Lawyer Destroys Arguments for Game Piracy

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Lunncal:

Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn't mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it?

Actually, that's exactly what it means. If you can't find a method to reliably catch and punish pirates, and only pirates, then you should do nothing. No matter how many criminals you catch, punishing an innocent is still wrong, and completely inexcusable if it's done in the process of punishing a crime as petty as piracy.

Also, by "not perfect", I assume he actually means "only harmful to legitimate customers" if he's referring to DRM, or "completely indiscriminate and abusable" if he's referring to something like SOPA.

You do realize what the trial system is about right?
Or are you saying we should only ever have a trial if we definitely know the person is guilty before we start?

Can we update the title of the story? There is no way his arguments "destroyed" anything. His comments, particularly the IP Address and the lost sales, are poor counterpoints at best.

Kwil:

TheMadJack:
I currently own almost 200 games on Steam (plus uncounted boxed games, both old and new titles) and I'll admit I have pirated games.

Why have I done it? Titles that look fun but have a dubious feel to it; I usually end up testing for a couple of hours (more or less) then make a decision if I want to acquire it or not based on fun-factor.

Bulletstorm is the lastest I have gotten (Not long after release and I was both horrified and relieved). Horrified at the dullness of it. Relieved that I hadn't spent 40, 50$ bucks for it.

Now, understand that if there were demo versions of those dubious games in the first place I wouldn't even have to download all that data. I would be happy to download a smaller set of the game itself, test it out; the mechanics, the fun I'm having and replayability potential, to finally be able to make a decision based on personal values I find important in a game.

In the last two years I might have downloaded 5-6 games and bought NONE of them. But you know what, I didn't even finish any either. I played a couple of hours, didn't like my experience then uninstalled/deleted the whole thing.

I do not, again, DO NOT, get pirated games because I'm a cheap ass customer. I do it because I want to have fun for the money I'm spending. Nothing else. Sadly, that doesn't represent the state of mind of most "pirates".

You do it because you're a lazy-ass gamer, who puts your own immediate needs ahead of those who actually did the work to make the game.

Case in point: http://www.joystiq.com/2011/04/04/bulletstorm-pc-demo-now-out-on-steam-and-gfwl/

There ARE demo versions, you were just too damned lazy/impatient to bother finding them.

yep proof of one demo shows that every game has demo. Of course.

I content that both pro- and anti-piracy arguments are flawed, but the "piracy=lost profit" annoys me the most. No, it doesn't. A sale would be made if I were to buy something, a sale is not made if I do not buy something. A "lost" sale would be me deciding against buying something over a competitor's product, while said sale would never have taken place while pirating. It's a subtle but important distinction: no money would have exchanged hands, and no loss of product was accrued. Some may then go on to buy the game, while others will not.

But on to something else: if piracy were indeed responsible for lost sales (which it bloody isn't!), would it be alright if I were to pirate decade old games that are not found in retail anymore, and their potential sale hence cannot possibly affect anybody's bottom line? Because that's what I'm getting from this imbecilic argument.

Why is this newsworthy?
Piracy = bad... whoa!

And by way of the mouth of a nobody who delivers a so-so standard argument without citing any actual facts and figures to back it up, that really adds to it! So... "destroying" the counterarguments is really quite an overstatement to say the least.

Slow news day much?

Kwil:

Lunncal:

Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn't mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it?

Actually, that's exactly what it means. If you can't find a method to reliably catch and punish pirates, and only pirates, then you should do nothing. No matter how many criminals you catch, punishing an innocent is still wrong, and completely inexcusable if it's done in the process of punishing a crime as petty as piracy.

Also, by "not perfect", I assume he actually means "only harmful to legitimate customers" if he's referring to DRM, or "completely indiscriminate and abusable" if he's referring to something like SOPA.

You do realize what the trial system is about right?
Or are you saying we should only ever have a trial if we definitely know the person is guilty before we start?

There'll be no trial before websites are censored by SOPA (in fact there's practically no confirmation needed at all, that's one of the main reasons people are against it), and I've certainly never been to a trial before being punished by bad DRM for the actions of pirates (who don't have to deal with said DRM at all).

Besides which, yes, you should be fairly certain that you've got the right person before you go to a trial at all.

