Jimquisition: When Piracy Becomes Theft

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electric method:
Food for thought, in the US there is a reason why piracy and the like is prosecuted under copyright infrigement versus theft. That reason being, criminal copyright infringement is a federal offense with much harsher penalties attached.

What makes you believe that?

The concept of "Intellectual Property" being equivalent to actual property is something very new, and you don't actually see it in the legalese. In fact, in cases where there have been accusations of 'transporting stolen property' because of moving 'pirated' CDs over state lines, courts have ruled, explicitly, that unauthorized copied materials are not stolen property.

Crono1973:

Dusk17:
I dont understand how you can say piracy is not theft. It is the use of a product or service without paying for it. It doesnt matter why you pirate games it is still theft. Even those who defend it by saying they will pay later it doesnt change the fact that you stole a product, it doesnt work on credit like that.

If I steal your bike, then you lose a bike. That's theft.
If you copy one of your games, you lose nothing. See the difference?

These two posts embody about 95% of the debate about piracy which I've seen on these forums, and it's annoying that there doesn't seem to be a way to reach an agreement about such a silly incidental thing. Because that's what this has become, it's incidental, we're just arguing over semantics. It was never about whether the law considers it theft or not, because honestly the law should never be an argument in any moral debate, ever. Law is naught but the opinions of lawmakers, and therefore it should hold no higher authority than the opinions of the debaters, or anyone else's opinions. And other than in law, I can't think of any circumstance where the application of the word `theft' to an action makes any difference whatsoever. Piracy may or may not be technically theft, but the question we should be asking is, does it matter? Well actually I've already answered that question: it doesn't matter. Everyone yelling `piracy is theft!' is wrong because piracy is not technically theft, theft implies that something has been lost. Everyone yelling `piracy is not technically theft!' is wrong because they're completely missing the point. The debate shouldn't be about whether or not piracy is considered `theft'. The debate should be about, were one to pirate something, how much of a douchebag one would be for it.

Given that piracy and theft have nothing to do with each other (just for the sake of simplicity), let's consider the moral implications associated with piracy. On one hand, if a giant company makes a game and someone pirates it, I personally cannot imagine it damaging the company in the slightest. One could argue that it's stealing money from the company because if you had gotten it legally you would have paid for it, but I disagree because it's not as simple as all that. I don't own any of the Guitar Hero games, but I play them at friends' houses, so technically I'm playing Guitar Hero without paying for it. Does that mean I'm stealing money from Activision? I sure hope not. My friends lend me games all the time, and nobody in their right mind considers that stealing. Sometimes people argue that, since I have to give the lent game back instead of keeping it forever, it's not a problem, because playing it for that limited time makes me more likely to buy it later. But does that mean pirating a game and then paying for it or deleting that copy later on is perfectly okay? Of course not. Why, though? And I've seen this argument take its due course a thousand times, and it never leads anywhere. So let's ditch it and reach our first conclusion: piracy is complicated.

When it comes to big companies and money, there's a lot of padding. A lot of the money a company makes and loses is through shares in the stock market. A lot of it's also through sales and advertising. When the good people at Valve write HL2e3, they get their money every month as a paycheck. If HL2e3 somehow doesn't do well, due to piracy or otherwise, the developers don't lose any of that money they've made. They just don't. Valve has already given them their paychecks. So what does happen? Well, the guys over in marketing decide that, since that game didn't do so well, maybe we should stop making Half Life games. So they start planning Portal 2 episode 1 or something, and detail the old HL2e3 guys to that project instead. They're just as happy with this new game as they were with HL2e3. They get paid the same amount as they always had. So, if this drop in HL2e3 sales doesn't harm the developers, who does it harm? I think it's the fans. The fans, who were looking forward to a Half Life 3, will never get to see it because Valve's marketing department made a decision to discontinue Half Life, which was influenced by the drop in sales which was due to the high piracy rate of the game. Again: piracy does not harm the developers, but it does harm the fans, or at least those fans who were pining for a sequel.

