Jimquisition: When Piracy Becomes Theft

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I don't even understand why piracy of indi games still exists, when you have steam where you can download like 50 games for free anyway and the average indi title is anywhere between 1 and 10 dollars piracy just seems like a waste of time and effort, just to be an asshole.

LazyAza:
I don't even understand why piracy of indi games still exists, when you have steam where you can download like 50 games for free anyway and the average indi title is anywhere between 1 and 10 dollars piracy just seems like a waste of time and effort, just to be an asshole.

Because a lot of people are selfish and don't think about the consequences of their actions. They want to play a game they don't give a toss about rewarding the people who made it.

LazyAza:
I don't even understand why piracy of indi games still exists, when you have steam where you can download like 50 games for free anyway and the average indi title is anywhere between 1 and 10 dollars piracy just seems like a waste of time and effort, just to be an asshole.

I can tell you why I do it.

With my appetite for games, it would be too expensive to buy all the indie games I want to try, so I only buy the ones I like. I decide which games I like after I've played the game completely (or completely enough to decide that they won't surprise me with a deal-breaker near the end)

Android/iOS games, interestingly, cater to me in this regard. They release one full and complete version of their game with ads, and another without ads, so I do the exact same thing with those than I do with other indie games, only that time it's "legitimate".

The Human Torch:

FelixG:
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?

Piracy is theft, simply because you take a game/video/cd without paying for it. You are using the service that they provided and you are not paying for it. I don't care how you spin it, you are pirating.
You are a pedophile burglar, if you pirate games.

Thanks for that term Jim, I am going to be using it a lot.

I am not the one that said that, you may wish to get your quotes right next time

Hmmm, maybe I missed it, but why the intro change? The pessimist in me wonders if perhaps Jim got asked to remove it after the last couple Jimquisition installments which were hardly pro-industry.

THAT said, I would point out onw flaw with Jim's "Logic" here, that is to ask exactly where does one draw the line between a "humble indie developer" and one who is not. I say this because there is an increasing trend for giant corperate monsters to gobble up indie studios, orhave people knock off their stuff and/or create stuff in sub-companies that pretends to be indie for purposes of sales. A lot of issues that tend to come to the surface when people ask "is indie a genere?" since there are degrees of independance within it, and of course as any fanboy can tell you, a lot of these studios inevitably sell out.

For example if one was to ask about say Popcap, Zynga, and Spiderweb, most people would agree Spiderweb is indie, Zynga is a horrible corperate monster, and then argue about Popcap given it's actual size, quality of games, where it started, and who it's allied with.

I'm not exactly pro-pirate so I have no vested interest, just an academic point that I think Jim needs to go into for his rant. If he's going to argue something like this, I think he needs to draw the line for his arguement to have any real weight, since he's argueing in a very general format by giving examples, but no hard line.

That said, on a totally unrelated note my sole problem with the Humble Indie Bundle is that I bought a couple of them, but wound up losing the codes/E-mail for them. It would be nice if they came up with a somewhat better system. But then again it's been a while since I've tried to re-access those games. Last time was when I was thinking about tinkering with Aquaria and found out I had no idea how to get back to my copy since I never thought ahead to putting them on STEAM or anything which I guess you can do.

dbenoy:

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?

Ah, but Disney would certainly have had the option to license those works from the copyright holder, if the works had not already gone into the public domain. If he'd truly been motivated to produce his own vision of those works, he would have been able to.

Without stealing anything, without getting sued by anyone. Indeed, quite possibly without paying any significant amount of money up front, depending on the property in question.

As for copyright duration, I can't say that it particularly bothers me. Creative endeavors are not like life-saving medicines; no one is going to die because they can't write a Terminator slash fic.

dbenoy:
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.

Chicken/egg problem. Here you argue that TOR would not have had to develop an entirely new game, simply adapt existing software, which had to have come from somewhere. Given the scope of the project, the problem remains.

Remember, hundreds of millions of dollars. This is the scale the entertainment industry operates on today, and it's a scale made possible by the laws currently in existence.

dbenoy:

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.

Not as hard, however, as developing the game from scratch. If I can, let's say, make a copy of your game server for 10% of the development costs that you expended in creating it (and the rest of the game) in the first place, with the same number of developers and responsiveness in server updates, I can undercut your subscription fees, or your item fees in a "free" MMO model, with relative ease.

