Jimquisition: When Piracy Becomes Theft

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electric method:
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.

While I mostly agree with you, there is one aspect of your argument I must protest. Just because something is illegal does not make it immoral, or vice versa. Legality has absolutely nothing to do with morality.

Whatever government you care to name is fully capable of declaring rape to be legal. That won't make it any less of an abhorrent and immoral act. Holding up the legality of an act in a moral debate is utterly meaningless.

That said, you are correct at the very core of your statement here. Taking something for free that was not given is morally void, and is generally accepted as a bad thing to do. The fact that the victim does not technically lose anything in the process does not suddenly grant the act moral standing. It simply means you cheated the system.

Also, your copyright spiel at the end is 100% accurate. Copyright is very much necessary, and certainly a good thing. I do not agree with the scope and duration of copyright, but that does not mean it is unnecessary.

Not to defend piracy too much, but a lot of people seem to think just because something is illegal that also makes it morally wrong. At least that's what they make it sound like. From the planet I'm from, governments place some pretty stupid laws and often completely immoral laws. A lot of the people who have the power to create laws are either really stupid politicians who don't understand how the law even works or really corrupt politicians who will do anything for power and money. More often than not, the legislators are both stupid and corrupt.

In the US, you have the second amendment, possibly one of the stupidest, most outdated laws in existence. Where I'm from, it is illegal to speak well of terrorists, i.e. anti-establishment paramilitary forces. I'm not saying all terrorism is good, but retarded politicians don't understand that just because we have one group of terrorists who are a bunch of homicidal assholes, doesn't mean everyone who ever stood up against a government somewhere was 100% evil. You know those freedom fighters in Libia? Dirty terrorist scum. I can't say what I really feel otherwise I'll go to prison. But really, I think those people are really brave and are an example to follow, I don't care if they lock me up for saying the truth.

I don't think pirates ever gave a shit that it was illegal. While a lot of people just straight up don't care, that doesn't change the fact that copyright laws are wrong, created by awful, greedy people, benefit nearly solely multimillionaire businesses and offer little to no protection to the artist. I don't decide my actions by what is legal and illegal. That is for cowards. I decide my actions by what is right and wrong. May be one day copyright laws will be fairer and adjust to protect the actual people who worked to create the things we enjoy. That day I may change my view on the subject. Meanwhile, I'll scoff at people who think anybody cares that piracy is illegal. Protesting was illegal, defaming the president was illegal, that isn't worth shit in my book.

Agayek:

That said, you are correct at the very core of your statement here. Taking something for free that was not given is morally void, and is generally accepted as a bad thing to do. The fact that the victim does not technically lose anything in the process does not suddenly grant the act moral standing. It simply means you cheated the system.

I disagree with that. I'm not saying that it *is* moral, but I think you are exaggerating when you say that it is "generally accepted as a bad thing". Normally, a bit of freeloading is considered OK as long as it doesn't harm anyone else.

For example, if you pick up a newspaper that was left by someone on a table, not many would call you morally void. Or if you are walking down from a hill, get thirsty/hungry and pick a grape from a nearby vineyard, not many would call that morally void. It is just generally understood that the freedom to comfortably use your environment, is more important than technicalities of always making sure to pay for everything, as long as you aren't malicious.

I can't argue with Jimquisition on this one. There is no protection for Indie developers in the global market, so we should be the responsible party telling people that ripping off Indie developers is worse than theft!

Although throwing paint on their house is maybe one step too far.

Crono1973:
Sorry No, Indie devs are not special and copyright infringement doesn't become theft when it involves an Indie developer.

In fact, I place a lower value on Indie games because most are ugly, simplistic and repetitive. I don't pirate them though, I watch them on YouTube and decide to skip them. I guess this show was required though, given the anti-piracy stance of the escapist.

"I don't play them, I just watch videos on youtube and form a (faulty, unfounded, ridiculous) opinion that I will then use to justify pirating games from people who have done nothing to warrant it"

Yeah, you're on solid ground there, boyo.

Hey, lov' ya Jim <3

I totally agree with you on this, it's just really shit when you pirate something from an indie dev "with a good heart", if you know what I mean.