I realize this model breaks down after a while. If every game is pirated to the extent that no games do well, the company starts losing a substantial amount of money, people are laid off, and if it's bad enough the company goes under. Or, more realistically, the piracy rate will continue to increase (hopefully only up to a certain threshold), and the increase will be slow enough that the companies have time to get used to it ... in that case, they'll try a bunch of different ways to stop piracy, they'll try a bunch of different ways to squeeze more money out of those willing to pay, and eventually they'll stop making games altogether and move on to something else, or they'll have to risk going under. Right now this is what's happening, and they're on the `try in vain to stop piracy' and `try to get paying gamers to pay more' stages. But notice that this is all about the company. Again, the effect all this has on the developers is small and indirect enough that it's negligible. And if the entire game industry crashes around everyone's ears due to piracy somehow, most of those developers will still have jobs, because programming and 3D modeling and music and all those fields come in handy in a lot of non-game arenas, and by now they all have quite the resume. So I want to revise my statement from last paragraph: piracy does not harm the developers, but it does harm the fans of the game, and eventually, the quality of the game industry itself.

But of course, we can't stop there without bringing up the indie developer, could we? Of course not. First of all, I'd like to make a side note: pirating a game from an indie developer may not technically be thievery, but it's just as repulsive and morally wrong as picking that person's pocket would be. Unlike a corporation, the amount an indie developer gets paid is exactly equal to the amount his game has sold. There isn't a big money net here; every penny counts. When you play an indie game, you have a personal relationship with the developer: he's letting you play his game, and he assumes that you are decent enough to congratulate him on his hard work by paying for his ramen for the next week, so that he might have time to make more games for you later. So, if you play an indie game, and you like it, and you don't intend to provide at least some sort of compensation, then you are officially a despicable person. Of course, not all indie developers see it that way, which is fine. They do it because making games is really really fun. They don't base a decision to make a game on the state of the industry, like the marketing guys over at the corporation do. So, it should logically follow that if the industry crumbles to piracy, all new games will be indie games. And since, by this point, everyone is an asshole, the indie devs won't make any money either. Therefore, all new games will be free, probably open source (since making a nice looking game by any means other than open collaboration will cost at least some money), and ... well, they'd be different than they are now. Much different. Not necessarily better, and not necessarily any worse, just different.

I'm not saying any of that is bound to happen. Corporations will adapt, find ways to compete with piracy, and win. Piracy will never go away completely, but if companies continue to adapt to it, the piracy rate should stay around 10%-20%ish. And how do the companies compete with piracy? By doing what Valve's been doing: offering low prices and high convenience, or put more generally, by giving the customers more benefits than piracy does. And we're all about benefits, are we not? From that perspective, piracy could be considered a good thing in the long run, because it forces companies to rethink their business strategies and reform themselves in ways that are more beneficial to us, the paying customers. If we start thinking about fighting piracy in terms of fighting the drive to pirate, rather than fighting the pirates themselves, we'll get a lot more done.

See what stepping away from the `piracy is theft'/`piracy is not theft' bullshit for a little while can accomplish? If more debates on here were more like this, they would be a lot more constructive. There is so much more here to explore and discuss, if you take a step back instead of stubbornly repeating the same two arguments back and forth, over and over. I'm not a pirate, and I don't know if piracy is a good thing or a bad thing. I think it's both good and bad, for different people, in different ways, given different timeframes, as I've explained above. But nobody likes that answer, because that's not actually the question anyone's really asking. When someone asks `is piracy good or bad', what they really mean is `should I feel guilty for pirating, and how should I judge others who pirate?' To which I respond: `no, and no.' Because we've stepped into totally different territory, because I believe that nobody other than yourself should be able to tell you what you should feel guilty for, and because I believe that you shouldn't judge anybody you know so little about, for something so insignificant. But that's just me, I guess. This is all just me ... so carry on.

Freyar:
How is "unauthorized copying" not wrong? You reduce the value of a good set of people's hard work. You instead diminish that value and damage the value of the work people did to make that piece of media. Copyrights are NOT invalid, they are completely valid, that's why legally you can get hit for it. Now we can argue (and I'd be for) copyright reform or abolishment but that isn't the issue.

