Jimquisition: When Piracy Becomes Theft

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incal11:

orangeapples:
Now all of that sounds good and all, but they seem to not have a grasp of the real world. Yes, developers are creating video games and other media because they enjoy creating these things, but in order to do that they will need to be able to survive. These people need food, shelter and adequate warmth. If developers had to get a job as well as make games they would not have enough time to do both. Certain creations are ideas and want to be exchanged freely, other creations are products and want to be exchanged for goods. People do not want to pay for ideology, but they will be willing to make donations.

Being at the mercy of your public's good will is part of being an entertainer. If you just pretend to be an entertainer and try to sell a bland "product" at a fixed priced because you just want to eat, you chose the wrong career.

I'm also very familiar with this debate, If you're interested in exchanging some views tell me and I'll PM you.

Well, technically they still are at the mercy of the public by selling at a fixed rate. If your product sucks, then nobody buys it. The problem with the piracy of these products is that they are not given the chance with people's money. Those people want entertainment for free regardless of the people who put that entertainment together.

Devs would have some better luck if they were to ask sites like escapist/destructoid/screwattack/ign/etc. if you would be interested in having an indie developers section on their sites. Essentially asking them to give free advertising to these devs. Get their product in the face of the gamers.

That would not be a bad idea at all. Perhaps if they get enough indie devs in the section they could do an indie developer spotlight or something. Do these sites already do something like that?

Honestly Jim, it's really not that I don't agree with you, I kinda do.

But it's kinda hard to sympathize with you when what you're basically saying is "Stealing is only bad if you steal from people I like, you can steal all you want from the people I don't like, but if you steal from my friends then you deserve to burn in everlasting torment."

This week on Jimquisition, Jim Sterling finds a reason to hate piracy again, and proves that he still understands the issue except he doesn't.

Piracy of indie games is bad and wrong. We must invent a new word for this. Piracy of indie games is badong. And we must stand for its exact opposite: gnodab.

I have to say I loved World of Goo so much, that even though I had already bought it for Wii, I bought it one Steam just to have it on my laptop, and when they make an Android version, I'll probably buy that too.

dbenoy:

I agree! It's so annoying!

I just want to shake these jerks and say "It's not 'piracy' it's copyright infringement! Piracy is a moral abomination, copying things is wonderful and natural!"

I feel your pain.

Unless, of course, the person who created the content in the first place hasn't given you permission to copy it.

At which point, copying things is not wonderful, nor natural, but rather analogous to, y'know, theft.

There are those, of course, who argue that the concept of intellectual property itself is inherently bad. These people are, for lack of a better word, innocents.

Because there are a great many things in this world that would not exist without intellectual property laws. Things like Mass Effect.

And I like Mass Effect. I like a great number of things that simply would not exist if people were not given the ability to have their ideas and intellectual labors protected by law.

This is not some post-capitalist Marxist utopia in which vast bands of self-motivated people gather together for large collective projects since all of their material needs are taken care of. Here in the real world, large projects require large investments, investments which entail a great deal of capital. People, after all, need to get paid.

There are those who like to crow about the Humble Indie Bundles, and use them as an example of a new model of intellectual property. Except that the Humble Indie Bundles, all told, have made something like $11 million dollars. Which is something like 20% of the development budget of the average AAA title.

Or significantly less in some cases.

So sure, Louis C.K. can put out a show for $5, and the HIB guys can throw things up on a pay-what-you-want scheme, but in these cases we're talking about production costs measures in the tens of thousands of dollars, not tens of millions.

If we assume that the more outrageous budget figures for The Old Republic are true, for example, EA would have to sell 100 million copies at $5 each in order to just break even.

So copyright laws definitely exist for a reason, and the people who decry their existence, particularly over something so incredible trivial as entertainment media, come off, to me, like squalling children complaining that their allowance isn't big enough. It's a movie. You don't have to watch it. It's a game. You don't have to play it. And in all cases, far more importantly, you don't have the right to watch it, any more than I have the right to go into your home and make a copy of your diary, so that I can distribute it to whoever I want.