There's no need to "keep up", since I'm not copying you after the initial act, but rather taking your work and using it for myself.

Here, you could argue that increased competition would be good for the customer. The problem is that, with the inherent chilling effect that would occur without any sort of IP protection, there would be no game of that scope to begin with. There'd be no reliable way to recoup the initial investment.

What you wind up with is a great deal of incentive to take and adapt the work of others, but very little incentive to create the initial work to begin with, particularly if doing so is a significant investment of time and/or capital.

While there would be less direct "theft" in media such as film and print (re-editing a film to a particular vision having been met with less-than-resounding applause from man quarters lately, and in print the name of the author is typically what sells a book, rather than the universe in which it is set), in the gaming medium, I expect that the sort of AAA games we enjoy today would cease to exist very rapidly.

As for the rest...

Yes, clearly things in a post-copyright world would be different. What I suspect we will not agree on, however, is that things would be better. I know quite a few professional authors, for example, many of whom probably would not be able to make a living without some measure of IP protection. You may trust that people would express their appreciation of a given author's work with financial recompense; I am substantially less confident.

Without protection, you may see a broader pool of creation, but it would almost undoubtedly be a substantially shallower pool, where the individual creators, instead of creating professionally, did so in their spare time. Rather than a given author writing a book a year, he might do so once every five.

At which point he would be George R. R. Martin, and I would hate him forever.

Humor aside, I suspect we would see vastly fewer actors, authors, and artists performing at anything over an amateur level of proficiency in a world without copyright.

GeorgW:

FelixG:

GeorgW:
Love the new intro/outro.
I've been saying it since the first video, those bastards that pirated HiB deserve whatever they get. It's mind-boggling how cheap/evil they are.

What if I have 20 friends, and I like 5 of those friends more of the others, so I buy 15 $.01 bundles (and always make sure it goes to humble bundle) and 5 $20 bundles? I would love for them to add that option, it makes me feel so bad every time I see that "Need money for food" picture >.<
But yeah, you're right, don't pay $.01, they deserve more.

No no no, that is the WORST thing you could do, if you wanted to do it properly you would buy one bundle for $100.15 and give out the download links to your friends.

Each time you push that .01 "donation" you are actively COSTING the humble folks money, because Paypal charges more than that for the transactions

What if you don't use paypal?
Also, isn't giving out the code pretty much piracy?

All of those services charge money to transfer funds around, that is how they make money and can afford to offer the service.

And its not piracy at all if you pay extra with plans to give out copies, say paying 20 dollars for one personal copy but paying 40 for 2 or 60 for three or 1,840 for 92 of em, you are just making it so THEY get more money, as the end effect would be that there would be more money in their pocket if you clicked 1840 dollars once and sent out 92 codes to your friends that you bought it for, than if you clicked 20 dollars 92 times

(assuming 5 cent transfer rate which is what I was charged between friends) In one the case of one click they end up with about 1838.95 dollars where the 92 clicks they end up with 1835.40 dollars, doesnt seem like much, but when you are dealing with a charity every penny can help

While I applaud the sentiment Jim... there's just 1 problem.

You can't decide if the same act of piracy is right or wrong, based on who you're ripping off.

You can take candy from a baby, you can take candy from the schoolyard bully, either scenario still puts YOU in the wrong. Even if one is a little less severe morally.

But I'm glad to see Jim hasn't overreacted to the SOPA scare and can still be objectional to a degree on something like piracy.

LazyAza:
I don't even understand why piracy of indi games still exists, when you have steam where you can download like 50 games for free anyway and the average indi title is anywhere between 1 and 10 dollars piracy just seems like a waste of time and effort, just to be an asshole.

How are they "indie" games if they are being sold by a big publisher.

UltraPic:
How are they "indie" games if they are being sold by a big publisher.

Steam isn't an publisher, it's a distribution service. Your statement is effectively "How is Game Y an indie game when it's sold by GameStop?" You see the dissonance there?

One point I'm sad Jim didn't address was the effects resulting from stories similar the World of Goo 90% piracy rate fiasco. When a major publisher see's a cheap, DRM-free indie game have a 90% piracy rate... well, let's look at it from a cost-benefit analysis point of view...

You're part of the top brass a major game publisher, and you've got a hot title coming down the pipeline. You have to decide whether or not you want to implement a DRM scheme

-Make the game DRM free.
Oh, the game will sell alright, but you've given the pirates a free pass to get the game for nothing, which is going to compromise your sales*. You probably won't suffer a 90% piracy rate, but anything over 25% is going to really eat into your sales numbers.

