Jimquisition: When Piracy Becomes Theft

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dbenoy:

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.

As a matter of fact, yes, yes they were. The fact that they got to do so for free doesn't alter the fact that they benefited substantially from someone else's effort.

Tarzan, for example, wasn't exactly an unknown property that Disney abruptly resurrected and thrust back into the public consciousness. In effect, they had a substantial amount of advertising done for them, by Burroughs, in the previous 80 years.

dbenoy:

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.

In truth, there are a number of things I'd change about copyright law. Removing the necessity for IP holders to defend their property or lose the right to do so, for example, would allow IP holders significantly more leeway in how aggressively they pursue people who infringe upon their rights.

As for your contention that by copying, you harm nobody, however, there I have to disagree. Because that's analogous to me saying that, by standing at your mailbox and intercepting your paychecks, I harm nobody.

I'm not taking anything you have after all, simply depriving you of the money you've earned by means of your time and effort.

Which is precisely what you do to the IP holder when you copy illegally.

Raesvelg:

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

What makes them lame (What's with the quotes?) is mostly that your friends are on it. That can't be duplicated.

Making 'clones' of software is, with the singular exception of MMOs, completely legal everywhere, so we don't have to come up with a bunch of hypothetical theories here. Just look at all the myriad examples of software 'cloning' that happens all the time.

A fast moving, constantly improving original piece of software can not be cloned in a timely manner and still remain profitable. This is not just a theory.

The only hope of clones is if they innovate in some completely new way, or service some untapped market need, creating their own superior offering in the process, and thank god for that! Copyright obstructs this process, by permitting original creators to rest on their laurels and grow fat on royalties, safe from all the people who are anxious to pick up the dropped ball and innovate.

Even if I were to grant that copyright somehow makes life easier for straight up internet services like MMOs (Which would be very difficult to defend given that copyright currently does not do that except in select cases, and businesses are still fine), then I still would be unable to fathom the contention that they would be completely crippled and doomed and unable to function. Online service businesses are incredibly agile and innovative. Why in the world would they be unable to survive without the ability to legally destroy their competitors?

Raesvelg:
As a matter of fact, yes, yes they were. The fact that they got to do so for free doesn't alter the fact that they benefited substantially from someone else's effort.

Is that the measure of whether you've done something wrong? If I work hard and create something, and my creation enriches my life, as well as enriching the lives of everyone else in the world, then I've been robbed? Then I should have the right to crash down their doors and demand payment?

The perpetuation of ideas and expressions throughout society is the elementary beauty of human life. The fact that we can see what others do, integrate those things into ourselves, and use those lessons to improve our own lives is what got us to this point. Without the free flow of ideas and expressions, we wouldn't even be able to have this conversation.

Copyright seeks to destroy what what makes us a human society in order to protect a select few business models and connected industries. It's no different from any other form of industry protectionism.

Some people accuse the copyright abolitionists of believing themselves to be noble or heroic, and they're damn right. We're agitating for freedom, what's ignoble about that?

Raesvelg:
As for your contention that by copying, you harm nobody, however, there I have to disagree. Because that's analogous to me saying that, by standing at your mailbox and intercepting your paychecks, I harm nobody.

I'm not taking anything you have after all, simply depriving you of the money you've earned by means of your time and effort.

Which is precisely what you do to the IP holder when you copy illegally.

When I copy something, I deprive nobody of anything.

When you take my paycheck there's still only one paycheck. When I copy software, now there's two.

dbenoy:

A fast moving, constantly improving original piece of software can not be cloned in a timely manner and still remain profitable. This is not just a theory.

Of course it can. You're talking about creating something analogous to WoW from the ground up and keeping up with WoW as impossible, which is true, since they'll always have that lead time on you. But if I take WoW, crack the one fiddly bit of the server code, and from there I can simply release the most current version of WoW, without having to do all the work developing it, and without having to pay the cost of developing it, and run it on my own servers, updating as frequently as WoW does (since I saved all that development money, after all), and advertising my service as widely as I care to for the same reason.

