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  1. Now for some news which appears in favour of game ownership and ownership rights. Following a GoG announcement that Epic Games is officially integrated into GoG, Tim Sweeney advocated on Twitter for "universal ownership" of digital items - referring to games people purchase. By "universal ownership", he means that when someone buys a game or DLC on one platform, they receive access to their purchase on all participating platforms. Tim Sweeney's larger commentary is this: Tim also made some replies in response to people commenting on his statements: "If ownership of games is universal, then you don’t need every store or platform to operate forever, you just need some that do continue on." "Epic's aim is to bring players in, not lock players in. Free games, exclusives, and free Epic Online Services for developers of other games are all part of this effort to bring players in. Interconnection of stores and accounts avoids lock-in." "Each company is advancing in different areas, GOG with a universal launcher, Epic with account and purchasing integration. Epic Online Services (cross-platform friends, matchmaking, accounts, etc) support all platforms and stores!" "Wouldn’t it be purely better for everyone if Steam purchases were available on other stores and platforms that hosted the game, and if Steam hosted the PC version of games you’ve bought on other stores and platforms?" "The cost of download bandwidth is sooo small. Any store should be easily able to pay bandwidth costs for third party games from the money they do make by selling games, and any reasonable store would love to have customers frequently visiting." This comment in particular ("possession!=ownership"), looked-at in the context of his emphasis on "universal ownership" seems to show that Tim Sweeney is actually on the side of game ownership. In acknowledging the difference between mere possession and actual ownership, he is saying that his statements of "universal ownership" take, as granted, that people own their purchased games. Tim's expressed position on the matter is in agreement with GoG's own, as GoG openly supports the fact that people own their purchased games: Related to the topic of game ownership, further down in the comments replying to Tim's posts, a lengthy debate took place between someone who claims to be a lawyer and another poster regarding the topic of game ownership. The lawyer argued that EULAs are enforceable in the US and that people don't own their games. The other person told them that's not so. In the course of the debate the lawyer continually used false arguments including misrepresentations, inapplicable conflations between topics courts have ruled on, appeals to authority, and dishonest tricks in general to try to simply have their argument accepted as fact. A more detailed look at the tricks they employed is here: - They appealed many times to a Wikipedia list of court cases regarding use of online services where the verdict was in favour of the "clickwrap" user agreements. They claimed those verdicts in-favour of the clickwrap agreements show that EULAs are considered binding under law. However, all those cases were about the rights of a user of an online service who had to agree to a Terms of Service to use somebody-else's service, and not about the rights a person receives when they purchase a good. Their argument here was false and disingenuously tried to conflate the rulings regarding services to what the law is for goods, when the rules for services (which involves using somebody-else's property) are different than the rules for your purchased goods (which are your own property): You indeed have to agree to the terms of another person in order to use their property (such as their offered service), but, outside of the law, someone else can't dictate terms on how you may use your own property (which are your purchased goods). - They repeatedly pretended that a lower court's older ruling on a matter (ToS agreement validity) which is irrelevant to the topic of purchased game ownership supercedes the higher Supreme Court's newer ruling on the exact matter of purchased good ownership. But when it comes to rulings, newer takes precedent over older, and higher court rulings overrule lower court rulings - and the Supreme Court is the US' highest court and its decisions apply to all of the US and take precedence over all the rest of the US' courts and overrule any prior ruling that is in contradiction to the Supreme Court's rulings. - They claimed that the US Supreme Court's ruling which literally addressed and encompassed all goods was being interpreted too broadly when used to claim the first-sale doctrine applies to all goods, while simultaneously claiming that the Feldman v. Google ruling, which didn't at-all relate to the topic at-hand and was about a online user ToS agreement for a service, meant that EULAs are binding on purchasers of software goods - while