-Load that thing with the HARDEST DRM KNOWN TO MAN
You're going to piss off some people. They'll cry fowl on message boards, and try to organize boycotts. It'll affect your sale a little. Not even a full 1%, at most.

Most of the companies that produce triple-A titles are publicly traded companies, where the top executives are required to make decisions that will maximize profits. This means maximizing sales, which means choosing the course that will result in the fewest lost sales, which means they tend to go with the DRM option.

So... Jonathan Holmes... Is this pedophilia or not?

I've never heard of any of those games believe it or not.
As far as the pedoburgs...The only excuse I could think for their behavior would be that they're like me in the sense that they dont use paypal/dont have credit cards and only use cold hard cash for transactions.
But I can understand where Jim is coming from with his hatred, its quite shitty what they're doing.

So Jim, let's discuss this new slicked-back hairdo.

It looks great. I think you should keep it.

Hey Jim can I make you a better intro for free. This new one offends me a little bit.

The bar has been raised for Obama, he needs to do something more awesome than castrating people with a wooden chainsword replica if he wants my vote. Otherwise Jim Sterling gets my vote and the vote of everyone I can convince to vote for him.

It's theft, it will always be theft and those that say it's something less are enablers.

Raesvelg:
Ah, but Disney would certainly have had the option to license those works from the copyright holder, if the works had not already gone into the public domain. If he'd truly been motivated to produce his own vision of those works, he would have been able to.

This kind of licensing burden is what I mean when I say that creative people's visions are severely hampered, or completely crushed in the case that the copyright holder refuses to license or demands too high a price.

Disney did nothing wrong when he made Alice in Wonderland. The law was right not to punish him then, and it would be right not to punish him today if he were alive to make another amazing film reinterpretation about, say, Harry Potter or Twilight without sending 'protection money' to original authors.

You've said a few times now that perhaps it's not worth worrying about because it's just art and art isn't a life or death thing. That's actually one of my contentions against copyright. Copyright litigation can be a devastating, life destroying experience. At the very least, it will be incredibly expensive and time consuming, and at the worst it can carry jail time or plunge you into financial ruin. Is it really worth doing that to peaceful, harmless human beings just to prevent the latest Twilight movie from being remixed or shared on the internet? It's not like we're talking about life saving drugs, or something.

Mehhhh I won't absolutely dismiss what Jim is saying here but it irks me. If his over-inflated fantasy world with him as world leader existed in reality, and the Sterling rule of law was consistent with the ideology presented in this video, then robbing Wal-Mart or giant Banks would be completely legal, while only tiny local Banks and mom-and-pop stores would be protected from theft. What would obviously happen as a result is that large banks and Wal-Mart wouldn't exist. Meaning that we wouldn't be able to make big loans or buy inexpensive groceries.

Taking it back to video games, if it were completely legal to download games published by EA or Activision with total ease, no one would ever buy them and then EA and Activision would stop existing. Then there'd be no more Call of Duty with million-dollar production values which, no matter how much you hate it, will rob the gaming consumer base of what they want to service your own selfish ideology of 'big, evil nasty corporations!'

Yes, yes, yes, I know, I KNOW: Jim is not advocating radical changes in the law, nor does he have the ability to actually take over the world. Nor'nor is he even completely serious presenting this 'pedophile burglar' nonsense as any sort of moral compass. It's just that... ehhh... it's like saying
"Hey I get pissed off at all these fuckin' Mexicans eating in restaurants so close to me. I mean, it's not wrong what they're doing and it shouldn't be illegal or anything, it just pisses me off."
It's like why should you be spending time spreading messages like that, especially to an internet audience of thousands? It's one normal, everyday guy at a time saying 'perhaps, maybe those people of different physical appearance aren't fully human' that eventually leads to slavery.

"Backing Music: It's off of FFIX"

It's called Rose of May or also known as Beatrix' Theme, also know as Loss of Me (I think Rose of May might be the official title, though). Ever since I heard it for the first time, I knew it was from FFIX...and thus I accepted Jim as our lord and savior.

Nice intro and outro, by the way. And cool chainsaw...blade. Is that from Warhammer?

Hmm...I wonder if my actual-size keyblade would stand a chance...

...No, it wouldn't.

