201: A Nation of Pirates

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Hi, Vert.
I'm brazilian and I read your article. I must say that I was impressed, for it was the first time that I saw someone telling the world about the piracy in São Paulo.
I have a doubt. In the third page of your article you wrote "But the negative consequences of piracy are tremendous. Pirate products are often smuggled and sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs, with obvious implications. Equally obvious is that government loses out on a potential revenue source, as do legitimate retailers, importers, manufacturers and, of course, the game developers themselves.".
You see, I'm a law student, and I'm actually curious about what facts you could point to say that "pirate produts are sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs".

As another brazilian citizen who lived through the 16 and 32 bit eras, let me add some points that you missed:

During the 8bit and 16bit eras, people were already buying pirated games for their systems. However, there was a HUGE market for game rental. You could find them everywhere and for a small fraction of the price of even a pirated game, you could rent it for one or two days.

When the change to 32 bit started to happen, this huge market was double-hit:
1. piracy, as you mentioned
2. Sony didn't officially release the PS1 there. Heck, they didn't even have offical partners like Nintendo had.

Factor #2 was critical because that made every rental place IMPORT their games, which skyrocketed the rental prices. Suddenly, instead of paying a small fraction of a pirated game to rent a licensed one, you could basically buy a game for twice the price of the rental.

That is not to mention that it also took PS1 games out of the mainstream retail.

Had Sony made an official release AND started printing the games THERE (to bypass most of the taxation), then things could be much much different now.

MalkavianGuy:

You see, I'm a law student, and I'm actually curious about what facts you could point to say that "pirate produts are sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs".

Come on, you don't need to be a criminal investigator to walk around on Santa Efigenia for a few hours and figure out that those people are NOT simple "basement pirates" and that there is a whole organized operation behind them...

kumaiti:

MalkavianGuy:

You see, I'm a law student, and I'm actually curious about what facts you could point to say that "pirate produts are sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs".

Come on, you don't need to be a criminal investigator to walk around on Santa Efigenia for a few hours and figure out that those people are NOT simple "basement pirates" and that there is a whole organized operation behind them...

Then I'm sure you can point me about what criminal organization we're talking about, 'cause I'm a little lost here...

MalkavianGuy:
Hi, Vert.
I'm brazilian and I read your article. I must say that I was impressed, for it was the first time that I saw someone telling the world about the piracy in São Paulo.
I have a doubt. In the third page of your article you wrote "But the negative consequences of piracy are tremendous. Pirate products are often smuggled and sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs, with obvious implications. Equally obvious is that government loses out on a potential revenue source, as do legitimate retailers, importers, manufacturers and, of course, the game developers themselves.".
You see, I'm a law student, and I'm actually curious about what facts you could point to say that "pirate produts are sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs".

No problem! I'm having a little trouble finding news sources in English that talk about pirate goods in Brazil, but here's an good example:

http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/20040618.html

It basically speaks about the arrest of Law Kin Chong, a notorious chief smuggler and distributor of pirate goods, who made so much money from piracy that he (allegedly) offered a bribe of over $1.000.000 to a Brazilian member of congress! The article also speaks of his 'several popular shopping centers', which are, in fact, the 'mini-malls' I speak of in my article and where the goods are sold.

He's the most famous case and definitely is/was responsible for a massive part of the piracy market, at least in São Paulo, but most news I read regarding piracy also tends to mention other criminal gangs.

Although its difficult to directly connect Law's gang with increased violence, there can be no doubt that he's a part of organized crime and that his organization actively bribed policeman and the like, resulting in, at least, an significant increase in corruption in Brazilian institutions. And take a look at this story:

http://www.brazzil.com/2004/html/articles/jun04/p156jun04.htm

Again, in summary, the head of the congressional investigations committee on piracy, in 2004, said: "heads of organized crime, like Law Kin Chong" and "Nobody doubts that Chong is the biggest smuggler in Brazil. Clearly he is well-prepared, as was Al Capone". There may be some exaggeration on the comparison with Capone, but its still a pretty accurate description, I'd say.

So, in short, Law Kin Chong remains the best example of why I describe the organizations that sell pirate goods as organized criminal gangs.

Tony Montana:
PIRACY IS VITAL FOR US

Well, I'd reply, tongue in cheek, by pointing that playing videogames isn't exactly a vital activity to most people. =]

Zunto:
I´m brazillian, and played videogames for about all my life, then my opnion more accurate.
Troughout the 8-16 bit era, pirated cartridges costed about 10% less than the original counterpart, so the little difference didn't pay off. Maybe it's because SEGA had an representative in Brazil at the time, called TecToy.
The arriving of 32 bit era changed about everything. Sony had no representation on Brazil, and piracy became the main form of obtaning a game. The costs of buying an original game far exceeded the possibilities of any person to expend money on entertainment. The main reason of high costs are the taxes. Any game has basically a tax over industrialized product, taxes for procteting the national industry, federal taxes, importing taxes, and so on, resulting in an increase of about 300% over the original price. It's completely insane.

This is pretty much the impression I have of the situation and how it evolved during the 90s. Then, we had official representatives manufacturing games here in Brazil (which also meant they had to pay less taxes) and pirated cartridges themselves weren't all that cheaper.

The change of medium, from cartridges to CDs, the lack of an official company dealing with Sony PlayStation products in Brazil and the necessity of having to import everything (which increased both costs and taxes paid), quickly lead to the downfall of the legal games market in Brazil, in little more than 5 years time...

rohit9891:
I really hope steam,gog,stardock,... will do enough to get more gamers to buy legitimate copies of games with more good offers.

I don't mention it in my article, but I agree with you there. Steam is quite likely the best thing to come out for PC gaming in the past few years. Its made downloading/buying legal games massively convenient, no small part to the multiple possibilities of payment, that I think it will eventually become The vendor for buying PC games in the near future. And, thanks to its ease of use and convenience, it should help keep the pirate goods market.

Heck, it can even help out in countries like Brazil! Since buying through Steam means you have to pay no taxes to the Brazilian government, which hasn't realized yet whats happening, and its incredibly simple to do. Just 2 weeks ago, I bought Braid through Steam and found the process to be quick, easy and cheap.

paganof:
There´s another side of this story in my opinion.

Piracy here in Brasil is also a Cultural problem. Lets take the Ferrari example, I don´t earn enough money to buy one, and as much I would love to drive a Ferrari, I have simply face the fact that I can´t have one (for now at least).

Games here in Brasil are (sadly) way to expensive for the majoroty of the gamers. But instead of accepting the fact that they can´t buy them (or at least all of them), they turn to piracy instead. And they grow up with this kind of thinking, and when they do grow up and have jobs that can support their hobby, what do they do? They still buy pirate games.

I personally know gamers, who make A LOT of money, and they still buy pirate games.

I´m pretty sure if taxes were to be reduced, and game prices were lower, it wouldn´t reduce piracy as much as we would hope. Take a look at PC games.

I don´t see in a near future anyway to change this scenario. Maybe this new generation of gamers (kids now in age 5 to 10) will be educated in a new way so piracy won´t be a option to get instant satisfaction.

