Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Virgins Letters to thieves


has got a lot of thieves up in arms. here is a typical comment on the BBC website:

“I think it is just stupid because people cant be bothered 2 buy every cd with there favourite song on because people might not like all the songs they sing”


Don’t buy it then. Don’t think you are still entitled to have it. Do these people ever pay in restaurants? Or do they only pay for the chips they ate, not the few they left because they were a bit too crispy?

I’m sick of thieves trying to rationalise their actions. this attitude is so widespread now, that I am wondering about what other programming work I could do for a living, after the next game is done. I just don’t see the point of working so hard to make stuff people expect to take for free. it’s soul-destroying…

Cue someone tryinfg to re-define theft to make taking other peoples work for free seem ok…


13 thoughts on Virgins Letters to thieves

  1. “Cue someone tryinfg to re-define theft to make taking other peoples work for free seem ok…”

    It’s not OK, but you’re the one redefining terms here. It may be theft by some dubious colloquial definitions, but abusing the English language in such a way does tend to render perfectly good words meaningless in time.

  2. Fine, lets call it “copying someone else’s hard work, against their will, without compensating them in any way, whilst leeching off the honesty of people who pay for it.”
    Thats a bit of a mouthful though.

  3. I’m sorry. I was called away to dinner and posted that before I made the actual point I had in mind.

    Basically, the language seems to be lacking a good word here. Theft is not accurate, and tends to sidetrack the discussion due to this. Piracy has been hijacked by the pirates, and isn’t taken seriously. As I see it, the only way something will actually be done about the issue, with changes to the law and so on, will be if there is a proper, non-romanticised, accurate term that doesn’t sound as weak and insignificant as “copyright infringement.”

  4. yes this is very true, but as it affects the producer in a similar way to theft, its probably the nearest word we have right now.

  5. Actually it *is* stupid. The point the English-challenged commenter was saying to the BBC news piece is absolutely right.

    If you like a song by a band, and are willing to pay for it, you have only a few options. 1) To buy a CD where the song you like is bundled with 12 others that you have no interest in buying, or 2) To buy a digital track that incorporates DRM protection which then limits your ability to listen to that song in the way you want to by requiring specialised hardware (ipod) or software (windows media player) to listen to it.

    I am not condoning copytheft (or whatever we want to call this) but there is surely no argument that the music industry’s business model is broken and needs an overhaul.

    The problem with this approach is that over the long term it will not work. You cannot scare people into not sharing music with lawsuits – there have been countless lawsuits in the past and there is no impact detectable on the amount of sharing that takes place.

    DRM doesn’t work either – if the tech is too weak, it will be bypassed and you will lose sales through copying, and if the tech is too strong, you once again limit your audience to only those who have the correct platfrom, and lose sales anyway.

    There is no question in my mind that people should be paid for their efforts – particularly people whose efforts are creative and enhance our culture. But none of this action is to protect the income of the artist, it is to protect the income of the distribution chain.

    Another way to look at this is to turn it around. What if music distribution for money becomes a totally unviable proposition? What happens next?

    The first thing that would happen is we would see an end to those Idol type shows – there would be no money in the follow up contract. We would see 90% of the crap music that is hyped out there disappear. No more manufactured bands. The unit-shift mentality of the music industry would have to go.

    This means that people with actual talent that are able to perform their songs would have far less competition.

  6. I agree with Paul. Sales are trying to be generated using outdated methods. People just need to be more creative about how they use their property and stop going on about how there’s no money to be made in games. Blizzard make over a billion a year on one game alone. They’re not making money from people buying their game, they’re making money from people playing their game. There just needs to be more creativity and adjustment towards the type of world we live in now.

  7. Blizzard earns a lot of money because they made a gigantic MMORPG thanks to the truckload of money they made with the previous games they made and published the “outdated” way, by selling boxes with CD in it. The only difference is that they sold their CD games back when Internet was not making PC piracy easy as pie. And now, how do they attract that many customers ? Well, a good game (agreed) and some massive advertising everywhere… They have a humongous budget and they use it well, that’s it. Maybe you suggest everyone does the same ? Sounds like a plan.

    As for the “one song I like and I don’t wanna buy the whole album”, there *are* sites where you can buy that one song in DRM-free formats, and there are also good chances that this one song you like, if it is that good, will be published as single anyway.

    Finally, you pinpoint examples, while Cliff’s argument was generic : people tend more and more to justify theft, and that’s wrong.

  8. fine. I’ll make kudos an MMORPG, even though I hate them, and it would be a design disaster and not benefit the game in any way. Or I’ll just make it demand a web connection to play single player.
    Even then some son-of-a-bitch will try and hack it, because he is born with some pathetic sense of entitlement to take my work for free.

    And if you think that piracy will bring about a lovely new world order where there are more innovative, passionate and indie bands, that’s just wrong. I was in a band, i did the whole struggling musician thing, and if I knew 100% there was no way to make a living from it, there is no way I would have gone to so much grief and hassle to even try it.

    People have to pay rent. Even musicians.

  9. I don’t have any objection to ISPs watching your connection to try to stop theft or piracy, or whatever you want to call it. Piracy is clearly wrong and illegal.

    What I do have a problem with is the potential for technology such as the internet to be used by other people and organisations (without naming names) for potential Big Brother type surveillance.

    I believe that allowing ISPs to monitor exactly what your doing at all times on the internet is the start of a slippery slope to something entirely more sinister and potentially more damaging to our society than piracy.

    It’s the same kind of thing that BT was trying to do a couple of months back. They were trying to do targeted advertising based on your search history. Basically your search history was stored and a third party was going to be allowed to access it.

    Maybe it would be better to shut down the source of these illegal files instead of watching us all (i.e. shut down file sharing sites)?

  10. I’m with Cliffski.

    To the earlier commenter who pointed out you only have two options when you like a song – 1) Buy a CD full of songs you don’t like, or 2) Get it in a restrictive DRM format.

    You missed the third and most important option, the only one that actually tells the producer that they’re not meeting your needs. Here, I’ll fill it out for you..

    3) Don’t buy it.

  11. To that same commenter, I generally find that tracks on the same album that I don’t like tend to grow on me after the first couple of listens. Also, they’re still producing Singles CDs, so you could see if that particular track is a Single.

  12. @Nick

    I don’t know if you have noticed, but people AREN’T buying the songs. They are downloading them for free.

    So they ARE demonstrating that needs aren’t being met, and the result of this isn’t adaptation and working out a better solution, but lawsuits.


    So what? CD Singles are being phased out and are a seriously dumb way to distribute music – so now you have 200 CD singles, and getting up every three minutes to change CDs is going to add significantly to your enjoyment for sure. And forcing someone to buy something they may like once they have listened to it a few times is equally nonsensical – I can’t think of many sales strategies that involve you paying for something you don’t want in order to buy the thing you do want.

  13. re: Drealmer

    I remember back when Warcraft 2 came out, pirating it consisted of copying a friends CD to your HD and changing a setting in a text based config file.

    Afterwards, realizing Blizzard made awesome games, I bought Starcraft, 2 Starcraft, SC Brood Wars, and the Warcraft 2 Battle Chest.

    The piddly little 3 level demos Blizzard liked releasing at the time didn’t tell me how much staying power their games had, and if they were worth my money.

    (For note, I was also about 11 at the time)

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