You're talking about something else entirely, which is "copying" in the sense of making a game that looks/feels like WoW, whereas I'm talking about making an actual COPY of WoW.

dbenoy:

The only hope of clones is if they innovate in some completely new way, or service some untapped market need, creating their own superior offering in the process, and thank god for that! Copyright obstructs this process, by permitting original creators to rest on their laurels and grow fat on royalties, safe from all the people who are anxious to pick up the dropped ball and innovate.

While I grant that occasionally, IP lawsuits deviate into the ridiculous (Apple's ongoing attempts to declare a particular variety of industrial design as proprietary, for example), I think you're overstating the power of IP holders in many instances here.

Google, for example, cannot simply sit back and collect royalties from Bing. Even if Bing has been caught snooping on Google's results as a way of prioritizing its own, apparently. Two (arguably) identical services, but each built around a different set of IPs, in direct competition, and that's a good thing.

IP law does not prevent competition, it prevents slavish copying. It offers incentive to innovate, not deterrence. Innovation, after all, will give an IP holder access to income that they simply would not have if that innovation were not protected.

dbenoy:

When I copy something, I deprive nobody of anything.

When you take my paycheck there's still only one paycheck. When I copy software, now there's two.

"Depriving the holder of incomes derived", or some variation thereof, is in functionally every copyright law on the books. Legally, you are depriving them of income by not paying them for their efforts. Much as I would be depriving you of income if I intercepted your paychecks.

dbenoy:

Some people accuse the copyright abolitionists of believing themselves to be noble or heroic, and they're damn right. We're agitating for freedom, what's ignoble about that?

What's ignoble about Hollywood releasing endless retreads, sequels, and "re-imaginings" of every established concept on the planet?

They made a movie about the Battleship board game for crying out loud.

What's worse, they had to pay for the privilege.

Imagine what it would be like if there were no such laws in place? What if the creator doesn't want his work to be translated into another medium? Does he lose the right to it the instant he publishes it?

Whose rights are you protecting, and whose freedoms are you trampling?

Raesvelg:
"Depriving the holder of incomes derived", or some variation thereof, is in functionally every copyright law on the books. Legally, you are depriving them of income by not paying them for their efforts. Much as I would be depriving you of income if I intercepted your paychecks.

You'll get no argument from me about the law.

The law, however, can't redefine what it means to deprive someone of something. If I wrote and somehow passed a law that says you have to give me your house, and you disobey, you're not depriving me of my house.

Raesvelg:
What's ignoble about Hollywood releasing endless retreads, sequels, and "re-imaginings" of every established concept on the planet?

Our distaste of one type of movie over another does not somehow justify copyright. Remember, we're talking about punishing people who have harmed nobody, in order to ensure income for a connected industry.

Also, copyright is extremely strong right now, and it's completely failed to prevent a perpetual flood of crappy movies, so even if you accept a utilitarian position, copyright has failed.

The existence of fluff doesn't preclude the existence of good stuff, too. There's lots of re-imaginings that are extremely good.

orangeapples:
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.

No, by selling at a fixed price they are at the mercy of their advertising, which is their own responsibility. The real problem with "piracy" then is that everyone can see whether or not it is worth the asking price to begin with. Very often this is not the case, but at least the ones who make a truly superior creation are favored by this. I prefer that to encouraging the mediocre by paying first.

Those who want it for free anyway are still a non-issue, and they still represent a potential increase in public.

@incal11

I hear that people who download heavily will actually spend more dollars per year on copyrighted materials, it's just the things they buy don't always map precisely to the things they downloaded.

That seems like a good thing to me. They sample a wide variety of materials, and then contribute financially to only those projects that are really worthy, and still end up spending more on average than someone who buys every single thing they play.

Kwil:

LOL, Christ, try getting a basic understanding of how banks work and what money is before attempting to be condescending.

I'm sorry but it seems you're the one who doesn't understand how either of those work. Or basic understanding really.

Kwil:

You'll still suck at it, but at least it won't be outright laughable.

After I explain, you'll feel like you were talking to yourself the whole time.

Kwil:

Big hint: Money these days is primarily represented by data

Yes you're right it's representing the physical pieces somewhere. We have physical representation (whether on us or in an account) that determines how much we actually have. While it may appear in the form of data (I.E. credit cards, debit cards) we still have something that contains of the value and hold the amount of what we have.