also ignoring that even if that verdict had meant what they claimed (and it didn't), it would have still been superceded anyway by the newer Supreme Court ruling that the first-sale doctrine applies to all goods (with software being specifically mentioned by the Supreme Court as subject to the first-sale doctrine). - They did the former while claiming that the Feldman v. Google verdict included mention of the decision applying to goods, when the Feldman v. Google court order only mentions the word "good" twice and neither time supports their claim. The two uses of the word "good" in the Feldman v. Google order are these: "Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, which eliminated the express contract claim and asserted instead claims styled as (1) breach of implied contract, (2) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing" “Standardization of agreements serves many of the same functions as standardization of goods and services; both are essential to a system of mass production and distribution." Heck, that even shows the opposite of what the lawyer claimed: The court order states that 'goods vs services' is standardized, and essentially so, and so not open to interpretation based on the type of good or service it is or exemption based on a seller writing an EULA. - They argued that a brief Wikipedia summation about the 2013 US Supreme Court ruling was evidence that the 2013 Supreme Court ruling only applies to foreign copyrighted works rather than all goods, while ignoring that the court explicitly explained in its ruling that the very reason why the first-sale doctrine must apply to foreign copyrighted works is because there can be no exception or exemption to the type of good which the first-sale doctrine applies to, with the judge specifically mentioning software as an example of a good which the first-sale doctrine applies to. - They used ostentatious phrasing and repeated appeals to the authority of being a lawyer to try to suggest their argument wins by default on those grounds, despite that being a lawyer isn't a badge of credibility for a vested-interest legal argument because a lawyer is an advocate for hire and will argue and pull every trick they can to secure benefit and a win for their client's interests. Their tactic, not as an internet troll but as a lawyer protecting their clients' interests and also their personal reputation as a paid-proponent of a certain line of argument which serves their clients' interests, was to keep making false claims about things, hoping that the other person wouldn't know the information which invalidated their claims and so would just accept the arguments as true and authoritative coming from a lawyer, so that people reading them would believe those arguments had been conceded to, and so they would be inclined to assume those arguments had validity and those people would be influenced by that going forward, effectively biasing public perception in favour of those who oppose game ownership. Their many wilful disingenuous arguments shows what to be on guard for with a lawyer, and I think is a lesson to remember that a lawyer is not a purveyor of truth unless the topic they're speaking on is of no consequence to their personal practice, or if the truth is what they are being paid to argue in a particular case. A lawyer is an advocate for hire and they will bend every which way, as the one in this debate did, to argue and defend the interest of their employer. And even if they don't have a current client in the related field, if they are a lawyer who has a history of advocating for copyright holders or software publishers, or who has, themself, earned money writing EULAs, then they will consider it in their personal best interest to protect the interests of copyright holders and software publishers to the exclusion of others. Related thread (updated February 2020): You own the software that you purchase, and any claims otherwise are urban myth or corporate propaganda
  2. As another example in the series of game publishers claiming things that just aren't true, Ubisoft recently claimed that the recurring subscription fee to access certain content for the latest TrackMania game wasn't actually a subscription, but was merely paying to play the game multiple times over (kind of exactly like what a subscription is). After being mocked mercilessly by the internet-going gaming community, Ubisoft conceded that the subscription is a subscription. What Ubisoft's Free to Play + subscription model for the new TrackMania means is that people keep paying for games without ever coming into ownership of them. Ubisoft are reportedly offering $10, $30, and $60 subscription options, with the $60 option being for 3 years of feature access, which means that rather than paying the full-price of a AAA game and owning it forever, people can pay AAA full-price and have full access to a game for only 3 years. Which sounds better to you: 3 years of access, or endless