That's exactly what I exactly what I mean when I say that Brazilians have a pirate mentality. If social pressure existed against piracy, it'd be a significant cost to anyone who'd buy a pirated product and that would certainly decrease the levels of piracy, but since the opposite is the truth (i.e., you're expected to buy pirate and may seem a little weird if you buy legal), in most peoples mind, when they have to decide how to buy, there's no contest at all, even if they can easily afford to buy the legal product.

kumaiti:
As another brazilian citizen who lived through the 16 and 32 bit eras, let me add some points that you missed:

During the 8bit and 16bit eras, people were already buying pirated games for their systems. However, there was a HUGE market for game rental. You could find them everywhere and for a small fraction of the price of even a pirated game, you could rent it for one or two days.

When the change to 32 bit started to happen, this huge market was double-hit:
1. piracy, as you mentioned
2. Sony didn't officially release the PS1 there. Heck, they didn't even have offical partners like Nintendo had.

Factor #2 was critical because that made every rental place IMPORT their games, which skyrocketed the rental prices. Suddenly, instead of paying a small fraction of a pirated game to rent a licensed one, you could basically buy a game for twice the price of the rental.

That is not to mention that it also took PS1 games out of the mainstream retail.

Had Sony made an official release AND started printing the games THERE (to bypass most of the taxation), then things could be much much different now.

That's very true and something I forgot to mention in my article. I remember well the rental stores, it was a really big business in Brazil during the early 90s and were responsible for a significant portion of the market. When the PS1 didn't release the console officially here in Brazil, resulting in massive prices for legal games, the prices of rentals did indeed increase, leading to their downfall.

In fact, I even remember a transition period when some rentals started to import, via the 'grey market', games consoles (and even games), in a desperate and doomed attempt to keep alive.

However, I think that even if Sony had released the PS1 officially here in Brazil, with cheaper prices and all, there still would have been huge chance that piracy would have taken hold of the games market. This is because what I believe to be the key problem, the change to CDs, would have occurred in any case.

Still, it does make one wonder...

Vert:

MalkavianGuy:
Hi, Vert.
I'm brazilian and I read your article. I must say that I was impressed, for it was the first time that I saw someone telling the world about the piracy in São Paulo.
I have a doubt. In the third page of your article you wrote "But the negative consequences of piracy are tremendous. Pirate products are often smuggled and sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs, with obvious implications. Equally obvious is that government loses out on a potential revenue source, as do legitimate retailers, importers, manufacturers and, of course, the game developers themselves.".
You see, I'm a law student, and I'm actually curious about what facts you could point to say that "pirate produts are sold by what can only be called organized criminal gangs".

No problem! I'm having a little trouble finding news sources in English that talk about pirate goods in Brazil, but here's an good example:

http://www.ifpi.org/content/section_news/20040618.html

It basically speaks about the arrest of Law Kin Chong, a notorious chief smuggler and distributor of pirate goods, who made so much money from piracy that he (allegedly) offered a bribe of over $1.000.000 to a Brazilian member of congress! The article also speaks of his 'several popular shopping centers', which are, in fact, the 'mini-malls' I speak of in my article and where the goods are sold.

He's the most famous case and definitely is/was responsible for a massive part of the piracy market, at least in São Paulo, but most news I read regarding piracy also tends to mention other criminal gangs.

Although its difficult to directly connect Law's gang with increased violence, there can be no doubt that he's a part of organized crime and that his organization actively bribed policeman and the like, resulting in, at least, an significant increase in corruption in Brazilian institutions. And take a look at this story:

http://www.brazzil.com/2004/html/articles/jun04/p156jun04.htm

Again, in summary, the head of the congressional investigations committee on piracy, in 2004, said: "heads of organized crime, like Law Kin Chong" and "Nobody doubts that Chong is the biggest smuggler in Brazil. Clearly he is well-prepared, as was Al Capone". There may be some exaggeration on the comparison with Capone, but its still a pretty accurate description, I'd say.

So, in short, Law Kin Chong remains the best example of why I describe the organizations that sell pirate goods as organized criminal gangs.

Thank you for the answer, Vert.
And congratulations for the article. XD

I don't like the comparision of videogames and Ferrari's! Simply because a Ferrari is unavailable for the majority of the population on Earth, unlike videogames.
Take Nintendo for example: They are trying to reach people that never had contact with games, in other words, they are making videogame more popular, reaching the masses(Lula would love this sentence). But why do we have to pay U$1200 for something that costs only U$250??
There is no point at that. Nintendo Wii is not a Ferrari. It's is a cheap system, that turns to be very expensive here. I've been to Venezuela, and there I would guess something like U$2000, for the same system.
People will turn to other ways in order to have the same kind of entertainment other countries much richer have for much lower prices. If it's within my reach, I'll take the opportunity to do so.

Hi! I saw your article in a brazilian games forum (outerspace) and reading the thread i saw some things that are not so true, like the idea of a "pirate mentality".

Look at the PC (not PC game, the Desktop and notebooks). 3 our 4 years ago, the sells was like 70% done by illegal ways. With the taxes reduction for the industry, today is alredy the opposite (http://oglobo.globo.com/economia/mat/2009/02/12/ilegalidade-avanca-sobre-mercado-de-computadores-com-ajuda-da-crise-financeira-754379319.asp.

Today (referring to 2008) the brazilian market for PCs is the 5º of the world, and is expected to be the 3º next year (2010, in sales), the only thing that still find some dificulty are the programs. Nobody wants to pay 400~600Reais (200~300$) for the Windows.

In the case of PC Games, we pay the same as the americans. 99.90Reais(50$). But in the mind of a brazilian, 100R$ is still too much. So is the case that today, games that are a little old like Call of Duty 4 that cost 50R$(25$) are hard to find in the larges on-line stores (Americanas: http://www.americanas.com.br/AcomProd/1858/2429350 ,Saraiva: http://www.livrariasaraiva.com.br/produto/produto.dll/detalhe?pro_id=1997130&ID=C94AEC7B7D9050E130E221178 , Fnac http://www.fnac.com.br/pc-dvd-call-of-duty-4-modern-warfare-FNAC,,games-15258-8322.html), simple because they sell to much.

There is a project that includes the consoles and games in the same law of taxes reduction that PCs have, but that is not being discussed in the senate... so... you know... piracy is the way...

And sry for the english!

hey, why don't you guys come live here in brazil for at least 5 years, get a full time job that pays you US$ 4000/year (i've said US$ 4000.00 each YEAR) and try to buy a nintendo wii for a "ridiculous" US$ 1100.00??? or a XBOX 360 for US$ 1300.00??? 3 years ago, while you guys paid US$ 500 on a PS3, here in Brazil it was "only" US$ 2600.00!!

and about the games??? ah the games!!! pokemon platinum? costs "only" US$ 120.00!

street fighter 4??? "only" US$ 140.00

the best part: who lives in brazil can't use the xbox live, unless give a fake address from a country which have the service. And yes, here in Brazil we have Microsoft, and yes, there is an official brazilian version of xbox 360!!

my point?

I DOUBT if any of you were in my place, you still would buy originals... piracy FTW!!

first, because, like the example i gave to you, MS, Nintendo and others don't care about us here; when they give us some support, is crappy!!!

secondly, our taxes are high, and, to make things worse, this money feeds part of the corruption of our contry...

it's easy to be against piracy when you live in USA, Europe or Canada... come take my place then.. lets see how much time you hold without joining the "piracy club"...

by the way: do you guys know from where we brazilians download games and sell/burn em? just take a look on the torrent and p2p sites... until now, i've NEVER seen any tracker from brazil... europe, russia and USA are the main trackers of, at least, 90% of the games you find to download!!

MalkavianGuy:
Thank you for the answer, Vert.
And congratulations for the article. XD

And thank you for the compliments and the interest. Always glad to help out!