Kwil:

and most of the money in our economy doesn't actually exist

No, the money has to exist or we wouldn't have an economy. You need something to back it up otherwise it has no value. I think you might have gotten confused when we didn't use the gold standard anymore (meaning everything is backed by gold) and just go off as what we claim is value (I.E. a dollar = $1). We still have to have something to back it, otherwise we wouldn't have an economy.

Kwil:

.. it's just one bank saying to another, we've got this much value.

No it's not. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to receive any type of cash when you ask to take out some. The cash is still there, just not physically on you.

Kwil:

When you pay by debit, bits on one side of the transaction are decreased, bits on the other are increased. No "money" is transferred.

You have to have cash specifically in a debit account to use it. It's just a holding place. Think of it as a bigger wallet. Money is transferred from your account to whatever you're paying into/for.

Kwil:

When you add bits to your account, no "money" is trasnferred.

Exactly, because there's nothing there. You can't just add bits where ever you feel like as you gained nothing. I don't even know how you think that it just exists simply because you added an extra 0 there. It's called fraud (meaning illegal). You're putting something in you don't have (and doesn't exist) into your account. When you swipe your credit card, they know how much you have in your account and if you go beyond that amount or use something that's not there you could get arrested.

Kwil:

Nobody's losing anything.

Yes somebody is as the money has to come from somewhere. The bank/credit card company loses money paying with their own money or the store loses merchandise as the customer didn't pay for anything, since he doesn't have the money.

Kwil:

Just like piracy. If anything, the bank is *gaining* money,

I don't know what kind of pot you are smoking, but can you please share some with the rest of us. Sounds like some good stuff you got there. No one gains anything, as there was nothing to gain. You're putting non-existing money and spending non-exist money which someone has to pay for. Otherwise, no one would be poor as they could open a bank account and go "just put ten zeros at the end of that".

Kwil:

because according to their records, they now have more of these infinitely copiable bits to lend out.

I don't even know how you think that is how banks work at all. Did you watch a really bad episode of CSI or Law and Order? I personally think you just made it all up on the spot. I can't say any more, just read everything else I said again just to get the point across.

Anyway, I'll get on topic:

I don't advocate piracy, but I won't "call someone out" if they do it. I'll tell them I'm not fan of piracy (even though I do it from time to time [damn you youtube!]) but I try to avoid doing it as much as I can.

Mainly the reason that you're getting something for free and giving nothing back. If you plan on giving the developers money somehow (either through mail, e-mail or whatever) then that's great pirate away. My problem is most people who do pirate do it because they don't want to pay or don't feel like they should pay which is not good reasoning at all.

I don't plan to stop anyone from pirating (as if I really could) just saying my views. Is piracy theft? That depends on your definition and moral outlook, but I do consider piracy theft simply because you get a good/service for free. Like I said, if you pay the developer or someone related to them then yay but I know most won't and that is my biggest complaint.

dbenoy:
@incal11

I hear that people who download heavily will actually spend more dollars per year on copyrighted materials, it's just the things they buy don't always map precisely to the things they downloaded.

That seems like a good thing to me. They sample a wide variety of materials, and then contribute financially to only those projects that are really worthy, and still end up spending more on average than someone who buys every single thing they play.

Yeah, if more people would use media like that, that would also help in rewarding the games that have very enthusiastic fandoms truly loving it, and punish the overhyped marketing gians that everyone kinda wants to check out just to be in the loop, but no one really likes.

The only thing that could be said against that kind of system, would be that if the creators don't wish to allow for it, then we must respect their wishes.

But that doesn't make much sense, after all, the creators can't just do *anything* with their IP, to begin with. They can't limit it's fair use, they can't say that, e.g.: only white people are allowed to play their work, they can't force the government to support them for making art, etc. Copyright is about a specific small list of things that they *can* do with their IP, not a blanket statement that "it's theirs and they can do anything with it".