Completely agree with Jim Sterling. There's no reason to pirate something like the humble bundle.

And I was in the other threads, saying that some piracy doesn't hurt anyone.

This kind? Does.

Sorry No, Indie devs are not special

They aren't special - just specially good at making games. I sure am having more fun with them than with AAA titles.

SenorStocks:

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.

People who are saying that it is theft are *not* equating it with mugging. That is *your* emotional manipulation of the issue. Theft ranges all the way from taking a paperclip from your employer, all the way through to armed robbery or massive corporate fraud. Nobody said that all theft is equivalent, or that all theft involves violent crime.

Taking property without permission has always been defined as theft. Whether that property is digital or not is irrelevant. The fact is that we have laws that define "Intellectual Property." Now, you may not agree with that concept, but that is the law. If you take intellectual property, you are taking property without permission.

The reason that the legal system has so many different names for charges relating to theft, is that theft is infinitely varied in its degree and nature. If you commit embezzlement or fraud, you are not charged with "theft," even though your actions involve theft. We speak of "Identity Theft," even though that does not actually remove the identity of the victim.

It's impossible to have an intelligent debate while people continue to re-define words to mean something that they are not. In this case, it's people who are claiming that software piracy is not theft. It is. But that doesn't define what kind of theft it is - whether it's more like stealing a paperclip from your place of work, or breaking into somebody's house and stealing items at gunpoint.

Somebody previously argued that software piracy should be compared to something less extreme, like vandalism, or property destruction. That's pretty strange to me, as I think that most people would think that vandalism and property destruction are *much* worse than petty theft. Those activities indicate psychopathy and seriously anti-social behavior. Surely, petty theft is less objectionable to most people than the needless destruction of things?

Most people can relate to not having enough money to afford something. When people refer to software piracy as "theft," it's usually closer to the "steal a loaf of bread" end of the spectrum than the "armed bank robbery" end.

Aardvaarkman:

SenorStocks:

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.

People who are saying that it is theft are *not* equating it with mugging. That is *your* emotional manipulation of the issue. Theft ranges all the way from taking a paperclip from your employer, all the way through to armed robbery or massive corporate fraud. Nobody said that all theft is equivalent, or that all theft involves violent crime.

Taking property without permission has always been defined as theft. Whether that property is digital or not is irrelevant. The fact is that we have laws that define "Intellectual Property." Now, you may not agree with that concept, but that is the law. If you take intellectual property, you are taking property without permission.

The reason that the legal system has so many different names for charges relating to theft, is that theft is infinitely varied in its degree and nature. If you commit embezzlement or fraud, you are not charged with "theft," even though your actions involve theft. We speak of "Identity Theft," even though that does not actually remove the identity of the victim.

It's impossible to have an intelligent debate while people continue to re-define words to mean something that they are not. In this case, it's people who are claiming that software piracy is not theft. It is. But that doesn't define what kind of theft it is - whether it's more like stealing a paperclip from your place of work, or breaking into somebody's house and stealing items at gunpoint.

Somebody previously argued that software piracy should be compared to something less extreme, like vandalism, or property destruction. That's pretty strange to me, as I think that most people would think that vandalism and property destruction are *much* worse than petty theft. Those activities indicate psychopathy and seriously anti-social behavior. Surely, petty theft is less objectionable to most people than the needless destruction of things?

Most people can relate to not having enough money to afford something. When people refer to software piracy as "theft," it's usually closer to the "steal a loaf of bread" end of the spectrum than the "armed bank robbery" end.

Legally speaking it is not theft. That is the end of the matter. If you think that it is, you are wrong. I could quote plenty of cases where judges have flat out said that copyright infringement cannot be theft.

We have a term and offence for this: copyright infringement. If everyone just used that and didn't twat around trying to call it theft, or counterfeiting, or fraud, or god knows what else, we might actually make some progress talking about it.

You do realise that indi developers are some of the biggest pirates out there!

The difference is that the software an indi dev will pirate is worth thousands. 3D Studio Max, Photoshop, any Adobe software, Reason, FruityLoops.

I'm not saying the professional indi's, like 2D Boy are like that, I mean the million other indi and hobbyist developers out there, who don't have a penny to their name, yet they aquire thousands of dollars worth of software.

