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Author Topic: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?  (Read 20460 times)
Nic.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2003, 11:27:01 pm »

I adore conversations like this, because one side is always so clearly in the wrong, but still attempts to justify their actions.  Makes me smile.

Accolade owns the copyright to Star Control II.  Therefore, they have the absolute legal right to say who may and who may not copy their works.  (those of us who are fond of Locke's writings would also say that, being a property right, it is a moral right, but I'll not get into that) If they say noone but them can make copies, then making a copy, is in all forms, illegal (exception: backup copy for personal use).

They also have the absolute legal right to say "we will make no more copies of this, ever; and noone else is allowed to, until the copyright expires."   In that case, it is up to the person wishing to obtain a copy legally to find someone willing to sell a copy on the open market, e.g., eBay.  Can't find one?  Well, then that's really too bad for you.  Either learn to live without or break the law.

Arguments about the ease of copying bits, the wrong of "artificial scarcity" created by software copyrights, and the "stick it to the man" appeal of pirating software is only so much quacking:  what you are doing is illegal, and by all accounts, wrong.  That it's easy to do, or whom it impacts is absolutely irrelevant.  Own up to the fact that you're doing a bad thing, and stop dressing it up to be more than it is.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2003, 02:18:50 am »

I don't think any disagrees with you that downloading an illegitimate copy of SC2 is illegal.  In my opinion, the issue here isn't legality, it's whether it's morally wrong to violate Accolade's copyright by illegally copying SC2.  I don't think you really addressed that in your post

Who gets harmed?  Accolade is never going to make any more money off of SC2 -- even if they were planning to, obviously they couldn't now that it's available for free here.  Yes they've got the legal right to take it off the market and sit on the copyright.  But is it morally wrong to violate Accolade's copyright, which they probably don't even really care about anymore?  All I see in your post is that "if it's illegal, it's wrong"

Okay, time for a little rant.  Sorry everyone

I tend to think of copyright as a necessary evil -- I can buy the argument that intellectual property is necessary for people to make money off of their work.  But the general public is better off if the work is eventually not covered under copyright.  Copyright is intended to encourge people share their work with the public -- but it's intended for a limited time (IIRC, originally it was seven years with an optional seven year extension).  Now it's forever through Congress's generous extension plan...

So anyway, back to the original point .... should Accolade have the right to a copyright after it's no longer useful to them?  I'm not talking about the trademark Star Control, that's obviously could potentionally be still useful and is a different issue -- but the original, IBM-PC DOS game.  Do you think that old games really need eternal copyright protection?  I'm interested in what you think, I've heard "illegal = wrong" lots of times, I just want to know why you think it's wrong.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2003, 02:25:03 am »

Now, please understand.  I did not say illegal means wrong.  The two, while they do overlap quite a bit, are not identical.

That said, I have said that theft, under any name, IS wrong.  I say this for many reasons.  

1) Every major religion in the world, and a whole lot of the minor ones, say that theft is wrong.  To me, that says something about theft...

2) My parents taught me that it is wrong to steal.  That may sound silly to you, but such lessons are important.

3) It is taking something that belongs to someone else.  You are, by that action, harming the other entity.  That is an immoral thing to do.

Now, as to the "etenral copyright" bit:  When you have changed the copyright law get back to me.  Until then, no matter how much time has passed, software piracy is stealing.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2003, 02:41:17 am »

At the very least illegal software copying is a different form of stealing because in traditional stealing when you take someone else's property they no longer have it. .stealing is wrong not because you benefitted but because you harmed someone else in order to benefit.  But anyway thanks for the patronizing response.
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Nic.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2003, 02:53:45 am »

It is their property, and hence it is their call as to what is done with it; not yours.  That is, in as terse a form as I can make it, the moral argument.

Whether or not the holder of a copyright is "abusing" it is quite irrelevant.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2003, 02:54:59 am by Nic. » Logged
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2003, 02:56:38 am »

Unless we restate copyright as a set of rights and responsibilities, that will remain the case. I foresee no such re-drafting. Can YOU devise a workable set of responsibilities that should accompany all copyrights?
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2003, 02:57:44 am »

But you do harm someone elseeven wehn you steal something insubstantial. That's what we're trying to get at. Read the book example further up, while the book remains, you've stolen/copied the content without the author getting anything for the time he spent writing the novel.