Zunto:
I don't like the comparision of videogames and Ferrari's! Simply because a Ferrari is unavailable for the majority of the population on Earth, unlike videogames.
Take Nintendo for example: They are trying to reach people that never had contact with games, in other words, they are making videogame more popular, reaching the masses(Lula would love this sentence). But why do we have to pay U$1200 for something that costs only U$250??
There is no point at that. Nintendo Wii is not a Ferrari. It's is a cheap system, that turns to be very expensive here. I've been to Venezuela, and there I would guess something like U$2000, for the same system.
People will turn to other ways in order to have the same kind of entertainment other countries much richer have for much lower prices. If it's within my reach, I'll take the opportunity to do so.

I think you've missed my point completely. Spielberg was making the following argument (condensed): 'games are too expensive, thus I should pirate games'. You may argue like that, if you want, but if don't provide some justification, such as the fact (which I pointed out) that copying a game doesn't deprive it from someone else, then your argument is no different then from mine and the Ferrari. After all, a good is a good, no matter what it is.

Let me put this way: if you have no problems with Spielberg's reasoning, then you have no problems with the Ferrari argument and vice-versa.

I'd also say that your wrong when you claim that videogames are available to the majority of the population of the earth. Considering that the vast majority of the population in countries like India and China certainly don't have the income (yet) that allows them to buy such a thing, I'd wager a guess that at least 2 billion people (from just these two countries) in the world don't. The actual number is certainly much higher, so no, I disagree with you there.

The significant difference between a Ferrari and a videogame software isn't the price, nor the fact that its much more expensive in one place then in the other. Its, and I know I'm repeating myself, that the when you make a copy of a game, you don't deprive it from someone else, which isn't the basis for your reasoning at all.

Wyvern_:
Hi! I saw your article in a brazilian games forum (outerspace) and reading the thread i saw some things that are not so true, like the idea of a "pirate mentality".

Look at the PC (not PC game, the Desktop and notebooks). 3 our 4 years ago, the sells was like 70% done by illegal ways. With the taxes reduction for the industry, today is alredy the opposite (http://oglobo.globo.com/economia/mat/2009/02/12/ilegalidade-avanca-sobre-mercado-de-computadores-com-ajuda-da-crise-financeira-754379319.asp.

Today (referring to 2008) the brazilian market for PCs is the 5º of the world, and is expected to be the 3º next year (2010, in sales), the only thing that still find some dificulty are the programs. Nobody wants to pay 400~600Reais (200~300$) for the Windows.

In the case of PC Games, we pay the same as the americans. 99.90Reais(50$). But in the mind of a brazilian, 100R$ is still too much. So is the case that today, games that are a little old like Call of Duty 4 that cost 50R$(25$) are hard to find in the larges on-line stores (Americanas: http://www.americanas.com.br/AcomProd/1858/2429350 ,Saraiva: http://www.livrariasaraiva.com.br/produto/produto.dll/detalhe?pro_id=1997130&ID=C94AEC7B7D9050E130E221178 , Fnac http://www.fnac.com.br/pc-dvd-call-of-duty-4-modern-warfare-FNAC,,games-15258-8322.html), simple because they sell to much.

There is a project that includes the consoles and games in the same law of taxes reduction that PCs have, but that is not being discussed in the senate... so... you know... piracy is the way...

And sry for the english!

Well, let me things clear, to begin with. When I speak of a pirate mentality, I simply mean that people buy pirate goods in a default manner, without even checking the legal alternatives and, more importantly, society does not believe this to be a bad thing. Indeed, amongst gamers, buying pirate is seen as the logical/correct/obvious way of buying.

I'm willing to concede that its difficult to separate the cause and consequence of buying pirates games and this mentality, in the sense that it's difficult to say whether it was the creation of a pirate mentality that lead to greater piracy or if the greater amount of piracy made people rationalize their actions; but the main point is that this mentality exists.

As regards to the extent that lower prices will end piracy, that's something that isn't so easy to extrapolate from the case of computers. This is because computers aren't primarily a 'tool of fun', like videogames, but a tool for work and the use of 'pirated' computers in a company is much more risky, then a person using a pirate game at home. Still, it does give us hope and in no way am I saying that there's no chance of change.

Kalandar:
my point?

I DOUBT if any of you were in my place, you still would buy originals... piracy FTW!!

first, because, like the example i gave to you, MS, Nintendo and others don't care about us here; when they give us some support, is crappy!!!

secondly, our taxes are high, and, to make things worse, this money feeds part of the corruption of our contry...

it's easy to be against piracy when you live in USA, Europe or Canada... come take my place then.. lets see how much time you hold without joining the "piracy club"...

by the way: do you guys know from where we brazilians download games and sell/burn em? just take a look on the torrent and p2p sites... until now, i've NEVER seen any tracker from brazil... europe, russia and USA are the main trackers of, at least, 90% of the games you find to download!!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I am Brazilian, live in Brazil, but I do not shirk from admitting that piracy, specially piracy from selling pirated goods, has a significant cost to Brazilian society. Or, if you prefer Portuguese: eu sou brasileiro, moro no Brasil, nem por isso não admito que a pirataria traz custos significativos a sociedade brasileira.

As these costs are spread out among the whole society, its easy to dismiss them as insignificant and believe that its ok to pirate, but at the very least you should recognize they exist and try to minimize them if you opt to go pirate.

Regarding your specific argument, let me put it like this: so what if in other countries there videogames are much cheaper than in Brazil? The same is true for many other things, such as cars, yet I don't see anyone defending that we should import cars and then not pay the other country.

Worse, food in Brazil tends to be much cheaper than in first world countries; do you believe that they should 'pirate' exported Brazilian food by not paying us? Because that's all your argument presents.

You could make much more compelling argument by saying that making a copy of a game, you're not preventing the person who bought the original from playing, and all sorts of other line of reasoning (that I believe make much more sense), but you don't.

Well, let me things clear, to begin with. When I speak of a pirate mentality, I simply mean that people buy pirate goods in a default manner, without even checking the legal alternatives and, more importantly, society does not believe this to be a bad thing. Indeed, amongst gamers, buying pirate is seen as the logical/correct/obvious way of buying.

You are correct when you say that people buy pirate goods by default, because it became sort of a tradition, carried over from the 32 bit era. But not a 100% correct. People who simply don't have money got used to play videogame, and pirate goods is an alternative for them.
Myself, for example, who have better conditions, turned out to PS3. Many people did. If we all had that pirate mentality, we would all buy X360, not one single PS3 would be selled here, and that not the case.
I don't mind buying originals games, but don't mind buying pirates as well(especially when gaming industry drops all those craps). Is a way to save money. I'll give a reason why I would do that.
Metal Gear Solid 4: I would never buy a pirated copy of this game. It is a masterpiece. And Kojima deserves the profits for delievering us such a good game.
The same goes for Uncharted, Mirrors Edge, Gran Turismo, Killzone 2, etc. All the 15 games that I have, deserved to be bought.
Now, the other side, crap games: All Nintendo Wii games (except for Zelda)? Those are kind of games that you know that sucks, but I want to know for myself. Than I get a pirated copy, play a little bit, and throw away. The companies don't deserve my money for these shit.
But that is my point, my behavior.

Edit: When I said about the Ferrari not being available for the majority, I was talking about 99,9999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the population. Ferrari does not sell you a car if you don't match certain conditions, even if you have the money. That not the case for videogames. It's available for everyone to buy, if they have the money, and it's not U$ 500,000 we are talking about. That why a don't like the comparision over products so far away from each other.