That's just software, software that admitedly is so expensive because professionals use it, but theres more - like media. I myself have had media used without credit, in one of those god awful trucking games. No credit, no linky to a free copy of the game, no email saying they were using it - they just took the media and made it their own. I'm not sure if those guys are considered pro's, or indi - but developers and artists are perfectly capable of the same actions. God only knows how many times CGTextures has been ripped off, or any number of media sites out there.

It's a horrible situation, when someone has to 'steal' to create something for people for free, and with hobbyists that is certainly the case. Copyright laws need to wind down a little, and concentrate on people who profit from infringement. So it wouldn't be illegal to download and use Photoshop or 3DS Max, but if you use it commercially then you should have to pay. Indi developers could develop for free, then pay licences if their game gets sold. Steam is becomming much more accesible for indi developers, it will be easier to sell PC only games, and more developers will see it as a legitimate money platform, much like they see the iPhone and iPad. It all boils down to money, people can't afford so they take copies, there's no point in suing these people, so let them have it... if they start to make money from this software though, they should be expected to pay for it.
I know that won't happen, they couldn't police it, things will continue as they are, with everyone acting all butt-hurt.

SenorStocks:

Legally speaking it is not theft. That is the end of the matter. If you think that it is, you are wrong.

Who said we were speaking legally? I was talking about the common definition of the term. But it is also considered theft in a legal sense, too.

SenorStocks:
I could quote plenty of cases where judges have flat out said that copyright infringement cannot be theft.

Please, go ahead and quote those cases.

We have a term and offence for this: copyright infringement. If everyone just used that and didn't twat around trying to call it theft, or counterfeiting, or fraud, or god knows what else, we might actually make some progress talking about it.

No, it's an important distinction. When we're talking about software piracy, it's *deliberate* copyright infringement as an act of theft. "Copyright infringement" as a general term can cover things like accidental copyright infringement, which is not what we're talking about.

I'm fine with calling it copyright infringement, the problem is that people are claiming that it is not *also* theft, which it most certainly is. Why is it that you feel the need to claim that it isn't? Do you claim that fraud and embezzlement aren't also forms of theft?

Aardvaarkman:

SenorStocks:

Legally speaking it is not theft. That is the end of the matter. If you think that it is, you are wrong.

Who said we were speaking legally? I was talking about the common definition of the term. But it is also considered theft in a legal sense, too.

SenorStocks:
I could quote plenty of cases where judges have flat out said that copyright infringement cannot be theft.

Please, go ahead and quote those cases.

We have a term and offence for this: copyright infringement. If everyone just used that and didn't twat around trying to call it theft, or counterfeiting, or fraud, or god knows what else, we might actually make some progress talking about it.

No, it's an important distinction. When we're talking about software piracy, it's *deliberate* copyright infringement as an act of theft. "Copyright infringement" as a general term can cover things like accidental copyright infringement, which is not what we're talking about.

I'm fine with calling it copyright infringement, the problem is that people are claiming that it is not *also* theft, which it most certainly is. Why is it that you feel the need to claim that it isn't? Do you claim that fraud and embezzlement aren't also forms of theft?

You did?. You're clearly describing theft in a legal context. Although it's painfully obvious you have no legal education at all from the way you're writing.

Go and read:
Rank Film Distributors v Video Information Centre
R v Lloyd
Dowling v United States

Each of them are very clear that piracy and copyright infringement are not theft, and cannot be described as such.

No, fraud does not necessarily involve theft and so is not a type of theft.

FelixG:

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

Meh, sorry about that, I got it from a post that was filled with quotes and I backspaced the wrong part. My apologies.

To clarify to all readers: FelixG is NOT a pedophile burglar!

SenorStocks:

You did?. You're clearly describing theft in a legal context. Although it's painfully obvious you have no legal education at all from the way you're writing.

Discussion of legal issues does mean that discussion of the common dictionary meaning of a word is invalid and cannot be used. I guess it's painfully clear you don't have an education in the English language.

