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Economics of Game Prices


JackKieser
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You know, maybe your business model isn't that good, just like the record companies are finding out with CDs. Did you ever consider that? Instead of writing laws like the DMCA or strong-arming people with EULAs, maybe you should innovate like the creators of BitTorrent and the Australian media companies did.

The business model is fine because it works. I'm not arguing against digital distribution. I'm not talking about DRM and EULAs. Digital distribution for games works. Steam proves it. XBLA proves it. People make money hand-over-fist through digital distribution. It's the preferred method of content delivery for PC gaming.

Record companies fought against it with CDs but they eventually adapted by selling digitally and it works for them. They make money. They make a lot of money. They're still in business. They sell DIRECTLY too. They don't give away music and say "pay what you want." That's all experimental and rarely works. They charge a price and people find that price reasonable so they reach that sweet spot and stay in business. They operate the same way. Piracy happens, but they've adapted.

You assume that you deserve money for your work, but like I said, that's an assumption, one not even upheld by the highest law in our country (the Constitution). But, you refuse to listen to an opposing viewpoint at all and just barrel on through with this concept that you DESERVE your money.

I do deserve my money. I put in the work, I create the product, I sell it. This is how the world works. That's capitalism, which is quintessentially American!

Maybe you're selling a product that is becoming less and less marketable as people realize that there are ways to get it without paying and ways to distribute it for free. Maybe you're selling something that is only marketable because we wrote special laws to not make your market obsolete. Just like the button makers guild wanted.

Just like Vaudeville wanted when the phonograph came out.

Just like Recording companies wanted when radio came out.

Just like producers wanted when CABLE TV came out.

Just like Hollywood wanted when VCRs came out (Hollywood; ironically, the pirate city created by thieves who stole Edison's original recording technology!).

Whenever a new content distribution schema comes out that makes previous business models obsolete, there is a HISTORICAL TREND that old business models try to outlaw the new technology to save them from obsolescence; again, this is historical fact that companies / businesses do this.

Maybe you shouldn't repeat the mistakes of the past.

I'm not repeating any mistakes! Nobody is! The only people worried about digital distribution of video games are the brick and mortar retailers (and they're not trying to pass any laws)! Publishers love digital distribution. Developers love digital distribution. Consumers love digital distribution. Everyone likes it! They just want what they deserve. And you know what? They do deserve to get paid for their product. I make something, I set a price, I sell it to you. This is how the world works. This is how the world works.

Piracy is wrong, no matter how you spin it. Downloading a game you didn't pay for when the publisher is selling it is wrong. You're getting something for free that you shouldn't be getting, because you didn't make the fair exchange. If you say any differently, you just want something for free. You're not fighting the system, you're not sticking it to the man, you're not championing the cause of new media or any other such nonsense. You're taking something that isn't yours because you didn't feel like paying for it.

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At this point it's difficult to tell what you are even arguing, Jack. Your points are incoherent and change from post to post. Are you trying to argue what IS, or what OUGHT to be? Are you trying to argue against the idea of copyright at all? Are you trying to argue constitutional law? Are What is your central argument, summarized in 2-3 sentences? It's so muddled that it's no wonder you're having an impossible time communicating with anyone. I've been only dipping my toes in here to respond to specific inaccuracies but you change your point and position so often that I can't tell what's going on here overall.

So for the benefit of everyone, please state in 2-3 sentences what is at the ROOT of your argument. We started at game prices, went to piracy, then economics, then bartering and now constitutional law. What is it that you are trying to say?

Yeah, because it's a complicated topic. What you're saying is akin to "I don't like dealing with complex issues that have interdependent disciplinary conflicts, and so I want you to take an extremely far-reaching and complex issue and boil it down to 3 sentences." Well, I'm not going to do that. My CURRENT argument, however is: "Copyright law was created for a specific purpose and has been hijacked to fit and serve an entirely unrelated purpose. As such, it causes dissonance by not serving its job in a discrete, enforceable, and warranted way. It is necessary, but not in the form it is now, and as such should be reverted back to its original intent through extensive reform." How this relates to game pricing is obvious: if digital data isn't copyrighted, it can be distributed freely and as people see fit / are capable of doing so; if that means selling video games is a fruitless endeavor, then so be it, because the technology will decide what markets are valid markets and which ones aren't.