What makes you think copyrights are valid? You say that without them, things are diminished? In what ways?

What about copyright needs to be reformed?

Lets be honest, I've pirated several of the very games mentioned on this video. I understand that the developers need support, but on the other hand the games were mostly shit (in my opinion). Most of them I didn't spend an hour on before either uninstalling or simply forgetting about them never to be touched again, some not even 5 minutes. If I had liked world of goo, for example, I might have bought it, but as it is I would have regretted the purchase for $2, much less $20. Same goes for many others, including those on the humble indie bundles.

Wait, paedophilia is a profession now?

Fucking 1st World Problems

dbenoy:

When you take an object that belongs to someone else, and thereby ensure that they are permanently unable to access it, and you've done this without consent, then you've done XYZ to them.

We'll call this "theft".

dbenoy:

Coppying is not XYZ.

True enough, if we're sticking to the strictly legal definition of theft. Of course, by other definitions, the statement is arguable.

dbenoy:

Using copyright litigation against 'pirates' to IS XYZ.

Completely untrue.

dbenoy:

XYZ hurts people, because they are permanently excluded from accessing what is rightfully theirs.

If we exclude this statement from the one that directly preceded it, it works out reasonably well.

dbenoy:

When you institutionalize XYZ in order to incentivize or otherwise favor a certain type of business, that is protectionism, and it makes victims of harmless people.

The failure here is that you've now created two mutually exclusive meanings for XYZ. XYZ cannot be taking something from someone that belongs to them, and simultaneously be protecting something from being copied by people to whom it does not belong.

Copyright is not theft. Copyright is, in many ways, the diametric opposite of theft. Copyright is, in effect, extending the same protections to intellectual properties as are enjoyed by physical properties.

Copyright infringement, while not theft by some definitions, certainly falls into that category by other definitions. The infringer has obtained something against the will of its owner, without recompense. The fact that the digital era has made this process both quick and convenient for the infringer does not mean that the act of infringement has become something other than morally reprehensible; it just means that it's easier to be a pirating douchebag.

SenorStocks:

If you've got so many of other cases where they refer to it as theft, please provide them.

For giggles, this:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/641.html

is part of the case against Bradley Manning, and has been used for similar purposes in the past. Basically arguing that even the copies of government files are treated as "things of value", regardless of the fact that the government retained possession of the original files, to such an extent as any digital copy can be considered "original" in this day and age.

It's always rather interested me that the government has, in effect, extended protections to its own properties that it does not extend to the properties of others. One of the vagaries of bureaucracy I imagine.

WineydeJacques:
Fucking 1st World Problems

Tell me about it. These piracy threads pop up almost every day, and each time people really have nothing better to do than argue about the definition of theft. Still provides 10 minutes of entertainment before bed each night, haha.

SenorStocks:
You haven't read the case yet you feel you know that he was only talking in this context (Protip: no he wasn't, he was talking in general) and the other judges were all in agreement and all made comments to the effect that copyright infringement and piracy are not theft.

No, they said that the Theft Act did not apply, as it's already covered by the Copyright Act. That doesn't mean it's not theft in the generic sense. One doesn't have to be a legal scholar to understand the English language. It wasn't a legal argument that was being put forth in the first place. The courts don't define words as commonly used.

All of this nonsense aside, what I really want to know is why you made the claim that people who say that piracy is theft are equating it to mugging? That was a deliberate emotional manipulation on your part. Nobody said "piracy is mugging" - yet that is what you claimed.

Raesvelg:

Copyright is not theft. Copyright is, in many ways, the diametric opposite of theft. Copyright is, in effect, extending the same protections to intellectual properties as are enjoyed by physical properties.

It doesn't really do that. Copyright doesn't actually give it's holder the same rights as physical property. For example, phyisical property can be entirely sealed away from the public, but copyright allows for fair use. If I go on a joyride ride with your car, I can't claim that it was fair use, like using screenshots from a movie. Or, for example physical property can be infinitely inherited, while copyright disappears after an arbitarily chosen length of time.

