# Topic: The Calculus of Piracy

1. ## The Calculus of Piracy

Here is something that someone pointed out from the slashdot website that you may find interesting:

Originally posted at Slashdot:

What most people seem unwilling to recognize is that there\'s a lot more factors to consider.

without piracy:
- Normal customer base (x)

Most people think:

with piracy:
- Paying customers (x\')
- Pirates (y)

The equation created is x\' = x-y meaning piracy has cost you y sales. It\'s just not that simple. It\'s more like this:

with piracy:
- Paying customers (x\')

Pirates:
- Those who would have payed if no crack was avaliable - (a)
- Those who won\'t pay, but heard of it through piracy - (b)
- \"Try before you buy\" who decide it\'s not worth it - (d)
- collectors who pirate, but don\'t use - (e)

- New people refered/introduced to by pirates other than (a) - (y)
- Those who won\'t/can\'t buy your program, but donate in other ways - (z)

I\'m not saying anything about anyone\'s morals, right or wrong, simply how their actions affect the developer.

The equation now looks like this: x\' = x - a + c + y + z*(whatever ratio you consider these donations to be worth)

Note that b, d and e won\'t pay no matter what, and so are simply free advertising, and not a lost sale.

So the only thing those people could cost you is an injury to your pride. Not such a bad thing in my books, perhaps even a good thing. Pride can be quite a detriment.

Also note, every group except x and d can bring more members to every group.

The question is: Is a > c+y?
(Ignoring z, since in most cases it can only be 0: How do you \"donate\" back to MS? Note this isn\'t a piracy problem, but rather companies refusing to accept the reality of the world: that these people exist.)

In my experience, b, c and y are huge factors, while a is very minor...
<font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">The author makes a compelling case about the effects of piracy being overstated. Piracy is not yet an issue with GPO but that will probably change. Do you think more CP measures should be taken with GPO or is our efforts better spent elsewhere? What are your thoughts on this matter?

Gary Garritan

2. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

I think the current CP system is sufficient and would like to see your time put into making GPO the \"best\" in the world (while keeping the cost low [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] .

Thanks for the great product.

Aaron

3. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

Gary, I think that you have already done all you can against piracy and that is that you have produced a sensational package at a really sensible price. If some people aren\'t prepared to pay your price then I believe that they would have never been customers anyway.

Just move on and don\'t let the thought of these people, who wouldn\'t have been your customers anyway, distract you from your goals.

Although this sounds really simple it is the emotional difficulty, of the idea that people will do this to you, that you have to bear. Just try not to think about it, it is destructive.

Onward and Upwards!! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

Kind regards

Frank

PS Obviously if a technique comes along which gives high protection without a lot of cost or hassle...then go for it!

4. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

I\'m sorry, but what\'s the CP?

Fra

5. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

Fra,

Copy Protection. Like USB Dongles, or CD Keys or online authorization (which is the case for GPO).

6. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

Gary - your product is such an outstanding value - I doubt you need to worry as much as some others. That being said - in the past I have literally made my product selection of various types of software based upon the ease of CP use by me...the paying customer. Take a look at what is going on with the VSampler with Sonar right now. A good product reputation ruined by aggravating copy protection. I hate to admit it, but nothing turns me off like the need to insert a disk to start using a program that I paid for (lets not talk dongles) . To me - a very lazy guy - this is often the \"feature\" that tips me toward a competitor. Chasing after Pirates also gives the impression of \"Big Brother\" and many of the dweebs that would buy these products really hate that. Look at the way the record industry if percieved these days to get my drift (boy do they NOT get it!)

7. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

I have proof that DIVA has made it\'s way over to some .ru sites.
What can we do? I run the risk but I belive allowing a customer to open up and edit is important.

We are looking into a few methods of protection now but not a hardware thing.

You will see VOCI, GPO version or BELA D, have it\'s own player - but what about the GIGA side of things?

8. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

I agree with the replies above. Also, there was a discussion about piracy a while ago over at the Sample Libraries forum and I wrote the following there:

The issue is not all black and white. I know a lot of musicians that started out with whatever they found on the net and then purchased what they used once they could afford it. They do feel responsible and they did make up for things in the end. The industry does benefit from these grey zones and wouldn\'t have done so if it wasn\'t for piracy. But don\'t get me wrong here, I\'m not trying to defend piracy. What I\'m trying to say is that the industry has to realize who their targeted customers really are. Many of these are people that will choose to cross the border to be able to realize their artistic dreams and goals. Once the tools are available for this, the moral aspects of how they are acquired will be secondary. It\'s a bit like selling food to the starving. Some that can\'t afford it will steal it, just because they as hungry can not resist a cake in front of their nose. This does not make them \"better people\" in any way, but at the same time the reality of all this piracy does not tell us that \"a lot of musicians are simple crooks.\"

When we developed Groove Agent one of our primary goals was that we were going to provide a fully functional demo, limited only in content. People should be able to really try it out before they bought it. This did not stop the full version of Groove Agent from being available on the net pretty much as soon as it was out, BUT a lot of people appreciated the fully functional demo and bought Groove Agent based on this. I would actually go as far as stating that the demo as such is a good example of preventing some of the piracy by being realistic about who the customers are and what their needs are.
I would never buy a car unless I could take it for a drive first. If that is a fact for a simple issue of transportation, then how does it apply to the tools of peoples dreams? I have bought software over the years that was hyped and had no demo, only to find out that it was not for me or even crap. That is not a good experience.
Regarding sample libraries it\'s of course harder to provide demos, but it\'s still possible. Range limits, velocity limits etc. If I\'m able to use this thing, perhaps even a few notes of it in a song with a license fee of having to buy the full product if the music is released in any commercial context, then I\'m definitely hooked for buying the full version. Because I am using a legitimate demo version, the developer has inspired me to do the right thing without a dilemma. I can create music and be proud at the same time - who in their right mind would say no to that?

What I\'m trying to say here is that I think that the first thing to do is to get rid of as many excuses as possible. To prevent piracy by inspiration, not by force. This is caring for the customers and by doing so clearing some of the grey zones, perhaps making the matter easier to deal with in the end.

--------------

The above applied to GPO is that you have a lot of really good demo material already and the only thing missing is an application demo. All this, together with the low price of GPO and the fact that the support and community support is great, is removing the arguments for piracy one by one. Many of those that will use cracked versions of GPO in the future will probably also buy it eventually. Apart from ethics there are just too many good reasons why, so in conclusion I doubt that time invested in better CP will pay off.

Cheers,
Wirebird

9. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

Originally posted by Garritan:
...The author makes a compelling case about the effects of piracy being overstated. Piracy is not yet an issue with GPO but that will probably change. Do you think more CP measures should be taken with GPO or is our efforts better spent elsewhere? What are your thoughts on this matter?

Gary Garritan [/QB]
<font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Gary,

If it ain\'t broke, don\'t fix it! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] You\'ve chosen the right path, IMO.

Rick

10. ## Re: The Calculus of Piracy

Well, needless to say I find the observation very valid.

What tends to really bug me about the NI copy protection is one very arbitrary element...that one cannot de-authorize and reauthorize the same machine.

Take a musician for example who wants to install on two machines in the studio, but who performs on a third machine. Why can\'t he deauthorize a studio machine and authorize the \"road\" box for performance, then deauthorize that box and reauthorize the studio machine when done? What about someone who would want to deauthorize a home machine, travel to a studio in another town, authorize a machine there--then deauthorize that machine when done, and reauthorize the home machine?

It just seems completely arbitrary that the NI scheme does not allow a machine to be deauthorized, then reauthorized later. Given a specific number of authorizations, why wouldn\'t a person be allowed to use them as his needs dictated? It\'s no more or less total authorizations.

I\'d be very interested to hear the reason that seemingly arbitrary restriction exists. I find it baffling.

Thanks for bringing this discussion to the forum, Gary. Interesting stuff.