Just because it doesn't harm someone in the way of "Oh man, someone took my car!", it can still harm someone in the way of "Oh man, no roaylties this month either, I suppose I'll just stop writing/coding and start working at Macdonalds", or "Well, your game wasn't a very large success for some reason, so we are going to have to fire your dev team. Have fun at Macdonalds!"

People hang themselves up too much on this "It's not physical, so it can't be stealing" thing. If you invested even a couple of months of your life in creating a program of some sort, in the hopes of making it easier for other computer users and the hopes that it would pay, say maybe a quarter of your bills during those months if it sold well, wouldn't you be just as angry and feel just as violated when someone cracked your program on the release date, as if said person had actually stolen that money from you. You don't steal a physical object, no. But you steal someones potential. In a way, that's even worse.

Regarding the morality of this current case though, yes Accolade behaved very badly towards the Creators. But has any of you stopped to think, that if it wasn't for Accolade, maybe those games wouldn't have been released at all? Maybe some other company would have caught the idea, and MAYBE not. So before you complain too much about it, remeber that while the Creators without a doubt created this game, I'm assuming that their tools and resources during (most) of that period actually came from Accolade.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2003, 03:21:13 am »

Yes I can see your point and I agree with you, illegally copying software robs artists of their royalities (but I don't think it's the moral equivilent of stealing).  But in this particular case, Accolade no longer sells the game, and I can't imagine a future in which Accolade will ever sell the game again.  In this situation, no royalities are lost if the software is illegally copied.

The public benefits substantially if copyrighted works that fall into this state are released into the public domain, Accolade loses hardly anything.  Copyright was originally intended to be for a limited amount of time but thanks to a cartoon rodent that's no longer the case and will never be the case again.

I know I'm never going to convince any of you but at least I hope you can at least see my side of this.

Also, if there hadn't been a porting effort, and the copyrighted DOS version had remained in Accolade's hands, Star Control 2 would have been lost forever..
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2003, 03:24:43 am »

I agree with you that the public benefits from Open-Source software.  (I mean, just look at the board we're discussing this on!)

HOWEVER, it is Accolade's decision whether or not to do so.  If you view them not realising it as "wrong" somehow, fine.  Just remember that two wrongs don't make a right.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2003, 03:36:22 am »

To bring a more physical example to this: If you used to have a gas stove, but changed it for an electrical one, you'll have some stuff left over (maybe a half empty gas canister, a lighter, whatever), then you'll probably put these in the attic or something (after all, you payed good money for those things, you're not gonna just throw them away). Would it thenbe morally or legallly acceptable if someone was to come into your house and take these things off you, on the grounds that "you no longer need them"?

To give another non-physical example, how about this : A couple of years ago, you bought a bunch of movies on VCR tapes, to watch, because at the time you thought they were quite good. However, nowadays you don't watch them very often, if at all (after all, you've seen them already, and there are new videos). Does that mean that anyone can walk up to you on the street, or march into your house and demand that they be allowed to copy those videos? If they bring their own blank tapes with them, and maybe even their own VCR so that you have no expenses at all, nor is your machine used for this? Would you be quite alright with having tousands of strangers getting these movies from you, even though you, a year or two ago, payed good money for them? They are your movies, you decide what to do with them. If you want to give them away, fine. But you can't actually copy them, even if you wanted to let a thousand peopel see them for free. And would you really want to?

Now imagine that in your younger days, you played a role in one of those movies, and that for every copy that is sold, you get a small check 0.02 cent or something. Would you really want everyone to get them even though you wont get a thing, and you worked hard for those movies?

It's all aobut perspective.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2003, 03:56:23 am »

Yeah, all about perspective

Dunno, in the first analogy, you're dealing with people physically stealing your property that still has value, even though you're not presently using it

in the second one, I think the reason that seems unsavory is because you're dealing with someone else's intellectual property which also still obviously has value to others.

I think the second analogy is a good one but it'd fit this situation better if

1) the movies were out of print, there was little or no chance they would ever be in print again, and they had otherwise had little value to the owner of the copyright
2) the people were copying my movies without hassling you at all (coming into my house, hooking up their VCRs, etc.)

with those two caveats I wouldn't have a problem with people copying my movies.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2003, 04:09:59 am »

Hmmm... but even if the movies are out of print, you're still dealing with "someone else's intellectual property", no? And even if it only has the value of what you paid for it to you, and even if the people who originally made the movie don't intend to release any more copies of it, it still has a value to them. It represents a lot of hard work and ambition, and they may not want, fo their own reasons to see truckloads of copies of their movie being copied.