At these points, any comarison to physical property falls apart, because IP itself isn't really the digital equivalent of property, and therefore it's holders can't "own it" in the same sense, and it can't be "taken away" in the same sense. In a generic sense, rather than physical propert, copyright is the closest to a Government-granted monopoly. A license to exclusively dominate the distribution of a certain product, under whatever conditions the government chose to grant to the license holder. In this case, mainly the right to profit from the forced scarcity of limiting the creation of copies.

Raesvelg:

Copyright infringement, while not theft by some definitions, certainly falls into that category by other definitions. The infringer has obtained something against the will of its owner, without recompense. The fact that the digital era has made this process both quick and convenient for the infringer does not mean that the act of infringement has become something other than morally reprehensible; it just means that it's easier to be a pirating douchebag.

But if we take out that little part, that "owner", and replace it with "the licensee", that makes it a lot different. While ownership is a sacred concept that always existed in civilizations, licenses come and go, depending on how practical they are, and they aren't even necessarily moral. The Roman Empire gave away licenses to tax collectors to charge whatever rates they wanted, robbing the people blind, as long as they transferred a fixed sum to the senator. James Bond has a license to kill.

If intellectual property is property, then it's owners always had it, even if they didn't know about it, and piracy was "morally reprehensible" even when it wasn't written. Even the codex-copying monks were morally reprehensible.

Either that, or if only the fact that authorities chose to grant copyrights made it into a true right, then you are mixing legality and morality. The fact that it happens to be illegal right now, tells absolutely nothing about it's morality.

There is one problem with this, some people have no possible way of paying stuff over the internet.Me for example living in a country still not available on Paypal, all i am left with is showel-ware in a nearby supermarket.Sure, there are stores that sell games like GTA 4 and such but they are 60 miles away, and charging gigantic prices for old games.

If you accept that illegal downloading of World of Goo is "theft", then I'm afraid that piracy of an EA product can be called theft too. That's how it goes. The law is the same for everyone (at least in theory), the moral issues is a different subject. The judge doesn't care if EA is hated by people and an indie developer is likable.
I'm totally with you in this subject, but your argument is disputable.

Really like the new opening. The old one never made much sense to me...

I applaud everything else but I really could have done without a cartoonish drawing of dangling, hairy genitals in this episode.

Really now. That's not an image I would expect to find on The Escapist. Stay classy Jim, eh? Just a little bit?

Aardvaarkman:

SenorStocks:
You haven't read the case yet you feel you know that he was only talking in this context (Protip: no he wasn't, he was talking in general) and the other judges were all in agreement and all made comments to the effect that copyright infringement and piracy are not theft.

No, they said that the Theft Act did not apply, as it's already covered by the Copyright Act. That doesn't mean it's not theft in the generic sense. One doesn't have to be a legal scholar to understand the English language. It wasn't a legal argument that was being put forth in the first place. The courts don't define words as commonly used.

All of this nonsense aside, what I really want to know is why you made the claim that people who say that piracy is theft are equating it to mugging? That was a deliberate emotional manipulation on your part. Nobody said "piracy is mugging" - yet that is what you claimed.

Until you've read the entire judgment, don't tell me what context he was speaking in. I would explain the second part, but I really can't be bothered. Sorry.

Alterego-X:

rankfx:

I get what you're saying, but the semantics are what people are hiding behind. I stand by trying to stick an "X = Y" onto it because someone added something of value to the world, and they choose to ignore that value, even as they go out of their way to add it to their own life.

If you go to work and are paid by the hour, if your employer doesn't pay you, you don't think "Oh that's fine." You're gonna get pissed off. Even if your job doesn't actually produce anything and you're in exactly the same position as when you started, it doesn't mean you didn't do the work, and it doesn't mean that you should be short changed for it.

The thing is, that the laws against the described situation, fraud, just like theft, and many other crimes, are universal laws of mankind, that always existed in their basic format, as they are required for any functioning society.

