Volatile I rectify: "Jason, since CA is something like a job for you, we can't blame you for your choices"
I mean that with all the efforts and time he puts in CA he has the right to treat it as a job and act accordingly (i.e. to do everything he deems good for it)
Volunteering 40 hours a week IS like a job, otherwise he should work at night...
I cannot help but feel that this is a drastic mistake. I do not know how it occurred to you that streaming content would work any better, but it's a really poor choice. There are pirates on youtube too, not to mention those flash websites.
When I saw the thread I had a big discussion with a friend over how this can be solved. Basically, if it's on your screen, you can steal it. We decided that there were two real methods of preventing this, the big brother method, and the "can't be assed" method.
Steam used the big brother method, rechecking your account to see if it's really you every 20 seconds. This is great because they're not streaming videos, they're playing games.
The Gamecube used the "can't be assed" method. Sure it was possible to get the little discs they had and the right drives to read it and a million other things, but it wasn't worth it to the pirates.
Try using the Big Brother method for the distribution of the videos, to make sure the right guy has their video, and the "Can't be assed" method for the actual displaying of the video. Start by encrypting it and making it so that a key retrieved from the server, given a real username and password, is the key. To prevent a paying user from sharing, figure out some clever way of playing the video that is annoying to screen capture. If this is executed correctly, then it means no hassle on your users, perhaps even a benefit due to the digital distribution system, and it makes it annoying for pirates.
As an added note to the above, make it so you have to log in to get the decryption key and that the key is cleared from cache upon closing the program. This means that you can log in while you're in range, grab the encrpytion key, and enjoy the video, played locally, until you close the program again. For added security, it might be worth considering encrypting the key itself while its stored locally, to prevent someone from taking the cleartext key and using it to decrypt the videos for distribution.
For reference, Steam was developed by LimeLight, who specialize in that sort of thing. This isn't a foolproof system, but I doubt anyone would be dedicated enough to try to crack it, especially given your strong ethical stance.
I do not want to see this site go down, especially not to stupid Digital Rights Management policies. CA is not a faceless corporation with millions of dollars to throw at the market, uncaring of their restrictive DRM policies. If anyone should do DRM right, it is this website.
I thought you were implying that because its his job he cannot do this to his customers and that he has some kind of rules and regulations that he must uphold. And that he cant just remove downloads and increase prices etc.
After re-reading i realise what you mean . ^^ i appolagise for sounding like an ass.
As you said " there playing games" thast the point. You cannot video capture a game and then play it somewhere else because its just a video, this means that the STEAM system works because you have to login to load files decrypt stuff and input commands etc.
It wont work with videos...even if you found a way to make the player not work (and there are ways, some make the screen pure black on video capture) people could still use a home video camera and capture it that way download it back onto there PC and upload it to piracy sites. Sadly there is almost no 100% guaranteed way to stop pirates other than by only displaying the video in a room were people have to come and pay to watch it .........o no wait thats a cinema and people pirate films all the time...see ? cant stop it if people want to be an ass they will find a way.
Of course it's impossible to stop someone, there's always a way to pirate it, but you can make it so annoying that it's not worth the effort.
On that note, Steam games have been pirated before, just it's very annoying to do.
The idea is to make it harder to pirate without inconveniencing the user. Given the system I just thought up, the only real feasible method for pirates is to videotape their screen, but who'd download that?
It's a bit tough to implement, but it would keep power in the hands of the users while making it too difficult for any but the most dedicated pirates to fiddle with. The resources are sitting there, the only hard part is coming up with a strange playback method for the screen, and getting a digital distribution system running.
I really do not think that making everyone subscribe to a lower quality service with a different distribution method will help curb piracy at all. Many people actually turn to piracy so they don't have to deal with such systems. I've heard all too many stories of someone going out to buy a game, then pirating a copy so they didn't have to deal with the DRM. Ask yourself who that hurts? The pirates are still getting the exact same service that the legitimate users are, just without the streaming, without logging in, and most importantly, without paying. Doing something like this WILL NOT HURT PIRACY, but it WILL HURT THE USERS, MEANING LESS PROFITS. IT MAY EVEN INCREASE PIRACY!
Increasing hassle on the user is not the way to go. However much we love the downloads provided here, some people will not want to pay. Changing it all to a streaming system, and requiring internet access to stream will not decrease piracy one iota, as the methods to crack those systems have been sitting in the public domain for eons.
We're on the same side here, just I think that everyone is approaching it from the wrong angle.
