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cliffski

shutting down warez sites

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Now and then i send of an email to an ISP if i notice his network is hosting a warez site with my games on. Its often quite difficult to get anywhere, very time consuming etc. Is there any organisation/tool/website around that makes this kind of thing easier? I hate to think that some lame thief can get hold of cracks to my games that easily, yet most ISPs (esp non english ones) dont seem to give a damn. What are other developers expereince of sorting this out? And please dont reply just saying its all futile, because you could say the same about any type of crime. Thanks http://www.positech.co.uk

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I know what you mean. I was pissed when I found cracks to one of my apps on 3 sites before I even made my first sale. I tried contacting the ISP''s to no avail. As expected, they were foreign domains. A lot of this stuff is hosted in asian domains, and it seems people in some of those areas (hong kong, korea, tiawan, etc) dont seem to look at piracy the same way we do. I''ve read studies clamining that in these places, over 90% of software was pirated (I think it was hong kong where the rate was 99%). When 99% of people think its alright to pirate software, you probably dont have a chance in hell of convincing someone to take down a site for pirating software. When it gets into cracks and serial numbers, I think it gets a little murkier, bacause I''m not 100% sure of the consequences of this. Is it illegal to distribute cracks and serial numbers? You and I know what the intent is, but what law (if any) does this fall under? When you start dealing with international laws, it gets even trickier.

Sorry to say it, but at this point, from my experiences I have to say it is futile when it comes to other countries. At least until someone shows me a method that proves me wrong.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The interactive digital software association trolls around closing abadondonware and warez sites that post their member''s games. I have no idea how much it costs to join, though.

If a site with your game also has one of theirs, they have a piracy reporting area on their anti-piracy page.

http://www.idsa.com

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Most people dont think Warez is Illigal... Thats a problem.

All my friends thinks its okay to copy Programs/Movies, without paying for it, but they think its not okay to steal even though stealing == Warez...

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I know what you mean, Snash.
The other day I was talking to my friend, who is supposed to be one the "knowledgeable" computer users, about the DMCA.
He was like, "I don't care about no frickin' DMCA."
When I explained what the law was about, he was like, "Well I don't use CDs anyway. I have over 1000 MP3s."
Now, I don't like the DMCA since it is so overreaching that it makes criminals out of what used to be people celebrating a general freedom of use, so I was trying to show him how bad this law was.
This is the guy who always offers to burn you a copy of Max Payne when you mention the game. He of course is making a copy of a copy cause why would he buy anything? I never like arguing with him because he doesn't have the same principles that most of my colleagues have.

Now, keep in mind, people who don't make programs don't understand that just because you CAN make copies it doesn't make it legal or right.
My mother recently told me she wanted Office installed on her computer, and I told her that we don't have it. She right away assumed I could get a copy from a friend. I explained to her that it was illegal to do so, and she was like, "So?"

How many people make copies of music for others on tape? Why not do the same for CDs? And why not do the same for CD-ROMS?
It all logically follows for these people, and telling them that half to all of the games that they own are illegal is like telling someone to stop speeding. It is a habit, and it isn't going to stop soon.

I myself didn't realize how bad piracy was until I started programming. I didn't want people to steal my software (not that I have anything worth stealing yet). I had copies of some games from friends, copies of utility software, applications, etc.
I looked through and tried to find those games that I really liked and actually bought them. I like supporting the people who make good games.

The non-programming world has gotten used to being able to download music for free and burn it to CD. With bandwidth getting cheaper and better, games won't be too far behind from being very popular.

Perhaps a giant advertising campaign is needed. Major developers need to let the world know that piracy is wrong. How many people know that is the name for what they do, and how many people know it is wrong in the first place? The general public's awareness level needs to change.

