We can no longer accept Paypal Donations

General chat related to ScummVM, adventure gaming, and so on.

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CJ.Hammond
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Donation solution (well, rather workaround)

Post by CJ.Hammond » Sat Sep 02, 2006 10:18 am

Hey there,

First of all, I own (next to some other titles) a LucasArts classics collection, and I was so happy to have a way to revisit some of my "childhood" memories through ScummVM :) So, yes, I'd like to make a donation!

The thing is, Amazon's wishlist is bound to their articles, and I don't really know what you guys intend to do with the donations (hardware, server fees?). So, for the time being, I was thinking about something that was used over at the Amiga Music Preservation site: they simply named their requirements (e.g. getting a new DVD writer for one of their maintainers) and people could volunteer to order the items, which were then to be sent to someone from the team.

So, in case you guys (usually) spent the donations on such things as hardware, why not make a "wishlist" here on the forums, where people can (after getting in touch with you through a PM for instance) order something from the list?

Of course that makes pooling money virtually impossible, so for that I'd indeed suggest something like online vouchers (such as from Amazon). Thus, we users pay your Amazon purchases, so you can spend your money on (possibly expensive) merchandise needed for the project.

Well, just some thoughts I'd say ;) Cheers,
/jochen

KevinSig
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Post by KevinSig » Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:38 pm

I think its more than just Maniac Mansion & Monkey Island Sega CD. Its the fact that, while discouraged, ScummVM can be used to play the games without ownership of the original media. The fact I can play Monkey Island on my PDA is an example of this.

ScummVM is well meaning, but while it has the support of many developers, to my knowledge, they've yet to get the blessing of Lucasarts itself. Or Humongous, I believe.

I'm not saying that its entirely fair, but ScummVM is at least in the legal grey area, and if Paypal continued supporting it, it could find itself liable. I suppose Paypal could be asked if there are any changes that ScummVM could make, to fix the legal issues. Or maybe just disclaimers on the site.

Kevin

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clone2727
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Post by clone2727 » Sat Sep 02, 2006 1:48 pm

Nah. PayPal will just be replaced.

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LordHoto
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Post by LordHoto » Sat Sep 02, 2006 11:29 pm

KevinSig wrote:Its the fact that, while discouraged, ScummVM can be used to play the games without ownership of the original media. The fact I can play Monkey Island on my PDA is an example of this.
You can even play the games without ScummVM without owning the media, so I guess it's not a ScummVM specific problem. The example is a bit missleading imho, why should the fact that you can play monkey island on your pda show that you don't have to own the original media?
CJ.Hammond wrote: So, in case you guys (usually) spent the donations on such things as hardware, why not make a "wishlist" here on the forums, where people can (after getting in touch with you through a PM for instance) order something from the list?
Two developers (including myself) have a (game) wishlist on the wiki:
http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/User:Sev
http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/User:LordHoto

Alkarion
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Post by Alkarion » Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:59 pm

I registered here just to join this discussion. I have been following the progress of ScummVM for some time and I think it's a great piece of Software. I don't use it that much because I'm more interested in Dosbox as it's all-purpose.

Concerning the PayPal issue, I'd like to say that you shouldn't dismiss your account too quickly. After all, the legal foundation of their actions seem to be pretty weak. I don't know which law applies in this case but I'm pretty sure that even under US law you are not permitted to restrict customers access to your products or services without giving proper reasons.

I understand if you say that you don't want any business relations with PayPal anymore considering their weird policy. I just think that, if you are willing to invest the resources and the time PayPal should be taught a lesson. Big Business, which seems to have excellent access to PayPal (I think it's obvious that big game companies are behind this, given the newly risen interest in recycling old games for mobile gaming) simply can cause this inconvience without any legal backing. This is not right and should be fought. Perhaps (this is pure speculation) you could even enlist the support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation if you want to enter a legal case.

I don't know how important donations are for you, but changing the donation system would surely hurt the amount of incoming cash. The crucial thing about donations is that it's quick and easy. PayPal has the largest customer base so people don't have to sign up with a new service if they donate.

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clone2727
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Post by clone2727 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 5:22 pm

I'm not sure, but would Google Checkout be a good replacement for PayPal?

CJ.Hammond
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Post by CJ.Hammond » Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:34 pm

LordHoto wrote:
CJ.Hammond wrote:So, in case you guys (usually) spent the donations on such things as hardware, why not make a "wishlist" here on the forums, where people can (after getting in touch with you through a PM for instance) order something from the list?
Two developers (including myself) have a (game) wishlist on the wiki:
http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/User:Sev
http://wiki.scummvm.org/index.php/User:LordHoto
I only have one slight problem now ;) From what I could gather at the first page mentioned above,

-- snip --
The main problem for me is that I can't use PayPal simply because it is not accessible in my country and to acquire my collection I had to either use some proxy who will accept direct transfors, or they were donated
-- snip --

it seems that you (or at least Sev in this case) have a good idea where to get things from (or rather how exactly to look for stuff). The point is, I would be willing to place a (reasonable) bid over at eBay, if you could provide an auction ID (I just don't like the idea to bid for an item that, eventually, turns out to be for a platform you already have the original media for...).