Zunto:
You are correct when you say that people buy pirate goods by default, because it became sort of a tradition, carried over from the 32 bit era. But not a 100% correct. People who simply don't have money got used to play videogame, and pirate goods is an alternative for them.
Myself, for example, who have better conditions, turned out to PS3. Many people did. If we all had that pirate mentality, we would all buy X360, not one single PS3 would be selled here, and that not the case.
I don't mind buying originals games, but don't mind buying pirates as well(especially when gaming industry drops all those craps). Is a way to save money. I'll give a reason why I would do that.
Metal Gear Solid 4: I would never buy a pirated copy of this game. It is a masterpiece. And Kojima deserves the profits for delievering us such a good game.
The same goes for Uncharted, Mirrors Edge, Gran Turismo, Killzone 2, etc. All the 15 games that I have, deserved to be bought.
Now, the other side, crap games: All Nintendo Wii games (except for Zelda)? Those are kind of games that you know that sucks, but I want to know for myself. Than I get a pirated copy, play a little bit, and throw away. The companies don't deserve my money for these shit.
But that is my point, my behavior.

So in other words, you play the game, and then *after* getting use out of the product you decide whether or not to pay the person who put in the time and effort developing it.

Hey, that's an interesting philosophy.. tell me, what do you do for a living? Why don't you come by and do some of it for me, and after you're done, I'll look at what you did and determine whether I think I should pay you or not?

Edit: When I said about the Ferrari not being available for the majority, I was talking about 99,9999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the population. Ferrari does not sell you a car if you don't match certain conditions, even if you have the money. That not the case for videogames. It's available for everyone to buy, if they have the money, and it's not U$ 500,000 we are talking about. That why a don't like the comparision over products so far away from each other.

You're missing the forest for the trees. The argument he was making is that if all you're saying is that "Not being able to afford software is a legitimate reason to pirate, then not being able to afford anything is a legitimate reason to just take it." This sidetrack about a ferrari is stupid, mentally replace the term ferrari with cadillac and you've got the exact same argument.

I can almost see where that figure the VG industry came up with in that article I read about yesterday comes from.

Actually, Russia did a good job combating piracy by making it very illegal, and by reducing taxes on the games themselves. They basically forced the penalties of piracy to exceed the potential profits. Once it became cheaper to buy the real deal, people bought the real deal.

Just as an aside Kwil, how much money do you make in a year?

DrFausty:
"Piracy" is indicative of many things. Above all else, it is indicative of an informed, sophisticated, and intentional decision on the part of marginalized "consumers" NOT to support systems of economic interchange that are unquestionably necrotic.

... or it is indicative that people will often serve their own self-interest and get for free / below market value if they think they can get away with it. From the OP, it appears that Brazil has a culture that supports (or at least doesn't discourage) huge piracy operations. As a result, they don't get investment into their local industry, meaning that their isn't one (because local developers won't make any money off it since they know other people will just pirate their output).

Ironically, I'm not a pirate, and am pretty vocal about the risks involved. However I will point out that the bottom line here is of course the cost of games. Basically you've got video game companies conspiring to keep the prices of games high. Things are organized enough where they were able to raise prices by $10 universally not too long ago. What's more the price of new games really does not vary with the development time or game's budget. A cheap to make game using say the latest generation of "Unreal" and "Havoc Physix" sells for as much as a much longer to develop game that created it's own engine from scratch. A well polished AAA title and a second rate title market exactly the same.

Truthfully I'm not going to get into how much of that cost is profit, but it occurs to me that if piracy is a big enough business where it is developing national level criminal syndicates (as described in this article), selling games for like $5 a pop (where they are making copies onto the disks and then distributing them themselveS), then obviously game companies could probably make a similar profit by selling for the same price.

For example, if the game industry was to sell the games for the same price as the pirates in Brazil, would they not then absorb millions of customers that would otherwise not be paying?

Generally speaking I agree with the idea in principle that the creator of an IP (intellectual property) should be able to sell it for whatever they can get. But by the same token when looking at the game industry it seems like we're dealing with a high level of corruption and the producers trying to leverage the market into paying monsterous prices.

Part of the game industry mentality seems to be that they assume all these pirates would have paid $60 a pop for the games if they couldn't have pirated. In reality it means they probably wouldn't have gotten any more sales, and there would just be less gamers. If they want to tap into those millions of pirates, they need to simply lower prices to the point where the temptation to pirate (with the risks involved) pretty much disappears. I mean think about it, the Brazilians can't pay $60 a pop, but they can pay $5 a pop. Obviously production and distribution at that price isn't a problem. People can afford it. The market exists for the game companies. If they were to kill piracy in the region, they wouldn't find Brazlians paying $60 a pop, but rather they would stop gaming. They simply need to learn to regulate their prices/profits with what the market can bear.

Generally speaking I think that the industry itself can do a lot to curb piracy. But it won't.

>>>----Therumancer--->

Theres a guy in Glasgow that until recently was selling pirates from his shop. To the police.

The police and the legislature dont really give a damn about RIAA and MPAA's tragic stories because they are gouging scamming gits. If they charged a fair price the incidence of piracy would drop tenfold overnight. In fact if you priced most games at a £1 an hour of play (Which AFAIC is fair given how crap and short most games are now) piracy wouldnt be worthwhile. 95% of eople would just buy it (assuming it was released in your country which is yet another pointless bloody hole in Riaa/MPaa's/FAST's plans.)

Kwil:

So in other words, you play the game, and then *after* getting use out of the product you decide whether or not to pay the person who put in the time and effort developing it.

Hey, that's an interesting philosophy.. tell me, what do you do for a living? Why don't you come by and do some of it for me, and after you're done, I'll look at what you did and determine whether I think I should pay you or not?

That's why now we have demo's. There were a lot of games I thought they were good, downloaded the demo, and what I had was shit game.
Imagine if I think the game is good, there is no demo of it, buy it, for U$150,00, then discover it does not worth U$1,00? What should I do? Cry?
Think of buying a pirated copy as acquiring a demo of the game. Is it that hard for you?
Do I have to buy every single piece of shit to discover wheter they were worth buying or not?
Testing a product before buying it is a right that I have.

Let me give one more example of the benefits of a demo: I didnt think that Valkyria Chronicles was a good game at all. Then recently I downloaded the demo, and for my surprise it was damn good. So I'm gonna buy it. If there was no demo, I would never know for sure, and since PS3 has no piracy, I would never buy the game just to make sure.

Kwil:
You're missing the forest for the trees. The argument he was making is that if all you're saying is that "Not being able to afford software is a legitimate reason to pirate, then not being able to afford anything is a legitimate reason to just take it." This sidetrack about a ferrari is stupid, mentally replace the term ferrari with cadillac and you've got the exact same argument.

Precisely. Zunto, you're missing the point completely, all I mean is that the argument presented is "X is to expensive for me, thus I should pirate/steal X". And that really doesn't sound like a good reason to pirate, as "X" can be literally anything, from a computer game, to a Ferrari, to Cadillac, to a brick.

Zunto:
That's why now we have demo's. There were a lot of games I thought they were good, downloaded the demo, and what I had was shit game.
Imagine if I think the game is good, there is no demo of it, buy it, for U$150,00, then discover it does not worth U$1,00? What should I do? Cry?
Think of buying a pirated copy as acquiring a demo of the game. Is it that hard for you?
Do I have to buy every single piece of shit to discover wheter they were worth buying or not?
Testing a product before buying it is a right that I have.