ownership for the same money? I want to make the point that this is a part of Ubisoft's fight against game ownership and is something Ubisoft have been working towards for a very long time. They'e designing their games to deliberately interfere with people's ownership rights over their games, or to outright prevent people from owning their games, because they don't want people to own the game they pay for. Game streaming, where people don't install anything on their systems and only pay a subscription to access a streaming service, has been something Ubisoft were looking forward to long before game streaming was around and quickly discovered to be a relatively-shit experience. Ubisoft CEO: Only One Console Generation Left, Future is Streaming Talking A Good Game: Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft Co-founder And CEO I think that Ubisoft are among the worst and fiercest in the industry for trying to obstruct game ownership rights. And I think that their quest in denying people game ownership rights is negatively affecting the games they design. So, that's what I think the TrackMania pay-setup is largely about: Denying ownership to people who want the game. But say that Ubisoft had succeeded in having it be accepted that their TrackMania subscription wasn't a subscription but was really 'paying for the game multiple times' - did Ubisoft really think about what that would mean? Then someone could argue that because their license isn't a subscription license that it must therefore be a perpetual license, and therefore they bought the game with those extra features and Ubisoft has no right to interfere or restrict their access to play the game after any amount of time. Maybe Ubisoft was quick to concede that their subscription service is a subscription service because they finally took a moment to consider where it not being a subscription service leads to under the law. BTW, Ubisoft's current EULA, or the one I read a couple of months ago, employs desperately-reaching wording to deny (only in claim, not in reality) customer ownership over purchased Ubisoft games and is full of holes. I don't feel a need to point out the failures of the EULA because so long as their EULA remains as it was the last time I read it a couple of months ago, it's as good as non-existent (sort of like any EULA). And the moral here is: Don't believe what publishers say, or what their PR spokespeople and lawyers say, just because they said it. They have no qualms with lying to people's faces to get more given to themselves and more taken away from everyone else. They do it eagerly. And, keeping that in mind, I would say that EULAs have no validity to them whatsoever as all of a customers' rights, and all of a publisher's or copyright-holder's rights in a point-of-sale transaction where goods are exchanged for money, are established in copyright, consumer, and property law, and an EULA doesn't mean squat after those things have had their say. A legally-sound EULA is surmised with a © symbol, and anything an EULA claims which is beyond the meaning of a © symbol is typically ignoreable. Wrapping-up the 'publishers tend to claim things that just aren't true' lesson, an EULA is ultimately the equivalent of a publisher claiming that loot boxes aren't gambling but are "surprise mechanics". Here's Jim Sterling's video on Ubisoft's TrackMania not-a-subscription subscription service: EA: Loot boxes aren't loot boxes, they're "surprise mechanics" Bethesda: Paid-mods aren't paid-mods, they're "mini DLC" Ubisoft: A subscription isn't a subscription, it's just paying for a game multiple times over
  3. For anyone wanting to continue using Windows 7 for a few more years, it's reportedly possible to enable security updates in Windows 7 until 2023 on, I think, any Windows 7 installation.
  4. Regarding a possible explanation for why Microsoft keeps breaking custom GUIs: Microsoft has attached telemetry to every smallest action that is done in Windows 10. And Microsoft surely uses that telemetry to profit its business in a variety of ways. When using custom UI elements, Microsoft probably can't get telemetry from them. And so, it's possible that Microsoft breaks the UI on purpose in order to force its data-harvesting on people. https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/850714-dutch-dpas-use-of-microsofts-data-viewer-tool-reveals-that-no-windows-10-telemetry-is-anonymous/ https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/911470-microsoft-reshuffles-2018-speculation-not-pretty/page/3/?tab=comments#comment-11198231
  5. That's neat that they went into the effort of looking for alternatives to Adobe's subscription service. However, at the end of it all, they still stuck with Adobe's subscription because there wasn't something comparably efficient to Adobe's interconnected app ecosystem. Hopefully , other editing software developers will take note from that critique and aim to challenge Adobe in that area, as well.
