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> My Soapbox, I'm asking for balance
Irish916
post Nov 17 2009, 05:13 AM
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Folks, stealing is wrong. I absolutely believe that fact!!
I get it. I don't condone it. I believe that developers that work hard should be rewarded with success.

What's lost in a lot of this is consumer advocacy. Software, music and video games are in a unique class in that they represent one of the few items consumers can purchase, but cannot return. Have you tried to return an open video game to the local store? They won't take it back. Why? You opened it, you bought it! Those are the rules. Sure, there was a day when you were once able to take games back to the store. The industry cried foul with piracy and they demanded retailers not accept the product back.

What we have is a fundamental contradiction. I feel that the industry with its top dollar lobbyists have rewritten the rules and stolen a sacred right from the consumer. Again, this industry is unique in it's one-sided treatment of its consumers.

I can't tell you how many times I've purchased software or a console game that didn't provide me what I needed and I wasn't able to return it. I'm sure I felt the same violation as a hard working developer would hearing that their best friend has downloaded their lastest creation off the net. Sure, companies are offering full functional demos and trial products. I applaud them for that. If anything, it's a nice way for them to market their hard work. My concern is for those hard working professionals that rely on software to earn them a paycheck. What if the program you purchased isn't working out for you? Why can't you take it back and demand a refund? I buy a $2,000 TV and after 28 days I find it doesn't do what I need it to do, I can take it back? Why not software?

I'm eagerly looking forward to the future as I feel downloading from the internet just might offer me the compromise that I'm so desperately looking for. I feel strongly that pressed CD/DVDs will be out of the picture in 5 years. Everything your little computer will need will come in downloaded format.

My solution: Companies should bundle installers/uninstallers with their downloads. when I buy a product, I click the app and it's installed from the web onto my machine. I should have a full buyer's remorse period where within 30 days if I don't like the application, I click a simple button and the applet removes it from my machine. No disks to back up to, no fuss, no mess. I get my money back and I can once again vote with my dollar. Sure, people won't like developers having access to remove software from your machine, but as far as I'm concerned it's their software, and I'm just paying for it if I use it.

Consumers have very few choices when it comes to software:
Try
Buy
Steal

I propose
Try/Buy
Return

I think we seriously need to bring things back to center on this issue. I'm ok with companies doing what they need to protect their product. I would do it. Heck, I feel a nice web install would probably fix most of the issues with dongles/CD keys/lost CDs/copied DVDs etc.

In my heart I truly belive the only way to kill piracy is to make a great product. You make the next "must have" product, people WILL BUY IT! Battlefield Modern Combat 2, the MUST HAVE game of the year sold 4.7 million copies on DAY ONE! I doubt Activision is complaining about piracy on those stockholder meetings. Mariah Carey's Glitter didn't sell because of piracy. It didn't sell because it was a bad album. A fact vindacted a few years later when her follow-up returned to multi platinum status.

Too many developers have become complacent, and some have fallen back on piracy as a reason for their misfortune and as motivation to short the consumer. Many are developing an annual product on a 9-12 month production cycle. In many of these titles which are patched versions of their predecessors, they are only adding 1-4 key new features and charging top dollar.

It gives no one the right to steal their product, but they do themselves a considerable disservice. I wonder if the day will come when they can invest the millions spent on anti piracy back into the development of the product to make them more appealing and feature rich.
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Presstone
post Dec 1 2009, 09:21 AM
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I found this site through the survey(linked from Korg website). I saw your post and decided to join. I couldn't agree with you more. If a company makes a quality product that suits the needs of the customer more people than not will support that product. Let me see what you've got, and let the program speak for itself. Demo versions without full functionality are worthless. The software is too expensive to purchase only to find it doesn't have the features or usability that I need. I guarantee you customers in this situation will not grace you with repeat business. If the customer is able to try and compare similar programs he can find the best fit for his needs. Then the high price tags seem completely justified, and you have a customer for life. A lot of us have to scrape together the cash to get one program, and multiple programs are more or less out of the question. I know there are cheaper options available, but limited functionality will eventually induce upgrading to high end products, and the money spent on the cheaper alternative goes to waste. It seems illegal downloading is the only way customers can truly " try before they buy." I like you're idea to have manufacturers or distributors tied to the install. It seems like a simple enough idea. Give the honest customers a chance to really try your product and your market will grow. You will always have theft in any business. Unfortunately being able to steal from the comfort and "anonymity" of one's own home will increase this activity. One way to work "with" this might be to do some clever loss accounting. Either way, I guarantee full demo versions would only help sales.

