Saturday, July 20, 2013
Rant: Piracy and the gaming hobby
I've seen a lot of people get all outraged about the watermarks that appear on many of the pdfs sold through Drivethrurpg. Before this is was the DRM which everybody complained about, which I agreed with them at that point it really sucked. But the watermark isn't nowhere near that restricting. Basically it's just your name printed onto the file... and some people just hate it.
So you see these people complaining about the measures being taken in attempts to deter filesharing and piracy of these files. But most of them don't say a single thing about middle ground solution or any ideas on other way to deter the piracy of pdfs that is apparently pretty heavy among game material. They want their pdfs with no strings attached and usually use the excuse 'Piracy is going to happen anyways' over and over again. Along with the tag line that piracy and filesharing helps increase sales.
Now I'm going to give some of my opinions and observances on things that I've actually seen or experienced. That's mainly because it's shit that actually happened and not made up excuses like a lot of people use or repeat after somebody else says them. Actual real experiences not depending on somebody else to be telling me the truth.
Nearly every person I know that gets pirated pdfs never goes out and buys the book. Nor do they try to help it sell in any way shape or form. They actually do more to convince others that there is no reason to pay 'outrageous' prices for game books when they can get them for free. The other players don't need to buy that they'll just pass them a flash drive with all the books on it for nothing. Along with passing on the information of what torrent sites are the best to use, where to find the pdfs online as regular downloads, etc. They help convince others that piracy is the best way to go and not to hand any of their money over for game books ever again.
This was going on long before pdfs became a big thing even. Case in point, around here Sla Industries took off like nobodies business. Not everybody had a copy of the Karma sourcebook though so one guy asked to borrow the book so he could 'copy the gear chart in the back'. What he really did was take it to the place he worked at and made five copies of every page and passed out these copies to the other GM and players. None of them, to my knowledge, ever went out and bought Karma after that, they didn't even bother looking for it.
Another person I used to know was always looking for free copies of anything he wanted. He would come up and ask about a game, some of would do some looking and see how much a copy of it would cost and then he would tell us he didn't want to pay for it. The other pirates would then find it for him and they would all swap files around and 'help each other out'.
Met an entire table full of gamers who all believed that they didn't have to pay for anything also. They had printed out copies of the books they wanted and externals full of stuff to share. Their overall attitude towards others was that they were idiots for paying for a game book.
These were usually the same people who had CD cases full of burned music an not a actual purchased one to be found. Cracked copies of software on their computers. Movies on their hard drives before they were ever released on DVD. They simply would not pay for anything that they could get for free. It's almost like a subculture within a subculture in gaming. A growing population of parasitic leeches living off the rest of us who support the designers, writers and artists.
But nobody wants to do anything about them or the problem that they have become. Although they sure want to bitch and complain when an attempt to work against the problem comes along that may offer them the most miniscule bit of an insignificant problem. They are all full of complaints but never bring any sort of solution to the table. The reasons against the watermarks are pretty flimsy at the best. Some don't want their names on the pages if they print them out, some say 'what if' my pdfs get stolen and then spread among others, claiming that the watermarks crank up the file size (which they do if done wrong, drivethrurpg does it right) or the most laughable is that they ruin the appearance of the pdf like if somebody wrote in a book. It doesn't matter that somebody worked and put effort into producing the product and all they want is paid. They may claim they care but if they did then they would understand the reasoning behind it.
Now I will say that recently one person came up with a solution to some of the complaints in a thread over on rpg.net. Simply replace a persons name with an account number. So then the 'my name is on it' bawling will stop... and we can watch those folks scramble for another excuse to cling to.
One solution is also obvious. Stop playing with or socializing with the people that you know are pirating the files. Why shouldn't they be treated in the same fashion that the cat piss smelling folks are treated. They should be shunned by all of us who go out and spend our money supporting the hobby we enjoy. But nobody will do this. They simply turn their heads and pretend it's not happening and go along as normal... and complain about other measures being taken to stop piracy.
I'm going to do this. For now on anybody who refuses to buy the books they use will not be playing in any game I run. Nor will I play in a game being ran by somebody who does it. Hell I would be pretty tempted to not play with other players who do it. If more people would attempt to be part of a solution instead of just sitting back and bitching about the proposed solutions then maybe a difference could be made.
But then again, sometimes I think a lot of those who complain about the watermarks are doing so for another reason.