While piracy may not equate to lost sales, if I spent time and effort detailing your car's exterior and then you gave me counterfeit money to pay for it, I HAVE LOST COMPENSATION FOR THE TIME AND EFFORT I SPENT. Piracy is basically enjoying the fruits of the developers' labor and then paying them with money that doesn't exist - pretending to spend financial equity in giving it to the provider of said services, and then refusing to do so (usually without the provider knowing). That's the definition of counterfeiting.

Piracy ain't theft, and that's 100% correct: IT'S FRAUD.

Scrustle:
I don't see how anyone with a brain can seriously hold the belief that a pirated game leads to a sale later. The whole point of pirating a game is to obtain it without paying. Once you have obtained it, why pay money for something you already own? Some may decide to buy the game out of respect for the developer and their work, but how often does that seriously happen? I bet it's far more common that it does not. And after you work out that you can easily get games without paying for them, that becomes a very hard habit to break. There's no undeniable reason why someone would not at least be tempted to commit piracy again and again after they see they can do it easily and without immediate negative consequence.

Thank you for posting this. you may be the one person on this form with insight.

The "no lost sale" argument is a cornerstone of piracy of apologetics. This argument can only make sense if you know nothing about business or you are na´ve and think everyone is altruistic. You, Scrustle, explain what I mean with my first point for my second I need only to remind you what happened with the recent Humble Indie Game Bundle. The abuse of their offer of a Steam version of each game in the trading oriented holiday sale was truly inexcusable greed. You can call companies greedy, but they exist to make money and few of them seek to take advantage of a charity.

Also, it is no ones fault but your own if you are a spendthrift. If you have suspicions about a games quality, stability, longevity or its ability to scale to low-end hardware they should wait a few days and ask on a form. When LA noir was on sale a few days ago I immediately went twisting forms to confirm the quality of its PC port. I found a thread of someone asking the exact same question followed by warnings that it was even more of a hack job then Grand Theft Auto IV. I saved money without having to steal anything.

I used to believe that true art was created only for its own sake. That almost all famous works from the Mona Lisa to super Mario Brothers 3 releasing proteins it by interesting self gain. Recent events have challenge this belief of mine they no longer think that this is the case. To achieve competence in a craft, let alone a mastery, and then to creating gearing work is a monumental task. One that is life consuming for most. There is the occasional Cave Story and the Bizard of Ozz, works created with nothing to lose and for thar own sake. But Bizard of Ozz was also a springboard to launch Odyssey solo career after leaving Black Sabbath and Cave Story could've been made four times as quickly if Daisuke Amaya was working on it full time.

This is all I will say for now since unlikely running up against a character limit. This sounds awfully rude but I'm really not expecting a intelligent rebuttal or for anyone reading this to understand what I'm saying.Although I do have more my mind regarding this issue.

I know developers and publishers do put a lot of work in these games (even the crappy ones), but calling piracy equal to 'theft' makes me question back with 'how?' To me, theft is taking an object in a person's property so they no longer own it. If I took someone's $20 bill, they won't have that bill anymore. But in this case its a person getting a *copy* of the product in question, while the original person still owns the same software. "Half Life 2" was leaked onto the Internet a year before its launch--which pissed off a lot of fans and lead to the birth of Steam--but Valve still owned the game and sold it with great success.

That 'how' part seems to imply the software developers/publishers are not earning the income they would like from the game they sold on the market. Its like a bread baker saying he is being 'stolen from' by other bread bakers because he isn't making any money in the market since he isn't reaching his expected income with the sale of his bread.

To put it another way, John Funk had an article where games in China (and from what I heard, Russia as well) were too expensive for the gamers in that country that they could only resort to piracy. Games like "Mother 3" (GBA) or "Seiken Densetsu 3" (SNES) never got sold in North America, yet are downloaded, translated, and loved by English fans. "How" is Nintendo (Mother 3) or Square-Enix (Seiken Densetsu 3, formerly known as 'Square Soft') losing income off these pirated games when they have no intention of selling their game in North America in the first place?

Voltano:
I know developers and publishers do put a lot of work in these games (even the crappy ones), but calling piracy equal to 'theft' makes me question back with 'how?' To me, theft is taking an object in a person's property so they no longer own it. If I took someone's $20 bill, they won't have that bill anymore. But in this case its a person getting a *copy* of the product in question, while the original person still owns the same software. "Half Life 2" was leaked onto the Internet a year before its launch--which pissed off a lot of fans and lead to the birth of Steam--but Valve still owned the game and sold it with great success.