I could almost accept the argument that the world would be a better place without IP laws when it comes to patent law, given the sheer preponderance of life-altering technologies and pharmaceuticals that could probably be made available more cheaply without it, except that the cold, hard truth of the matter is that most of those things wouldn't exist without it. And the people whose lives might have been saved would have died anyway, along with all the people whose lives were saved.

I don't understand those kinds of people. I can sort of understand piracy when there is no demo, because PC specs aren't exactly clear cut when it comes to compatibility. But people tend to go too far, you can't blame people for wanting the internet policed.

I already promised my vote to Steven Colbert. But I think he could use a Secretary of Video Games and Cock Dismemberment.

So if Pirated and bought by the same person.. Still theft? Or did you steal one copy, that is now somewhat useless? Anyway, 2D boy now have a name for themselves and did get in quite a bit of money, especially on handhelds.

SoDaRa:
I have to say I loved World of Goo so much, that even though I had already bought it for Wii, I bought it one Steam just to have it on my laptop, and when they make an Android version, I'll probably buy that too.

I'm about to blow your mind.

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.twodboy.worldofgoofull

IlikeLolis:
If anyone hasn't said it yet, I'll say it now and agree with them;

Anyone feel like Playstation Plus is the same as Piracy?

"I get games for free that others have to pay for."

Sounds like Piracy to me, it's only ok because Sony gets a small fee from the tarts that subscribe to it.

I would assume most pirate sites don't even ask you for money to do the same thing.

But you're not getting them for free. You're still paying money. And when you stop paying that money, you don't have the games.

SoDaRa:
I have to say I loved World of Goo so much, that even though I had already bought it for Wii, I bought it one Steam just to have it on my laptop, and when they make an Android version, I'll probably buy that too.

What do you mean with "when they make an Android version"? Either i am living on your future, or you are a little dated; also i don't know why i even bought that one as i don't have an android phone and alredy have all those for PC... but i can't resist giving a small donation to the humble bundle.

MysticToast:
I'm about to blow your mind.

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.twodboy.worldofgoofull

Damn, beat me to it. Still, mah link is better!

Tanakh:

SoDaRa:
I have to say I loved World of Goo so much, that even though I had already bought it for Wii, I bought it one Steam just to have it on my laptop, and when they make an Android version, I'll probably buy that too.

What do you mean with "when they make an Android version"? Either i am living on your future, or you are a little dated; also i don't know why i even bought that one as i don't have an android phone and alredy have all those for PC... but i can't resist giving a small donation to the humble bundle.

MysticToast:
I'm about to blow your mind.

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.twodboy.worldofgoofull

Damn, beat me to it. Still, mah link is better!

You got me there. You turned it into words and everything :D

Isn't calling them a "c**t" easier to say?

SoDaRa:
I have to say I loved World of Goo so much, that even though I had already bought it for Wii, I bought it one Steam just to have it on my laptop, and when they make an Android version, I'll probably buy that too.

There is an android version

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.twodboy.worldofgoofull

Ta-da!

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?

This is what I am talking about, This is the exact argument I think is a load of bull. Whether or not it is a physical object or not you are still using a product without paying for it. People like to argue the meaning of the word theft so they can justify their actions. Whether it is physically taking an item or just using a service without paying for it, it is still theft.

Raesvelg:

dbenoy:

I agree! It's so annoying!

I just want to shake these jerks and say "It's not 'piracy' it's copyright infringement! Piracy is a moral abomination, copying things is wonderful and natural!"

I feel your pain.

Unless, of course, the person who created the content in the first place hasn't given you permission to copy it.

At which point, copying things is not wonderful, nor natural, but rather analogous to, y'know, theft.

There are those, of course, who argue that the concept of intellectual property itself is inherently bad. These people are, for lack of a better word, innocents.

Because there are a great many things in this world that would not exist without intellectual property laws. Things like Mass Effect.