Last edited by evilagram; May 8th, 2009 at 08:06 PM.
pay attention. the piracy will stop. the only people who doubt me are those who don't know me well. Ive heard "thats impossible hundreds of times" and every single one of those people have been proven wrong. We shall see. In time we will know the reality of it.
If I can't solve it then I am fine with accepting failure and closing this place for good. Right now though, I am going to try the streaming system, the online atelier and another cool upgrade feature and if all goes well then the piracy will get cut in half or stop completely and we can continue to help artists around the world, including you.
Please support the remaining downloads coming out. The site really needs the support. We still need another server, more storage and have ever increasing bandwidth due to all the great stuff here. If you can get a vid please do so legitimately. CA needs the support and the help. What this site offers is worth far more than the fifteen bucks to get a video. Those supporting the videos are the real supporters of art here. So thanks to you all.
hey with content this good and a community this great, it just feels flipping good to contribute whenever we can. a true win win situation if there ever was one.
it is better to have sketched and sucked than to never have sketched at all.
Visit my sketch book at
Romance couldn't be more right.Sadly, the days of theft aren't coming to an end.
This still doesn't solve your piracy problem. Anybody can easily just use capture software and distribute the captured stream freely across the net. Then you're left in the same predicament as before.
Changing the formats from downloads to streaming will also lessen the quality of the videos (not quality of production, you do a fine job Aaron and team). Even watching a stream in HD of someone doing a PS tutorial makes it difficult to decipher what their brush opacity is at.
I wish you the best of luck on your campaign against piracy.
Look at EA and their secu-rom service. Spore became one of the most pirated games of all time due to the limited install system EA decided to put on their game. All of these tricks to combat piracy are not just futile, they're seen as a challenge by that community. You may find that you'll be dealing with more pirates simply by trying to fight them.
Did you consider that your issue may not be piracy, but marketing? Have you tried reaching outside of just the CA community?
One of the most difficult things about digital distribution of content is making sure your consumer feels like they have obtained something tangible. I can tell you it was a bit easier for me to pay 60 dollars for Marko's DVD than it was for me to pay 15 for one of Jason Chan's downloads. The instruction I received was comparable, but having something to hold made the decision that much easier. Paying 25 dollars is a reeeallly tough sell for something I won't even own.
You're not hurting the pirates, Jason. Not only will they not be deterred, they have nothing to lose. They aren't the ones who would be buying the content, or going to workshops, or even posting on the forums. You are hurting the community who pays for this content and wants to support the site. And worse than that, you're trying to stir up feelings of guilt from your paying customers and longtime members of your community.
This isn't a test of wills. This isn't about proving me or you wrong. This is about keeping the site running. Can you please explain to me how streaming the video will make it ANY harder for people to steal? Anyone can just pirate a copy of flash and a decompiler and use those to get to the videos. Even simpler than that, they can record it off their screen as it streams.
I am fundamentally opposed to this because I cannot bear to see you make the same mistake that the videogame companies are making. I cannot stand to see this site fall from something so simple.
When pirates see DRM, they take it as a challenge. They grow in resentment towards the publisher and make it their duty to not only steal it, but steal it in superior quality to what the users are getting. They see it as taking revenge and liberating the user from the harsh practices of the publisher.
Do you know why Valve is a success in the videogame industry? Because they are loyal to their customers, using Steam both as an anti-piracy measure and as a way of empowering the users by updating their games and keeping them connected. People don't pirate steam games because they don't want to lose Valve's support. They want to keep the benefits of the Steam network in their games.
Other companies like EA just jack up the DRM until it chokes the consumer, doing nothing to harm pirates who simply bypass it. Like mentioned, Spore is the most pirated game of 2008, with users having released hundreds of creatures in the game itself specifically to protest DRM.
Please don't fight me, and say things will turn out for the best, think this through. I do not want to see the site die for such an ironic reason.
Last edited by evilagram; May 8th, 2009 at 10:43 PM.
jcaffoe, i think we might have similar views on the file-sharing problem, but i don't realy understand from were you get that stirring the feeling of guilt thing you mention. not at all. also that hurting the communtiy thing... you know.. are you serious?
i personaly have trouble (and so should have anybody else, but those directly involved) judging the whole situation, since i don't know the numbers and i don't know where the numbers on the amount of sharing come from. that's interesting because almost all ways of tracking that stuff are more than faulty. from a technical point of view.
the only thing i can judge for sure is that jason shows a remarkable amount of dedication and i have big hopes that things will work out.