Let me give one more example of the benefits of a demo: I didnt think that Valkyria Chronicles was a good game at all. Then recently I downloaded the demo, and for my surprise it was damn good. So I'm gonna buy it. If there was no demo, I would never know for sure, and since PS3 has no piracy, I would never buy the game just to make sure.

Funny that you put it like that, as the very argument you make, that you buy a pirate game as a demo, raises the following question: why not simply download a demo, instead of buying a pirate game? Or, at the very least, download a pirate game, which imbues significantly lower costs on society as a whole, than buying a pirate game?

Still, I can see where you're coming from, as demos can be a really good way of enticing a player. Before I recently bought Braid, I played the demo and that sold me on the game completely, so perhaps for people like you, who buy pirate games to test them before making the purchase, developers and publishers may have been dropping the ball, so to speak, by not releasing more/better/easier to download demos.

But Vert, that ís precisely what I´m doing now. Downloading the demos.

Zunto:
But Vert, that ís precisely what I´m doing now. Downloading the demos.

Ops! My bad. I got your post confused with Kwil's...

Zunto:
That's why now we have demo's. There were a lot of games I thought they were good, downloaded the demo, and what I had was shit game.
Imagine if I think the game is good, there is no demo of it, buy it, for U$150,00, then discover it does not worth U$1,00? What should I do? Cry?

Welcome to the free market. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

Think of buying a pirated copy as acquiring a demo of the game. Is it that hard for you?

Yes, because it's not the same thing in any way shape or form. A demo is something that the creator releases of their own free will, and at their own control. A pirated game is not. Returning to my earlier example, if you want to provide me with an example of your work, and perhaps some indication of how your work will affect my situation.. that's a demo. However, me requiring you to come work for me and then saying.. "Hmm.. yeah.. not quite what I wanted. Sorry, not gonna pay," is piracy.

Do I have to buy every single piece of shit to discover wheter they were worth buying or not?

No. You don't have to buy anything. If you WANT to discover whether something is worth buying and buying is the only option they're providing though, then YES.. you do! Don't like that deal? Don't buy, don't pirate, and perhaps even consider letting them know WHY you didn't buy. You are not entitled to every little thing you want just because you're capable of taking it against people's will.

Testing a product before buying it is a right that I have.

Uh, no, it's not. You may have some delusion that it is, but there is no such right in the real world. Again, back to the example, do I have a right to make you work for no pay for me so that I can determine whether I'll pay you or not? Hell no! I have a right to decide not to use your services if I don't think I'll get my money's worth -- that's it. I even have a right to say, "Look, I'm not going to hire you unless you give me a demonstration of what you're capable of." However, the choice in that is yours. If you want to give me a demo to try to get my business, great.. what I do not have, however, is a right to MAKE you provide me a demo. It used to be that when we made people work against their will and for no pay we called it slavery -- we don't use the term for this situation because it seems a tad extreme, but in many ways that's what it is.. forced labor for no pay. More akin to slavery than stealing, IMO.

Let me give one more example of the benefits of a demo: I didnt think that Valkyria Chronicles was a good game at all. Then recently I downloaded the demo, and for my surprise it was damn good. So I'm gonna buy it. If there was no demo, I would never know for sure, and since PS3 has no piracy, I would never buy the game just to make sure.

Oh, you won't catch me arguing against demos. Demos are just smart moves on the part of the producers, and those producers that don't produce demos deserve the lesser amounts of sales they receive. However, getting a demo -- something the producer chooses to release -- and pirating a game is *not* the same thing, no matter how much you might dream.

Vert:

Kalandar:
my point?

I DOUBT if any of you were in my place, you still would buy originals... piracy FTW!!

first, because, like the example i gave to you, MS, Nintendo and others don't care about us here; when they give us some support, is crappy!!!

secondly, our taxes are high, and, to make things worse, this money feeds part of the corruption of our contry...

it's easy to be against piracy when you live in USA, Europe or Canada... come take my place then.. lets see how much time you hold without joining the "piracy club"...

by the way: do you guys know from where we brazilians download games and sell/burn em? just take a look on the torrent and p2p sites... until now, i've NEVER seen any tracker from brazil... europe, russia and USA are the main trackers of, at least, 90% of the games you find to download!!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but I am Brazilian, live in Brazil, but I do not shirk from admitting that piracy, specially piracy from selling pirated goods, has a significant cost to Brazilian society. Or, if you prefer Portuguese: eu sou brasileiro, moro no Brasil, nem por isso não admito que a pirataria traz custos significativos a sociedade brasileira.

As these costs are spread out among the whole society, its easy to dismiss them as insignificant and believe that its ok to pirate, but at the very least you should recognize they exist and try to minimize them if you opt to go pirate.

Regarding your specific argument, let me put it like this: so what if in other countries there videogames are much cheaper than in Brazil? The same is true for many other things, such as cars, yet I don't see anyone defending that we should import cars and then not pay the other country.

Worse, food in Brazil tends to be much cheaper than in first world countries; do you believe that they should 'pirate' exported Brazilian food by not paying us? Because that's all your argument presents.

You could make much more compelling argument by saying that making a copy of a game, you're not preventing the person who bought the original from playing, and all sorts of other line of reasoning (that I believe make much more sense), but you don't.

cry me a river, bub; this "cost to brazilian society" crap is the lamest excuse I ever heard; which cost you're talking about? it will cost anyway!!! and cost a lot!!! see, if you buy an original game, you pay way too high taxes, taxes that goes directly to the corruption wallets!! so you live in brazil, so you know, food here isn't cheap, bub!! at the contrary, we pay 51% of taxes over the original price!! 51%!!! and where this money go? to the huge castle (I'm not exagerating, it is a real castle!!) that the senate's president made to his family, for example!!no place in the world have taxes that high!!! only here... we have taxes even for manufactured products... WTF!! the Brazilian society already lost!! or we pay taxes just to make our governants richer, or we copy the software or buy em and make bandits richer. Either way you're giving money to the thieves!! so why not use piracy, since its cheaper????

the bad point in all this, is that the game creators don't get paid for their work, im a programmer too i know how this is bad, however, the big game industry could make some sort of arrangement to blow up all those damn taxes, but they don't do anything, they even care to give us a good online support! just look at microsoft that offer us a Live service which we can't use because we don't have an american adress, and worse, don't let us use our credit cards to buy things, because, even them being international CC, the damn service asks us for an american adress!!!! so we have to buy the point cards, which are taxed, and use a false adress to play on the live!!!!!!

and more: sorry to burst YOUR bubble, but our "nation of pirates", download games that AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN people copy and put it for download!!! I'll repeat: the most important trackers for P2P are from europe, russia and USA!!!! things on internet are so free as here in sao paulo! by the way, 90% form the sellers in the "25th march" street download games from american FTPs!!

my point is: call brazil as a nation of pirates is innacurate, since you see that who gives us the games for us to sell are the countries where the games have fair prices!

the R4 cartrige, used on the NDS to play downloaded roms, for example, is now being updated by a japanese guy, since the original group (which is chinese, if im not wrong) who made it stopped updating it.

nintendo and co. forgive me, but i ll use piracy until i get fair prices! I don't give a damn to the "cost to brazilian society" excuse. you have lots of money and hates piracy? so lucky you! unfortunately, not everyone have this luck!!

