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#1 Posted by Buble (101 posts) -

Hi guys,

As the title says I am a grad student interested in studying how copyright (orphan-works and emerging DRM specifically) is applied to entertainment software. Basically what I am trying to get at is this industry advances so rapidly that the laws on the books are becoming increasingly incapable of working as intended.

I am just looking to brainstorm a bit about, as users, what are your concerns moving forward? Ideally copyright laws are meant to balance the rights of the CR owner with those of the user.

Also if anyone could point me to some interviews hosted on this site that might be useful for my research. I already have cited Brad's interview with the dude that makes his living designing gear for DotA 2. Also I heard Patrick mentioned on a older Bombcast that he has interviewed vetern game designers about ROMS if anyone can link that to me big ups.

Typed this out on my phone so sorry if it isn't super clear also feel free to send me any PM's

Thanks guys

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#2 Edited by joshwent (2897 posts) -

@buble: I think a big part of the frustration is how little DRM seems to have to do with copyright itself. The copyright laws that exist are already applicable to the elements of a game (art, sound, story, even programming, etc.) which prevent others from infringing on intellectual property. DRM, however, seems to be exclusively applied to prevent piracy. They're not concerned with people stealing assets of a game, they're concerned with people stealing the game itself.

It becomes increasingly complicated when that theft is anonymous and largely untraceable. If I illegally download a game right now, the publisher has to do a ton of work to even find out, and even then the evidence is questionable enough to make criminal charges practically useless.

DRM has been publisher's attempts to overcome this problem. The government putting it under the guise of copyright (the DMCA, etc.) only confuses a relatively simple matter. It's not IP theft, it's just theft.

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#3 Posted by Buble (101 posts) -

My understanding based on what I have access too is that the act of ripping a game and throwing it up as a torrent is considered copyright infringement, not theft, at least in how law is currently written. The reason being is that a copy, reproduction, whatever you want to call it was made of that work in its entirety without respect for the owners rights. One area I am really interested in is understanding what users think, or feel, they own when they purchase either a game or content within that game. For example if you purchased a skin for your game and the publisher decides to pull your access to you for whatever reason. Did you ever actually own that?

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#4 Edited by Areyow (29 posts) -

@buble: you should read the Register of Copyright's new vision on revision of the copyright act, which should be dropping in the next half year/year. She addresses some interesting points that I thin you might be interested in. Namely, the fact that the copyright act is outdated and cannot sustain its current model against digital IP. Aspects that she focuses on, which I am more interested in, are the first-sale doctrine as applied to digital IP and dealing with the gray market. Although this is not focused on videogames, it is worth a read.


As a recent graduate from law school, who should be studying for the bar but is instead on the GB forums, my focus was on intellectual property and cyberlaw. It has made me a bit torn on user rights, but fascinated to find how the 'digital norm' will continue to develop.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like any more resources.

I'd also like to point out that to get a better understanding of the purpose of copyright and IP laws in general.

IP laws are generally designed to allow the creators to exploit the benefit of their creation, while still allowing others to build on their shoulder. In theory, that is why these rights are temporary, although the Disney clause has expanded copyright exclusive use substantially. The purpose of copyright law is not to regulate commerce (again... in an ideal way), but to primarily promote the progress of meaningful art and science.

It is designed to balance motivation for IP creators to keep creating with the benefit that it conveys to society.

Again- clearly this is my nerd-out topic and I can go on (and on...and on...and on) regarding the issue.

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#5 Edited by Slag (7349 posts) -

@buble: loss of value really. Life of purchase, replayability, transferability.

In the all digital future purchases become basically service purchases which makes 60 bucks a lot more expensive than it is now. I can't resell it if I don't like it or lend/re-gift it. It only works on a closed single use system and is made artificially obsolete to encourage me to repurchase it later.

I have no interest in pirating a game or copying it. But these new DRM restrictions severely reduce the value I received as a consumer for legitimate uses of the product.

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#6 Posted by Veektarius (6102 posts) -

I'm not really bothered by copyright issues, but the possibility of losing access to things I paid for when a system or service becomes obsolete. That's not so much a copyright issue as a license issue, I guess.