The Price of PiracyThe issue of piracy has been front and center lately, with the recent press release from MadFinger Games declaring “unbelievably high” piracy within Android as the reason they reduced the price on Dead Trigger from $1 to free in the Google Play Store. Technology blogs jumped on the story and a huge discussion resulted – both about Dead Trigger and also the bigger issue of piracy in general. The main beneficiary of all this was MadFinger, whose downloads of Dead Trigger skyrocketed as a result of the increased publicity. Madfinger’s CEO then published an article for Gamezebo making similar allegations regarding pirating on iOS while making the game free in the App Store.
Do you pirate games/apps and if so, why?
If not, why not?
Is piracy a real problem for developers and do you think it will have a long term impact on the quality and quantity of games and apps available in the Play Store/Appstore/etc.?
What should be done, if anything, to prevent/police piracy?
Do you think that tech blogs have a responsibility to start an actual discussion of software piracy instead of acting as a widespread "blast" marketing opportunity for developers to promote their games/apps?
- 08-09-2012, 09:44 PM #2
Re: The Price of Piracy
Don't pirate games or apps.. I have no reason to. There are times when I've actually payed for an app twice for each device just to support the dev.. even if its a free app with a donation link, I always donate.
I do think it has an impact on devs... take a look at the entertainment industry, the only way musicians make money these days is by going on tour.. movie makers are also being affected, spend millions of dollars to produce a blockbuster and they're left with people bootlegging copies before its even in theatres.
What can be done? That's a tough one, you have DRM/copy protection but that always fails.. either someone will complain they can't make copies for private use.. or there's always tools out for decrypting.
Tech blogs do have a responsiblility.. Android Central has a zero tolerance policy towards piracy.. the second its spotted.. the account is banned and the post is deleted.
- 08-10-2012, 09:13 AM #3
- 10 Posts
Re: The Price of Piracy
I'll admit I used to... never bought a single app I had on Windows Mobile, except for a few chess trainers. When I started out with Android I did the same thing at first out of habit, but after a while, I realized that eventually the stuff I wanted would go on sale, and so I started buying apps I was using when they were .99 - 1.99 typically. Eventually, I developed a distaste for the pirated apps, since I learned to value the apps I purchased, and tended to use only those. Then I started reading about how pirating was hurting app development on Android vs iOS, and that was the last straw... since then, I will never ever use a pirated app on Android. I always wait for sales though... I very rarely pay full price. I would love Tasker and Titanium Backup Pro, but I probably won't pay what they're asking for those apps ($6+). In cases like that, I could possibly by tempted to pirate, but I simply won't use cracks on Android (but they won't get any of my money either). Then there's apps like Llama.. free and fully functional, but also has a donate ability... I'll probably donate multiple times (I have once already), since that app has become such a staple for me. Totally worth it (and more), and I want the dev to keep working on it.
The choice is simple.. you want nice apps on Android? Make the platform attractive to the devs.
Re: The Price of Piracy
Good comments. I personally think the app/game developer community needs to distance itself from the entertainment industry. Their model for fighting piracy is exactly the opposite approach that I would take. First, the models for distribution in those industries are much different - there are many more people involved in the process and they all want their cut - hence the very low return for the actual artists for album sales (in the music industry).
Second, the RIAA/MPAA approach is to sue their customers for exorbitant amounts - well above the actual value of the music/movie being pirated. These lawsuits impact probably no more than 0.0001% of people who are actually pirating the music and movies - not much of a deterrrant.
On top of that, they pay lobbyists millions of dollars to attempt to influence legislation which directly impacts the freedoms and liberties of legitimate users through laws like SOPA/PIPA/ACTA. Remember that the RIAA and MPAA were both in the PREMIERE position to be the leaders in distribution of the music and movie content. Instead, they have embraced oppressive DRM and further discouraged legitimate purchases by making sure you have to watch 10+ minutes of ads before the movie starts. These sorts of measures are exactly the opposite of what should be done and its why the MPAA and RIAA aren't the leaders in distributing this content (see Apple/Amazon/Google), but instead the leaders in litigation and almost universally disliked. I'd prefer to avoid that, plus the model for games/app distribution is more direct and there are many less parties involved.
DRM does not impact the people who pirate, and in fact encourages people to pirate because its much better to download a movie and just start watching it instead of buying a copy which has layers of DRM/protection which restricts the devices a user can watch/listen to the content and requires them to sit through endless advertisements. Of course people want to pirate stuff when its more convenient than actually purchasing the content legitimately.