SenorStocks:
Go and read:
Rank Film Distributors v Video Information Centre
R v Lloyd
Dowling v United States

You said you could quote them. So, please go ahead and quote the sections where the judges say that copyright infringement *cannot* be theft, rather than just generally waving in the direction of some cases.

No, fraud does not necessarily involve theft and so is not a type of theft.

But it frequently is a type of theft. This is a logical failure. Just because some kinds of fraud may not be used for theft, doesn't mean that fraud cannot be theft. Your argument is like saying that because some cats have three legs, then a cat cannot have any number other than three legs.

I've already addressed this, but you chose to ignore it. While it is possible for copyright infringement to exist without the intention of theft, software piracy is copyright infringement for the specific purpose of theft.

Alterego-X and Agayek, sorry for not quoting both of you in this reponse but it woulda gotten a bit out of control (possibly). I can understand both of your points of view and can respect them as well.

I am fully aware of the fact that legality does not imply morality nor that morality connotates legality. Which is why I've always been against legislating morality. People's belief systems and values are products of specific upbrings and environmental issues.

Also, I understand that in some nations freedoms I enjoy, such as free speech, are illegal acts. Furthermore, in some of those countries, specifically certain arabic ones, theft still comes with the punishment of having hand(s) chopped off. That is something I find no less disgusting than the suppression of free speech. Both are things that enable despotic governments to rule through fear, hate-mongering etc and not the rule of law. However, I suspect that people living in those nations are not worried so much about pirating video games so much as they are about surviving.

In most cases laws serve to protect society, establish a code of conduct and punishment(s). In cases like the piracy one we are dealing with here, the laws are meant to protect the IP's and the creators of them while serving as both punishment and warning to those who would break those laws.

Copyright laws, whatever your take on them, do both good and bad. In some cases they are just highly draconian and favor big business. In others, they protect the intellectual products of people's labors ensuring that the person won't have their ideas and products stolen and reproduced by someone lacking the creativity and vision to make an original piece.

Aardvaarkman:

SenorStocks:

You did?. You're clearly describing theft in a legal context. Although it's painfully obvious you have no legal education at all from the way you're writing.

Discussion of legal issues does mean that discussion of the common dictionary meaning of a word is invalid and cannot be used. I guess it's painfully clear you don't have an education in the English language.

SenorStocks:
Go and read:
Rank Film Distributors v Video Information Centre
R v Lloyd
Dowling v United States

You said you could quote them. So, please go ahead and quote the sections where the judges say that copyright infringement *cannot* be theft, rather than just generally waving in the direction of some cases.

No, fraud does not necessarily involve theft and so is not a type of theft.

But it frequently is a type of theft. This is a logical failure. Just because some kinds of fraud may not be used for theft, doesn't mean that fraud cannot be theft. Your argument is like saying that because some cats have three legs, then a cat cannot have any number other than three legs.

I've already addressed this, but you chose to ignore it. While it is possible for copyright infringement to exist without the intention of theft, software piracy is copyright infringement for the specific purpose of theft.

FFS, since you're too lazy to do some reading.

From Rank Film: "No offences under the Theft Act arise as copyright is not capable of being stolen and it is not necessary to strain the provisions of that Act since the offences already outlined are available."

Edit: From R v Lloyd:

"D, a cinema projectionist, clandestinely removed feature films due to be shown in the cinema where he worked. His co-defendants copied them onto video tape and they sold many such 'pirate' copies; but the original films were returned in perfect working order and continued to attract audiences to the cinema. On such facts there was clearly no theft."

T_ConX:
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.

Im sorry but the 1% figure is way too low, i know many people who avoided ass creed till they fixed their shitty ass drm.

People pirated Humble Bundles? The shame...

electric method:

Also, I understand that in some nations freedoms I enjoy, such as free speech, are illegal acts. Furthermore, in some of those countries, specifically certain arabic ones, theft still comes with the punishment of having hand(s) chopped off. That is something I find no less disgusting than the suppression of free speech. Both are things that enable despotic governments to rule through fear, hate-mongering etc and not the rule of law. However, I suspect that people living in those nations are not worried so much about pirating video games so much as they are about surviving.

It's interesting that you bring up the Rule of Law.