Kalandar:
cry me a river, bub; this "cost to brazilian society" crap is the lamest excuse I ever heard; which cost you're talking about? it will cost anyway!!! and cost a lot!!! see, if you buy an original game, you pay way too high taxes, taxes that goes directly to the corruption wallets!! so you live in brazil, so you know, food here isn't cheap, bub!! at the contrary, we pay 51% of taxes over the original price!! 51%!!! and where this money go? to the huge castle (I'm not exagerating, it is a real castle!!) that the senate's president made to his family, for example!!no place in the world have taxes that high!!! only here... we have taxes even for manufactured products... WTF!! the Brazilian society already lost!! or we pay taxes just to make our governants richer, or we copy the software or buy em and make bandits richer. Either way you're giving money to the thieves!! so why not use piracy, since its cheaper????

the bad point in all this, is that the game creators don't get paid for their work, im a programmer too i know how this is bad, however, the big game industry could make some sort of arrangement to blow up all those damn taxes, but they don't do anything, they even care to give us a good online support! just look at microsoft that offer us a Live service which we can't use because we don't have an american adress, and worse, don't let us use our credit cards to buy things, because, even them being international CC, the damn service asks us for an american adress!!!! so we have to buy the point cards, which are taxed, and use a false adress to play on the live!!!!!!

and more: sorry to burst YOUR bubble, but our "nation of pirates", download games that AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN people copy and put it for download!!! I'll repeat: the most important trackers for P2P are from europe, russia and USA!!!! things on internet are so free as here in sao paulo! by the way, 90% form the sellers in the "25th march" street download games from american FTPs!!

my point is: call brazil as a nation of pirates is innacurate, since you see that who gives us the games for us to sell are the countries where the games have fair prices!

the R4 cartrige, used on the NDS to play downloaded roms, for example, is now being updated by a japanese guy, since the original group (which is chinese, if im not wrong) who made it stopped updating it.

nintendo and co. forgive me, but i ll use piracy until i get fair prices! I don't give a damn to the "cost to brazilian society" excuse. you have lots of money and hates piracy? so lucky you! unfortunately, not everyone have this luck!!

I'm going to keep this one short and sweet.

Of course there is a lot of corruption in Brazil and undoubtedly a significant amount of money we pay to the government ends up in corruption. However, that amount is insignificant (and I really mean that!) when compared to the amount of money that is used for things like education, health, security, INSS... just think about it. Just how much money can possibly 'end with thieves'? 5%? 10%?

Lets take the 10% figure. 10% of 38% of the GDP equals 57 billion dollars. 57 BILLIONS dollars. Do you honestly think that people are stealing that much money every year? Seems far, far too much.

And even if we assume that 10% of taxes are misappropriated, that still means that 90% of the rest is used for legal reasons, even if not efficient or good reasons. If your not happy how money is spent, well tough, we elected the government, that's how democracy works. So arguing 'I don't pay taxes because of corruption' seems wrong to me.

And aren't being slightly hypocritical? I mean, for a guy who is so against corruption, you certainly don't seem to mind creating it, because rest assured, a much higher percentage of the money you spend on a pirated good will end in the hands of a corrupt policeman or fiscal auditor.

Your second argument, that we pay far too high taxes is something I agree with. However, is the best way to fight this by buying pirated games/hardware? Surely creating civil movements, supporting/voting for politicians who favor lower taxes, would be a better, nay, the democratic way to go? I can't help think that your just rationalizing with this argument...

Your argument against Microsoft Live support was incomprehensible to me, so I'm going to skip it.

So what if the people seeding files are from other countries? A single pirate gang here in Brazil can download a single file and then burn it to 500 DVDs and then sell them. Its impossible to tell such things from simply looking at torrent files and the like, which is why in my article (make sure to read it again, please), I present statistics and estimates from real sources, that indicate that piracy is the dominant form of buying games in Brazil. If you look for similar estimates for the US or Europe, you'll find them to be much, much lower in comparison. And that's why I call Brazil a Nation of Pirates. I thought that was absolutely clear in my article, but apparently not, I guess.

Finally, you don't give a damm that by buying (NOT downloading, which is somewhat different, but also has costs) a pirated good, you'll be raising corruption (which you hate so much), violence, generating less jobs and increasing the taxes payed by poorer people? All of which I can argue are a consequence of you buying a pirated good and are some of the costs to society I mentioned. Even if you don't buy it, just download it, you still are helping generate less jobs in society and are increasing taxes on poorer people.

I don't think I'll be able to change your opinion, but please take the time to reflect a little about what I've written. At the very least, you should try to admit to yourself that buying/downloading pirated goods, you are imposing costs to other people. After all, there is no such thing as a free lunch, even making digital copies of a good has it costs).

I hadn't noticed that there was an ongoing discussion resulting from this post, and thus had not even read this detailed response to which I am responding. Nor, alas, I did I see the next "I'm taking my toys and going home" post which, apparently, I earned by summarizing points made in the original article in a manner the author of the original article didn't like. Anyone can take their toys and go home at any time, based on any excuse - but in real academic discourse, of course, doing so generally means one lacks the ability to carry their argument forth in any other manner and has essentially chosen to tuck tail and go hide under a table.

Vert:
Oh boy, this is going to be a long one. But, on the other hand, I'll take it as a compliment that my article has made you so interested that you felt a lengthy reply was necessary!

The article is interesting - both in what is says, and in how it says it. Given that I was not informed prior to reading it that the author is an academic economist by trade, my own initial response to the article was to see it as a perfect representative of some fallacies about digital distribution that are repeated endlessly in many media channels. Now, knowing the academic background of the author, I can place it even more accurately in context of the limitations of academic economics.

Lets take this paragraph one by one, shall we? First off, 'old economic models'? Sorry to break the news, but the economics profession has the tools for analyzing production models where the fixed costs are large, but the marginal cost of producing a single good close to zero for a long time now. I mean, the textbook I used during my first year of my undergrad studies already explicitly took into account such cases and modeled them, and that was back in 2001!

Speaking of sophistry, pointing out that microeconomics has modeled systems where marginal cost is "close to zero" is a bit slippery when we're, in fact, talking about marginal cost of exactly zero, not "close to." Unless I've missed a broad literature in the theoretical economics field on zero-marginal-cost systems in my own reading, such literature is essentially absent. We of course allow for "arbitrarily small" units of measure in thinking about the calculus; that doesn't generalize to a finding that zero and "close to zero" result in identical systemic behaviors.

Second, as can be inferred in my previous paragraph, the economics literature quite obviously has (no less) than textbook models for such cases. And they have applied these models to analyze such cases. The conclusions make for an interesting discussion, one that'll be glad to engage another time.

No, the textbooks do NOT have models for zero marginal cost cases - and if you know of textbooks that do, by all means please feel free to cite them by name. Without doubt, there will be such models in the textbooks of tomorrow - these "zero marginal cost" systems are too important to ignore. However, as your own basic misunderstandings of the most fundamental elements of such models well illustrate, academic economics has a long way to go before such models are widely studied and taught.

Thirdly, I love the double fallacy you commit in the middle. First, you implicitly accuse the economics academia of being responsible for the current credit crisis, which does have a grain of truth, yes, but very much a grain of sand in a beach. And, by doing that, you're making a implicit Ad Hominem attack, accusing the economics profession of being incompetent/stupid/incapable/evil/[insert negative adjective here]. Since I'm a part of the economics academia, you're also attacking me, and thus you're trying to weaken my argument by, sadly, making it personal.