You may want to take the time and read through the widespread number of cases that went to the supreme court over the definition of this passage. While the original may be "outdated", the courts have ruled on updated meanings to it. So yes, "artisan skills" does, in fact, refer to anything created artistically, be it writings, movies, books, and in this case, games.

I'm just waiting for you to change subjects again once everyone else in this entire thread tells you how wrong you are.

The court's job is not to "update meanings", they're job is to interpret meaning, and the word "interpret" implies "original intent" plays a part in it. It's not my fault that the Supreme Court is now filled with partisan idolatry. I'm simply stating the original intent, and that said "original intent" is all that matters, at the end of the day... unless you have a Constitutional amendment, which has not been done for copyright. Legally, that's the only thing that's SUPPOSED to be able to invalidate "original intent".

The business model is fine because it works.

Piracy rates disagree with you. It is sufficing, but losing ground as more people realize the folly of buying something that is intangible and infinite (data).

I'm not arguing against digital distribution. I'm not talking about DRM and EULAs. Digital distribution for games works. Steam proves it. XBLA proves it. People make money hand-over-fist through digital distribution. It's the preferred method of content delivery for PC gaming.

But, you're disregarding "digital distribution" platforms like BitTorrent, instead implying that Steam and XBLA are the only ways game makers can distribute their product. BitTorrent distributes digital data. Therefore, it is digital distribution. What is or is not digital distribution has nothing do do with whether you pay for it or not.

Record companies fought against it with CDs but they eventually adapted by selling digitally and it works for them. They make money. They make a lot of money. They're still in business. They sell DIRECTLY too.

Again, statistics show that the record companies have been in steady decline over the past decade since mp3s really took off. They are out the door; they just don't realize it yet.

They don't give away music and say "pay what you want." That's all experimental and rarely works.

But it DOES work. Girl Talk will tell you.

They charge a price and people find that price reasonable so they reach that sweet spot and stay in business. They operate the same way. Piracy happens, but they've adapted.

You're right: piracy happens. And, once the internet infrastructure gets broadband in every home in the US, and assuming the government doesn't pass its draconian "internet ID" initiative and private enterprise doesn't destroy net neutrality, piracy will win. It's just a matter of time, though the current social atmosphere and legal structure will slow it down. It WILL win, though.

I do deserve my money. I put in the work, I create the product, I sell it. This is how the world works. That's capitalism, which is quintessentially American!

Except, you DON'T create a product in the classical sense (though you ARE creating something), and people are realizing that. Music, movies, and data are not physical products and are mechanically different from REAL physical products, so they get treated differently. I know you don't like it, but if you don't, then YOU find a way to kill piracy and the copying of digital data.

Oh, and you OBVIOUSLY didn't read the thread I linked to, because if you did, you'd have read the part that explained how, in the years leading up to and after the Revolution, America was, statistically, one of the biggest pirate distributors of British goods in the world. Piracy is quintessentially American! Also: read the full Constitution; it never sets up America as a Capitalist nation. In fact, we don't HAVE an official economic system, Constitutionally speaking; it's just not dealt with at all in the text.

I'm not repeating any mistakes! Nobody is! The only people worried about digital distribution of video games are the brick and mortar retailers (and they're not trying to pass any laws)! Publishers love digital distribution. Developers love digital distribution. Consumers love digital distribution. Everyone likes it! They just want what they deserve. And you know what? They do deserve to get paid for their product. I make something, I set a price, I sell it to you. This is how the world works. This is how the world works.

You're totally repeating mistakes by beating your head against the brick wall that is technological progress. What you described is how the physical world works. The cyber-world is much different; if the tech allows for free distribution of data, so be it: the data should be free. The tech decides the markets, not the other way around; always has been. There was a stranglehold on information until the printing press allowed for near-infinite copies of books to be made (something book publishers tried to outlaw, too, in Gutenburg's time). Now, there is no reason anyone without a big enough hard drive SHOULDN'T have access to the combined knowledge of all of humanity, aside from greed and people wanting money.