It seems arbitary, that we should respect their rights specifically on the issue of letting them enforcing an outdated business model, and stopping us from using one that is better at rewarding quality.

dbenoy:

rankfx:
All these people saying that "piracy isn't theft" because it's not actually stealing anything just come across as ignorant pedophile burglars to me. If you do a runner on a taxi, or if you don't pay for a trip to the doctor, you aren't really stealing anything either, just their time. But that time is still worth something- these people need to be paid for providing a service.

These indi developers are people who are giving up their time, usually hundreds if not thousands of manhours to create games. You can steal services just as much as you can steal an object.

Here's an opinion sandwich. Idiots are the bread :D The actual debate is the meat and cheese there in the middle :D

#1: Copying is not theft, therefore copying is fine! <-- Wrong. The way you define 'theft' doesn't change whether something is right or wrong.
#2: Copying is or is not theft but the semantics don't affect the morality of copying. Copying is still wrong even if it's not theft. <-- Tasty debate goodness
#3: Copying is or is not theft but the semantics don't affect the morality of copying. Copying is still fine even if people choose to use the word 'theft' to describe it. <-- Tasty debate goodness
#4: Copying is theft, therefore copying is evil! <-- Wrong. The way you define 'theft' doesn't change whether something is right or wrong.

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

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

ResonanceSD:

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!

... oops, I haven't actually been checking for when it came out, I was kind of hoping to stumble on to it one day. This is one way to do it, although now there will be about 1,000 people telling me the exact same thing and making me look like an idiot all because I didn't look enough research. :/ Oh well, thanks for letting me know though! :D

I think it's unrealistic to expect zero instances of piracy of any product. In fact, it's something pretty bad because it probably means only ~100 people on the entire internet know about it.

And none of the products mentioned in the video have actually tanked, on the contrary - they've been great successes. In a greater capacity than most of them deserve if you ask me, though they do get points for being consumer-conscious.

I thought the video would be about the bootleg trade really.

Alterego-X:
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.

The difference between beggars and pirates is that those who give to charity are explicitly giving to charity. They made a choice that they are willing to share their goods with no intention of or desire for repayment.

Pirates are getting something that is explicitly meant to be paid for.

To draw a parallel, you are effectively saying that someone giving you a gift and you breaking into their home and taking the same item are equivalent. If you can't see the problem with that, I'm not sure this discussion can go anywhere.

Also, with regards to an earlier point you brought up about the rule of law, copyright is very much in infringement of that conceit. Copyright as it currently stands is horrendously broken and needs to be fixed rather desperately. That does not mean copyright itself is in anyway invalid. People should be able to expect legal protection from others taking their work. The problem is that current copyright lasts for entirely too long and covers entirely too broad a spectrum.

Ideally a copyright would last for 5 years after production is stopped, and the laws supporting it should enable (but not require) things like cease & desist notices and fines for unauthorized profiting from the work (ie, you can sue the guys running the pirate bay, not the guy who uploads a torrent). Something along those lines would be far more in-line with the core idea of copyright.

Clitorises still evoke pleasure, I think sphincters is a more appropriate comparison for those kind of pirates.

rankfx:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dbenoy:

You'll get no argument from me about the law.

The law, however, can't redefine what it means to deprive someone of something. If I wrote and somehow passed a law that says you have to give me your house, and you disobey, you're not depriving me of my house.

And now we're back to semantics.

AGAIN.

When you make a copy of something, you are taking the end result of someone else's labor.

You didn't pay for it. You took it. The sole difference between copyright infringement of a digital copy of a game and theft of a physical copy is the dollar or so that it cost to manufacture the disc and packaging. Less if we throw out the packaging.

I wish I could say that it was beyond me, why people cling to this extremely fine distinction as though it means something, but it's not. They cling to it because if they try very, very hard, they can convince themselves that it's not morally reprehensible. And they somehow imagine that they can convince the rest of us too.

So they cling to the legal definition of theft, and split hairs over the literal definition. "The original is still there, I just made a copy! I didn't steal anything!", except that you now have something that you could have acquired through no other means than theft, if the option to make a digital copy did not exist.

Please.

dbenoy:

Also, copyright is extremely strong right now, and it's completely failed to prevent a perpetual flood of crappy movies, so even if you accept a utilitarian position, copyright has failed.

