Everyone knows strealing is wrong and I'm always surprised by the fact that many (apparently!) decent people steal software without blinking an eye.Think I'll better stop now. ;)

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OMGIts a BLACK or WHITE issue. To STEAL or NOT TO STEALIf you have ever been robbed then you know the feeling.

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>OMG>>Its a BLACK or WHITE issue. >>To STEAL or NOT TO STEAL>>If you have ever been robbed then you know the feeling.>>>Yes, but that isn't what the thread is about. It should be taken as read that piracy is wrong. The question being asked related to the impact of piracy on company profits not the morality of it.

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Everyone seems to recognize that walking into a store, picking up a piece of packaged software and walking out without paying is stealing. For some reason those very same people will download music, movies and software from the internet without the same moral conscience. People who create music, software, or whatever deserve compensation for their creativity. People who download pirated software are thieves just as if they walked into a store and shoplifted a boxed version. Downloading a pirated program and then asking for support is the outer limit of thievery. If you download pirated software, you're a thief just as if you walked in the store and took it out without paying."And that's all I have to say about that."

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>OMG>>Its a BLACK or WHITE issue. >>To STEAL or NOT TO STEAL>>If you have ever been robbed then you know the feeling.>>>A good point, but I can see how it gets cloudy for some. Because I work with computers, I'm normally the one friends and relations turn to for advice and help with their computers. One person, a widow in her 60s, once asked me to show her how to copy a music CD, so I ran through the process using Windows Media Player. Now, whenever I visit, she is quite excited about the new additions to her collection -- from borrowing friend's CDs and copying them. She shares them around her friends, and has quite a wee pirate operation going on there.She always offers me the chance to copy whatever I like, and is unable to understand why I don't, no matter how plainly I point out that this is theft. She thinks I'm somehow joking. As far as she is concerned, she is just sharing with her friends.

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As for cloudy-I was talking to a Cfo of a company the other day. He was telling me how they had to fire the president of one of the companies they own for embezzlement. I commented that I was puzzled why anyone embezzles as they always get caught. He remarked to me-everyone embezzles-it is just a matter of where you draw the line. He then explained that when an employee uses the Xerox machine for some personal copies, or takes a few pens home from the company-that is all costing the corporation on the bottom line. He said that is assumed and factored in-but there is a price point where you draw the line with what will be accepted and now becomes a crime.Thank you for mentioning the music Cd's-every time someone copies one of those it is taking a small amount from a working musicians retirement contribution-which is not all the great to start with. Perhaps your widow friend would understand that one!It isn't just the big corporations that get hurt.....http://www.mediafire.com/imgbnc.php/1b5baf...b9f427f694g.jpgMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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The original topic is interesting since it draws from Waterfield's letter. Not to hijack this thread, but I also find it interesting that Waterfield never mentions (perhaps never considered) that PSS went down because others, like myself, decided we wouldn't purchase or use a PSS product after experiencing a less than statisfactory encounter with PSS. Piracy has no bearing on the lost income from boycotters and this same group had no impact on customer service, but I'm sure it impacted the bottom line.When PSS first launched, they were the best at what they offered. I was a big supporter initially. Then the forum went to moderated status, loyal customers were sometimes treated rudely, PSS products didn't compare to competing products at comparable price points and I didn't see the point in giving PSS any more of my money. I haven't used a PSS product on my computer since 2004.Although piracy is a big problem in the FS industry, and it affects more people than just the developers, I find it odd that no one has mentioned how boycotting PSS affected the company. I know I'm not the only one to turn away from PSS over the years.Bruce

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Steal anything in my house, your not gonna hurt at all...Take your pick:S/W .357, Springfield XD .357 Sig, Mossberg 12, or a few rounds from a 7.62. Which would you prefer? :)

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>>Anyway, I didn't mean to get onto that, what I really wanted>to say is this. There is a small group of people who just need>to be educated about the ramifications of what they are doing.For some, you can educate them about the ramifications all you want, but they do not have the moral development to fully comprehend what you will be teaching them.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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Yep - me too Bruce..I was done with them after the Airbus series. I owned everything they made up to then, and nothing after ...Every paywear addon will have its issues. It's how the company addresses them and there attitude toward thier customers that gets my money.I agree that piracy is not good as it impact's profit, but it's also been around as long at pc's have, even when I had my my TRS-80 LOL. Expect it, do your best at prevention with cost/loss evaluations - and build your business model to deal with it. To me it's its just another overhead liability, your not going to prevent it, and it will usually cost you more money and headaches to reduce it than your losing in net profit - so just do the best you can to minimise the expense.Save the money on complicated piracy prevention and put it into better customer service and or product, I'm sure you'll be farther ahead ... I have no problem having to enter/validate my serial number to be able to enter a forum for support, but put some crap like sony's or steam's brute force protection etc on - and you'll never see my coin - as I don't need the grief that usually goes with it ...Regards'Garett

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Have you people no larger concern in life than that final $30 you spent with PSS? Read the press release. There is more to this story than piracy, and more to this story than the fact that your pet bugs weren't fixed.You have hearts of stone, and you have a lot of company in this and other threads. I am absolutely appalled.