And I like Mass Effect. I like a great number of things that simply would not exist if people were not given the ability to have their ideas and intellectual labors protected by law.

This is not some post-capitalist Marxist utopia in which vast bands of self-motivated people gather together for large collective projects since all of their material needs are taken care of. Here in the real world, large projects require large investments, investments which entail a great deal of capital. People, after all, need to get paid.

There are those who like to crow about the Humble Indie Bundles, and use them as an example of a new model of intellectual property. Except that the Humble Indie Bundles, all told, have made something like $11 million dollars. Which is something like 20% of the development budget of the average AAA title.

Or significantly less in some cases.

So sure, Louis C.K. can put out a show for $5, and the HIB guys can throw things up on a pay-what-you-want scheme, but in these cases we're talking about production costs measures in the tens of thousands of dollars, not tens of millions.

If we assume that the more outrageous budget figures for The Old Republic are true, for example, EA would have to sell 100 million copies at $5 each in order to just break even.

So copyright laws definitely exist for a reason, and the people who decry their existence, particularly over something so incredible trivial as entertainment media, come off, to me, like squalling children complaining that their allowance isn't big enough. It's a movie. You don't have to watch it. It's a game. You don't have to play it. And in all cases, far more importantly, you don't have the right to watch it, any more than I have the right to go into your home and make a copy of your diary, so that I can distribute it to whoever I want.

I could almost accept the argument that the world would be a better place without IP laws when it comes to patent law, given the sheer preponderance of life-altering technologies and pharmaceuticals that could probably be made available more cheaply without it, except that the cold, hard truth of the matter is that most of those things wouldn't exist without it. And the people whose lives might have been saved would have died anyway, along with all the people whose lives were saved.

It's good to see someone putting some thought into their pro-copyright position rather than just saying 'theft is theft!' or some other vacuous statement.

Even speaking as a strong abolitionist of "intellectual property", I can still say I see where you're coming from, and I don't think you'll find much disagreement here if what you're saying is that things will be different in a post-copyright world.

Naturally, some business models will become more challenging. In fact, that's the problem with copyright. The enforcement of copyright law protects an obsolete business model through the use of unprovoked force against peaceful people.

It's a protectionist scheme that perpetuates bloated dinosaurs; a pool of dinosaurs from which you can cherry pick one or two masterpieces like Mass Effect to use as justification for the systemic tyranny of copyright. But, to which I could respond with just as many masterpieces that came about without it, and still many more brilliant artists whose dreams were hampered or sometimes crushed by fears of litigation from copyright law.

Strangely you've cited The Old Republic as an example of a game that wouldn't exist without copyright, when it's the precise opposite. It's an example of a massive AAA game which uses a copyright-free business model.

Through the use of a 'service model' instead of a 'product model', they've completely removed the incentive to 'pirate' their game. What good would it be to copy today's version of the client software of an ever-changing MMO without getting a user account?

In fact, that project was obstructed by copyright, not encouraged by it! Think of all the Star Wars royalties. If there was no licensing for the Star Wars franchise, imagine how many competing Star Wars games we would have today! And each one would be clawing for the opportunity to please their customer with a better experience, without having any need or desire to employ copyright enforcement to sustain their business.

Although, what would I know? I'm just a child who wants more allowance.

I can't disagree. This is the Jimquisition after all.

I don't buy or pirate indie bundles however. I waste enough time as it is, something like that seems like what I'd want if I knew beforehand I was going to be shipwrecked on an island for 20 years.

I hope the indies keep going though. That luminescent glory of a semi-big budget game flying under the radar while still being amazing like Silent Hill 1 is my dream-come-true situation for all indie developers.

incal11:

theultimateend:
As for the video, I do agree those people are assholes. WoG was quite fun, bought it twice. Since it wasn't cross platform :P.