The data is there, and is free to copy and distribute. Sorry, but the future is now; BitTorrent has changed the playing field forever.

Piracy is wrong, no matter how you spin it. Downloading a game you didn't pay for when the publisher is selling it is wrong. You're getting something for free that you shouldn't be getting, because you didn't make the fair exchange. If you say any differently, you just want something for free. You're not fighting the system, you're not sticking it to the man, you're not championing the cause of new media or any other such nonsense. You're taking something that isn't yours because you didn't feel like paying for it.

Stealing is wrong because you deprive someone of a resource that they otherwise would have had, and now cannot. Stealing is possessing an item that is not yours at the expense of someone else having it. Digital piracy, by current law, is stealing, however it can be argued quite easily that it's not, in a general sense. Will it? I doubt it. But the argument, while not air-tight, is there.

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The court's job is not to "update meanings", they're job is to interpret meaning, and the word "interpret" implies "original intent" plays a part in it. It's not my fault that the Supreme Court is now filled with partisan idolatry. I'm simply stating the original intent, and that said "original intent" is all that matters, at the end of the day... unless you have a Constitutional amendment, which has not been done for copyright. Legally, that's the only thing that's SUPPOSED to be able to invalidate "original intent".

...do what now? First off, it is interpretation. However, it's interpretation in usage for where it stands today. Times change, and the laws change with it. So yes, "original intent" does translate over. Yeah, it's not your fault the Supreme Court has the ability to make rulings over things...you know, that's kind of their job and all. Either way, I'd love to see where you think that constitutional rights, like the copyright clause, can't be re-interpreted and presented through court rulings nowadays.

I want to know where you studied law, or economics, or politics, or US History, because so far, you've been wrong on all four.

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Yeah, because it's a complicated topic. What you're saying is akin to "I don't like dealing with complex issues that have interdependent disciplinary conflicts, and so I want you to take an extremely far-reaching and complex issue and boil it down to 3 sentences." Well, I'm not going to do that.

It's called a thesis statement. A clear, concise summary of your argument. Every proper college paper, thesis or dissertation starts with one.

Your "current argument" summary did help, though.

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...do what now? First off, it is interpretation. However, it's interpretation in usage for where it stands today. Times change, and the laws change with it. So yes, "original intent" does translate over. Yeah, it's not your fault the Supreme Court has the ability to make rulings over things...you know, that's kind of their job and all. Either way, I'd love to see where you think that constitutional rights, like the copyright clause, can't be re-interpreted and presented through court rulings nowadays.

I want to know where you studied law, or economics, or politics, or US History, because so far, you've been wrong on all four.

Um... where have YOU studied law? We already HAVE a method for changing the context, meaning, or intent of the Constitution from it's original structure... it's called the Amendment process. The Supreme Court interprets and rules on laws passed by Congress as to whether they fit into the existing framework of the Constitution; if that framework needs to be updated for whatever reason, such as with Civil Rights and voter rights, you amend it outright, which is an act of Congress, not the courts.

It's called a thesis statement. A clear, concise summary of your argument. Every proper college paper, thesis or dissertation starts with one.

Your "current argument" summary did help, though.

Well, technically, but for a thesis such as one as complex as the one THIS would require, it wouldn't be a simple 3 sentences; I've seen doctoral dissertations on subjects simpler than this with page-long theses before. A thesis simply has to be a summary; the length is really determined by context. I'll concede that the most common form is simply a sentence or two... but like I said, this is a complex topic, and boiling the entire thing down to 3 sentences would be... well, counter-productive.

I'm glad my "current thesis" helped; we should, like, keep that trend going. :P

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Actually, even a doctoral thesis can be boiled down to a sentence. It's called knowing what you want to say.