But the same isn't true for the current copyright mechanics. Blindly equalating copyright infringement with these crimes, is just a tool to hide the fact, that copyright isn't a self-evident, universal law, just a specific mechanic that happened to be set the way it is, because of various legal, pysical, and political circusmstances in the 18th century.

For example, what if someone in 1840, copied a then 50 years old book? Did he steal it? After all, by our current standards, the copyright length is 120 years. If I torrent a song in the Netherlands, where it is entirely legal, am I still *stealing* it from the artists? Even if some people don't practice copyright properly, shouldn't there be an objective "right" for everyone to get their IP protected exactly the same way as we do?

If it would be truly like theft, there would be. Just think about it. If a roman slaveowner forcefully took away his slave's belongings, would we say that it wasn't stealing, because he had a legal right to do it? If a feudal lord forced himself on his wife, would we say that it wasn't rape, just because medieval law doesn't recognize matrial rape? If Ghenghis Khan burned the population of a city, would we say that it wasn't a crime against humanity, because it happened before the Geneva conventions?

Just like rape and genocide, theft has a self-evident objective definition. Comparing piracy to theft, ij just a tool to hide the fact that piracy has no such obvious foundation, it's just a temporary business mechanic that might come and pass, depending on it's usefulness.

You aren't morally repulsed by it therefore it's not bad? What I want to know is whether "copying isn't bad" people see the big picture. Do you see the other side of the equation? When you copy something without paying for it, someone isn't getting the money that you would normally have paid. Sometimes that's a big ugly company like EA or Activision in which case I agree with Jim- totally fine to rip them off. But sometimes it's actually someone trying to feed their kids and make video games at the same time. In this case it's not fine.

I'm a musician, and if I write something and I don't want people to copy it then I like to think I can say "Hey! Don't copy my song," and not have those five words dissected by people who say "copying isn't rape, therefore it's not bad." We've progressed as a society from those examples you leave above, and you're judging them by current standards. Yes, you're right about their actions being wrong, but we've progressed as a society from then.

BS on the Humble Indie Bundle.

I have heard directly from the HIB developers and they actually asked the people running pirated copies of the game why they did it. The overwhelming majority of the responses were that they had issues downloading or installing the game through their service or simply didn't have a credit card or a way of paying them. Many of the people that had issues downloading the games, got the cracked copies but paid any way.

The percent of ass hats that just didn't bother was insubstantial.

rankfx:

You aren't morally repulsed by it therefore it's not bad? What I want to know is whether "copying isn't bad" people see the big picture. Do you see the other side of the equation? When you copy something without paying for it, someone isn't getting the money that you would normally have paid.

My issue is, that what they "would normally have paid" isn't based on any universal right, just on a legal fiction, that happens to be in effect.

For example, if Fair Use laws wouldn't exist, and copyright would extend to every detail of a work, then sites like the Escapist would have to pay every time after using a screenshot from a game, and publishers would get more money. In such a case, using fcreenshots for free would be piracy, and it would deprive publishers from what they "would normally have paid".

If you say that pirating screenshots would be morally wrong in such a system, but morally right now, you are essentially saying that laws should define morality.

But if you say that it would be morally right in either case, that would be a very similar arguments to what pirates say, that it's ok to breach laws, and limit the rights of publishers, as long as you don't think that their moral rights extend as far as their legal rights.

rankfx:

Sometimes that's a big ugly company like EA or Activision in which case I agree with Jim- totally fine to rip them off. But sometimes it's actually someone trying to feed their kids and make video games at the same time. In this case it's not fine.

I don't think that either case is better than the other. EA is made of people too, and they need to feed their kids. I'm just not certain that they should be feeding their kids from that specific government-enforced monopoly, instead of the several other ways to profit from IP.

rankfx:

I'm a musician, and if I write something and I don't want people to copy it then I like to think I can say "Hey! Don't copy my song," and not have those five words dissected by people who say "copying isn't rape, therefore it's not bad."