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>Thank you for mentioning the music Cd's-every time someone>copies one of those it is taking a small amount from a working>musicians retirement contribution-which is not all the great>to start with. Perhaps your widow friend would understand that>one!I have no sympothy or love for the record companys. They are Bold face thieves who hold the only source for a product that they charge prices for that can only be compared to the thieves in Washington.I can buy an album as a cassette tape for $ 6.00 and the same ablum costs $14.00 on a medium that is much cheaper to produce. They are blatant thieves who deservere to die. And if the cassette breaks their anser is to buy another one...Do you expect me to buy a CD for my home, another for my car and another for my portable CD player?I support anti piracy, but I could care less about the record industry.

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>Do you expect me to buy a CD for my >home, another for my car and another >for my portable CD player?why would you buy a CD for you car, house, etc? you can carry the CD to a new location or remove it from the home stereo and put it in the protable.also -http://www.theinternetpatrol.com/riaa-says...s-have-it-wrongthe issue is distribution of copyrighted material

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I agree Bruce. PSS is gone because they never understood how to run a business. Like you, I haven't bought a PSS product in years. Any company who treats their customers as PSS has done over the years is doomed to fail - and good riddance. For PSS to say that piracy is the issue is just an example of denial personified.Doug

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The people who record the records for the record company are little guys like me-everytime you copy a cd I lose a few cents contribution to my pension which the big ugly record company contributes for every cd sold not to mention a small yearly residual check depending on if it sells well.Just like Microsoft-the big ugly record companies are made up of lots of smaller people trying to make a living.http://www.mediafire.com/imgbnc.php/1b5baf...b9f427f694g.jpgMy blog:http://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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Yep. Piracy is wrong and there is no justifying it.But it is also wrong to release faulty products and treat your customers like dirt. If Mr. Waterfield wishes to hide his head in the sand and make piracy the scapegoat as the cause of his woes, then he might as well save himself the trouble of starting a 'new' PSS. It is doomed to fail.The only way for a company to survive is to provide quality products fairly priced with competent customer service. Then and only then can a company possibly expect to succeed. Piracy wasn't the cause of PSS's failure. If that were true, then NO add-on developers would survive. It was PSS's own practices and choices that killed them. Nothing more. Nothing less.-Rick----------- My System -----------P4 @ 2.53 GHz / 1GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce 6800XT, 256MB / Windows XP Home

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The answer we can't know exactly.However, it's unrealistic to assume that all pirates would never buy add-ons so that there would be no loss to the developrs. In reality there will be a loss in revenue but it's size is immaterial. Piracy is theft and pirates are thieves.

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I am a scenery designer of sorts. In partnership with others I worked on Ultimate Florida / FREEflow, Bahamas / FREEflow, Carribbean/ FREEflow, and a great many other sceneries that were freeware. About 4 years ago I did a number of towns in Alaska using Landclass. I believe there were 43 in all and it was uploaded to both Avsim and Flightsim. A gentleman that has a "Freeware" site that charges to have access to it, placed for sale, $10, 43 Alaskan Cities that were the exact same cities that I did for free. I think it's a bit out to think that 2 people choose the same 43 Alaskan Cities to do the landclass for.This is piracy. I did the work and he sold it and I never got a penny. This same gentleman thinks I'm off base to restrict my sceneries from his site and has threatened me with a lawsuit. You pass judgement on this one. Joe W.

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I think a fair way to look at it is like this.Lets assume that there is a Product X that sells for $30.00 USD...1. It sells 200 units over 3 months, for $6000.00 in total revenue.2. During this period, 100 copies are pirated.3. Lets estimate that 60% of this group would never purchase (kids, people without the money, or people who enjoy being a pirate).4. To be even more fair, lets say that 10 of these convert and purchase the fully licensed version.5. That leaves 30 lost sales for the vendor, or $600.00 USD. Translated, that is a 10% loss.Now, lets add these other factors...The vendor runs a small but nice web site. On this, maybe he has to pay for some extra bandwidth from the pirate activity... updates, etc. But not a huge deal, but it is measurable.Next, he and his partner do support. Some from the pirate group ask for support, and this takes time. Again, not huge, but measurable.Finally, a human factor. The vendor worked very hard in the evenings after work, and did enjoy the development process. Yes, he did miss some time with his family, but they were tolerant of his hobby, and he knew he would make it up to them. In fact, he plans to use funds for some hardware upgrades and a better family holiday. Or, maybe the vendor simply did it all out of passion, and as a way to get some additional revenue, or in some cases, full time revenue. But at the heart of this was a sincere effort in development.Now, he sees his work pirated. He sees the work tossed around with full disregrard... with the people doing it having zero respect for the violation, or in some cases, enjoying the taunting that sometimes comes with the territory. He is now angry, feels terribly violated, and in some cases helpless to do anything about it.This human factor greatly amplifies any of the concrete calculations in the first part. It leads to deflation of the development spirit... and lets hope he can put it enough aside so he can find the value to continue.So in many cases he can overcome the affects, but in some cases, the $600 lost revenue and the other measureable factors, mixed with the human factor, does have an affect that puts him over the top, and causes the vendor to withdraw somewhat, or completely. In another small way, in his mind, stopping the work is one way to not let the pirates to get the work... kind of an odd satisfaction, but and unfortunate side effect that does maybe factor in sometimes.So, the above is a way to look at it all.Also, piracy is still new in terms of the overall new industry of digital content. Laws have yet to be made to fully encompass this new economy. In time, as things adjust, and the legal system starts to have an influence on the situation, then there will be an overall better balance to the situation. The gates to the playground are open now with little consequences to what happens on the inside. But my guess is that this will change over time as much more content comes to us from the digital landscape.Until then, we can only hope that the integrety of the digital world as a whole can inch upwards.

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