Sure, it's possible... but if that was truly the best and most complete way to say what you wanted to, why write a paper at all? A simple sentence will never be accurate because there's too much data lost; think of it like encoding an mp3.

Sure, lower the amount of data allowed in the file enough, and you could encode the file using minimal disc space, but how shitty would it sound? In your efforts to reduce the size, you've lost all the important information.

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Well, technically, but for a thesis such as one as complex as the one THIS would require, it wouldn't be a simple 3 sentences...

Hold on...

Yeah, because it's a complicated topic. What you're saying is akin to "I don't like dealing with complex issues that have interdependent disciplinary conflicts, and so I want you to take an extremely far-reaching and complex issue and boil it down to 3 sentences."
Well, I'm not going to do that. My CURRENT argument, however is: "Copyright law was created for a specific purpose and has been hijacked to fit and serve an entirely unrelated purpose. As such, it causes dissonance by not serving its job in a discrete, enforceable, and warranted way. It is necessary, but not in the form it is now, and as such should be reverted back to its original intent through extensive reform." How this relates to game pricing is obvious: if digital data isn't copyrighted, it can be distributed freely and as people see fit / are capable of doing so; if that means selling video games is a fruitless endeavor, then so be it, because the technology will decide what markets are valid markets and which ones aren't.

"Copyright law has changed from one agenda to something contrary, which is disruptive to it's original purpose. It is difficult to copyright digital data according to older copyright laws, so people should go back to the old law and take advantage of this, even in face of collapsing the video game industry."

I just reduced your argument to two sentences. If the argument is incorrect, forgive me; that's what I read out of the summary, and I don't want to read the thread recap, here. If it's incomplete, though, then that's the point - someone could read your posts to get the complete argument. A good sign of intelligence is the ability to reduce complicated information into a short, concise summary, not to tell people that it's 'too complicated to reduce' and ridicule them for making that reasonable request.

:whatevaa:

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Sure, it's possible... but if that was truly the best and most complete way to say what you wanted to, why write a paper at all? A simple sentence will never be accurate because there's too much data lost; think of it like encoding an mp3.

Sure, lower the amount of data allowed in the file enough, and you could encode the file using minimal disc space, but how shitty would it sound? In your efforts to reduce the size, you've lost all the important information.

It's not saying everything you want, just clarifying exactly what you're trying to prove to us with your full length argument. You can always go in depth fleshing out your stance afterward, but having that initial, brief explanation of where you're about to go helps the reader to be able to follow you.

Never mind, this explanation is better than mine:

A thesis statement is generally a good measure of how focused, the author is. A concise and well-thought-of thesis statement will always garner the attention of a reader. It is this sentence, more than any other text in the essay, that will tell the reader what to expect from the dissertation. It tells the reader about the importance that you have given the subject that is under scrutiny. The thesis statement is your answer to the research question in the paper. The rest of your paper will be a methodical representation of the evidence that you have managed to collect in order to prove your answer to the research question right.

... I've just realized I'm leading us on a tangent again. My bad!

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Sure, it's possible... but if that was truly the best and most complete way to say what you wanted to, why write a paper at all?

a better question is if you can't explain your point in one concise sentence then what kind of fuck, exactly, am I supposed to give about what you think

like here is a challenge right here right now

tell me what it is that you are arguing in one sentence

no 'read the thread'

no 'you're not the boss of me'

if you cannot make a post that is one sentence that accurately describes what exactly you are trying to communicate here, you should not be posting at all

can you do that, jack

can you do it

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a better question is if you can't explain your point in one concise sentence then what kind of fuck, exactly, am I supposed to give about what you think

You don't have to give a fuck about what I think anyway. As far as you're concerned, you don't even have to be a rational person; you can live your life as an irrational sociopath, addicted to meth under a bridge for all I care, and it affects my argument no differently than if you had believed me word for word. Just don't infringe on anyone else's human rights, and I don't care.

like here is a challenge right here right now

tell me what it is that you are arguing in one sentence

no 'read the thread'

no 'you're not the boss of me'

if you cannot make a post that is one sentence that accurately describes what exactly you are trying to communicate here, you should not be posting at all

can you do that, jack

can you do it

Do you want a sentence, again, that describes my current argument? One that is a compilation of all of my arguments? One that succinctly wraps up the pros and cons of capitalism, the issue of piracy, the the dangers of over-restrictive copyright laws, and all of their relations, specifically, to the particular price points of video games? Or just a sentence about what we're talking about right at this moment (copyright law, and the effect it has on viable markets)?