  6. There's something here that is relevant to the topic of game ownership rights. Amazon executives conspired to smear fired worker who led protest over Covid-19 safety conditions That scheming, plotting, trickstering that was done by an Amazon lawyer against an employee of Amazon is also done by publishers' lawyers to try to get all interpretations and all benefits favouring the publisher and copyright holder, and none favouring the customer and owner of the software instance. I think that devious approach with the Amazon lawyer is what should be counted-on as being done by software publisher lawyers. If you offer them an inch, they'll eagerly use the opening to take a mile and the shirt off your back and the shoes off your feet as well. A lawyer is an advocate for hire, with their job being not to represent the law as it is intended or good to be, but to navigate and shape interpretation of the law to secure the most benefits and dismiss the most negatives for their employer. And in the course of their advocacy for their employer's interests, lawyers are also often liars for hire. Note that research has suggested that lawyer is the #2 profession that's most populated by psychopaths. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/01/05/the-top-10-jobs-that-attract-psychopaths/#673aa964d80d https://www.businessinsider.com/professions-with-the-most-psychopaths-2018-5?op=1 That means that when dealing with an adversarial industry lawyers, you shouldn't expect that they will experience moral scruples in what they argue. They have a job to do for their employer, and the better they perform it, the better their reputation and earnings will likely become. And big company lawyers probably work directly for CEOs, with the job of CEO being the #1 profession most populated by psychopaths. The pressure to trample over anyone to get the desired outcome in that chain of command could be immense. But the mindset there means that they likely aren't looking at or don't care about long-term ramifications for society, least of all gamer and game-purchaser interests in their advocacy, and are simply trying to secure all immediate and lasting benefits for their employer and the industry they profit by working in and serving. Large gaming publishers can afford the 'best' lawyers, and their definition of a 'best' lawyer is likely going to be the one that argues whatever it takes to accomplish whatever the publisher wants accomplished.
  7. I believe that I have explained Data's reasoning of the situation and the context of "critical error" accurately. That doesn't make it a lie from Data, nor does Data explain what the critical error he surmises occurred is or what it was caused by. But the lead-up to the critical error is that she is confused and panicking over the prospect of being taken away for who knows what, and the more fearful and distraught she becomes, the more her operation deteriorates. The show is entirely clear on what caused it, that the trauma and confusion of being taken away from Data and the Enterprise by strangers for purposes she doesn't understand is what broke her down. Re-watch the episode to see for yourself. I think you've missed that part of the message and the not-overly-subtle nuances of the scene. Data is trying to reason something he is unfamiliar with, and since he doesn't have a personal understanding for the mechanism at play (because he doesn't know what emotions are and experience like), he frames what happened in technical computer terms and ambiguously assumes it was some kind of critical error, but doesn't elaborate further. Data is effectively blind to the emotion factor and couldn't perceive how it played into her reaction and malfunction. The 'critical error' seems to have been that her mind couldn't find a 'Why' to what was being done to her, a reason or answer to what was happening, and that falsified her programming. If she'd been allowed to develop further before being targeted with logic-defying human cruelty, she might have been able to endure such trauma by explaining it with her experience knowledge of wrongful and unreasonable behaviour. But your argument that a "critical error" caused her shutdown and not the trauma of how the admiral treated her is like saying that people who died from a nuclear bomb explosion didn't die from an atomic bomb but died because their bodies vapourized. But they vapourized because of the nuclear explosion, just as Data's daughter's malfunction was the result of the non-computable trauma inflicted on her. And so, I'm a bit surprised that you watched the episode and came to the conclusion that the distress of what Starfleet was doing with her and her shutdown were completely coincidental and separate narratives within the same episode rather than connected events forming one narrative.
  8. It was no error. Unlike Data, she had emotions, and she said she was scared. And the overwhelming sense of dread is what overloaded her circuits. Data might have said something about there being a critical error, but he was conjecturing in terms he could relate to. He doesn't know the sensations of emotion or what negative ones would do to a mind. So, he interpreted it in a technical manner. He doesn't understand subtleties of laughter and jokes, puns, etc, and so he couldn't understand terror and dread. The episode clearly portrayed her distress and confusion at being told she was being torn away from Data and the Enterprise, and her descent into disfunctionality as the worries and distress overwhelmed her. The result of those things was her 'critical error' like someone having a heart-attack from extreme panic or fright. She was killed by the inhumanity she was treated with by the Starfleet admiral.