So, if that isn't asked too much, maybe you could (sometime next week) perform a quick search and past some two, three links from eBay over here (and whoever's going to bid on the items, could you please say so, for it would be pretty useless if we raised the price unnecessarily, ~grins~).

/jochen

hollaho
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Post by hollaho » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:04 pm

First: You should be happy that you'r rid of Painpal now. I know its a very convenient system but it has quite some drawbacks and is iffy at least in terms of reliability and lawfulness. If you had read any of the (probably somewhat exaggerated) horror stories about Paypal on its numerous hate pages you'd realize that one shouldnt wonder if Paypal behaves ignorant sometimes.
I mean you just have to look at how paypal ignores the local lawsystems of countries it offers service to (despite beeing legally bound to em). Have you ever read their supercomplicated terms and conditions? That alone should be enough. But moreover like 80% of em conflict to German laws (AGB-law) that limits what you can put up in terms and conditions. Nevertheless Paypal ignores this and behaves like they want to, knowing that its pretty complicated and timeconsuming to sue someone in foreign country (even if legally possible and very likely successful), so noone does this over a few bucks. But it gives you an impression of how reliable and serious that business is. Also Paypal is offering a de facto banking like service while evading beeing treated as a bank (and beeing bound by the strict laws ensuing). All this is not reassuring, to say the least, and hence just take your cash out of paypal and be happy your forced to use a more reliable system now.

-----

Alternatives to Painpal:
If all you want is to spend something on Amazon then using their system is of course easiest, but also much more limited in use. If you want real cash then in Europe the easiest is just opening a free investment account that can receive money orders but not be used for paying stuff (you can initiate transfers only to a pre-named reference account). This bank account number (IBAN/BIC) you can without risk disclose and ask people to donate to it. It's a bit more hassle to setup (possible nevertheless also for foreigners!) but doable and the best is it usually charges zero fees within whole Europe. The money there is then protected by strict laws and you dont have to worry it disappears. In order to spend it you can either wait till something has piled and initiate a transfer to overseas (which does then cost a fee but nowadays takes only a few days) or try to put it over to one of the numerous virtual currencies or even paypal (just as a transatlantic carrier, then you know at least the cash is only in there hands for a short time and it has nothing to do with the website officially any mor then).

hollaho
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Post by hollaho » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:17 pm

Gosh, seeing some of the developers are from Germany I would think you really should have known how to solve that problem at least for donations within Europe easily. It even saves you a lot of fees that Painpal charges.
Remains only the problem how to receive donations from overseas, which can be a bit more tricky as the american banking system is less developed than Europes. But if you find a way to get a USA bank account via a bank that is present in both countries then you can have em give you a checking card and these do work in every European ATM. Not all people know this but since around 2000 that already works nicely and the fees are the same as if you use a ATM from any bank not in your local banks cashgroup. In other words quite tolerable unless you withdraw tiny amounts. Likely less than what paypal costs then.

Ender
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Post by Ender » Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:52 am

hollaho wrote:Gosh, seeing some of the developers are from Germany I would think you really should have known how to solve that problem at least for donations within Europe easily. It even saves you a lot of fees that Painpal charges.
Remains only the problem how to receive donations from overseas, which can be a bit more tricky as the american banking system is less developed than Europes.
As an Australian, let me just say that -outside- of Europe, these kind of transfers can cost up to AUD$20 in fees. An actual bank account is not a good option for donations, for more reasons than I care to imagine :)

A) Reclaimation problems (If the developer in charge of donations, ala me at the moment, went rouge... It would be far more likely for the team to regain money from Paypal than a real banking institution)

B) Fees for anybody outside the EU (And America is -not- the only country in the rest of the world, although I agree their banking system sucks :) can easily total more than the donation amount

C) Difficulty of using for internet purchases (which is pretty much what most ScummVM donations are expected to be used for, apart from a small savings for any legal defence or future trouble)

D) Financial disclosure, Tax and all those wonderful things that a real financial institution makes you deal with :)

raven101
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Post by raven101 » Mon Sep 04, 2006 10:30 am

while discouraged, ScummVM can be used to play the games without ownership of the original media.
I'm not sure I follow this - as it does this no more than, say, an operating system, which also allows you to play games...[although actually having said that, why >do< you remove the copy protection on some of the games?]

As for the wishlist idea, I'm fairly new to this site, so haven't fully got a feel for how the whole working system works, but donations: a way of keeping the site/software development going (purely) or a way of saying thank you for all the hard work?

