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I doubt I’m the first, nor the last to make comment on this particular topic. No doubt I’m late enough for the issue to have already seen it’s peak and resolution already. Regardless it incenses me enough to point my own grievances with the issues of today’s concept of anti-piracy laws. I should point out that I’m all for those whose job it is to be creative to protect their works. Just like a writer has the right (I love homophones) to have his books published and purchased, rather than freely distributed into peoples bookshelves, so do other artists deserve the commission of the sale of their work. To maintain the analogy, a writer’s wares are usually available for a full preview at public libraries. These Government-Subsidised institutions allow people to read a book at no (direct) cost to themselves, however the book does not belong to the reader, and must be returned when finished. Music artists have their songs played on the radio and on free-to-air television. The songs are not available to listen to on demand, this domain of power is reserved for those who chose to pay for the cd/record/mp3/clockwork music disk.
Being the self-crowned King of Analogy, I could go on. The point here, however, is that the Game Industry hasn’t yet got the memo about the “Real World” and the way this so called “Reflected Sound of Underground Spirits” works. Yes, we have demos, but last I checked there are security measures involved that work, and have worked for quite some time. I define work not as “make the game impossible to pirate”, but “make paying for the game an attractive prospect”. Books can be scanned and uploaded to the webosphere; as the more than successful Dungeons and Dragons franchise shows, this doesn’t hurt profit margins. This “Piracy” may not be acceptable by these business models, but it is still manageable, and that is the key point here. No business model is perfect, and manageable is the realistic goal here. Games will be Pirated and Cd’s will be burnt, books will be scanned and TV series will continue to be torrented ahead of their broadcast dates. If the current levels of Piracy made these endeavours less than “Horrifically Profitable” they would not be pursued so fanatically. Hell, I downloaded and completed both Call of Duty 4 and Sins of a Solar Empire and then went out and bought a copy. Why? Because I enjoyed them and wanted the convenience of being able to install and play them whenever I liked. Sounds familiar…
My personal history with SecuRom is one of the more tarnished relationships one can read on the interblarg. Legitimately owning almost all of my games, and cetainly all of the games I play with any frequency, I can say with sincerity that SecuRom more often than not proves more problematic than your average frozen planet treat. To this day, I have not completed Neverwinter Nights 2 thanks to a handy little fuckup in SecuRom’s code that wont let me load a previous save from a different installation of windows. As such, when I learnt that the Masters Of The Universe (Sony) had developed a new batch of SecuRom that requires a connection to the ‘net every 10 days to make sure you are sill legit, well, there was shouting involved. The next logical step is to just send a “Legitimacy Guardian” to your house and check for “Teh Warez” everytime you turn your computer on.