Stealing Industry

So I have just finished up at a games dev company and to tell the truth one of the things that I felt was most out of place was the piracy this nameless company ran pirated games that it would use as reference for artists and programmers there weren?t heap and heaps of titles but piracy coming from a company that would be up in arms if they found another company pirating their stuff is just stupid.

their piracy was not limited to game it also went to development tools and programs lets just say they are very dodgy.

Any one else out there got any stories to share about shady goings on you have seen just thought I would throw this one out there as i found it so dumb

davidcoen's picture

getting pirated copies of a game we had made was the highlight at one of the places i have worked :)

IronhideNT's picture

I think 'shady goings' happens in any industry really, particularly in small companies. Generally (yes from first hand experience) if they're skimping on the software, they're raping you as well.

I don't know how far I should go into this, as it is a touchy subject but my first job out of Uni was like that. I'd admit it, I was extremely naive, but in hindsight I should've quit when I smelt something fishy (software was just one of those things). Yet I was stubborn enough to keep on going as they pumped words of 'potential' in me. They lied to me about clients not paying them, so therefore they couldn't pay me, I did all the work, they used it commercially, and then came back to me and said it was all training. To top it off, he laughed at me as well.

Again if I knew the laws and what I could've done at the time, I would've done something instead of lying in my bed everyday in shock. They even threatened me with legal action if I was to use any of the work I did for them as proof against them (it was a big client). I was disturbed also that he was getting alot of like-minded wide eyed students from Uni's to get them to do work because of the opportunity to showcase their talent on a big stage. This company doesn't pay them of course - but for some students I suppose you have to take the chance (particularly artists).

All in all I'm not sitting here pouting as I'm sorta trying to get over it. But it did knock a lot of wind out of my sails. Trying to erase it out of my head is hard, because they have, and still are getting away with it.

It was a bad experience, but one I had to have they say....

Nomads's picture

IronhideNT dude either we worked for the same guy or there are allot more of the shady bosses out there than I would like to imagine while I was employed there I saw a constant stream of uni "work experience" happening all of the work they produced going into the pitch and most of them being feed the same rubbish I was before I was employed by them.

My advice to people out there is to read you contracts before you sign if you feel you need legal advice to be on the safe side don't be afraid to go to legal aid they have lawyers that specialize in employment law and for simple advice eg award rates etc call wageline.

if they feel they can get away with it they will try

Red 5's picture

Welcome to the real world Nomads ;) ...this is common within the industry and has been going on for years.

CynicalFan's picture

Wow, and I thought the local game development industry was the greatest in the entire world... someone has definitely pulled-the-wool over my eyes, huh!? [;)]

Jason's picture

I'm glad I'm changing careers while I still can :)

lorien's picture

I'm afraid pirate software is used in a lot more industries than games. It is particularly ironic when software companies use pirate software to make the things they sell though...

urgrund's picture

well, from experience - a lot of these small studios simply cannot afford the software, there is no way they can afford to license numerous copies of OS,3D,2D,SVN... etc whilst still trying to keep their employees paid, whilst still trying to please a demanding investor that gives, in return, too little to legitimately purchase the software, let alone putting the devs on a wage that respects their efforts and skills...

most of the time these small startup devs are living (sometimes literally) from paycheck to paycheck from the publishers... its the "steal a loaf of bread to feed the family" situation. I do not condone piracy - but its a necessary evil for a lot small companies struggling just to keep afloat.

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by Nomads
while I was employed there I saw a constant stream of uni "work experience" happening all of the work they produced going into the pitch

Vents very loud curses at sleazebag bosses who fail to understand that education/training is not really supposed to be some kind of cheap labour farm for industry (I've had personal experience with 2).

quote:
My advice to people out there is to read you contracts before you sign if you feel you need legal advice to be on the safe side don't be afraid to go to legal aid they have lawyers that specialize in employment law and for simple advice eg award rates etc call wageline.

if they feel they can get away with it they will try

Agreed wholeheartedly.

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by urgrund

well, from experience - a lot of these small studios simply cannot afford the software, there is no way they can afford to license numerous copies of OS,3D,2D,SVN... etc

Sorry, that's no excuse in my book: they should be using Linux and porting to windows/consoles. The only thing you really have to buy is 3d packages and 1 or 2 copies of windows. SVN is Free software btw.

The problem with your "stealing bread to feed the family" metaphor is that there is free bread everywhere. If despite that you're (NOT you Urgrund!) stealing it anyway you deserve everything coming to you imho.

Nomads's picture

the company used to have money I think they just blew it all ages ago now they seam to rely on one of the bosses silver tongue to pull people into their web.

All things said having the chance to work in the industry in my home state was a great learning experience got me some hands on experience with the art pipeline for renderware and got to see my stuff on the PS2 which I must say was just awesome and on top of all that I have come out a little wiser about the nature of the industry.

The only way I can really sum it up is dream job with out the dream conditions.I guess the go now is to just keep working to find another dev job with a good company.

souri's picture

quote:Originally posted by Nomads

So I have just finished up at a games dev company and to tell the truth one of the things that I felt was most out of place was the piracy this nameless company ran pirated games that it would use as reference for artists and programmers there weren?t heap and heaps of titles but piracy coming from a company that would be up in arms if they found another company pirating their stuff is just stupid.

The past web companies I have worked for had software from dubious origins, and I hear stories all the time from my friends and people in the IT field about their torrents, movies, and software hocking. It's one of those things that's fairly common (particularly in the fields of IT), unashamedly accepted, though not often talked about.

