You don't buy the software (part 2)

This post is more than 2 years old.

So, I heard back from THQ. I wasn't sure what I was expecting. I kinda figured all bad ("Sorry, you are screwed. Enjoy your new coaster.") or all good ("We'd love to send you a new copy. Don't worry about sending in the old one. Would you like any of our other games?").

What I got was something in between. I was given an address where I can send the old disc to. I can get a new disc for 15 bucks. Now, that seems a bit high. Considering that a blank DVD costs... I believe abour 2 bucks, I'm not sure why I have to pay 15 dollars for a new copy, especially when I have the old broken copy as proof. A new version of the game goes for 19.99, so after shipping, I'm saving only two or three dollars.

I'm conflicted. I can certainly see THQs desire to get paid for their time and materials - yet what they want seems offly high for what they are providing. At the same time, my son loves the game (and I enjoy it as well).

So what's next? I'm going to check the local Gamestop (where I don't normally shop, their prices are obscene) to see if they have a used copy. My next target will be a movie studio. I have a DVD that is pretty scratched up that also happens to be one of my wife's favorite movies. (The Family Man with Nicholas Cage. I kinda like it too.) Let's see how well that goes.

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Sung posted on 2/24/2005 at 4:57 AM

I know you're not supposed to break the law, but now you see why some people go a little nuts over fair use.

$15 is ridiculous. Considering all they'd need to do is ship you the DVD (no packaging), it shouldn't cost any more than $5.

Comment 2 by Vince Bonfanti posted on 2/24/2005 at 5:09 AM

I'm not sure you're being reasonable in expecting them to replace the damange DVD at all. While you only purchased a license to use their software, you do own the physical media that it shipped on (the DVD). If they had given you a defective DVD, then by all means the retailer should have replaced it for free. But what makes you think they have an obligation to replace a DVD that you owned and broke, just because it makes it impossible for you exercise your rights under the license? What if your computer (or game console or TV) got broken--it would be equally impossible for you to exercise your license rights, but you wouldn't expect them to replace your computer, right? I don't see how the DVD is different (actually, I do--somewhat--but I'm making a devil's advocate argument here).

Comment 3 by Raymond Camden posted on 2/24/2005 at 5:14 AM

I kinda see your point, Vince. The thing is - if I had the right to reproduce the media then I could be responsible if the media is damaged. I have no rights to do that. That by itself makes this a special case I think.

Comment 4 by Matt W posted on 2/24/2005 at 5:23 AM

For the scratched copy of The Family Man, and any other scratched DVDs or CDs, I recommend the Disk Dr. (I think that is the right name) or some other disk repair tool.

I bought one for about $25 and have used it to save numerous DVDs, games and CDs.

Comment 5 by Barneyb posted on 2/24/2005 at 5:26 AM

It's absolutely not THQ's fault that the DVD is scratched up. However, since they refuse to allow you (the user) to protect yourself from such issues (by saying you can't duplicate the media, even if you don't violate the single-use license), they're putting themselves in a position where they're the only one who can possibly deal with the scratched DVD. However, the $15 is preposterous for new media. You're not buying new rights, just media, so the price should reflect that. But then if media giants had any kind of grip on reality....

Comment 6 by Daniel Silva posted on 2/24/2005 at 6:03 AM

I might dislike many things in my country, but at least its by law that i can have 1 backup copy of any media.

Its these overprotective laws that give many people an excuse to use pirate copy's.

Comment 7 by tony petruzzi posted on 2/24/2005 at 9:57 PM

Persoanlly this is why I believe in, "if you can copy it, copy it". I'm saying to pirate the game, I'm saying that if you can make a backup, do so. I never understood why it is suck a greyarea to make a copy of something just so you have it as a backup.

Point in case. My father bought MSSQL 2000 ENTERPRISE for 10 GRAND, with a "G". You don't think I made a backup of the cds and threw them into his safe. Imagine if one day I had to reinstall that puppy, only to discover the disks were unreadable or lost. I'd have a heartattack.

Comment 8 by tony petruzzi posted on 2/24/2005 at 9:59 PM

I should really start proofing my comments:

I'm saying to pirate the game, I'm saying that if you can make a backup, do so.


I'm NOT saying to pirate the game, I'm saying that if you can make a backup, do so.

Amazing what one little word can change.

Comment 9 by phill.nacelli posted on 3/6/2005 at 10:39 PM

I love what you have done in this "research", that's why I take on this issue much like the infamous "mattress tag" law... If you make a copy of the DVD in your house, you are not passing it to your friends and family, but simply keeping it stored with the rest of your DVD collection or on the same super advanced safe that you keep your copy of your treasured windows backups :) then the DVD police is very likely to show up as often as the mattress police... ;)

Comment 10 by Barney posted on 3/6/2005 at 11:21 PM

Phill, the matress tag is a very different beast. If you read it, it's only illegal to remove the tag if you're not the consumer. So if you purchase the matress, you're free to remove the tag. The DVD's license, on the other hand, explicitly states that you, as the consumer, are not permitted to duplicate it.