If you're proud to pay for what you like so are others. Many would not get it if they did not got it for free first. I showed you proof of that before, it works for AAAs and indie games the exact same way.
Sad to say but not all indies are worth the price they ask for. The ones who asked for those who liked their games to donate always profited from this, actually. There are some who really are a bit stingy, but I don't hate them because at least they open up their horizons. They do not pay for everything they liked, but they are still pat of a trend that benefits creators.

So what is it that I missed and which keeps you unconvinced so ?

I wouldn't say pride is the correct word.

I had the money and I invested it.

There is nothing to say the people who pirated would have bought it otherwise, however it is likely mighty disheartening to put out a project and have folks seemingly spit in your face. It's more an emotional block than anything.

World of Goo has been around the 5 dollar mark many times in the past, I spent about 10 total between both purchases.

As for indie games being worth it universally, didn't say that, nor would I agree that's the case, Hinterlands was pretty terrible personally. I've gotten most humble bundles and only liked about 1 game on them.

So in short, its more the message sent. As I've said before, file sharing is an emotional crime, and that's why it gets an emotional response. Doing it to large companies tends to not be all that surprising or alarming because of the practices they've used to get to where they are (or to stay there) but when 1 guy is working out of a basement and see's 90% of the people playing his game for extended periods of time won't buy it, it is probably deadening.

For WoG it wasn't that folks pirated it, disliked it, and moved on, the vast majority of the folks he was talking about were sending in new highscores daily for weeks.

But to each their own.

I usually look at indie developers based on their reaction. If a developer sees piracy happening and shrugs it off, its not a big deal, but if they are upset (but otherwise humble about it) I feel bad for them. This is one of those cases.

An interesting angle, if you so prefer, would be to look at the modern practice of charging people for cheat codes.

This is something that was completely free about 5 years ago and now most games are charging as much as 32 dollars (if we look at Iphone games) for money cheats.

It raises the question of if using money cheats on these games is depriving the developer of money, would you have bought the money if you couldn't cheat it in? For me 100% of the time the answer is no.

Anywho, I was fond of World of Goo, and I'm pretty sure if you go back through my posts you'll find that I defended that they didn't lose money from the piracy.

Fairly sure I've always thought it was a jerk thing to do though. But being a jerk and being a criminal or a thief are wildly different things.

Kinda like doing drugs, I don't think doing drugs is wrong, but I certainly think it is foolish. But you'll never see me telling people that they are living life wrong by doing so, they are just as silly in my mind as a skateboarder. If someone wants to endanger themselves and only themselves that's 100% fine with me, part of their options as a free living being.

Edit #30: In closing, if someone acquired and liked it but wouldn't pay for it I would think the best thing they could do is send an email to the developers giving them commendations on making it and explaining in a few words why they won't buy it.

I know once I'm published if folks en masse don't pay but download it I'd love to know if they liked it at least. Cause otherwise I'm getting nothing but neutral or negative feedback.

Course I've always been the guy who would prefer a hand written card on Christmas than a random gift.

Lono Shrugged:

theultimateend:
SNIP

On the toolbar in Premiere and After Effects. EDIT-PREFERENCES-AUTOSAVE.

You can adjust how often, where and how many times it saves.

Saved my ass many times.

EDIT: I am kinda surprised that they never twigged the Auto-save function considering it's normally saved with project files, plus you need to manually specify it when you are setting up your project folders. Your media management must be in shambles.

Book me a flight to America and I will wrangle that media for you like a motherfucking digital cowboy.

I'll have to check when I get home. Keep in mind I use Adobe Photoshop and not either of those programs.

Basically I googled it after asking you and all the Adobe Support Forum responses had just people saying "Yeah I wish this was a thing."

Thanks for the information though.

Personally, I'm a bit shocked pirates don't insist what they're doing is stealing. Unless I'm mistaken, petty theft cares a MUCH light sentence than copyright infringement.

Oh well. I don't pirate either way. So I get to sit up on my throne and judge all of you. Isn't it grand? (Facetious tone implied)

dbenoy:

Naturally, some business models will become more challenging. In fact, that's the problem with copyright. The enforcement of copyright law protects an obsolete business model through the use of unprovoked force against peaceful people.