Now I don't have much of a problem with legitimate use of cracks. I have Total Annihilation and a laptop without a CDROM drive. One visit to a warez site, and I was able to play the game. I own a legal copy it and now I can play it on my laptop.
So it is a little more complicated than that.
-------------------------
(Gorgeous graphics)+(beautiful sound effects)+(symphonic music)+(no gameplay) != Good game

[edited by - GBGames on March 19, 2002 4:09:50 PM]

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quote:
Original post by GBGames
Now I don''t have much of a problem with legitimate use of cracks. I have Total Annihilation and a laptop without a CDROM drive. One visit to a warez site, and I was able to play the game. I own a legal copy it and now I can play it on my laptop.
So it is a little more complicated than that.


Indeed. By some interpretations of the DMCA that would be a violation.

Because the technology allows for perfect copies to be made, content producers seek perfect control. Problem is, there''s no such thing as absolute control - only approximations.

I don''t think that Asians have a much different view of piracy, although it might seem that way because their economies are less advanced. Do you think a govt official in Thailand (for example) cares to use what limited resources he has to enforce the copyrights of some US company? Not likely (especially when some of those companies take in more money than his country does).

On the contrary, that official probably thinks that having a readily available supply of software from the more advanced countries is a boon to his. More software means more computer literacy means a better future for the country. At the same time, they''re not likely to want to cut their country off from the rest of the world, so the warez sites remain open and people in the advanced countries can get at them too.

It''s difficult to see that a game will be treated any less differently than a suite of business apps or music or movies in those countries. As the economies in those undeveloped countries advances, pirating and such will likely decrease, as the govt will seek to exert control. Just like what has been happenin in the US for the last couple of years. Once the cyber frontier has been colonized, the central authority seeks to assert control (to maintain the dominant position of the big players). It''s an old pattern, now being applied to cyberspace.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
It''s my understanding that an ISP can''t be held responsible for what it''s members do (especially if it isn''t hosted on there servers). So if the people who run the warez sites are hosted by a seperate company the only thing their ISP can do is deny them internet access (a very temporary solution). You''d probably be better off finding out who hosted the website in question and complain to them. Its either that or copy protection.

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I''d be kinda flattered if someone took the time to crack a game I made

though probably not if I was trying to live off the sales.

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This is a little off topic..
One of the reasons warez is popular is because its so easy to do,(as demonstrated by GBGames) - i''m sure that if people could do other illegal things with hardly a chance of been caught or foiled they would - imagine a supermarket where there is no security features and no one watching if you walk out the door with a basket-full of goods
No, Im not supporting warez, I am saying its too easy and developers need to think about security, and make it as hard as possible for their software to be copied - yes some have done this (or tried) but its very rare.

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You shouldnt go after people who post cracks to your software. Even though (Im pretty sure, DMCA) that its illegal, to go after these people is wrong. When they offer your copyrighted game for others to download, then try to get it taken down (and I wish you luck it should get taken down). But you didnt write a crack, you dont own the copyright on it, and just because some ridiculous law gives you the right to go after them doesnt mean you should. Do you think its wrong for people to be able to play DVDs on any OS they want? And do you think its wrong for blind people to be able to use Ebooks? Sadly enough, when you make somthing like a crack illegal, you make these other things illegal too.

quote:
How many people make copies of music for others on tape? Why not do the same for CDs? And why not do the same for CD-ROMS?
It all logically follows for these people, and telling them that half to all of the games that they own are illegal is like telling someone to stop speeding. It is a habit, and it isn't going to stop soon.

It is perfectly legal to make a copy of a tape for your friends, its called fair use. I have no idea why but it is.

[edited by - antistuff on March 19, 2002 5:26:27 PM]

[edited by - antistuff on March 19, 2002 5:27:10 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Snash
Most people dont think Warez is Illigal... Thats a problem.


Are these the same people that add 2+2 and get 5? If somebody does something to make money, and I get that service without spending money, I''ll assume that activity is illegal. I think these people are assuming what benefits themselves most.

quote:

All my friends thinks its okay to copy Programs/Movies, without paying for it, but they think its not okay to steal even though stealing == Warez...