The Rule of Law is a legal maxim, that states, that

all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights norms and standards. It requires, as well, measures to ensure adherence to the principles of supremacy of law, equality before the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the law, separation of powers, participation in decision-making, legal certainty, avoidance of arbitrariness and procedural and legal transparency.

You could say, that the current copyright model, is in direct contradiction with this principle.

Copyright can't be fairly enforced on the Internet, so authorities resort to randomly sueing a small percenage of Internet users for ridiculously large sums, to make an example of them and scare all the others.

Of course, it's a much lesser problem than third world rules of terror, but among our first world problems, this is a pretty big one. And as long as the industry is based on it's archaic expectation that they can supervise what is being downloaded on the Internet, this fault in the legal system is here to stay.

First off, I have to say that if Jim Sterling really does win the election, I'll probably be happy one moment and then very, very terrified for the next four years.

Anyway, I can understand pirating in 'some' circumstances, perhaps emulators for region-locked games or extremely old ones, but I don't see the point in pirating indie games that are both cheap and easy to acquire. If the paying process had seven different steps and the game was only available in Norwegian, maybe I'd understand, but the only real difference between pirating a game and buying it is the fact that, in the process of doing both, only one will lose you money. ... Chump-change money.

I have literally no time for pirates, I think they are morally reprehensible. I don't mind piracy if its for a game that can no longer be purchased in a store, or whose developer has ceased to exist (though with good old games this argument is greatly weakened). I also dont mind people pirating a game when their own version has been broken through no fault of their own (though this is rare)

However, in any other case I have no time for pirates. They can make whatever lame justifications they want, about how they're godamn freedom fighters or hate DRM or whatever, but at the end of the day in my eyes they just want something for nothing, because they feel they're better than the people who made the game, and everybody who is willing to keep the games industry going by supporting it.

I don't like DRM, but the only reason it exists is because of pirates. I find it shocking and funny that pirates call companies greedy, while they themselves are perfectly willing to take things without any real justification.

As it has been argued earlier, a game is a luxury, not a nessecity, its not like you'll die without it, so any argument for -needing- it is a load of rubbish in my opinion.

The whole argument that piracy is the faul of 'legal' systems is also wrong I think. Sure copyright laws can and are messed up in some regards, but thats not an excuse for somebody to go out and steal something which has taken a vast amount of man-hours, blood, sweat and tears, to produce.

Any pirate just uses copyright laws and DRM as an excuse to justify the fact they are a theif. Maybe not a literal theif, but a thief in mindset at least, in that they don't find any moral difficulty in getting something for nothing.

So yeah, I despise pirates.

Dexter111:

Aside from me actually buying Aquaria and never playing it so far along with the other half of my games on Steam: http://steamcommunity.com/id/Dexter111/games/?tab=all&sort=name (Has played 132/276 games.) it wouldn't have made any difference whatsoever as any pirated copy still doesn't equal a lost sale, quite the opposite it might create new ones because people liked it so much and want to pay for it or they recommend said game to their friends.
If I let a friend play Aquaria through my Steam account that doesn't mean that is a "lost sale" either as the likelihood of him getting it was very low to start with, if I give it a bad review and 3 people on my friends list decide not to buy it because of that even though they've been eyeing it I haven't generated "less sales" either. So, no... no one would have robbed anyone of anything.

I'm still not convinced that it is not a lost sale by what you just wrote and you not playing the game seems pretty irrelevant.
If someone plays the game (so that they like it and they may buy it) friend or otherwise someone needs to purchase it in the first place.
As a side note, specifically with Aquaria there is a demo if you want to try it anyhow meaning that pirating the game just to try it is a mute point.

What you say still doesn't change the fact that if the game were for instance only available as a physical copy and there wasn't file sharing for someone to get the game they would have to physically pilfer a copy from a store or somewhere. Following that they could go about the reasoning you just put up and let friends play and they might then like it and then go to the store and buy it. Doesn't change the fact that it was first stolen. That at one point in this cycle someone didn't pay the fee it takes to have the game in their possession and ergo robbed the developer of their money.