Obsolete according to whom?

Again, these products would not exist without copyright law. Period. There would be insufficient incentive to see to their creation, and there's little way one can argue against that.

The business model, therefor, is obviously not obsolete, but rather one that a certain portion of the populace finds... inconvenient.

For that matter, I can take the last sentence and modify it slightly to say this:

The enforcement of property law protects an obsolete business model through the use of unprovoked force against peaceful people.

After all, everything should be free, right? I mean, I should just be allowed to walk into your house, and take your things, because everything should be free! If everything was free, I could do whatever I wanted to do!

This, incidentally, is why many people equate copyright infringement with theft. Because, in effect, that's what it is. Only instead of stealing, say, my television, you'd be stealing my time.

If I make the choice to give away the fruits of my labors, or charge relatively little for them in hopes of making quite a few sales regardless (the Louis CK/Steam/self-published e-book model), that should be my choice.

Which is the other thing you'd be taking from me.

Choice.

dbenoy:

It's a protectionist scheme that perpetuates bloated dinosaurs. A pool of dinosaurs from which you can cherry pick one or two masterpieces like Mass Effect to use as justification for the systemic tyranny of copyright, but to which I could respond with just as many masterpieces that came about without it, and many more brilliant artists whose dreams were hampered or sometimes crushed by fears of litigation from copyright law.

You can deem them "bloated dinosaurs", but a small, low-budget development team is not somehow inherently morally superior to a large, well-funded development team. And I can pick from more than simply games when it comes to the justification of copyright law, and frankly if there were ever a brilliant artist whose dreams were crushed by litigation in that regard, perhaps they should have been working on original material.

Functionally every Hollywood production for the past century, for example, has relied on copyright law to be sufficiently profitable to justify its existence, and there's relatively little evidence that that will change. Production values, even for relatively inexpensive films, are such that a copyright-free business value would, in fact, destroy that model.

And that model, such as it is, doesn't prevent the "little guy" from making his games, or his movies, or his books, or his whatever. In fact, it protects him, guaranteeing him some measure of income from his labors at the end of the development process, if that is what he desires.

dbenoy:

Strangely you've cited The Old Republic as an example of a game that wouldn't exist without copyright, when it's the precise opposite. It's an example of a massive AAA game which uses a copyright-free business model.

But it's not.

Not remotely.

TOR is, in fact, utterly dependent on copyright law in a variety of ways. Without it, for one, anyone who got their hands on the code could simply set up a competing service, without having to pay the investment costs of actually creating the game in the first place.

It's been done before for MMOs, repeatedly in fact, and only the fact that it's illegal has prevented it from becoming substantially more widespread.

Yes, a service-based business model is arguably less-dependent on copyright law than a product-based one, but in reality the two are often hopelessly intertwined. The service often is the product, and without protection, it becomes functionally worthless if it is easily replicated.

dbenoy:

In fact, that project was hampered by copyright, not encouraged by it! If there was no licensing for the Star Wars franchise, imagine how many competing star wars games we would have today, each clawing for the opportunity to please their customer better, without having to employ a single copyright enforcement action.

And imagine how much artistic potential would be frittered away, how much original material would be lost, when generations of fanboys squandered their efforts retreading the same tired ground of someone else's work.

See, the creative arguments against copyright law work just as well for it, in many instances.

By forcing creators to come up with new ideas, we increase the breadth of content available to everyone.

so we should fuck over producers who spend millions of dollars to help someone produce their dream game, but anyone who fucks over an indie developer who may have spent less than $100 on their game is a child molester.

How about we remove this stupid pointless double standard, and just view all pirates as terrible people. When you steal from a publisher they lose money and people get laid off. Believe it or not, but a publisher keeps far more people employed then an indie company, but fuck those guys right, they should just starve.

Gamers please stop with this silly attitude of the indie is always the virtuous white knight, and the publishers are evil blood sucking demons.