-Presstone
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d3drocks
post Dec 2 2009, 02:51 AM
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QUOTE (Irish916 @ Nov 17 2009, 05:13 AM) *
My solution: Companies should bundle installers/uninstallers with their downloads. when I buy a product, I click the app and it's installed from the web onto my machine. I should have a full buyer's remorse period where within 30 days if I don't like the application, I click a simple button and the applet removes it from my machine. No disks to back up to, no fuss, no mess. I get my money back and I can once again vote with my dollar. Sure, people won't like developers having access to remove software from your machine, but as far as I'm concerned it's their software, and I'm just paying for it if I use it.



well said. just like to let you know that line6 does this with their software. if u dont like it, you can get a full refund within 30 days.
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Greerathatuib
post Dec 7 2009, 05:16 AM
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I agree - with all this "market research" such as the leaked slides and Wireless Soapbox change bring us some real to look forward to. Even Public Mobile has showed more of what they are actually doing than GL.

Hopefully will be able to deliver and not just a bunch of talk
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tonyisyourpal
post Dec 10 2009, 10:35 PM
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Ok, here's an alternative possibility.

Abandon licencing. It's an out of date idea, and it never really worked anyway.

Instead, pay for support. Support is what makes software genuinely usable at anything other than a "start it up and look at it" level. Support can take many forms; email or phone problem support, or product extensions, or bugfixes, or additional content, or all of the above in some combination. Set up the software so that it calls home on a monthly basis to make sure the support fee has been paid - if it hasn't, the software stops working (with safeguards in place for pro users who are using their software on the road).

Further, abandon the big upfront fee, and pay the support fee on a monthly basis. The fee can be calculated so that you pay the box price for the software over some period of time (2 years ? 3 years ?) *Most* people, if the product is good enough, won't call on the company for support, but know it's there if needed, so this fee effectively becomes a smaller, but steadier, income stream for the company. If the fee is small enough, it could even drop to the "impulse purchase" level.

Where physical product is involved - whether it's a manual, or a boxed CD, or whatever - charge a fee that covers the production of the physical media, plus shipping, plus some reasonable markup for a distributor - but discourage this as a "non-Green" distribution method.

Users get the "try before you buy" option; use the software, pay for a couple of months of support, if you don't like it, stop paying the fee and the software stops working - everybody's happy.

The support fee could be graded, between high fee/high priority for pro users who need answers and fixes *now*, and low fee/low priority for home users who need answers and fixes *whenever, but soonish*.

In many ways, you could argue that software is currently acutally too *cheap*; the price doesn't really represent the cost to the companies who write it, and it doesn't really represent the value of the software to pro users who make their living using it. The "one size fits all" fee structure also charges the pro and the hobbyist the same fee, but each derives wildly different value from it, helping to bolster the piracy inclined hobbyist's argument that "it's way too expensive for me".

I think this approach would be a win all around; for software companies, for pro users and for hobbyists.
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C.LYDE
post Dec 12 2009, 08:07 AM
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Totally agree with the great product and great marketing - people will buy, those that can afford it in any case.

Which does bring up the 'loss-of -revenue' statements .. how accurate are these assumptions? To estimate sales income of any value, one had be certain of the sale, period. Guarenteed sale = genuine fake. wink.gif

Simply put, no-one pirates, but no-one buys either - then what?


"Consumers have very few choices when it comes to software:
Try
Buy
Steal"

How about sharing? I could lend my Rode mic to 10 of my friends without any fuss from Rode - using the 'do not steal mic' analogies so often raised. I suppose that gave rise to the dongle approach... my only thought on that is make the dongle as tuff as my mic's laugh.gif

The support approach is useful to the point where the charge exceeds the deemed value (from the user's perspective) - and how will that be determined?

How about selling the code in portions? Especially audio hosts could consider this - Steinberg Nuendo ticked off their loyal users though.. since this idea came after the fact that some users had already paid for functionality which could not be transfered via the upgrade... long story short - bottom line, 1st consider the people that have already paid for the software before trying to convince others to join.

This post has been edited by C.LYDE: Dec 12 2009, 08:26 AM
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ruslan.st
post Dec 14 2009, 10:59 AM
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Hi,

I am wondering about next things:

1. Why some companies do not allow to re-sell product? Some ask additional money for license transfer. I cannot find analogue with microphone here.
2. Why they do not sell older versions of software? For example if customer cannot afford Version5 then give him Version3 for smaller price. Or it is too dangerous step which can ruin all over-advertised "feature" additions in new versions and make marketing tricks useless?

This post has been edited by ruslan.st: Dec 14 2009, 11:00 AM
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Irish916
post Dec 15 2009, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE (d3drocks @ Dec 2 2009, 02:51 AM) *
well said. just like to let you know that line6 does this with their software. if u dont like it, you can get a full refund within 30 days.