You need to buy it in the first place to let someone else try it out. So yeah, still that lost sale I was talking about.
On top of things that is a very specific example you're portraying which I don't think is a very good reason or example of how taking a game for free which would actually cost something is not theft.

wiggler:
The whole argument that piracy is the faul of 'legal' systems is also wrong I think. Sure copyright laws can and are messed up in some regards, but thats not an excuse for somebody to go out and steal something which has taken a vast amount of man-hours, blood, sweat and tears, to produce.

Then maybe the laws need to be rewritten, so it won't be stealing any more, but perfectly legal filesharing.

wiggler:

Any pirate just uses copyright laws and DRM as an excuse to justify the fact they are a theif. Maybe not a literal theif, but a thief in mindset at least, in that they don't find any moral difficulty in getting something for nothing.

If everyone who accepts "getting something for nothing", then every beggar on the streets is a thief in the mindset, every child is a thief for expecting to get raised up for free, everyone who ever watched TV or listened to the radio without paying for the content, not to mention everyone who is expecting to read the Escapist as free entertainment/information.

If "getting something for nothing" is inherently immoral to you, then your morals are wildly differing from the mainstream perception.

Hit the nail on the fucking head there Jim, keep up the good work.

electric method:
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.

Throughout history, this exact reasoning has been used to justify atrocious invasions of human rights, and it continues today with copyright.

Far from ending the debate, its illegality is the very source of the contention. These laws are wrong. Period. Full stop. End of story.

Regardless of how you feel about the value of copyright, nothing justifies jailing and suing peaceful harmless people for daring to duplicate the ideas and expressions that surround them.

There are people out there having their lives ruined in litigation to protect the interests of rights holders, and the fact that "games, and the like, are wants not needs" makes this intrusion even more senselessly tragic.

Piracy is undeniably dickish no matter who gets pirated, and I don't do it.

As for that Pay What You Want bundle, did it still make a profit? I sure hope it did, especially if it benefitted charity. Unfortunately, you cannot stop people from being tight bastards - especially in these difficult times.

But I guess the bottom line is still. Piracy is dickish and mean you really shouldn't do it.

Secondly, I really take issue of comparing pirates to paedophiles. I know it's Mr Sterling's hyperbolic childishness schtick at work. I normally take it with a pinch of salt, but I think that one crossed the line.

I know Jim was trying to find a word to describe the mean spiritedness of the pirates. He could have used words like idiot, douchbag, scumbag, crook, smeghead, goit and my personal fave - git. But he just had to compare a pirate to the most morally reprehensible people on the planet. That wasn't cool, Jim.

Paedophiles take a children's innocence, dignity, pride and leave them with mental scars to last them a lifetime. Pirates are nothing compared to this. I think Jim was wrong this kind of comparrison. (I've seen the emotional damage that comes from the fallout when a seemingly invincible family members relive the times they were molested by one and they completely break down as a result - believe me, piracy doesn't compare to that.)

I'm not asking Jim to censor himself or even an apology, but I do ask that he try to keep things in some kind of perspective.

dbenoy:

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.

You're assuming a continuation of the status quo here, for reasons I can't quite discern.

The reason that private servers are "lame", and require people to miss out on content updates, is because they're small teams of people working part time on limited budgets.

(Which ironically could easily be how something like WoW would be in the first place in a post-copyright world, but we're assuming that a service-based model is still profitable enough to warrant spending money on for the purposes of this example.)

If there were nothing to protect Blizzard's IP from being copied, their competition could simply take the code, and with equal or greater resources create servers where the people on them missed out on nothing, getting equal or greater number and quality of updates.

dbenoy:

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.

All of which is still protected by copyright law. And funded by IP law, for that matter, since Google makes a good chunk of its money by being the predominant search engine, a position it maintains through the use of proprietary algorithms.

dbenoy:

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.

Yes, but self-published films are... "lame". Amateurish.

Which is my point. Broader, yes. But shallower.

Mr Somewhere:

yundex:

Tanakh:
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.

I know how public forums work, but if for some reason you thought I didn't...my bad?

Very nice video Jim, once again I totally agree on most of the points. Im glad that you were able to realize that while not all pirates are horrible monsters there are still plenty that are total dicks, or as you said Pedo burglers.

There is a special place in hell reserved for people who pirated the HIB.

dbenoy:

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.