Raesvelg:
Yes, clearly things in a post-copyright world would be different. What I suspect we will not agree on, however, is that things would be better.
...
Without protection, you may see a broader pool of creation, but it would almost undoubtedly be a substantially shallower pool ...

I don't believe that making art better justifies the aggression of copyright, so even if you convinced me that you're right about that, I would still not be able to support it.

However, I've seen some incredible projects flourish wonderfully without employing copyright. Just look at comic strips. They're way better on the internet than they ever were back in the days where they relied on copyright.

I still don't buy the idea that an MMO requires copyright in any way. I find the idea that WoW would lose its subscribers if they loosened their leash on competing servers to be completely absurd :p Nobody wants to be on some lame third party server unless they're cheap as shit and willing to miss out on content updates.

That applies to more than games, as well. Google, for example, is a software writing company, but they host all their software on web servers, rather than selling copies, and it's all advertisement sponsored. Their projects cost insane amounts of money.

Also there are 'patrons' and crowd sourced development. For example, Linux is the most popular operating system in the world (on all computers except personal desktops/laptops). It costs extreme amounts of money to maintain, but it has no problem finding funding because businesses hire coders and have them contribute. In a post-copyright world, (or in fact, even if copyright continues to exist) I predict that we'll see this type of model being used to create blockbuster games. Just as home video editing software became so easy and powerful that everyone could become a film directory and publish themselves, we are likely to see a similar revolution with game development as technology improves.

All piracy is theft, doesn't matter that the legal term refers to an item being 'removed' or whatever. It seems to me people are just justifying there criminal acts. I don't care if the DRM sucks (then don't buy the game), I mean I live in a country where the internet sucks and it's more expensive than bloody fuel so bad DRM is a real problem for me! At the same time you have stinking rich (in contrast to the rest of the world) Americans and Europeans that pirate games because they don't want to pay $60 for a game that can play on their Xbox 360 next to their huge ass flat screen!!!

Think about this, piracy started DRM and now pirates are blaming DRM?!!!!

Now that I think about it, there's specific example of an extremely deep and complex crowd sourced game (TOO deep and complex to be feasibly commissioned for money, probably) that was created without copyright: nethack

Can you imagine the boundless possibilities if EVERY game that ever came out could be used to strengthen crowd sourced games? I can't even conceive of the level of depth that can be achieved by a project with a thousand passionate developers working for twenty years with all of human expression as their source material. More than money can buy today, that's for sure.

oooooooo. New intro

What about non-indie "mainstream" games that do not have the intrusive DRM of today?

Titan Quest could be a prime example. Sure, it had DRM but if you had the official version of the game you wouldn't have noticed that it existed (Apart from "Please put CD into drive").

Or, Demigod for that matter but I'm not entirely sure what DRM that game had.

Gather:
Or, Demigod for that matter but I'm not entirely sure what DRM that game had.

None actually. Stardock and CDProjekt don't put any DRM in their games. Pointing at them is all you really need to do to win a DRM debate. They're both highly successful companies with great games, without a single bit of DRM.

Agayek:

Gather:
Or, Demigod for that matter but I'm not entirely sure what DRM that game had.

None actually. Stardock and CDProjekt don't put any DRM in their games. Pointing at them is all you really need to do to win a DRM debate. They're both highly successful companies with great games, without a single bit of DRM.

Stardock is doubly successful as they also made the main competitor of steam (Impulse) and got Gamestop to buy it off of them for a large deal of money (and got their own games onto Steam in the process!)

In theory I kinda understand that Downloading is easier than paying 1 cent. Because there's less bureaucracy. For young people like me I waste some time just to create an online credit card and pay with it. Even worse if I have to use Paypal or shit like that.

To pirate an Indie Game which doesn't ask much pay from you is pretty low because they worked really hard from scratch in order to make the game a reality while some games just tweak things here and there throwing a '2' next to the title.

I admit, some games are improved and made better like Dead Space 1 coming into Dead Space 2 (may be the same gameplay, but I could tell a lot of work was placed into the 2nd game like the first game). However, Indie Games have to make an idea out of nowhere and establish the game without much support .. or backup money to make it as big as other known gaming companies can do for their games.