I'm not saying it's right, but to think that it doesn't happen at all is a bit naive I think. Wasn't there a program that Microsoft released that was found to have been edited/produced with a cracked version of another program in the past?

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by Souri
It's one of those things that's fairly common (particularly in the fields of IT), unashamedly accepted, though not often talked about.

I think there is a big difference between individual piracy and corporate piracy in that individual piracy is generally not making money from stealing others work.

quote:
Wasn't there a program that Microsoft released that was found to have been edited/produced with a cracked version of another program in the past?

I seem to remember they released some self extracting archives that had been made with an unregistered WinZip

Red 5's picture

quote:Originally posted by lorien
I think there is a big difference between individual piracy and corporate piracy in that individual piracy is generally not making money from stealing others work.

Exactly, in fact many software companies aren't overly worried about individuals who use pirated software for non-profit use... their logic is that if you're learning how to use their product, chances are you will eventually buy a licence.

Caroo's picture

quote:Originally posted by Red 5

quote:Originally posted by lorien
I think there is a big difference between individual piracy and corporate piracy in that individual piracy is generally not making money from stealing others work.

Exactly, in fact many software companies aren't overly worried about individuals who use pirated software for non-profit use... their logic is that if you're learning how to use their product, chances are you will eventually buy a licence.

NOT ONLY THAT!!! But those, like me who cannot afford ether the tuition fees of a game development course or the alternative buying a program like adobe, or 3Dmax need to rely on the unspoken truth that if your using it to train up and get into the industry then you're not going to be hunted down by the feds.

If in the case say for instance, every guy sitting in his room with a copy of illegal 3D max that?s training himself up to make a folio got arrested. Then discreet would be chopping down half their overall profits. This is because the industry is filled with a mixture of both those who paid for the fancy classes and those who sat down and taught themselves. By cutting down the "not formally educated" class I swear to you you'll be doing the industry a world of hurt.

As for inside a studio with an ABN number. Everything you use to make a game should be legal as your going to make money off it. And one has to remember that a lot of these programs are tax deductible to a fair degree. XD

Red 5's picture

As a side note, I was talking to a Max rep a few years ago who told me (can't remember the exact figures) that there were 2000 (licenced) 3DS Max seats in China, but one particular Max instructional book had sold more than 50,000 copies there... that tells you something ;)

Caroo's picture

quote:Originally posted by Red 5

As a side note, I was talking to a Max rep a few years ago who told me (can't remember the exact figures) that there were 2000 (licenced) 3DS Max seats in China, but one particular Max instructional book had sold more than 50,000 copies there... that tells you something ;)

And I would believe that man. The problem is a circler ferrous-wheel of economic shit.

People Pirate such things because they refuse to pay $5000 for one program for one user.

And the companies ups and ups their price due to both rareness of legal sales and R&D.

Frankly. I see this never being resolved though. Maya was good and offered the learning edition for free. But with so many critical features lost [for example , the ability to use plug-ins.]

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by Caroo
[quote]
NOT ONLY THAT!!! But those, like me who cannot afford ether the tuition fees of a game development course or the alternative buying a program like adobe, or 3Dmax need to rely on the unspoken truth that if your using it to train up and get into the industry then you're not going to be hunted down by the feds.

I'm afraid Bill Gates seems to have some different plans with Vista (treacherous computing) [:(] The FSF have started a campaign labelling Vista and all DRM equipped products as "Defective by Design" http://www.defectivebydesign.org/

Caroo's picture

quote:Originally posted by lorien

quote:Originally posted by Caroo
[quote]
NOT ONLY THAT!!! But those, like me who cannot afford ether the tuition fees of a game development course or the alternative buying a program like adobe, or 3Dmax need to rely on the unspoken truth that if your using it to train up and get into the industry then you're not going to be hunted down by the feds.

I'm afraid Bill Gates seems to have some different plans with Vista (treacherous computing) [:(] The FSF have started a campaign labelling Vista and all DRM equipped products as "Defective by Design" http://www.defectivebydesign.org/

People campaign when they ether have had enough of something or have something to really fear. Bill probably falls into the second more so then the first.

lorien's picture

quote:Originally posted by Caroo
People campaign when they ether have had enough of something or have something to really fear. Bill probably falls into the second more so then the first.

Getting off topic, but yes the free software community really have something to fear from DRM, and it has nothing to do with piracy. DRM threatens free software with extinction- it's detailed in the treacherous computing link I posted in the thread on copyright and filesharing

Nomads's picture

Piracy as any educational tool with a view that you should eventually be purchasing a legit copy ok really really common many a year ago I was at Qantam and I have to say that I don't think I can recall a single student that didn't have a pirated copy of max while learning. Many or at least a few of these people are now working in the industry and have since made the purchase.

Piracy as entertainment again very common again I can't think of a single gamer that hasn't copied a game or two in their time.

But if your in the industry all that crap should stop there should a bit more respect than to pirate another companies games no matter what the purpose. I mean come on it really doesn?t cost that much to pay for a game and it you can?t afford it perhaps you should be asking if you really have to money be running a games dev company.

Well at least that?s my take I can kind of get into a rant sometimes.

lorien's picture

Thought I should point out that Bill Gates has confessed to piracy [:D]

http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/2803 though it comes from Wall Street Journal

quote:
WSJ: You watch physics lectures and Harlem Globetrotters [on YouTube]?
Gates: This social-networking thing takes you to crazy places.
WSJ: But those were stolen, correct?
Gates: Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner wasn't paid for. So yes.
lorien's picture

Hope someone sues him [;)]