and also nobody here can realy judge the quality of the streams yet, nobody saw them. i think it's pretty obvious that jason will not give people something like youtube. i'm not concerned about quality at all.
and by the way. i found paying 15 bucks for a download TONS easier than paying 60 bucks for a dvd. i don't get why people need a dvd in their hands. it's so much more convenient. a couple mousclicks and couple of minutes file transfer and you can watch the video right away.
and convenience is key to give people a reason to buy. that's the way to think: it shouldn't be "how can we piss of pirates?" but "how can we make people wanna buy?".
i was concerned that jason might be repeating the same mistakes the various infamous anti-piracy groups are doing mindlessly over the last dacade since this whole sueing people stuff came up (and obviously nothing of that worked out so far), but i realy wanna see this new business model now. jason manley NEVER so far has came up with anything that wasn't anything but realy realy cool.
i have no doubt there is cool stuff coming up. and i have no clue how the new system realy works. i wanna see it. then i will judge.
This won't even be a challenge for pirates or hackers.
There is already consumer based software that acts as an external "overlay", and can record anything that is displayed on your screen and anything that travels though your speaker wires.
I think the better approach would be:
-Increase the price of the downloads to $25 (still a bargain)
-decrease the artists cut to 35/65. Don't worry, we will survive.
-Make the community well aware that it's very survival depends on supporting the downloads.
-Spend more money on outreach, advertising, and marketing. There are many potential, honest consumers that don't know these downloads exist.
The online classes are a good idea as well, and will bring in a little extra. Just be aware that less professionals will want to contribute their time in this way.
In the long run, if you gather enough fans of the product, support them with easy to obtain and hassle free content that can be viewed offline, morality will carry the cost of the servers.
The pirates can have their slice, as long as we can survive on whatever crumbs they leave us. I'm totally fine with that.
Also, as a last resort, I petition for littering the front page with flashing advertisements to gain revenue before deciding to shut down the whole community.
Even if it gives me seizures, It won't bother me a bit.
Subscription based access to the forums will fail. Trust me on this.
..............BTW, nobody pirates the AAU media because there really isn't any demand for it.
Last edited by James Kei; May 9th, 2009 at 01:03 AM.
This is a real shame, but unfortunately I can understand. :/
Just wish I could get my hands around the throats of those that made it all the worse for us.
I only have two of the downloads at current (The Greg Manches ones I got with my Dallas ticket... they are so awesome)... Even now that I'm working I'm only barely making enough to keep myself afloat. Instead I volunteer a lot of my time to this site for the Community Activities, and I've gone to all three workshops since the one in Seattle. (Probably why I have such a hard time saving my money!) I always saw the downloads as a luxury for me, for the same reason I can't really buy books or dvds any more, except when I want to treat myself.
I think the streaming vids are doable, though it does put some people at a disadvantage. It would be cool if they were made available at the workshops, though...? Dunno how you would do this if you really don't want to make DVDs of them, but I'm more likely to spend money when it's right in front of me (I always end up buying stuff at the workshops that I told myself I didn't have the money for...)
The online classes are an awesome idea. Let me know if you need any volunteer work - I'm not really qualified to be leading a class or anything but I've been teaching in the Game Design program at UOIT so if you wanted to give 'classroom feedback' or whatever I can totally volunteer some time to help organize stuff or whatever. Since I have way more time than I have money, it's the best I can offer right now!
Id be the first to admit that I dont know or fully understand all the details and Losses piracy causes, I just know its allot. Especially for popular content.
In 8 months leaning to paint I have improved a great deal due to the content Ive purchased on CA.
4 month difference http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_uSsuXGtamy.../Old%26New.jpg
Its well worth the small Price bump.
I hope the new system works out for the better. I can't help to be a little skeptical. Pirates are resourceful bastards.
All the best, with the new plans.
I have to decide where to download as places with wi-fi often have dropped connections and too many drops disable me from getting a download.
Even if I had broadband, streaming is not an option for me. That's a certain time to have to pay attention with no rewind/pause etc. I don't have a lot of time to do that because I work on other projects (such is the life ...) I don't even really watch youtube, ...just no patience to watch something online when I got other things I got to monitor.
So if I got a week, I'll get the downloads I can this week and just have to say goodbye to content unless its released as dvds again.
This is not EA. This is uniquely noise free spot which I see as a welcoming home for artists who want to learn. As said, those who doubt. do not know me well. I am relentless when faced with a problem or challenge. I also have considerable resources and relationships with around 200 companies across multiple industries, legal avenues around the world and am very educated on international business law....including years of experience driven research on digital distribution, global biz, copyright law, including IP related civil matters. Honestly, I wouldn't want anyone else to handle this problem but me right now...though I would rather not be dealing with it at all. I am sorry folks will have to deal with the changes. It is my hope that folks here who really do support the site will prefer to see a simple change in distribution methods to no community at all.