On the other hand, if you are a musician, and you want to get money from street performance, that doesn't mean that you can just call the cops to lock the street where you happen to be playing, and force every passerby to pay, so no one gets to listen to your music for free.
It's obvious that if you want to perform on the streets, you are forced to accept that payment is optional there.

Artists don't get to do whatever they want with their IP. They are limited by cultural history, legally available options, and technical abilities.

There are sensible reasons, why the growth of the Internet is changing the Status Quo, and turning the previously well-established idea of IP owners charging for copies, into as much of an insanity as street-performers locking down streets.

1. It's inconvinient for society: SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, remixes removed from youtube, family photos deleted along with Megaupload, etc. On the internet, that is mainly about shaaring files, it's impossible to perfectly select out all the "corrupt" links, without shutting down legit content, bothering legit users a lot, and stifling the development a net.

2. It's culturally ineffective: There are studies showing that people are spending a fixed budget on media. If everything would be legally accessible for free, that would increase the amount of entertainment enjoyed, without significantly harming the creators as a whole, therefore creating a society with more value. Not to mention the cultural benefit of rewarding the kind of content that grabs the audiences attention and builds a loyal paying fandom, and punsihing the kind that curently only tricks people into separating them from their money, with fancy advertising.

3. Legal problems: See my earlier posts about how copyright enforcement as it is, is incompatible with the Rule of Law maxim.

These three things together make the copyright system at least as senseless as the above analogy with the musician.

rankfx:

We've progressed as a society from those examples you leave above, and you're judging them by current standards. Yes, you're right about their actions being wrong, but we've progressed as a society from then.

Yeah, but while we "realized" that from our progressive point of view, slavery, rape and theft, were what they were all along, the same doesn't work for piracy.

You can't say, that the same way as we realized that the slaveowner was actually a thief, now we also realized that someone who copied a 50 year old book when copyright was 30 years long, actually committed piracy.

That shows that the artist's copyright is not an inherent moral Right, just a state-provided "right". It doesn't exist objectively in reality, the justification for it's existence is simply that lawmakers thought that it would be useful to have.

If in the Information Era, it would prove to be useless or worse, there is no objective reason to follow it.

dbenoy:
What makes you think copyrights are valid? You say that without them, things are diminished? In what ways?

What about copyright needs to be reformed?

Copyrights are important to allow someone to make a fair amount of money off of what they make. However, that doesn't mean that I agree with Disney's point of view which is to expand copyright coverage each and every time their material comes up for release to the public domain. Sadly, the US and the EU has been in bed with each other for so long that they've kind of built themselves up into their own coffins. Neither can reject it without violating agreements overseas.

Copyright needs to be reduced to twenty years, that's it.

Alterego-X:

Yeah, but while we "realized" that from our progressive point of view, slavery, rape and theft, were what they were all along, the same doesn't work for piracy.

Fallacy. Morals are purely subjective, never absolute. You may perceive slavery, rape, and theft as morally reprehensible crimes, but that was not always the case. You perceive them as such because of the society in which you are ensconced.

People may decry such things as violations of fundamental rights, but the concept of inalienable rights is, itself, another fallacy. There are no such things as "rights" outside of the context of the civilization that grants them.

People survive in no small part because the people around them collectively exchanged the right to kill people who irritated them for the right to not be killed by people they irritate.

Everyone yelling `piracy is theft!' is wrong because piracy is not technically theft, theft implies that something has been lost.

Piracy is theft because the theft is in terms of the value of the product. People that continually shout down trying to claim that it isn't theft because there's still the original fail at economics. It is THEFT of the VALUE inherent in the PRODUCT that took a significant amount of investment to create. If [x] manhours cost [y] amount in the game, and you steal the game, the value of [Y]'s investment drops and thus the value of [x] drops. In short, you're stealing from the value of the hard work the developers did.

"But the developers were already paid!" While true in some cases, it still devalues the work that the developers did which in turn will prevent them from being able to do additional work in the future. Combine that with the likes of potential milestone-oriented royalties and it's even more clear cut.