People still drink and drive, therefor laws against driving while intoxicated are clearly a failure, and should be done away with immediately.

So, tell me, which logical fallacy did you just embrace?

And you dodged the question. Whose rights are more important; the rights of the person creating a work, or the rights of the people who want to use it in ways unintended by the creator?

Nice new intro, Jim. It's smashing.

I don't know about this, though. It's not that I disagree that people who rip off Indie games are scum. They are. But maybe it's just my attempts to have a semblance of forgiveness in my soul (like my God tells me to), I don't think we should be calling them Pedophile Burglars or hacking off their reproductive organs with wooden prop chainsaws. Seems kind of extreme.

Also, I think singling out indie developers as the only ones who deserve to be called victims in this situation isn't fair. Big name developers also had people who spent countless hours toiling over computers to make these games. The problem lies with the publishers sticking on DRM to make buying and playing the games so frustrating for consumers. That doesn't mean someone pirating their games is any less scummy. They're just using DRM as a means of enticing people to their side.

dbenoy:

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.

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

Agayek:

Alterego-X:
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.

The difference between beggars and pirates is that those who give to charity are explicitly giving to charity. They made a choice that they are willing to share their goods with no intention of or desire for repayment.

Of course I'm aware of that obvious difference, I was merely poking fun at the poster who defined the fault of piracy in a ridiculously broad way. That's a problem with such threads. Everyone starts from a single ggeneric point, and when that proves untrue, they start moving the goalpost. Even I might be guilty of it.

Agayek:

Also, with regards to an earlier point you brought up about the rule of law, copyright is very much in infringement of that conceit. Copyright as it currently stands is horrendously broken and needs to be fixed rather desperately. That does not mean copyright itself is in anyway invalid.

I mostly agree with that. Copyright itself is useful, for things like stopping plagiarism, or forbidding a book publisher to sell your book without your consent, in a large-scale business, or to stop TV channels from airing each other's shows.

Agayek:

People should be able to expect legal protection from others taking their work...

I wouldn't be so sure about that. People should be able to get some sort of profit from creative work, but I don't think that they have any more objective right specifically to the "controlling the distribution of copies and charging for every unit" method, than to the things that YOU want to take away, such as the right to have 120 years until public domain.

Agayek:

(ie, you can sue the guys running the pirate bay, not the guy who uploads a torrent).

I don't think that piratebay, or a Megaupload-like site, or a youtube-like streaming site, should be sueable. They only provided an interface for sharing data, it's not their faultt that the data that most people want to share is pirated. Eventually, every filesharing system, is destined to be filled with piracy. If we are trying to limit that, we are back to square 1, with SOPA PIPA trying to stifle basic features of the Internet.

Alterego-X:
I don't think that piratebay, or a Megaupload-like site, or a youtube-like streaming site, should be sueable. They only provided an interface for sharing data, it's not their faultt that the data that most people want to share is pirated. Eventually, every filesharing system, is destined to be filled with piracy. If we are trying to limit that, we are back to square 1, with SOPA PIPA trying to stifle basic features of the Internet.

The problem with that is that it's essentially a form of plagiarism. They are profiting from someone else's work without putting any of their own time or effort into it. My example may have been a bit off though. The idea I was aiming for was that someone who intentionally profits from pirated material (much like the megaupload guys have, to my understanding), than they should be punished. If someone is not making money off of it though, then they should not face litigation. The difference is sharing vs profiteering mostly.

I do find it rather disrespectful, that you starts picking on the persons who makes the "cracks". Since even those people doesn't have anything to do with the "Bittorrent-era" of the internet.

Because the more "cracks" that are realesed to the public more exposed they get, which is people who is just like any suburban family.

Since that is just what the realease-groups are, they started out in the 80's making cracks for various games and shared it to people with similar intrests and that is not for the sake of "Hey! Sharing is caring!", it's only to impress the others who got the same interest.

And also, in all the might of indie games, they aren't all that "original", sure they got different mechanics within their genre of game they are developing, but it is almost always a 2D/3D platformer with some spicy on it.

Instead of actually supporting the small companies which produce different types of genres and keeps the games in a good condition (just look for example, how well Blizzard went), the big companies didn't become BIG by some magical wand/wish but by making just like some small company is did, making good games.