And I don't ascribe any particular level of creativity to someone who wants to play in someone else's world and apparently has no alternative. It's a fun thing to do occasionally, no doubt, but if your dreams are crushed because you can't make money off of someone else's back... I shed no tears for you.

dbenoy:

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.

You can say as much about nearly any criminal prosecution short of capital crimes though.

The simple answer is not to do it. It's not as though corporations are out there, scouring the net with lawyers in tow, looking for any innocent violation they can set eyes upon to set loose the hounds of litigation.

No, they find something that's not a blatant attempt to cash in or rip them off, and the worst you can expect is a C&D letter.

You can argue that it's not important enough to warrant prosecution, and I can say it's not important enough to risk prosecution.

Shouldn't it be three levels of piracy?

One level for the people with the Robin Hood complex who thinking pirating from major developers is somehow "sticking it to the man".

The I'm a cheap bastard level who rather pirate an indie game or cheap older game than to pay a few bucks for it.

And the I've looked to find someone to sell me this game but no one will take my money so to pirate it is the only way to play it people.

jim iff you will let me be the guy who uses the giant chainsawsword to punish criminals i will become an american citizen and vote for you!
go jim 2012!

Raesvelg:
And I don't ascribe any particular level of creativity to someone who wants to play in someone else's world and apparently has no alternative. It's a fun thing to do occasionally, no doubt, but if your dreams are crushed because you can't make money off of someone else's back... I shed no tears for you.

So when Disney made those movies, he was "making money off someone else's back"? That's a bold claim, especially since his works are far more historically treasured than the public domain material it ripped off.

I think you may be confusing your vision of a post-copyright world with reality. In reality, people who copy art are capable of putting tremendous amounts of work into their projects, and producing something amazing and culturally irreplaceable. Every time one of these new works of art dies in infancy thanks to copyright it's an unseen, unheard travesty that diminishes us all.

Raesvelg:
You can say as much about nearly any criminal prosecution short of capital crimes though.

Alright, I withdraw that contention, then. Saying that something is or is not important, in our opinions, doesn't justify anything. I shouldn't have been factitious.

People have the free right peacefully do what they please with their own person and property, and whether someone thinks that their interests are frivolous or not does not justify the introduction of force.

I recognize that you are really devoted to protecting the status quo for copyrights. You strongly value the way things are currently done, but how do your opinions rightfully translate into an obligation on me? When I copy, I harm nobody.

Ashley Blalock:
Shouldn't it be three levels of piracy?

One level for the people with the Robin Hood complex who thinking pirating from major developers is somehow "sticking it to the man".

The I'm a cheap bastard level who rather pirate an indie game or cheap older game than to pay a few bucks for it.

And the I've looked to find someone to sell me this game but no one will take my money so to pirate it is the only way to play it people.

There are an awful lot of "levels" to piracy.

There is the "I'm mostly paying for my stuff, as much as I can, but I don't particularly care about the letter of the law, so I might as well also download some more" type.

There is the "I don't have any money to spend on media anyways" type, that is really that poor, and actually says the truth, but then gets used to the habit of pirating, that really just pirates everything for the sake of it, even later when he could afford at least a few of them.

There is the type in between the above two, that mostly doesn't have money for media, and doesn't mind pirating what he can't buy, but at least honestly pays for whatever he can.

There is the "Information wants to be free" activist, that unlike the Robin Hood type, doesn't want to stick it to big publishers only, but artists as well, generally believing that the idea of copyright, or at least it's current implementation is wrong, and doesn't feel obliged to follow wrong laws.

There is the naive kid, who you don't find in such threads, who just doesn't think about how content distribution works, just copies stuff as it is self-evident to them from the nature of the Internet.

There is the hoarder type, who is just downloading for the sake of downloading, even things that they don't intend to use, out of habit, even free stuff gets mixed in it.

This is not a complete list, and most actual people combine multiple traits. For example, the "Robin Hood" isn't so much a separate type, as an argument used by all others as an exttra argument, that "besides, they aren't deserving it anyways". Likewise, someone might pirate for activist reasons and still occasionally buy things at their own will to reward publishers, as a form of donation.

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