DVD's have the same piracy problem as the downloads. CA cannot trust all those purchasing to show respect for education, creativity, and teaching. The problem is not CA. The problem is that many people buying downloads have no respect for what we try to do here in support of art, learning and sharing of knowledge.
Let's hope I'm right eh? I would prefer to see CA launch the Next-Gen Atelier Online, Professional Lecture Series, and Student Portfolio Development Services, than shutter the place. My motivations come from the right place. I have put in nearly fifteen thousand hours of volunteer time for this community since 2002. The changes may come from business decisions on the part of CA, but the growth and existence of it all comes from my heart. Always has.
It is not a marketing problem. We expect 75 million+ page views this year on the site. We have plenty of traffic. It is just time to root out the thieves and clean this place up. I tell you what...it's a respect issue. Sometimes respect has to be earned the hard way.
None of this has anything to do with guilt. I do not appreciate your garbage passive aggressiveness. Take it elsewhere please. This is not the place for it.
As far as what you are getting...Right now we are interested first in sharing knowledge. Knowledge that took years of professional and student experience to gather so the big art schools no longer had a monopoly on the language of art. The CA downloads are and were meant to solve that problem, along with all the rest of what we do, at least in the area of information sharing and demonstrations. Hell there are more demos available to watch now than I saw in two years at Ringling. Tens of thousands of dollars I paid for those. Didnt get to keep those either. I wasnt there to keep the demos..I was there for the info and knowledge. I do understand that people like having things...Once we solve the internet streaming/download piracy problem I shall return my attention to that. Happy? I would love to solve both. There are patents involved in that kind of thing. Patents worth creating anyway. If time allows, I am happy to give it a shot. I have an entire business plan and model built around that issue. Regardless if people here are more interested in some plastic than the valuable information about art, then it is probably not the right info for them. But I do plan on having more DVDs as time goes on. First, the piracy issue must be handled.
Last edited by Jason Manley; May 9th, 2009 at 04:39 AM.
Jason you do what you have to do to combat the thieves, If this information has to be streamed, to me that does not seem like a massive issue, the information is invaluable, I have learned a shit ton from watching them and seriously the quality of the education is second to none, I would rather still have the learning experience than none at all.
Jason Thank you for doing your best for this community!
All the best
i know you guys didnt want to do it for a while as you wanted to keep CA free from money/advertising and so on -- but perhaps its about time we saw a donation feature?
Now that it isnt just a 'cool community' but we can see actual problems with actual solutions being created/tackled, i think many would be willing to chip in for these specific causes. I would be happy to donate a small part of my freelance income to fighting things like the orphan works, privatisation of copyright, and so on. I have got almost all the MB dvds but would still be happy to throw 5 or ten dollars a week into the kitty so that all this shit can be sorted, and stay sorted. I think the fact that you have already started providing these solutions off your own shoulders should be proof enough that the donations wont go to waste.
I hope my suggestion doesnt offend.
First, you take my comment completely out of context. Entirely. If you are going to do so, the least you could do is not insult me at the same time.
A simple asking of what I meant would have solved your problem understanding. Actually reading the whole thread instead of just picking out whatever lines you wish to respond to would probably too. I know this is a complex issue but the insults are not necessary.
I have been clear. The way CA stays open and free is if the pay for educational upgrades in the community are supported and the piracy stops. That is the point of doing the new features. My time is volunteer. But I do feel it is my responsibility to do all I can to keep the site from closing or going full pay for everything. As said, if none of this works those are my last two options.
All good things come to an end. CA.org will come to an end, maybe in 5 years or a decade, or even a century, but it will come. These downloads were too good to be true from the moment I saw them.
This streaming service is just delayed news. For those who have a good connection and a willing to learn WILL pay for this. It is the information you are paying for after all.
I do wish for multiple options though! I want the choice of a day subscription, month subscription, and even an annual subscription. The day sub will be good for those who have a day off and wish to watch and learn specific videos. Monthly will be good for those who have less time and wish to watch when they like. Annual is for those who would like to do more than just watch videos, but to support the site and could possible have a 'Sponser' tag next to their name.
The most successful thing about Lynda.com is that the video clips are only .20min to 15min long. The videos are split into chapters and the chapters are split into sub-chapters, like pages from a book. Make the user able to see which video they saw last and also able to see a history of what they saw.