Sorry Mr. Sterling, but sensationalism has no place trumping hard facts; that's the path that leads to ignorance. Copyright violators aren't thieves; they cannot be no matter how convoluted the reasoning. It is not a matter of interpretation or intent.

I do agree with your stance on the nature of the people who "cracked" and distributed the humble indie bundle. They're human scum. Simple as that. They encourage honest developers to put crippleware into their titles. It begs the question: Why go to the effort when it costs one penny?
The only rational answer: To be an asshole, that's why.

Agayek:

Alterego-X:
I don't think that piratebay, or a Megaupload-like site, or a youtube-like streaming site, should be sueable. They only provided an interface for sharing data, it's not their faultt that the data that most people want to share is pirated. Eventually, every filesharing system, is destined to be filled with piracy. If we are trying to limit that, we are back to square 1, with SOPA PIPA trying to stifle basic features of the Internet.

The problem with that is that it's essentially a form of plagiarism. They are profiting from someone else's work without putting any of their own time or effort into it. My example may have been a bit off though. The idea I was aiming for was that someone who intentionally profits from pirated material (much like the megaupload guys have, to my understanding), than they should be punished. If someone is not making money off of it though, then they should not face litigation. The difference is sharing vs profiteering mostly.

Most of these sites profit from piracy the same way as Google profits from it. Ad revenues from people searching for anything, including piracy. Megaupload's crime was not taking down some user-uploaded content when they were asked to, the same way as youtube does after every report.

And we can see where taking down everything leads with youtube. Remixes, Let's plays, and similar creative fair use-protected content gets taken down, because the IP holding companies can take everything down at a first wish, because Google can't risk hesitating too much about the lawfulness of a claim, and getting shut down like Megaupload.

Every big site that allows any sharing of content is destined to have large amounts of piracy on it, much more than what can be manually found, so the owners can either blindly shut down everything at the first suspicion, and stifle the site's usefulness, or have piracy on the site, and "profit from it".

That's why I think that copyright should be entirely lifted from that area, and limited to physical copies, (where a pirate factory can be easily located), or public performances.

SenorStocks:

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

Whereby "do some reading" you actually mean "read hundreds of pages of legal documents to respond to my spurious arguments."

SenorStocks:
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."

This does not say what you claimed it does. It does not say that copyright infringement cannot be theft, it says that the Theft Act is not applicable in this case. That does not mean that the general term "theft" cannot be applied. His comments are also confined to this particular case. He is not speaking in general terms.

Also, it does not say that copyrighted materials cannot be stolen, it says that copyright cannot be stolen. Of course it can't as copyright is a concept and a legal code. But that's not the same as works being stolen.

You are aware that judges frequently disagree on interpretation of the law and terms of law, right? There are plenty of other cases where judges do refer to copyright infringement as theft.

Alterego-X:
Most of these sites profit from piracy the same way as Google profits from it. Ad revenues from people searching for anything, including piracy. Megaupload's crime was not taking down some user-uploaded content when they were asked to, the same way as youtube does after every report.

And we can see where taking down everything leads with youtube. Remixes, Let's plays, and similar creative fair use-protected content gets taken down, because the IP holding companies can take everything down at a first wish, because Google can't risk hesitating too much about the lawfulness of a claim, and getting shut down like Megaupload.

Every big site that allows any sharing of content is destined to have large amounts of piracy on it, much more than what can be manually found, so the owners can either blindly shut down everything at the first suspicion, and stifle the site's usefulness, or have piracy on the site, and "profit from it".

That's why I think that copyright should be entirely lifted from that area, and limited to physical copies, (where a pirate factory can be easily located), or public performances.

I'm not saying a site that has pirated material on it should be taken down, simply that those who deliberately and knowingly profit from it should be punished. I'm actually very much against taking down the websites and the like there.

I used the MegaUpload thing because the people facing litigation are essentially being charged with deliberately encouraging piracy to further pad their wallets. If that happens to be true, I am 100% behind whatever punishment they face. Sites that actually follow cease & desist requests should be completely immune from persecution, regardless of what was actually posted. They don't need to have no piracy, they simply need to remove it when they are made of aware of it.