  9. Haha. I saw Ross had a new video uploaded, and I saw it wasn't a game review but something about Star Trek. I wasn't expecting it to be my kind of thing, but because I enjoy Ross' creative and / or mindful postulations in general, I decided to check out what he was saying. I jumped a few minutes into the video and saw some scenes of old TNG and tried to figure out which episode they were from. Then there was the mention of the cargo ship crew sending over their cargo ahead of their crew, and my mind started slowly going 'hey, that's...' as it was putting the pieces together, and then the video mentions the two planets, and I had a sudden experience like the hair standing up on the back of your neck, but this was due to a signal of irritation and displeasure spiking in me. I hate this episode. In fact, despite not being a big Star Trek fan and not really ever writing reviews for TV shows or movies, I actually wrote a review for this episode immediately after watching it because I found it so incredibly fallacious, and like sort-of xenophobic and ignorantly-stereotyping but towards drug-usage instead of people, that it made me flustered and I had to verify that the world knows that this was a really bad episode. So, I'm not of the same view that the episode is merely so-so. To me, it's much worse than that. I classify this episode along with the live-action Super Mario Bros movie as something I would live happier having not known existed and something I wish I could un-watch. Here's the review I wrote for this episode when I first watched it. Some of my issues with the episode are ones or similar to ones Ross also has with it: There are some things I would add to my review. One of the things I dislike about TNG is that, probably more often in the earlier seasons, Picard makes comments about human civilization having long-since evolved past its 19th, 20th, etc century perspectives towards life and no longer being motivated by selfish gain or a need to toil to survive (with everybody's normal living needs being taken care of), but now being dedicated towards betterment of oneself and human knowledge. But anyone watching the show can see that's a total load of crap. In fact, the only top-rank officer (captains, admirals, etc) depicted in the series as having some appreciable level of dignity, compassion, and mental sophistication is Picard himself. Nearly all the others in the series are characterized by boorishness, stupidity, arrogance and self-righteousness, closed-mindedness, hypocrisy, cruelty, incompetence, etc. In general, Starfleet and Federation brass that aren't Picard are towards the sleaze-bag moron end of the spectrum, and that's by 2000's standards. For example, the admiral who manslaughtered Data's daughter by saying he was going to take her away to use her for Starfleet's interests, against the desire of her, her father, and Picard. He terrified her into death, showing no consideration for her, anyone, or life in general. That man was a cruel, mindless, heartless, and compassionateless fool by any year's measurement. Yet, he's one of the heads of this Starfleet that supposedly represents an enlightened and evolved human civilization that is all about betterment through knowledge and understanding? That self-contradictory stuff really drags the show down for me. And the "prime directive" itself is illogical and inhumane, and is essentially a rule to do evil. There's no such thing as being an objective observer to life. So long as you're living, you're a part of it and your inaction is your complicity in what happened because you didn't act. And the PD forbids people from doing good. Life and its development are not the product of objective observation, but of harmonious intercession and engagement between every capable thing. Would Picard apply the PD upon the human race, if it meant the human race would have been wiped-out before the pyramids were built? So, no Picard, no Picard's friends, no Enterprise, no seeking personal and human civilization betterment through knowledge, no making the universe a better place? If so, then the PD would be self-nullifying as it would never have been created, and therefore its own meaning testifies that it is a falsehood. The PD denies the philosophy of doing to others as you would have them do to you, which is a couple of millennia older than even the 20th century that Picard claims humanity has evolved beyond, and it also rejects the morals of the strong standing up for the weak, and replaces those things with galactic sociopathism that makes an allegedly enlightened human civilization complicit in genocide of other civilizations. It ultimately represents a devolution of humanity, and so I think it's no wonder why the PD barely ever gets mentioned again for the rest of the series, and isn't again featured (from what I recall) as a primary focus in Picard's decision-making. TNG sometimes egregiously lacks self-awareness regarding what it says versus what it depicts, claiming an idea in speech but not manifesting it in the way the show's characters behave. But back to the reviewed episode, its plot-holes seem to be so problematic that people can't help but think or say something about them just to fix the picture of reality within themselves because in no way can things just be allowed to stay the way the episode tries to leave them. That episode is something wrong, in my view.