They think stealing is wrong if you define stealing as the act of taking a physical property from somebody. Throw in intellectual property to the definition, and they''ll think stealing is wrong only when it pertains to physical property. This boils down to you defining ''stealing'' differently than your friends.

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Its pointless discussing why people steal. If they can steal something and get away with it they will. I guess we have to figure out a way of protecting our games.

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I think one of the reasons it is so rife and so open throughout much of Asia, less developed countries etc. is that they don''t have any copyright laws in those countries. Of course, International laws makes it a bit murky, but essentially, whether we like it or not - it''s not actually illegal in many of those countries.

It''s stupid, goes against all free trade laws, but walk down the main streets of many of these countries and just about every store you go into will be selling pirated cd''s, pirated dvd''s, cheap Nike t-shirt copies etc... and there''s nothing really that these companies can do to stop it. I''m sure it will change someday, but no one seems to be in a rush to get there.

Probably the best defence for software companies at the moment is to design games where you keep releasing add-ons for them. Only registered users can access the downloads (pirated copies would generally have the same serial numbers - block access, or cancel registrations to those). Sure, eventually all the addons will probably pop-up on warez sites too, but if you keep adding to your game in meaningful chunks you''ll stop many of the pirated copies upgrading. It also gives a lot of credence to the MMORPG model - if you need to log on to a server to play the game, you obviously need to first register and provide a serial number - blocking known pirated hacks should be relatively easy.

What if there were real benefits to registering your game online? maybe establishing a community where only registered users (who have a valid game serial number) can access certain parts of the site which for an RPG say, may detail more of the background story, offer competitions, provide add-ons etc.

Piracy of games isn''t going to go away anytime soon, and until copyright laws in many countries are changed, in many cases there isn''t really a lot that can be done once your game has been pirated. About the only thing you can do if you want to stop people pirating your game is take preventative steps, maybe like I mentioned above, maybe in the form of more stringent copy protection (although I''m not to keen on that, it usually just makes things difficult for the legitimate users and the hackers still manage to get around it anyway). Not a perfect solution (far from it in fact), but in the near future, that''s all we''ve got.

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quote:
Original post by Davaris
Its pointless discussing why people steal. If they can steal something and get away with it they will. I guess we have to figure out a way of protecting our games.


I don''t agree. Call me an optimist but I like to trust that just because someone can doesn''t necessarily mean that they will.
I do agree that we have to figure out how to protect our games. If you don''t want to make the effort, that is your issue, but Blizzard and id have done very well with games that have trivial copy prevention mechanism. Blizzard uses Battle.net not only to enhance the games it produces but also as a way to curb piracy. If you have a copied CD, you will have a copied CD key. The servers will not let you in if that CD key is already in use.
Now interestingly enough, Blizzard doesn''t allow Internet play in Starcraft unless it is through Battle.net. id does allow Internet play with Quake III Arena so CD key verification is not as stringent, yet they still sell well.
I believe both games are quality games, so maybe that is what matters more in the equation. If you make a really good game that gives people an incentive to buy your game, then you won''t have to worry about the money you lost from piracy.
Obviously it is more complicated than that, but it is an idea to start with.

quote:
Original post by antistuff
It is perfectly legal to make a copy of a tape for your friends, its called fair use. I have no idea why but it is.


Sorry, I didn''t make myself clear. I was saying that yes, it is legal to make a copy of the tape because of free use. And it is legal to make a copy of music CDs (unless they have copy prevention mechanisms on them).
I was saying that for most people used to this type of freedom, copying CD-ROMs just follows the same logic as copying media these other ways.
Imagine telling someone who is used to using his VCR to make tapes of all of his favorite movies, his tape recorder to make copies of songs from the radio, his CD-R to burn mixes of his favorite songs that it is now illegal for him to do any of those things.
Does anyone remember when they had console games like NES paks and such, and letting people borrow them? I remember when I got my first PC, making copies of games wasn''t much more of an extension of that. I was just borrowing the game, only I had a copy installed on my computer that I could use anytime rather than a temporary hold on the software.