I'd write you in, but you have to be born in the U.S. to be eligible for the presidency, so I'll stick with Ron Paul. Unless the British accent is all a gag, then we are on.

I played the demo of World of Goo and chose not to play further. But say I really wanted to, there is still a reason beyond saving $.01 that I still might play a pirated copy, and that is concerns around providing any sort of financial information online.

Amazon has remained problem free, but even PayPal has been an issue a couple of times, the latest ending up with my Apple iPhone account being frozen, and my unable to update or use apps that I have bought. Fortunately, there weren't many. At this point I wish I could delete my PayPal account. My PayPal account is frozen too, at least.

After that, it all gets into a worrisome zone, where I do sometimes give credit card information online, but with a lot of caution and worry, with everybody and their dog getting hacked nowadays.

double post.

Well I'd be all for Jim for president really

yundex:
Piracy = pedophilia? Wow, being one of the 0.1% of the people on this website with a little girl, go fuck yourself jim.

On the other hand 99% of this website users ARE little boys and girls. If they can take a joke and not be offended being the targets of pedophiles, I would assume an adult would be able to be more sensible.

You do realize the thought process was more or less "i want to find the WORST kind of people there are, humm, let's go with pedophiles". What is offensive about that?

Tanakh:

yundex:
Piracy = pedophilia? Wow, being one of the 0.1% of the people on this website with a little girl, go fuck yourself jim.

On the other hand 99% of this website users ARE little boys and girls. If they can take a joke and not be offended being the targets of pedophiles, I would assume an adult would be able to be more sensible.

You do realize the thought process was more or less "i want to find the WORST kind of people there are, humm, let's go with pedophiles". What is offensive about that?

I agree with this guy. I saw that joke as.... well, a joke. Nothing more. And the way Jim used it, the point got across to me. Why do people take things so seriously?

yundex:
Piracy = pedophilia? Wow, being one of the 0.1% of the people on this website with a little girl, go fuck yourself jim. I've agreed with almost every one of you're videos in the past but then you drop this shit. If there is any reason not to pay for indie games, it's you. Despicable pricks like you make Ubisoft look like saints.

I'm pretty sure that's hyperbole. It's not intended to be serious.

RobfromtheGulag:
I can't disagree. This is the Jimquisition after all.

glad to see you've got the rules down pat =D

@Raesvelg

To the contrary, it's because I'm such a strong believer in property rights that I must oppose copyrights. They cannot coexist.

I do agree that everything should be free, as in freedom. If a business cannot survive without a protectionist monopoly scheme such as IP, then it ought not survive; big or small.

Your contentions seem to center around trying to prove that some treasured pieces of art would not exist without copyright; that's clearly true. It's similarly true that there are treasured pieces of art that failed to come into existence because of the chilling effects of copyright.

The creative process will be altered in a post-copyright world. Of that there is no doubt. There's no need to try to convince me or any other copyright abolitionist that our position would result in radical changes. We know.

However, It makes me uncomfortable to see someone so casually dismissing the creative destruction of copyright as it exists today with just 'yeah well maybe they should have been more original' :( Why is your vision of how an artist should produce his works so worthy of receiving the force of law? Should Walt Disney have been sued into oblivion when he created a movie inspired by Alice in Wonderland, or Tarzan? Under today's copyright law, Disney would be long dead before those works became public domain. Should the choice to re-envision those tales have been stripped from him?

The real issue, which transcends our personal tastes in what makes particular art good or bad, is whether it's right to steal (Actual theft, not figurative) people's money with IP litigation, for the crime of trying to duplicate the ideas and expressions that surround us.

P.S. I've enjoyed reading your posts, but they're a bit verbose. Perhaps you could just respond with the specific points you'd most like to discuss?

Tanakh:

yundex:
Piracy = pedophilia? Wow, being one of the 0.1% of the people on this website with a little girl, go fuck yourself jim.