This streaming service requires much more than what you are offering now. I will only participate if the service is adaquate. There are other places to find art education, such as the Gnomes!
Jason I do hope u succeed in your fight against piracy.
Although it will be a long and hard way, I have full confidence in your methods, u proved us over and over again that u only want the best for the community.
And after reading a lot of post written by u, I can truly say that I believe that what u are doing will always be in the best of the community.
Thx for this Jason, I wish u luck
I purchased more downloads the past days than ever before, that announcement sure was a kick in the butt hehe
I have confidence that you will do everything possible to let CA survive, and I'm looking forward to where this place will evolve, I don't see a reason for pessimism.
Last edited by ~Faust~; May 9th, 2009 at 07:03 AM.
OK... just bought the new Jason Chan video I was looking back through my PayPal account and adding up how much I've spend on Massive Black downloads.... it's now $165 (not counting the book which was bought at my request as a gift to me).... and well worth every penny.
I must admit I am slightly disappointed with the plans to have a stream only service. I loved the fact I could pop my downloaded videos on a USB stick and take them into work to watch at lunchtime. Streaming won't work in this case as internet access at work is severely limited.
The price increase I can live with easily... it's still good value for money. I would be interested however in more of the downloadable content eventually being bundled up onto DVD.
What was wrong with the system you had in place? I thought each download was traceable?
I'm not sure that the community here have anything to do with the problem. People who use the forums and check them regularly will see a download become available and pretty much buy it straight away if it's of interest. People getting torrents probably have no real idea what Massive Black and ConceptArt are... they are probably just searching for "Photoshop tutorial"... some of them are a lost cause... but some I'm sure end up coming here and finding out what's going on.
Have you considered an approach to the owners of large torrent sites like PirateBay? Just explain the situation and see if they'll keep MassiveBlack stuff off their sites. I'm sure they see the distinction between yourselves and a large for profit movie company.
I know you have costs... most of us do what we can by buying what we want. I can think of at least three large corporations that have probably benefitted enough from this site to have some obligation to help support it: Adobe, Corel and Wacom.
btw an online lecture series is actually something that i feel is a good option. I am rescently married and have 2 step kids so right now travel isnt an option that is why i was wanting downloads from the last one to be available.....
How come? --- Eminem
My website is here
Piracy won't stop because you stream the video instead of let people download them but you can decrease the level of piracy in other ways if you want and I'm gonna give you some examples now.
1]I attended an online course with Don Seegmiller about painting the figure. I paind $400 for 8 weeks of teaching. Don let us download several videos about painting the figure (they'r made in the same way you do yours, they were really great, with audio and high resolution , etc.). Noone of this video can be downloaded from torrent or p2p platforms right now and the cours has ended 2 months ago. I paid for this course I've downloaded great content that I can watch again and again but I WON'T SHARE IT FOR FREE WITH OTHER PEOPLE, first of all for the respect I have about Don's work.
2]Some Ballistic book let the first 300 people who preorder the book download a free bonus video which won't be available anywhere else, like Linda Bergkvist one for instance and as far as I know also this kind of video are not available on torrent or p2p.
3]Maybe I'm wrong but If I search through the torrents site I cannot find any new video of MB since you wrote that MB was really suffering from piracy, so maybe your message has arrived even to the people who haven't had a legal behaviour in the past. Only the very old videos are available and unfortunately will be forever I think.
This examples above imo proove of because I think doing streaming won't work: the piracy won't stop and you'll have less honest people buying your video (at least one: me).
I think you should try to focus on questions like "how can we obtain the deserved found for MB by honest people who loves our work?" and not "how can I stop the piracy?" because to stop the piracy (that again I said it won't stop) you're makig sad honest people who loves your work.
An idea to increase MB found can be doing some art classes as CGSociety do.
Many people out ther would be happy to pay for having the possibility to be teached by one of your great artists.
Another way can be raise up the price of your downloads: again honest people will buy them and if someone will stole them you'll have anyway more money coming because of the higher price.
Another way again is to let people pay to be part of a restricted community who can download content (if Don Seegmiller videos are not available on pirate platform I think this can work also for yours).
Everybody here is giving you some ideas to let you think well about going into the stream direction, I hope you'll reconsider this at the light of some facts we're telling to you.
It's we that have supported MB so far... please listen to our voice and don't take personally a war againt piracy over all the other things because this won't lead you in making the correct decisions. Don't think about bad people, think about how you can get from honest people the things that you need.