If you want me to butcher my argument into a single sentence, I will to shut you up, but it's not going to be good, pretty, or accurate, because the topics I'm discussing are broad.

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Sure, it's possible... but if that was truly the best and most complete way to say what you wanted to, why write a paper at all? A simple sentence will never be accurate because there's too much data lost; think of it like encoding an mp3.

Sure, lower the amount of data allowed in the file enough, and you could encode the file using minimal disc space, but how shitty would it sound? In your efforts to reduce the size, you've lost all the important information.

Ok, wanna hear a real thesis statement?

(As I am working on my master's thesis.)

"The bilingual theater movement starting in the late 1970s in Quebec and Eastern Ontario was not indicative of understanding or support for Quebec's status as a distinct society, but rather served either as a reflection of the tools used to hinder the sovereignty movement or as a direct criticism of Quebec's cultural and national politics."

1 sentence that explains my point, where I'm coming from, and what I want to demonstrate.

If you cannot do that with the position you take in this thread, then you need to rethink your position.

(Also, I've read doctoral and master's theses, and usually, you get the point early on. In academic papers, there isn't any reason to be mysterious, you just go for it and say what you have to say.)

EDIT:

Also, about broad: my theses covers 6 plays by 4 authors written over the span of 20 years, that present different aspect of the historical and political status of Québec, as the province was going through an identity crisis as well as a political one that shook the foundations of a country.

So shut up about broad topics.

Hell, I'll even give you a hand, answer these two questions:

1: How do you think that game pricing should change?

2: Why aren't companies switching to this new method of pricing?

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Yeah, because it's a complicated topic. What you're saying is akin to "I don't like dealing with complex issues that have interdependent disciplinary conflicts, and so I want you to take an extremely far-reaching and complex issue and boil it down to 3 sentences." Well, I'm not going to do that. My CURRENT argument, however is: "Copyright law was created for a specific purpose and has been hijacked to fit and serve an entirely unrelated purpose. As such, it causes dissonance by not serving its job in a discrete, enforceable, and warranted way. It is necessary, but not in the form it is now, and as such should be reverted back to its original intent through extensive reform." How this relates to game pricing is obvious: if digital data isn't copyrighted, it can be distributed freely and as people see fit / are capable of doing so; if that means selling video games is a fruitless endeavor, then so be it, because the technology will decide what markets are valid markets and which ones aren't.

OK, so essentially you're arguing from the historical perspective. The original intent is all that matters, similar to the arguments made by most conservatives/libertarians with regards to our constitution.

The real question is WHY you think all the changes to copyright law are 'wrong' and should be reverted or removed. Simply saying "That's not what was originally intended" is not in and of itself a valid argument. Keeping in mind the earliest copyright laws started with the Statute of Anne over 300 years ago in a foreign country.

So again, baby steps... answer this question without a wall of text and maybe we will get somewhere. WHY is it important to honor the original intent or wording of copyright law, given that such law was created centuries ago in a completely different time?

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Ok, so if I'm reading you properly, your master's thesis is centered around the function of the Quebec / E. Ontario bilingual theatre movement from the late 1970's as a form of commentary. I'm sure you talk about other smaller, dependent topics, but that's your main one, right (basically)?

(Side note: the number of plays doesn't make your subject matter broad, you know; they're still all theatre productions. Talking about plays, film, music, and sculpture in the same thesis? Now, that's broad.)

Well, I've said before that (if we strip away all other peripheral or interdependent topics) that video game companies/publishers can afford to lower prices at no real risk to damaging the industry. That's probably the closest I could come to compressing EVERYTHING into one statement.