Unless the publishers themselves say that you can download it for free like what they did for Katawa Shoujo (which you can download for free, the publishers allow you too) then you shouldn't rip off their games especially since they can't easily just make another. Pirating is wrong, to me... even if you're ripping off a big gaming company's game (even though I can't blame people... some of these methods to just play the game is becoming irritating and expensive) while ripping off small Indie company games is just low period.

shreedder:
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.

You do know it takes a bit more than 100$ to make an indie game, right? 15,000$ would be closer to the mark. It varies, but most indie developers invest a lot of their time and money into making those games, most of them do it for free a lot of the time.

Rationalization:
It's theft, it will always be theft and those that say it's something less are enablers.

It's not theft, it's never been theft and those that say it is are just trying to appeal to emotion to put someone who downloads a few games on the same footing as a mugger.

That is like saying that a kid who reaches through the fence to steal an apple from a huge corporate apple orchard isn't doing anything morally wrong, but the kid who picks one from one of the trees in the neighbor lady's garden is a dirty pedophile-burglar.

It is just based on unfounded stereotypes about how corporations are evil, while individuals are always good.

And it avoids just WHY piracy is controversial. The issue is not whether or not some owners deserves to get ripped off, but whether or not piracy is really causing meaningful harm to anyone at all.

Yes, World of Goo had 90% piracy rate. World of Goo was also a ridiculously hyped indie hit, that made millions of dollars of profit, where that piracy was either the CAUSE of it's success, by spreading the word of mouth, or an after-effect, where some people who didn't particularly care about it just got fed up with hearing about it everywhere, decided to check it out. (Crysis, Skyrim, Modern Warfare, etc, also have unnaturally high pracy ratio).

These kind of people are simply non-consumers. But even if you would assume that each of these are lost sales, just the fact that it could be bought for one cent, would make it exactly THE SAME as the above analogy with a kid and the apple. Or maybe not, an apple is probably a lot more expensive than that.

And no, I'm not "humanizing" pirates even by comparing them to kids. In fact, many of these pirates ARE kids, who simply don't have any paypal account to pay even one cent for the game, or adults who are just as ignorant about the Internet and ddeveloper revenues and copyright as a kid. They are a niche at the periphery of the industry. Treating them like a dangerous force that is trying to destroy us, is like demonizing that apple-stealing kid as an immoral person whose ways will destroy the apple industry.

yundex:

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.

You can say what you like. Just as people can then criticise what you've said, it being a public forum and all that.

Putting aside all the semantical arguments about the issue, whether or not it's called copyright infrigment or theft, there is one inescapable fact about the issue. That is this; in most nations of the world it's illegal. That's all anyone should take away from it. Illegal. As in if caught doing so you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Period. Full stop. End of story.

It does not matter how we, as individuals, decide to dress up the issue or even what name we call it. What matters is the laws regarding these actions are specific and speak to the illegal nature of the actions as well as the consequences thereof.

There is no moral high ground nor justification for it. Games, and the like, are wants not needs. In some cases I can understand why certain people do pirate games. I can even empathize with those reasons. That, however, does not make the action any less illegal.

Saying things like copyright laws are evil and should be abolished are, imo, a completely specious and spurious argument. They hold no water. For very much the same reasons why communism failed in such a massive way. Everything belonging to everyone is a noble ideal and goal but just doesn't work. It's predicated on everything and everyone having the same intrinsic value which, sadly, is not true and more the likely won't ever be.

electric method:
There is no moral high ground nor justification for it. Games, and the like, are wants not needs. In some cases I can understand why certain people do pirate games. I can even empathize with those reasons. That, however, does not make the action any less illegal.

Morality =/= legaility.

You know what else is illegal in most nations of the world? Free speech. At least if you also count all african, middle-eastern, and east-asian countries as "nations", then there are a lot more chances for you getting prosecuted for saying bad things about the government, than for downloading a game.

To mix together what is moral with what is legally allowed, is just an appeal to authority.

electric method:

Saying things like copyright laws are evil and should be abolished are, imo, a completely specious and spurious argument. They hold no water. For very much the same reasons why communism failed in such a massive way. Everything belonging to everyone is a noble ideal and goal but just doesn't work. It's predicated on everything and everyone having the same intrinsic value which, sadly, is not true and more the likely won't ever be.

I'm not some information-freedom fighter who thinks that all media content should be automatically public property, but in the specific issue of piracy, as in downloading personal copies from the Internet, the idea of legalization is a lot more grounded in reality than the attempts at stopping the Internet from doing what it inherently does, that is making free copies of everything.

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