Excellent point D3! This is one of the main reasons why I've been a loyal Line 6 customer. Download "Monkey" and it takes care of everything you need.

Line6 has some great advantages because they typically sell the hardware interface with software, so they lower their exposure to piracy. Line 6 also makes it easy to transfer ownership. I had an XT Live that I had purchased 3 "pak" upgrades for. When I sold my product, the license transfer for my buyer was delightfully smooth!

These guys have a model that is very effective. At least someone out there gets it!
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tedc
post Dec 21 2009, 07:54 PM
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I also linked in from the Korg site. I felt I had to chime in on this one too.

As part of my job I find myself as a programmer, I work with digital audio & video and many other things. In the past I have worked as a professional in both fields, but I'm more or less a jack of all trades. I have been a direct consumer of computer software since 1980, and I have used my share of pirated software, yes. One rule I have *always* followed though: "I pay for the software I use, and I use the software worth paying for."

As an individual, I have purchased more software than some small businesses have. I have probably purchased more than 200 licenses from Microsoft alone, plus hundreds of shareware apps, games and utilities. Most were purchased after a trial period, some were pirated first. The one thing they all have in common is that they were all quality products, worth paying for. On the other side of that coin, I have purchased countless games and apps on impulse off of store shelves - and ended up with a worthless box of garbage I wasn't even allowed to return.

In my many years, I have found that :
  • Most long-term users of pirated software would not have purchased it at all. Any time you have a situation where something can be had for free, there will be the minority that will take advantage of it - it's human nature.
  • The most commonly/easily pirated software usually is or becomes the most popular.
  • Those that recognize the *worth* of a tool will gladly pay to support the tool.
  • Some software is *only* available in the form of pirated versions because of companies going out of business or dropping support on older but better products in favor of more expensive, newer product suites.
  • Many trial versions are "gimped" and few software companies will offer refunds if a product fails to meet needs of a user.
  • Overuse of hardware-tied copy protection is common these days. It adds an unnecessary layer of complexity and can introduce problems in and of itself.
  • Crackers are remarkably resourceful and ALL copy protection can be cracked eventually.
  • Cracked copies can sometimes be better than the copy you PAID FOR - for example, when the hardware dongle can't be physically installed and the company offered no alternatives.
  • Many software companies treat their entire user-base like common criminals, forcing the use of invasive software or hardware copy protection that on many occasions has been shown to destabilize systems.
  • Physical theft is NOT the same as software piracy. (there have been whole books written on this subject)
  • Just because a software vendor spent a lot of money developing a piece of software doesn't mean that the final product is worth what they are asking for it.

Many software companies would be wise to examine their business models and see if things like Internet distribution, full featured trial versions and/or allowing refunds.

I should also mention that I find the analysis of the "sound card vs. software" a little flawed: There is a *massive* gaming community that purchases enhanced sound for the purpose of enhancing gaming - and that trend has been on the rise, particularly since the release of high powered gaming titles that actually takes advantage of enhanced sound. All of recent "gaming systems" have had a sound card that probably would have been great for content creation, but were *only* used for gaming. Next time they should run a comparison with game sales too before screaming "Oh, no! It the pirates!".

My rule extends to ALL the movies and/or music I might download as well, not just software. I have downloaded movies before going to see them in the theater, to see if that PG-13 rating really was appropriate for my kids. If the movie is truly good, I will see it in the theater and if it's worth watching multiple times, I will buy it - and usually the "collectors" edition. When it comes to music, I listen to the radio, I buy music from places that don't restrict my ability to transfer music to other devices or I buy the CD and rip it. (The CDs then all go in a big box in my basement) I prefer to go to concerts - where better than to enjoy the music than with the actual creators? - plus they usually have a better selection of T-shirts. I understand the band gets more of those proceeds anyway.

"I pay for the software/movies/music I use, and I use the software/movies/music worth paying for."
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unionpro
post Feb 15 2010, 03:35 AM
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QUOTE (tedc @ Dec 21 2009, 08:54 PM) *
[*]Just because a software vendor spent a lot of money developing a piece of software doesn't mean that the final product is worth what they are asking for it.
[/list]

amen, brother - it is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. if i know i'm only going to use it once a year, i'm not going to pay $2,000 for it - i'll get the dongle-free, cracked version
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runnsmith
post Mar 1 2011, 06:46 PM
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I'm concerned it's their software, and I'm just paying for it if I use it.
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Luzifull33
post Mar 11 2011, 02:21 PM
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yess Ok Thankss! tongue.gif tongue.gif tongue.gif
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