All of this is predicated on them fixing copyright itself though. As things currently stand, I don't think it would work properly, but if they were to implement changes to copyright in line with what I defined earlier, it should work out just fine. It allows content creators to profit from and protect their own work, while not inhibiting the sharing of information.

Wow, I missed a fair bit of this thread... but after reading most of it since my last post, I guess I didn't miss all that much really.

Food for thought, in the US there is a reason why piracy and the like is prosecuted under copyright infrigement versus theft. That reason being, criminal copyright infringement is a federal offense with much harsher penalties attached. If it were prosecuted under "theft" it would be at most petty theft as the avg cost of a game is 60 bucks. With it being copyright infrigement it's now a felony with the possibilty of up to 5 years in prison, 250k fine or both for each incident. I am not saying this is right at all, my personal belief is that this is an excessive punishment for the crime.

All that being said, games are, indeed, wants not needs. It's not like someone put a gun to a pirates head and said "if you don't pirate this I'll kill you." There is a choice to either buy games legally or pirate them. If one choses to pirate they are breaking established laws that come with the aforementioned consequences. No one made them pirate. QED, pirate something and get prosecuted.

Saying that piracy harms no one is an utter fallacy. It harms not just the person(s) or business who's product or service was used without payment but ends up causing increased prices, obnoxious drm and the like to paying customers. This again is action and consequence. The consequences of piracy stretch past the indivual pirate and effect others in harmful ways. Personally,I dislike drm in almost all it's forms. I dislike having to pay higher prices because devs/pubs are trying to recoup their loses from copyright infrigement/piracy.

Imagine you write a book, then publish it. Then someone takes your book and inserts their name as the author, republishes it and you get zero credit or cash for your work sold under that person's name. That'd piss you off right? Of course. You worked hard to create that world, populate and make it a living entity. This type of situation is exactly why copyright laws exsist. In other words, There is no such thing as a free lunch.

In short, people are entitled to recompense for their work be it a physical type of labor or those of intellectual/creative pursuits such as creating games, music etc.

Some of the pirates may not have access to a credit card to pay 1 cent for HIB. That in no way excuses them, they should go buy a pre-paid card at Wal-Mart but lets face it, there are a lot of people too stupid to figure that part out.

Who gives a fuck if it can be filed under theft or paedophilia, pirating a pro-consumer game from a company that deserves the money, regardless of whether they're an indie developer or not, is despicable.

Fuck. You guys are the most pedantic, nitpicking people I've ever seen. In your bid to be correct on every level you can be, you've missed the point entirely.

Aardvaarkman:

SenorStocks:

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

Whereby "do some reading" you actually mean "read hundreds of pages of legal documents to respond to my spurious arguments."

SenorStocks:
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."

This does not say what you claimed it does. It does not say that copyright infringement cannot be theft, it says that the Theft Act is not applicable in this case. That does not mean that the general term "theft" cannot be applied. His comments are also confined to this particular case. He is not speaking in general terms.

Also, it does not say that copyrighted materials cannot be stolen, it says that copyright cannot be stolen. Of course it can't as copyright is a concept and a legal code. But that's not the same as works being stolen.

You are aware that judges frequently disagree on interpretation of the law and terms of law, right? There are plenty of other cases where judges do refer to copyright infringement as theft.

Yeah, you really really don't have a clue how the law works so I'm done with you. That case has been cited many times in future cases, it has not been overruled and is still good law today. You haven't read the case yet you feel you know that he was only talking in this context (Protip: no he wasn't, he was talking in general) and the other judges were all in agreement and all made comments to the effect that copyright infringement and piracy are not theft.

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

Raesvelg:
And now we're back to semantics.

AGAIN.

I have no interest in debating the meaning of words. Let's make a new word up, just to completely rule out the possibility that I'm trying to manipulate the language to my own ends.

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

Coppying is not XYZ. Using copyright litigation against 'pirates' to IS XYZ. XYZ hurts people, because they are permanently excluded from accessing what is rightfully theirs.

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

If you have a word that exactly matches XYZ, then I would like to use that word instead.

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