Piracy. Is. Theft. Be it against Sony, Ubisoft (of whom I have a huge loathing for right now), Nintendo, Introversion, or Clover Studios (RIP).

Copy Right infringement technically is theft though and by technically I mean by the legal definition.

I'm not one of those "kill the internet types" but this seems a little unnecessary, like its beating round the bush of the real issue.

Raesvelg:

Alterego-X:

Yeah, but while we "realized" that from our progressive point of view, slavery, rape and theft, were what they were all along, the same doesn't work for piracy.

Fallacy. Morals are purely subjective, never absolute. You may perceive slavery, rape, and theft as morally reprehensible crimes, but that was not always the case. You perceive them as such because of the society in which you are ensconced.

People may decry such things as violations of fundamental rights, but the concept of inalienable rights is, itself, another fallacy. There are no such things as "rights" outside of the context of the civilization that grants them.

People survive in no small part because the people around them collectively exchanged the right to kill people who irritated them for the right to not be killed by people they irritate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_and_legal_rights

Crono1973:

Dusk17:
I dont understand how you can say piracy is not theft. It is the use of a product or service without paying for it. It doesnt matter why you pirate games it is still theft. Even those who defend it by saying they will pay later it doesnt change the fact that you stole a product, it doesnt work on credit like that.

If I steal your bike, then you lose a bike. That's theft.
If you copy one of your games, you lose nothing. See the difference?

Your argument is weak.

You're saying that walking in a bookstore, grabbing a book, and walking out without paying for it is theft. But walking into a bookstore with a camera, grabbing a book, taking a photo of every page of the book, putting it back, and walking out with those photos which you use to read the book isn't? I dare you to try that and see if any author or employee at any bookstore would agree with that.

goliath6711:

Crono1973:

Dusk17:
I dont understand how you can say piracy is not theft. It is the use of a product or service without paying for it. It doesnt matter why you pirate games it is still theft. Even those who defend it by saying they will pay later it doesnt change the fact that you stole a product, it doesnt work on credit like that.

If I steal your bike, then you lose a bike. That's theft.
If you copy one of your games, you lose nothing. See the difference?

Your argument is weak.

You're saying that walking in a bookstore, grabbing a book, and walking out without paying for it is theft. But walking into a bookstore with a camera, grabbing a book, taking a photo of every page of the book, putting it back, and walking out with those photos which you use to read the book isn't? I dare you to try that and see if any author or employee at any bookstore would agree with that.

And what exactly makes the authors or employees experts at what does or does not constitute theft? Theft by definition (the legal definition, i.e. the only one that actually matters) requires an element of permanent deprivation. If you photograph the book it is still there to be bought, it's not a weak argument at all. Using theft in a non legal context makes absolutely no sense considering that this whole debate about whether it is theft or not is a fundamentally legal issue.

goliath6711:

Crono1973:

Dusk17:
I dont understand how you can say piracy is not theft. It is the use of a product or service without paying for it. It doesnt matter why you pirate games it is still theft. Even those who defend it by saying they will pay later it doesnt change the fact that you stole a product, it doesnt work on credit like that.

If I steal your bike, then you lose a bike. That's theft.
If you copy one of your games, you lose nothing. See the difference?

Your argument is weak.

You're saying that walking in a bookstore, grabbing a book, and walking out without paying for it is theft. But walking into a bookstore with a camera, grabbing a book, taking a photo of every page of the book, putting it back, and walking out with those photos which you use to read the book isn't? I dare you to try that and see if any author or employee at any bookstore would agree with that.

I wouldn't have the patience to try that but no, I wouldn't think that would be theft. Just like going into a bookstore and reading a magazine or a book and the putting it back on the shelf. Do you know there are people that hang out all day at Barnes & Noble sitting in the comfortable chairs and reading books they don't own?

Oh an what about those pesky libraries. You can actually take a book home that you don't own.

So are these people thieves?