  10. I might have meant to post this link: Resources for disabling Windows 7 / 8 / 10 Telemetry & Data-Collection
  11. The latest furor over Blizzard's actions surrounding the release of Warcraft 3: Reforged could be relevant to game ownership violation arguments. There are two major issues going on with the Warcraft 3: Reforged release: - Reforged turned out to not be anything like what was advertised and is a case of false advertising - Blizzard has replaced original Warcraft 3 with Reforged and has forced owners of original Warcraft 3 to download Reforged to keep playing with the original graphics Original Warcraft 3 is around 1.4 GB in size, while reforged is something like 28 or so GB in size. This means owners of the original game have to download about 27 GB of data they have no use for just to keep playing the same game. Actually, they have to throw away 27 GB of their storage drive space to keep playing the game while losing many of its features, because Reforged lacks a bunch of features that the original game has. I think that taking away people's access to original Warcraft 3 through Battle.net and forcing them to download ~27 GB of data that is useless to them while they lose many features that original Warcraft 3 has and that aren't included in Reforged would be a case of theft, or at minimum of game ownership rights being trampled by a software publisher. People have discovered that, for now, the original Warcraft 3 can still be downloaded and played by installing a Blizzard test realm. I wonder if Blizzard will continue to leave that avenue open. There is also the claim of Blizzard's that any custom maps or game modes created in Warcraft 3: Reforged are the property of Blizzard. I don't think that could carry legal weight and if I owned Reforged I'd want to release something in it just so I could then release it elsewhere as well and wave it in their faces. Interestingly, after initially refusing to offer refunds, Blizzard has caved to the demands for refunds while people talked on Blizzard's forums about related topics such as potential class-action lawsuits and how it's illegal to deny refunds in Australia. I expect Blizzard allowed refunds in the face of the undeniable evidence that the delivered Warcraft 3: Reforged product does not match the advertised one.
  12. EULAs are not legal contracts and are not legally binding. This has been tested in court multiple times with the courts ruling that an EULA cannot overrule actual laws and ownership rights. Some countries also have it as law that any terms which are not displayed on the exterior of a package cannot possibly be agreed to and therefore carry no weight. I think Ross has that part understood. He goes into detail about it in his videos. Jim Sterling recently put out a video about a game becoming unplayable due to its DRM-authentication servers going offline, upsetting many people still playing the game. In this case, I think Disney is looking into patching-in a solution so owners can still install their game. Something similar happened with TrackMania Sunrise, where the decrepit DRM doesn't work on OSes newer than Windows Vista and so people can't easily install and play the game.
  13. This could help with game preservation arguments in the EU: The EU adopts new right to repair laws
  14. I'm not meaning to suggest that there's any content locked behind a 2nd-hand activation fee. The 2nd-hand activation fee is to make use of a platform's digital delivery service to download and play the game through that platform. Buying a game entitles a person to play the game. However, it doesn't entitle a person to get free services from a 3rd-party platform. Somewhat similarly, buying a car doesn't entitle the car-owner to free gas from gas stations. Yet, gas is needed to use the car. With games, digital delivery from a platform might not be needed to use a game, if the game can be downloaded elsewhere. But in order to use a platform's services you'll become subject to their term for usage of their services (which games purchased through them are not a part of). In the same way that games purchased through a platform are distinct from the platform's online services, having a right to play a purchased game is distinct from having a right to use a 3rd-party's own servers and services. The idea that buying a game includes a right to use 3rd-party servers is associating the game ownership and the right to the game with the servers, just like when a platform or publisher tries to argue that people don't own their games. It's saying that companies don't own their own servers and service infrastructure, and is implying that buying a game means you also bought the 3rd-party servers the game can be used with or downloaded from and so have rights over those servers.
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