Those industries are exactly the opposite of what the software development industry needs to do. I think we will because the people who suffer the most from the problem (the developers) aren't out of touch with the reality of the situation like those heading the RIAA and MPAA. They realize that measures like those don't work and I think you see a lot more developers consciously avoid including DRM because they realize the futility associated with that effort and also recognize that DRM only negatively impacts the legitimate buyers. I think as a community, we need to approach the problem much more intelligently than the RIAA and MPAA are capable of.
This is the message the casual users need to start pushing to their friends and family who do pirate stuff. I think alot of people "casually" pirate stuff because its easy to do. They aren't making a moral or ethical judgement call in their mind because they don't see the impact it can have. That's what I think the mobile community as a whole needs to be discussing. How can we positively impact the overall culture regarding piracy so that developers can be successful and continue to create great games and apps that make our devices that much better.
I think too often these day, the discussion about piracy is basically how it unfolded with Madfinger. The headlines are inflammatory, comments back and forth don't add any value, and nothing is gained. Claims of piracy made to generate headlines and create a huge marketing opportunity do nothing but benefit that sole developer and actually minimize the real discussion concerning piracy that needs to take place. That needs to change.
- 08-10-2012, 03:47 PM #5
- 08-20-2012, 05:33 PM #6
- 299 Posts
As a child, in had downloaded "free" apps and music. Didn't really think much about it. Everyone did it.
Now I know better. Ever since I grew up, I always pay for apps.
I donate for apps if the quality is there or if the dev is actively improving towards quality.
Theft is theft. Laws need to get tougher with software piracy.
Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
- 08-20-2012, 05:46 PM #7
- 08-21-2012, 01:44 AM #8
- 08-21-2012, 01:52 AM #9
I pirate however only for Apps / games without a free / trial version and ONLY for about 30mins (the 15min refund window IMO isn't enough especially with a large size game).
After the 30mins is done I (without exception) either uninstall as it didn't do what I hoped / was looking for or I purchase it outright legitimately.
I know it doesn't make it "right" but IMO it's less wrong than keeping a pirated App / game installed or jailbreaking an iDevice & using the pirate stores for everything.
Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Android Central Forums
Re: The Price of Piracy
- 08-21-2012, 12:18 PM #11
- 08-21-2012, 01:53 PM #12
Re: The Price of Piracy
With large games you have the download and install time, and also some games dive right in with the action, but others take awhile to really get started. For example in Dead Space you've got 30 minutes of gameplay before you even encounter the first enemy.
Similarly with a lot of apps (especially productivity apps) a quick 10 minute test doesn't paint a full picture. You've got to really use the app which might take some time.
I know Google and devs are worried about people buying an app right when they need it, using it and then returning it. But in my (non-dev, uninformed) opinion, if you don't want people doing that then build a more compelling app.
Maybe even let the dev set the timeline for returns (with recommended guidelines). ... WHOA! ... I just typed that without even thinking about it, but I feel like it's a genius idea. Let the dev set the return deadline. The dev knows how long it takes to get a feel for his app. He can set the deadline. And the community can "police" devs who aren't reasonable. Brilliant, I'm submitting this for patent, now!
- 08-24-2012, 12:05 AM #13
I'm sorry it has come down to the devs but all the money Apple had taken from me I've probably taken right back.
Ios jail break let's you get in app purchases for free. Man have I had a field day lol. Everything from AP books for school to no ads, to upgrades for games. I've done it all. On android not so much. I tried out tasker for a day via pirating. If I liked it I would've bought it but I didn't do I uninstalled it and kept moving. Only time I will ever pirate is to try out apps temporarily
- 08-24-2012, 12:39 AM #14
What is the definition you are using for piracy? Is a free app always pirated? I guess I was under the impression those were offered for free at the discretion of the dev? I didn't think much of free app vs paid unless you didn't want ads etc. Guess I would be considered those who don't know they are pirating as my definition would be copying and distribution of a product that is illegal. Does this not apply here?
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S3 using Android Central Forums
- 08-24-2012, 01:24 AM #15
I think devs should stop fighting piracy and make great games. The energy you put into that DRM crap coulda went into improving the app.
If people want to pirate they will
Make them free and get paid from ads.
Sent from my SGH-T999 using Tapatalk 2
- 08-24-2012, 02:22 AM #16
I'd much rather it be upgradeable to paid via an IAP than ads, I absolutely cannot stand ads in games or Apps and feel quite strongly about it.
If an App / game has no way of removing ads then I remove that App / game and find a similar one that does. Simple as that.
- 08-24-2012, 10:54 AM #17
- 08-27-2012, 02:20 PM #18