On the other hand 99% of this website users ARE little boys and girls. If they can take a joke and not be offended being the targets of pedophiles, I would assume an adult would be able to be more sensible.

You do realize the thought process was more or less "i want to find the WORST kind of people there are, humm, let's go with pedophiles". What is offensive about that?

I may be offended, but I think he should be able to say whatever he wants and I should be able to do the same. Obviously, I can't. Saying something like that even as a hyperbole ruins what little credibility he had. All I can do is voice said anger and prevent ad revenue, that's good enough for me.

as many have stated, people always find a way to pirate a game. doesnt matter if its cheap or not. sure, indie developers dont have much money and put a lot of effort in to it, but so do big once as well.
im not saying you are wrong, i do agree though, but you sounded more like we should give money to the indies but not the bigger companies.

Raesvelg:

dbenoy:

Strangely you've cited The Old Republic as an example of a game that wouldn't exist without copyright, when it's the precise opposite. It's an example of a massive AAA game which uses a copyright-free business model.

But it's not.

Not remotely.

TOR is, in fact, utterly dependent on copyright law in a variety of ways. Without it, for one, anyone who got their hands on the code could simply set up a competing service, without having to pay the investment costs of actually creating the game in the first place.

It's been done before for MMOs, repeatedly in fact, and only the fact that it's illegal has prevented it from becoming substantially more widespread.

Yes, a service-based business model is arguably less-dependent on copyright law than a product-based one, but in reality the two are often hopelessly intertwined. The service often is the product, and without protection, it becomes functionally worthless if it is easily replicated.

"Not remotely?"

I think you may be decoupling the upside and the downside of copyright abolition in this case. TOR need not have created their entire project from scratch in a post-copyright world; just enough to make it new and exciting and draw customers. Certainly that, and the lack of royalties, offsets whatever business would be lost to competition.

Do you contend that the only reason WoW continues to exist is because they sued third party servers out of existence?

This actually forks into separate issues as well.

First, it's an extreme technical challenge to clone a game server with access only to a client, and nearly impossible to keep up to date with a server that has frequent content releases.

Second, this isn't actually a violation of copyright as it's strictly defined. It's a bizarre artifact of US common law that probably isn't binding anywhere except in the US. Under this backward logic, you're violating a web browser's copyright by creating a competing web site.

There have been cases like this in the past, for example, the MPAA trying to sue the VCR out of existence, and the RIAA trying to sue DAT and mp3 out of existence. Thankfully the courts used to have some semblance of rationality.

Metalrocks:
as many have stated, people always find a way to pirate a game. doesnt matter if its cheap or not. sure, indie developers dont have much money and put a lot of effort in to it, but so do big once as well.
im not saying you are wrong, i do agree though, but you sounded more like we should give money to the indies but not the bigger companies.

Yes. Copyright is futile. Regardless of the outcome of any debates here, companies will either stop relying on copyright, or die.

More laws only serve to draw out the inevitable and make it more painful.

I find it hard to agree that Copyright Infringement is not a form of theft. The theft of a game inherently diminishes the value of what was worked on. IE: if a game had a pool worth $10, and only 2 people paid $1, that's $2 while everyone else either didn't buy it (as is their choice), or stole a portion of that value by still being able to enjoy the game without paying into it.

Sure, I get more angry when people pirate indie games, but I still can't agree that the whole of it is "not theft" when theft could very well include the loss of value on a product.

Jim Sterling:
When Piracy Becomes Theft

Piracy isn't theft, right? It's copyright infringement, yes? These statements aren't wrong, but they're not always correct. Not when we talk about a certain type of piracy that is most certainly theft, and deserves all the indignity that such a term implies. The just and fair Jim Sterling shall share the wisdom of his judgement.