Alterego-X:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_and_legal_rights

Which, unsurprisingly, disproves nothing I said. Philosophers operating within a society will frequently produce philosophies that coincide with the values of that society.

Hell, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union enshrines intellectual property as a fundamental right.

SenorStocks:

And what exactly makes the authors or employees experts at what does or does not constitute theft?

I guess going to wikipedia or coming to this site, as everyone seems to be experts on the subject.

SenorStocks:

Theft by definition (the legal definition, i.e. the only one that actually matters)

As society changes over time, so do laws to fit the society. Whether or not the laws will change has yet to be determined of course.

SenorStocks:

requires an element of permanent deprivation.

Well true by definition, not always true by practicality.

SenorStocks:

If you photograph the book it is still there to be bought, it's not a weak argument at all.

Yes, but now you have a book on the web, given for free and made easier to get (I mean what's easier than getting up and going on your computer, typing in the book and having it for free).

SenorStocks:

Using theft in a non legal context makes absolutely no sense considering that this whole debate about whether it is theft or not is a fundamentally legal issue.

Then I guess we should move the debate to "should it be or not be a legal issue".

Raesvelg:

Alterego-X:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_and_legal_rights

Which, unsurprisingly, disproves nothing I said. Philosophers operating within a society will frequently produce philosophies that coincide with the values of that society.

So thank God for philosophers outside of society like you, who know so much better. :P

It's one thing not to believe in objective morality, but to dismiss it as a "fallacy" without any argument against it, is just ignorant.

Alterego-X:

It's one thing not to believe in objective morality, but to dismiss it as a "fallacy" without any argument against it, is just ignorant.

I wasn't aware that this was a philosophy class and I was going to have to defend the position of moral relativism more extensively than I already did. The brief precis that moral values are determined by societal factors, not by some external force, should suffice for our purposes here, don't you think?

And way to dodge the EU declaring copyright as a fundamental right. Tell me, is that objective morality in action? Do you think that some divine power reached down from heaven and told them that creators are entitled to protection of their intellectual creations? Or maybe it was some deep primal instinct, welling up from within, that enlightened them on the matter?

World of Goo supposedly had a $10k budget, which considering how well received it was, I'm sure they made back 10 fold (probably more).

A game like CoD:MW3 probably had a budget of around $100m+, not including the ad campaign which if BF3 was anything to go by was probably just a big. MW3 has brought in over $1b.

I've always been skeptical of the supposed "90% piracy rate of WoG installs" becuase just going by seed/leech/snatched numbers on torrent sites means very little.

Still theft, no exceptions.

I feel most people arguing about piracy are ignoring the amount of KIDS that pirate video games. I used to do it from around 10-12, and I'm now 15, and I condemn the act... But I didn't really know what I was doing and I've grown in the last 3 years. Though in that period (from 10 to 12) I pirated ~60 games, so believe me when I say KIDS that DO NOT HAVE A STEADY INCOME OF MONEY do account for a BIG slice of piracy that occurs.

Plus, I really do not need crackers to stop what they do as long as "physical copies" exist for the PC, because I keep the installation code and then download the .iso files to keep on my storage drive. I feel it's more convenient than ripping the .iso from the disc, and with things like Virtual Clonedrive, I can have up to 15 video games that I can run straight from the .iso file without having to switch discs.

Plus my crysis installation never worked for me, and I bought the damn game. A physical copy in a case. I had gone through 8 hours of customer support to get it to work, but it wouldn't. Guess who saved the day? A cracker on TPB. He had removed all the DRM and the Windows Live gaming thing, and it didn't require an installation, so the game initiated from a little .bat file and it worked PERFECTLY.

EDIT: Just cleaned up a bit of confusing wording

The best analogy I can think of is you call a landscaper to come cut your lawn. He/She finishes and you decide not to pay them. Why because your an a**hole. Technically you did not steal anything from then. They put time and effort in your lawn and your going to stiff them.

Same with games, a lot of developers put time and effort into these games, if you enjoy these games and do not pay for them? Guess what your an a**hole too. Whether it is consider theft or not, it is still wrong.

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