And I think that's what it all boils down to, doesn't it? Regardless of if the creator/copyright holder has no further use for their product anymore, even if they decide that noone but those who already own it should ever get to parttake it, it is their decision to make. It's their creation after all, their sweat and blood that's gone into it. So isn't it only fair that they should have a say in what happens to their creation? If they say that it's alright to copy it, make it "abandonware" so to speak, then obviously, copy as much as you want. But if they don't want that, it's really their decision. And their decision only.

And to get back to what started this, before anyone starts screaming about how accolade owns the name, and they never did a thing for SC, do rememebr that without Accolade, the game may never have been shipped at all. Like i said earlier, whilst they may not have had anything to do with the creative part of SC, they did finance it, which also demands quite a lot... That's why they have a partial copyright. They didn't just get given it.

EDIT: Oh, and we don't actually know what Accolade are planning to do with SC2, if anything, so we can't really make any assumptions to what it's worth to them... they might be planning a rerelease of all their old games soon, or maybe they'll include whith their next attempt at the SC saga.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2003, 04:11:29 am by Lukipela » Logged

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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2003, 04:21:57 am »

that's why I said "little or no value".  Chances are if a movie's out of print not many people are interested in buying it -- not enough to make it cost effective.  Thus the movie's out of print and no one can see.  The copyright holder will hold on to it because it still has value, even if it's only very very little value.

There has to be a balance between the copyright holder's right to benefit from sales of his work and the public's right to not have it fall into oblivion.  Copyright is an artificial right intended to give people an incentive to share their work with the public.  It defeats the purpose to allow copyright holders (which often aren't the people who created the work itself) to let the work fall into oblivion on the outside chance that their copyright might be useful for something important, somewhere in the galaxy, at some point in the future.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #43 on: April 15, 2003, 04:35:52 am »

One tricky point there... The publics right not to have it fall into oblivion? I think that is where we will have to agree to disagree...

For me there is no such right. If someone wants to share their work and creations, then that's great. But they can hardly be forced to do so because outher people want to see them, it's their creations to do as they please with.

I think that's a bit comparable to DEFIANT's complains about how gasoline is horribly expensive in Oregon. There is no law that states that it's a god-given (or otherwise aquired) right to drive a car. It's a privillege. If you can attain a drivers license and can afford a car, then fine. If not, take the bus or walk. If someone has designed a superb new car, but decides not to build it, you can't take his blueprints and build the thing yourself, because those blueprints are something he has worked with a long time. It's not a right to view art, movies, or listen to music, unless you created it yourself. It's a privilege you enjoy because there are nice people in the world who enjoy creating, and also enjoy sharing it with us. sometimes for a fee, sometimes for free. but ultimately, it's always their decision what they do with their creations.

Briefly adressing who holds the copyright: Yes, it is true that the artist seldom has full control. But rememebr, they wouldn't be able to get this art out to very many people, and certainly not be able to make a living off it, if they tried to do everything themselves. That's where the companys come in, for marketing and for the production budget. Why would they do it for free? The system is not perfect, and sometimes far from it, but until someone comes up with a better one, I'm inclined to keep this one instead of trashing it and watching as art as we know it disappears.

It's nice to have rights yes. But everything isn't a right. people always seem to forget that for every right they have, there is a dozen responsibilites to go with it. and this is something I'm inclined not to view as a right.

Still, if you want to think otherwise, well now that is a right.
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Re: Does it bug anyone that is working on this?
« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2003, 05:16:59 am »

I'd just like to add something to this discussion: As far as I understand the situation, Fred and Paul still DO get some money one way or another from the sales of the first two Star Control games. A quote from the IRC chat log from Pages of Now and Forever (Fwiffo = Fred & Paul):

"<_Stilgar> <Umgah> Q: Are you still making any money on SC1 or SC2?
<Fwiffo> We make a few hundred dollars every 3 months."

So that kinda undermines the "Accolade is an evil company and they give the great creators nothing if I by SC2." argument.
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