This probably boils down to a few issues:
1) Awareness - if the people don''t know they are doing wrong, then they won''t know that they should stop
2) Incentive - how many people who already are aware always say, "Well why not steal? They already jack up the prices to compensate for piracy?"
Perhaps making something available to those who have a legal copy, something somewhat enforceable like how Blizzard and id have their systems setup, might give people more incentive NOT to steal.
3) Enforcement - The main problem with piracy isn''t that major manufacturers are producing bootleg copies of the game in mass quantities (although that does happen). It is that people make copies of the games from friends and friends of friends. How does one enforce the law on regular citizens, some of which don''t know that they are doing something wrong, if stopping one doesn''t stop anything but that one person?
Legal fees alone are prohibitive to prosecuting entities that make up about a $50 loss in sales.
Perhaps the extra money that publishers charge for piracy can go towards a group which can prosecute individuals for each and every offense. Obviously you yourself won''t press charges for one game, but if they have a copy of one game, then they have copies of any number of games, and so this one organization can prosecute for hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars, giving the respective companies their cut.
Of course, the PR alone is a nightmare. Imagine headlines such as "GAME COMPANY X, OTHERS SUE 13 YEAR OLD BOY" and think about what kind of a backlash Metallica got for the same thing.


-------------------------
(Gorgeous graphics)+(beautiful sound effects)+(symphonic music)+(no gameplay) != Good game

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quote:
Original post by Ratman
I''d be kinda flattered if someone took the time to crack a game I made


I thought the same thing once upon a time, until it happened to me. Then you say "wait...this isnt quite as flattering as I thought".

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One thing I dont agree with is how companys say they lost like 50 billion from piracy when only like 20% of prople who pirate the software would have bought it in the first place, the rest just pirate it for no reason so they may have only lost 500 million not what they were saying. Dont get me wrong im still against piracy but some things like this can be missleading, and people should not have the right to have your product if they dont pay for it.

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Lord Kronos is so right. I HATE seeing immature 14 year old theives (and its theft I dont care what you say) stealing games I worked hard over.
When people at work ask to borrow a game Ive bought I tell em to fck off and buy it, or try the demo. I don''t understand why people think its ok to copy games, esp if they are games coders themselves.
I was thinking of setting up a dummy warez site with published codes for all my games (and cracks) that don''t work. That way this page might come up in searches for hacks and cut down on the people who casually get stolen codes. Does anyone think this might work (or even help?)

http://www.positech.co.uk

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"When people at work ask to borrow a game Ive bought I tell em to fck off and buy it, or try the demo."

Borrow or copy?
Borrowing a game isn''t, and should NOT be illegal.

-Hyatus
"da da da"

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Guest Anonymous Poster
People from the third world countries steal coz their monthly salary is around 200USD and they have to pay their rent, spend on food, clothes, education etc. Software costs are prohibitive on a person from the third world. Give them salary like that of the developed countries and they will not steal.

Talking from personal experience.

Go get a life guys!

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I think there''s just one way out, you''ve to put codeparts on the server and then everyone who wants to play the game, has to connect... the people I know, who crack games, are lame coders, they just search for jumppoints and change the conditions. they are to stupid to crack the communication protokoll and to write their own server app.. but even if they''d do, it would take months to have the same quality...

so make your games freeware and force them to register on the gaming server.... and it''s not so difficult to do the logic on a server

rapso->greets();

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I would''nt even try to use warez couse even if they have games and movies and apps they never have any good ISO''s or good quality stuff so.. but cracks i can see is a pain..

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I don''t think local distribution of software (like copying a CD for your mother) is a major problem. I think online distribution, in which you post cracks online for thousands to download, is the real problem. And patrolling the search engines for such software is probably the best solution.

~CGameProgrammer( );

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