If it's the latter at all, then a wishlist can't really work, surely?

clem
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Post by clem » Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:42 am

raven101 wrote:why >do< you remove the copy protection on some of the games?
afaik it's like this:

some games come in editions with (ie floppy) and without (ie cdrom) copy protection

the copyprotection resides in the executable, the game data files are identical - ScummVM has no means of telling whether the owner has the code wheel/manual needed to pass the protection

note that copyprotection is only bypassed either when the original copyright holders agree (ie BASS) or when at least one version of the game without copyprotection exists (in fact mandatory copyprotection of some game, don't remember which [not SCUMM], was re-enabled recently)

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eriktorbjorn
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Post by eriktorbjorn » Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:59 am

clem wrote: afaik it's like this:

some games come in editions with (ie floppy) and without (ie cdrom) copy protection

the copyprotection resides in the executable, the game data files are identical - ScummVM has no means of telling whether the owner has the code wheel/manual needed to pass the protection
No, in the LucasArts games the copy protection is part of the game script, not the executable, and we probably can tell the difference between the CD and floppy versions. But we can't tell the difference between, say, the floppy version of The Secret of Monkey Island sold separately, and the same game sold as part of the LucasArts Classic Adventures collection.

For the latter, the original EXE file bypassed the copy protection, which was presumably cheaper than printing another batch of Dial-A-Pirate wheels, so that's why ScummVM always has to bypass the copy protection for that game.
clem wrote:(in fact mandatory copyprotection of some game, don't remember which [not SCUMM], was re-enabled recently)
You may be thinking of Future Wars. (Not a supported game yet.) In that case, the copy protection bypass also happened to render the game unwinnable. :-)

durval
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Re: We can no longer accept Paypal Donations

Post by durval » Mon Sep 04, 2006 2:49 pm

Dear developers,

I've just emailed Paypal as suggested:
To: aup@paypal.com
Subject: Disappointed with Paypal policy regarding software emulators

Dear Sir or Madam,

I write this to inform you about my great disappointment with Paypal's
policy regarding software emulators.

I'm a regular user of ScummVM (http://scummvm.org/) and, when I tried to
donate to the developers for their fine work that enables me to play my
vintage games on my modern machines, I was surprised to find that they
are being suspended by Paypal because Paypal's AUP does not allow for
software emulator authors to receive payment and/or donations for their
work.

I would like to point to you that:

1) Developing and using software emulators to play one's own
legally acquired old and/or backup software (including games)
is a legal right, and even more than that, it's OK from an
ethical and moral standpoint because I PAID FOR THE DAMN GAMES
in the first place.

2) Even if it wasn't legal/ethical/moral, it's NO BUSINESS OF PAYPAL
to police what Paypal users do or don't do with their own money.
I abhor this behavior as a form of censorship.

I'm a regular user of Paypal since I first opened my account (back
in 2000, more than 6 years ago), and I have been using Paypal
exclusively since then, but now I'm looking for a less invasive
internet payment system and will probably use Paypal less in the
future because of the above points.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.
Best of luck to ScummVM developers, and please let me know when you
start accepting donations again (via paypal if they back off, or via
another online payment service).

Best Regards,
--
Durval Menezes.

Update: after some minutes, they responded:
Subject: CD-PayPal Acceptable Use Policy (XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX) :XXX

Dear Durval Menezes,

I am sorry for your frustration. PayPal not only must abide by laws in
various contries, we also have policies in place to protect ALL of our
customers. An emulator infringes upon the intellectual property rights
of the manufacturer of games. I understand that you use it for "old"
games, but that is not it's only use. Again, I apologize for you
frustration.

Regards
PayPal, Acceptable Use Policy Department
PayPal, an eBay Company
And then I've replied to their reply:
Dear Sir or Madam,

You probably mean that an emulator can also be used to run pirated games.

I understand Paypal's desire to protect itself from liability regarding
people who will use something for illegal ends, but please be aware
that NEARLY ANYTHING can be used illegally: a gun can be used to
protect oneself or to attack and rob other people; gasoline (or even the
paper from a book) can be used to start a fire and commit arson, and
alcohol can be drunk by someone who will then drive a car and cause an
accident. Because of that, will paypal forbid me from buying a gun, or
gasoline, or a book, or even a bottle of fine Scotch?

I see a struggle going on nowadays regarding intellectual property rights,
where their owners will do anything possible to "protect" these rights,
even if that means trampling on people's rights to the fair use of the
items they have legally bought.

As someone who has been using Paypal since its humble beginnings (in
early 2000 Paypal wasn't even a blip on anyone's radar, let alone the
powerful entity it is today), I am saddened to see Paypal siding with
the owners of those rights, instead of the people who have bought the
rights to use them. But then, Paypal is just another big corporation
nowadays and maybe it's just the time for me to move on.

Thanks for your reply, I wasn't even expecting one.
Last edited by durval on Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

larien
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Post by larien » Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:16 pm

KevinSig wrote:I'm not saying that its entirely fair, but ScummVM is at least in the legal grey area, and if Paypal continued supporting it, it could find itself liable. I suppose Paypal could be asked if there are any changes that ScummVM could make, to fix the legal issues. Or maybe just disclaimers on the site.
Are banks found liable if they hold accounts for criminals? No. Worst case, the courts will issue an order to freeze the accounts under suspicion.

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