Of course, we lose all of the data about how it's in the consumer's best interest, about how current copyright law could be argued to be unconstitutional, about how the market for digital data is, logically, pedantic (from a consumer standpoint), and how capitalist mechanisms allow no efficient and non-self-destructive methods for consumers to combat high prices, which are all reasons that play not only into why companies can afford to lower the prices, but also the extent to which they should lower them.

And because that data is lost, if I try to bring it up as a crucial piece to the puzzle, I get yelled at for "bringing up meaningless topics" or some other drivel.

@Zircon: because CHANGES have to be proven necessary, not the other way around. I don't have to prove why the changes aren't necessary, the people making the changes have to prove that they ARE. That's like saying "prove God doesn't exist"; well, NO, because the burden of proof is on you to prove it does.

Copyright law, in the form we had it in 200+ years ago, worked and protected everything it needed to... until companies got greedy and wanted more control over their products, control that they never actually proved they needed. "Intellectual property", as a concept, was never proven valid, but because it seems common-sense enough, people went with it. What's worst is that it can be proven NOW to be an oxymoron (because you can't own an idea), but it's so entrenched that eliminating or reforming it is an uphill battle.

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Copyright law, in the form we had it in 200+ years ago, worked and protected everything it needed to... until companies got greedy and wanted more control over their products, control that they never actually proved they needed. "Intellectual property", as a concept, was never proven valid, but because it seems common-sense enough, people went with it. What's worst is that it can be proven NOW to be an oxymoron (because you can't own an idea), but it's so entrenched that eliminating or reforming it is an uphill battle.

Knock yourself a pro slick. Gray matter back got perform' us' down I take TCBin, man'.

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(Side note: the number of plays doesn't make your subject matter broad, you know; they're still all theatre productions. Talking about plays, film, music, and sculpture in the same thesis? Now, that's broad.)

And you wonder why people don't like you here?

Video game companies/publishers can afford to lower prices at no real risk to damaging the industry.

That is exactly what everyone was looking for. Good job.

Of course, we lose all of the data about how it's in the consumer's best interest, about how current copyr....

No we don't. It's all in the thread before. Nothing is lost, but now we know what you're trying to relate it to.

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@Zircon: because CHANGES have to be proven necessary, not the other way around. I don't have to prove why the changes aren't necessary, the people making the changes have to prove that they ARE. That's like saying "prove God doesn't exist"; well, NO, because the burden of proof is on you to prove it does.

Copyright law, in the form we had it in 200+ years ago, worked and protected everything it needed to... until companies got greedy and wanted more control over their products, control that they never actually proved they needed. "Intellectual property", as a concept, was never proven valid, but because it seems common-sense enough, people went with it. What's worst is that it can be proven NOW to be an oxymoron (because you can't own an idea), but it's so entrenched that eliminating or reforming it is an uphill battle.

That's at least a logically sound answer, OK, but this puts us at an impasse. There is no way anyone here is literally going to debate with you the merits of every clause of every revision to U.S. copyright law. If your point revolves around saying "none of those extensions were necessary", then realistically no one is going to be able to argue that because the sheer volume of law involved.

What if I were to present the same argument, except for taxes? This has come up in PPR before. I could say "I don't believe any of the changes to the tax code over the last 300 years were necessary. The burden is on you to prove that they were." Do you realize how ridiculous it is to ask anyone to do that? Again, yes, the position is at least not illogical, but it's impractical to expect anyone to debate you on that. My major in college was Music Industry so my specialty WAS actually things like IP law, copyright law, digital distribution etc., but we could spend literally weeks debating ONE clause of ONE revision. Not going to happen.

Even the Tea Party, which believes in repealing a hell of a lot of laws, has a more elegant central argument rather than 'prove to us why all those laws were necessary' - an unregulated free market is most efficient at solving its own problems, therefore we should opt for fewer regulation where possible, and the government is inefficient, therefore it should be reduced in size, leaving more money for the people to spend and invest how they please.

So, you tell me: where do we go from here?

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