Licensing, illegal downloads etc.

Wednesday 12th January, 2005
I was thinking on my drive in today a little about the new Apple iPod Shuffle that Wild Bill introduced me to during an MSN chat last night. Incidentally, Bill was connected from his home on 9600baud dial-up...ouch. I can't even remember last time I used dial-up, but if I did these days it would have to work over my VoIP line. Quite ironic that I now need my broadband connection to use dial-up.

Anyway, thinking of iPods/MP3s etc always gets me thinking about licensing, duplication piracy etc. I'm quite outspoken in that I despise people who pirate movies/games/music as it's nothing short of theft. Would these people go into Woolworths and steal a DVD off the shelf? No...because they might get caught. Something has to change in the world.

Unless people start buying media legally, finance to fund future production is going to be continually tight. Watching software companies like Eidos, famous for big games like Tomb Raider and Worms, plunge into the red only goes to show how difficult the world is for small publishers these days.

It's not like games are expensive, I'd guess most titles probably cost significantly less than £1/hour to go from start to finish. This gets even cheaper if you include the infinite online play that often takes place afterwards. How many pastimes are there which represent better value. Certainly not watching live sports, going to the cinema, driving, drinking etc. So why don't people pay for the media?

Without paying for software/games/movies, people don't get paid..simple as that. Would you expect someone to write the next release of your game if you didn't pay them for the last one? Which leads me on to Open Source. The guys over at sites like OpenNTF work hard to bring you free applications along with bug-fixes and additional features in later releases. It is open source and it is distributed freely, but bear in mind that these guys do have costs in both time and also hosting charges for your downloads. Most of them include a PayPal donate button and I'm sure it would be greatly appreciated if you gave a donation, no matter how small.

To practice what I preach, I will shortly be donating a few quid to Steve Castledine who, unlike me, has the pleasure of knowing that he wrote the template on which he blogs. DominoBlog is a fantastic tool and allows somebody with no web development skills (like me) to easily create presentable web sites in minutes. I dread to think how many manhours he's put into the DXproject free of charge...the guy deserves a reward.

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