Misapplication of a claim of "ad hominem" attack. As I didn't know of your academic background, I couldn't, by definition, be engaging in such a rhetorical tactic. However, even if I did know that in advance, I would not be enjoined from making any criticisms of academic economics whatsoever, simply because it might "make you look bad" given your own academic training. Indeed, it's actually rather relevant that your academic field has racked up such a series of spectacular failures, as a "science," in recent years - in terms of your overall academic credibility. Sorry, that's how the (academic) game works - as you well know. Skinnerian behaviorists aren't much in favor nowadays, either: they were proven wrong, and as a result the whiff of failure clings to them to this day.

Incidentally, I will claim a certain self-criticism right here; given that I also hold a graduate degree in economics from a school which has been at the center of many not-so-successful events in recent years (the University of Chicago), I'm as much poking holes in my own academic background as in yours. My degree in academics is not at a doctoral level, so you could say my "real" field isn't being targeted by my broad criticisms. Still, when I say that academic economics has really stepped on its own dick in terms of actually predicting how economic systems behave (which is unquestionably true, and not very indicative of a genuine "science"), I'm criticizing my own academic training in addition to the field overall.

Fourthly, am I to understand that you're in favor of greater price discrimination? Because that's exactly what you mean when you say you want pricing that "maps intelligently to the demand curve". Fine, so I hope you understand that that means that different countries should pay different prices too, so countries like Brazil should probably pay less than countries like US. Hope you don't mind that. That also means that things like modchips, which allow people to circumvent such restrictions, have to become illegal too.

No, I would have referred to mapping DYNAMICALLY to the demand curve if I was specifically referencing price discrimination - which I didn't do, since I wasn't referencing that. Price discrimination is a fertile field, and a complex one - I don't claim to be current on the finer details. For that reason, I'd not cite such as a "solution" to a problem - at least, not without highlighting explicitly my own limitations in the area of research.

So, why aren't the artists doing this? They have no reason to "sell off" to the big companies, no legal obligation, nothing. Why don't they make their own companies, get filthy rich and have the big companies grind to dust? And why aren't the shareholders or owners of these companies asking, nay, demanding the management of their companies that the superfluous is rid off? After all, the objective of a company is to make a profit...

I don't need to continue, do I? Your argument simply does not make any sense.

Actually, you've just fallen into one of the utterly laughable traps of academic economics - conflating idealized/theoretical systems with real-world economic interactions. This is where my own training - and post-graduate experience - allows me to state an obvious fact: industries in transition often retain legacy business models long after blank-slate analyses suggest they should have been overtaken by more efficient competitors. This is a result of the may "frictions" of real-life economic behavior, as well as the realities of human beings as biological, emotional critters - not idealized economic agents. Finally, you ignore the information asymmetries that underlie so much of these "abnormal" systemic behaviors - i.e. Ackerloff and Yellen's work, for which they were awarded the Nobel. I'm sure you are familiar with it.

If you'd like to dip into the literature of real-world econometric analysis of tech industry model transitions, I would suggest Christenson's "The Innovator's Dilemma" as a good starting point.

Lets divide this into two parts, first dealing with fact that piracy does take money from the artists. And a simple way of exemplifying this is like this: lets imagine that the market is now 100% pirate.

This isn't even a common fallacy of academic economics; it is just an example of sloppy thinking. There is no "fact" that states that "piracy does take money from the artists," and indeed there's ample econometric research data suggesting exactly the opposite. Even staying within formal models, stating this as "fact" really suggests you have no broad-based awareness of the complexity of multi-variable systems.

I am sure it's possible to construct systemic configurations that echo your supposed "fact." I'm equally sure that they are exceptions that prove the rule; the equivalent of building regression models by overtraining data sets. I suspect that your entire misunderstanding of the real-life economic questions of zero-marginal-cost distribution systems springs from this central fallacy.

And before you accuse of missing the point, I'm not saying that the production model is perfect or doesn't rip off the artists or anything like that; I'm saying that ALL else equal, more piracy means less money to the artists.

Second, as I said before, the division of power and profits in these companies aren't all that obviously unfair; after all, if an artist sees other artists getting ripped off in one company, he can simply go to another one or, even better, create his own. So either the artists aren't all that valuable (as other artists can do the same job), or they make more money than you believe, or that artists are complete idiots for not taking advantage of their power.

Ah, I take it then that you have "concluded" that there is no such thing as market power, and that the question of monopoly/oligopoly power dynamics is of no relevance whatsoever? Because that's the only way - apart from willed ignorance - that you could ignore such an obvious point: real-life economic systems aren't the perfect, friction-free, efficient-market versions that (we) study in classical economics. They have all sorts of twists and turns, nonlinerities and unexpected kinks created by power grabs that as often or not manifest from outside the realm of economics entirely.

The really poor in a country like Brazil aren't consumers in any case, that is, with or without piracy, but they bear some of the costs associated with it, if you agree with me that there is an increase in violence that stems from the selling, manufacturing and smuggling of pirated goods. Agreeing with this implies that the best for those who really need it would be, at least, stopping organized crime from involving in piracy, right?

Giving away all goods would be the most effective way of "stopping violence" resulting from criminal involvement in economic systems. It's not very practical - nor is the question of criminal violence at all relevant to this discussion. Thanks for bringing it up, but when one resorts to the rhetorical version of saying "what about the CHILDREN," it suggests the actual areas of contested dialog have already been lost. Such is the case here, I suspect.

You'll have noticed until now my civil tone. I always try to focus on making arguments, presenting facts and trying to discuss with those that disagree with me, be it in real life, be it on the internet. However, there are somethings that make me become irrational, make me furious. So please forgive the following paragraph, but such a blatant misrepresentation of my reasoning, for third time in your post, means either your an idiot, you can't read or your trying to misrepresent me to 'win the argument'. In any case:

I find it somewhat disappointing that you take this cowardly "you misrepresented my reasoning" line of argument when, in your detailed responses to my post, not ONCE did you claim I "misrepresented" anything you said - nor did you point to any specific examples, quote any such putative "misrepresentations," etc.

Rather, you've simply become uncomfortable because I disagree with the CONCLUSIONS of your line of reasoning - and turned that around as if it was somehow a failure of honesty on my part. No, it's not misrepresenting anything - I think the core line of argument you take in your article is WRONG. I've stated where I think you have gone off-track. I've cited what "facts" you claim that are anything but, and I've highlighted the areas where you are lacking in apparently academic familiarity, in suggesting more accurate alternative perspectives.

None of this is "misrepresenting" anything you've written. It's simply saying I find you argument to be wrong. If you can't handle someone saying "you're wrong, and here's why" - then are you really an "academic" at all? In the academic world I call home, we disagree all the time - that doesn't mean someone is "lying" or is inherently evil. It's called "academic discourse."

YOU BLOODY MORON! IN MY ARTICLE, NOT ONCE, NOT A SINGLE DAMMED TIME DO I SAY THAT PEOPLE ARE CONSUMING PIRATE GOODS BECAUSE OF BAD MORALS! OR JUDGING THEM! ON THE CONTRARY, I STATE IN MY ARTICLE THAT "individual consumers who opt to purchase pirated goods largely benefit" ("the short term" that follows was added by editing on part of the escapist). IN FACT, ITS COMPLETELY OBVIOUS TO ANYONE WITH A BRAIN THAT CONSUMERS OF PIRATE GOODS HAVE MORE BENEFITS THAN COSTS, OTHERWISE THEY'D BE UTTER IDIOTS FOR DOING THAT! THE WHOLE POINT OF MY ANALYZES WAS TO SHOW THAT SOCIETY, AS A WHOLE, BEAR THE COSTS OF THESE CONSUMERS! YOU PATRONIZING SOPHIST!