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I don't entirely agree with you Jim. I agree piracy is theft, but I think it wholly so. In all my schooling and dealings with moral standards, I was always given the impression that theft/stealing is an act of taking something without paying for it and on top of that, taking something that doesn't belong you. I was never given any qualifiers that said anything about if there are infinite supplies "nothing" is lost. Even then it wouldn't matter, because I would still see it as theft, because pure and simple I believe taking without paying is theft, because people taking something that doesn't belong to them is theft. The loss of an item doesn't even come into the picture.

Really, if you are going to say one form of piracy is theft, then they both are because they are the same thing. The only difference you seem to be pointing out is in the relation of big company and little company, and that piracy against the big company is okay because they are being jerks or doing something you don't like albeit in both cases legally.

Law as well as moral standards are things that should be dealt with on an equal level. We can't be having the quandary of acts that are the same being treated differently just because two parties wronged against are different.

What do you find to be "dickish" that makes it okay to take stuff for free from the big companies?

Example:
First, you have a person that accidentally bumps into you and politely apologizes and then walks off, then you turn and proceed to beat the person's face to a pulp. The police come and arrest you and then charge you with battery.

Second, you have a person that accidentally bumps into you, but then that person proceeds to insult you saying you are some kind of blind dunce(putting it mildly) and then walks off, then you turn and proceed to beat the person's face to pulp. The police come and arrest you and then charge you with battery.

The first person was kind and gentle and nice enough to admit it was his fault. The second person was a jerk and even though it was his fault, he blames you for him bumping into you. In both cases, you get charged equally because you beat the person up. It doesn't matter if the second guy was being a dick and you don't like somebody acting in such a way towards you; it is wrong to just haul off and beat somebody up.

What I'm getting at is that it is the same when considering the indie companies and the big companies. The indie company is the nice and polite guy; he does nothing to you and treats you with respect and even gives his games to you at an insane discount and sometimes even free. The big company is the jerk; he calls you names by making a generalization that all gamers are "pirates" even if you aren't one. He charges large amounts of money for his product even though not everybody can afford such high prices and even though a vast majority want the product. He even "punishes" you for buying it cheaper/used, by locking out content if the game is bought by such a means and charges you what he deems as a fair price for the locked out content. He even limits the times you can use the product, only allowing five installations of the game. Lastly, he even requires you to download a program that, for all intent and purpose, is spyware that looks at all your personal information.

The problem is that all the things that that big company is doing is legal. They have the right to handle and distribute their product as they see fit, as long as it is legal. The gamers don't have to do business with the company. The gamers don't deserve to use the company's product. If the gamers don't like that they have to agree to being spied upon to be able to use the product, the gamers can say no and not purchase the game.

Nothing in what the big companies do gives the consumers the right to take stuff from them for free. It is all a matter of freedom in running a company and also being dually compensated for what they produce and what they determine is a fair price. If the consumers don't think the price is fair, they don't have to buy it. They can take a stance to not give the company money or buy a game they want that is similar and cheaper. The same goes for other everyday things, if I don't like the price of bread in one store or the price of a certain brand, I go to a different store or I buy a different brand. If I acted like the people that try to justify pirating, in the bread situation, I would end up shoplifting the bread.

If I ran a company and I had people that didn't agree with how I handled my product and complained about how high prices were and then stole from me, "stole" being taking without paying and experiencing the product without permission, then I would do just as the big companies are doing and seek full legal action or at least do something with my product to stop them.

So which is it Jim? Is piracy theft or not? It can't be both, since the acts are the same and only qualified because one company is nice and small, and one company is big and a jerk. It doesn't matter which one people steal from, it is the same act, jerk or no jerk.

Freyar:
I find it hard to agree that Copyright Infringement is not a form of theft.

Speaking as one of those 'unauthorized copying is not theft' people, then calling it a "form of theft" isn't so bad, it's more like a failure to pay your obligations, but that's only if you accept the legitimacy of copyrights.

If copyrights are invalid (which they are) then you can't call it a failure to pay your obligations, or theft, or anything like that.

That's why it's frustrating when people say 'Unauthorized copying is wrong because it's stealing.' It's only stealing if unauthorized copying is wrong, making that statement a tautology.

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