Not to poke a hole in such a righteous rant, but you've constructed an obvious, straw-man false dichotomy here - one I neither suggested myself, nor will I accept now. There's no either/or when it comes to "morality" and "self-interest." In fact, suggesting there is such a duality is rather, well, bizarre and small-minded. Human beings do things for their own self-interest all the time that are morally flawed; it's hardly an exceptional case.

Beyond that, I do think you've drank the Kool Aid of "self-optimizing rational economic consumers" a bit too much to have anything of substance to say about actual, biological human beings engaging in actual, everyday commerce. Those neutered, theoretical "economic agents" might be ok for articles intended for the JOE, but in terms of actually discussing the kinds of things that real companies - and human beings - do in their daily economic lives, those oversimplified, bizarrely self-righteous models are worse than irrelevant. I'd say they've proven to be absolutely pernicious, in terms of being willfully and widely mis-applied to real-world economic systems as if they were viable representations thereof.

In short, I suspect you find yourself trapped in an intellectual corner where your academic training leads you to state "facts" that you were taught on the basis of overly simplistic economic models - models which have embedded in them a host of known-false assumptions, implicitly interrelated variables, and an entire penumbra of normative expectations of how "things are supposed to be." Note that none of these things are to be expected in a real "science" - which is what economics claims to be, correct?

A real science looks at reality and tries to model it, in order to understand it, predict it, and perhaps shape it. A pundit says how things "should" be, and writes arguments designed solely to support that a priori expectation. Note that there's little overlap between the two. As an example of punditry, your article is both representative and relatively effective; as a statement of academic investigation or scientific "analysis," it's broken 9 ways to Sunday.

. . . and, no, that's not a "misrepresentation" of anything. It's a point-by-point refutation of the numerous flawed assumptions on which the entire conceptual framework of your article's main thrust is based. If you choose not to respond to those refutations, and instead find it less intimidating to cry "misrepresentation" and go home, so be it. Let it be said that your decision to do so might be somewhat viable as a face-saving gesture, but it's surely not something that adheres to the general standards of academic dialog.

Given that, I won't use my time anymore with you, I've spent enough.

Let me rephrase that for you: "I've repeated a canned series of non sequiturs, warmed-over "facts," discredited academic fallacies, and logical canards and now I don't want to face the consequences of my sloppy argumentation - so I give up." Insofar as that's what you've actually said, I will concur. As to whether your "time" is too valuable to respond to refutations of badly-flawed arguments you've made, well, that's your call. Most of the time when I hear that excuse, from practitioners and students alike, it's a sure sign someone is in over their head and doesn't have the commitment to dig their way out. So be it.

Fausty (MBA, University of Chicago - finance | PhD, pending, Systems Science)

I think it is unfair to portrait piracy in a Third World country as a "temptation"... I grew up in Mexico City, and back in the 80's and 90's, there was really no other way to get movies and games but through piracy. I believe Brazil is in the same situation right now.

Even if you were rich and wanted to get a hold of a "legal" copy of a movie or game, it was not that easy: the titles typically get released in these countries months, even a year, after their official release date in the U.S., and then they were nearly impossible to find. And if you happen to find them, though, you would have to pay two or even three times the original U.S. price.

I think the fault of piracy in these countries lies not on the consumer, but on the local governments that slap these ridiculously high tariffs on imported media and on the entertainment industry for not putting more effort in lobbying for a fair trade in these countries.

I think it is unfair to portrait piracy in a Third World country as a "temptation"... I grew up in Mexico City, and back in the 80's and 90's, there was really no other way to get movies and games but through piracy. I believe Brazil is in the same situation right now.

Even if you were rich and wanted to get a hold of a "legal" copy of a movie or game, it was not that easy: the titles typically get released in these countries months, even a year, after their official release date in the U.S., and then they were nearly impossible to find. And if you happen to find them, though, you would have to pay two or even three times the original U.S. price.

I think the fault of piracy in these countries lies not on the consumer, but on the local governments that slap these ridiculously high tariffs on imported media and on the entertainment industry for not putting more effort in lobbying for a fair trade in these countries.

I think it is unfair to portrait piracy in a Third World country as a "temptation"... I grew up in Mexico City, and back in the 80's and 90's, there was really no other way to get movies and games but through piracy. I believe Brazil is in the same situation right now.

Even if you were rich and wanted to get a hold of a "legal" copy of a movie or game, it was not that easy: the titles typically get released in these countries months, even a year, after their official release date in the U.S., and then they were nearly impossible to find. And if you happen to find them, though, you would have to pay two or even three times the original U.S. price.

I think the fault of piracy in these countries lies not on the consumer, but on the local governments that slap these ridiculously high tariffs on imported media and on the entertainment industry for not putting more effort in lobbying for a fair trade in these countries.

I think it is unfair to portrait piracy in a Third World country as a "temptation"... I grew up in Mexico City, and back in the 80's and 90's, there was really no other way to get movies and games but through piracy. I believe Brazil is in the same situation right now.

Even if you were rich and wanted to get a hold of a "legal" copy of a movie or game, it was not that easy: the titles typically get released in these countries months, even a year, after their official release date in the U.S., and then they were nearly impossible to find. And if you happen to find them, though, you would have to pay two or even three times the original U.S. price.

I think the fault of piracy in these countries lies not on the consumer, but on the local governments that slap these ridiculously high tariffs on imported media and on the entertainment industry for not putting more effort in lobbying for a fair trade in these countries.

DrFausty:
I hadn't noticed that there was an ongoing discussion resulting from this post, and thus had not even read this detailed response to which I am responding. Nor, alas, I did I see the next "I'm taking my toys and going home" post which, apparently, I earned by summarizing points made in the original article in a manner the author of the original article didn't like. Anyone can take their toys and go home at any time, based on any excuse - but in real academic discourse, of course, doing so generally means one lacks the ability to carry their argument forth in any other manner and has essentially chosen to tuck tail and go hide under a table.

It's been far too long since you posted this message, and I honestly doubt that you'll be reading this anyway, but you deserve what's coming to you: an unrestricted apology for my unacceptable behavior. I should have never taken the attitude I did with your post, I was completely out of line and you clearly deserved better. For all that, I'm sorry.

I took so much time in replying because, frankly, I was ashamed at my original post, which became so clear when you presented such a well reasoned, calm and moderate post in reply. That I took so long to answer only compounds this, specially since I had completely forgotten about this post for months, but I hope this <very late> apology will suffice.

Finally, I will not debate the merits of your arguments, not because that I agree with you, but simply because I don't have the time or stamina to take them on right now (and I sincerely doubt I will take this up in the future).

I will, however, try to clear things up a little by pointing out one thing: throughout my article, when I say piracy, I mostly refer not to digital piracy, but to smuggled pirate goods and/or piracy done by organized crime. That was the focus of my article and I perhaps should have emphasized this from the start, as the discussion on the forums deviated completely from discussing this sort of piracy into a larger debate, where I hadn't really thought out things and, as such, my reasoning was hasty and poorly done.

So, in short: forgive my previous unacceptable behavior, I apologize unreservedly for treating you in such a rude manner, although I still do not agree with your arguments.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here