That argument works fine if individual copies computer games were singular items, each of which requiring separate time and effort to fabricate.

Software development is a service, not a good, and therefore there's nothing for me to "give" that I will no longer possess once it's purchased. It's my time and effort. Once I've served you with my game, I can't very well take back that time and effort and do something more worthwhile with it if you haven't paid me.

No other service industry has this level of consumer-entitlement-based cognitive dissonance.

Dastardly:

Greg Tito:
The arguments for game piracy seem a bit flimsy in response to stories like CD Projekt's DRM-less Witcher 2 being pirated more than it was purchased or this abominable list of pirated games from TorrentFreak. The games industry can't just ignore these thefts, and no amount of backwards logic can argue the impact of piracy away.

And now we are treated to the sounds of:

"It's not a lost sale, because they were never going to buy it anyway." (unverifiable ex-post-facto justification)

"Stop calling it theft. The publisher is not denied access or deprived of any property." (a "no true Scotsman" regarding the definition of "theft")

"Well the publishers need to stop being greedy, and maybe people will support them." (a deflection and complete change of topic. could be called "the Robin Hood defense.")

"If they made better games, maybe people wouldn't pirate." (logically inside-out, since any improvement to the game itself would equally improve the pirated copy. No disincentive is established.)

"People only pirate because of DRM." (reversal of the actual state of cause-effect, since DRM measures were created as a reaction to piracy, and DRM-less games are still frequently pirated)

So, now that we've got that out of the way, good article and I'm glad to hear lawyers weighing in on it.

Actually, I want people to stop calling it "theft" because theft has a specific definition. Game piracy is actually a violation of intellectual property law, not theft. People as smart as many gamers are should know and understand the difference.

The cause/effect relationship between DRM and piracy is actually much muddier than you would think. I don't pirate games, but it is possible that I may have downloaded some games, not to play but to make a point. (It is equally possible that none resided on my hard drive beyond the time it took to DL them). Purely as a reaction to what I saw as unreasonable and unconscionable DRM. So, to say people ONLY pirate as a result of DRM is incorrect. To say that people NEVER pirate as a result of DRM is equally incorrect. It's not something that can be argued in absolutes. That said, people who pirate DRMless games are real jerks who need to be taken out into the street and beaten with sticks.

The lack of lost sales is, in fact, accurate, but is not a good justification. Yes, most of those pirated games would not have been sales had there been no piracy at all (the only real experiment on this resulted in a .1% conversion rate). However, that doesn't make pirating the game right or proper. It's still an IP violation, and it is (and damned well should be!) illegal.

The other arguments never held water, in my opinion.

Zachery Gaskins:

Voltano:
I know developers and publishers do put a lot of work in these games (even the crappy ones), but calling piracy equal to 'theft' makes me question back with 'how?' To me, theft is taking an object in a person's property so they no longer own it. If I took someone's $20 bill, they won't have that bill anymore. But in this case its a person getting a *copy* of the product in question, while the original person still owns the same software. "Half Life 2" was leaked onto the Internet a year before its launch--which pissed off a lot of fans and lead to the birth of Steam--but Valve still owned the game and sold it with great success.

That argument works fine if individual copies computer games were singular items, each of which requiring separate time and effort to fabricate.

Software development is a service, not a good, and therefore there's nothing for me to "give" that I will no longer possess once it's purchased. It's my time and effort. Once I've served you with my game, I can't very well take back that time and effort and do something more worthwhile with it if you haven't paid me.

No other service industry has this level of consumer-entitlement-based cognitive dissonance.

So then do you consider dvds, books, and music cds products, services as well?

Mcoffey:

Zachery Gaskins:

Voltano:
I know developers and publishers do put a lot of work in these games (even the crappy ones), but calling piracy equal to 'theft' makes me question back with 'how?' To me, theft is taking an object in a person's property so they no longer own it. If I took someone's $20 bill, they won't have that bill anymore. But in this case its a person getting a *copy* of the product in question, while the original person still owns the same software. "Half Life 2" was leaked onto the Internet a year before its launch--which pissed off a lot of fans and lead to the birth of Steam--but Valve still owned the game and sold it with great success.

That argument works fine if individual copies computer games were singular items, each of which requiring separate time and effort to fabricate.

Software development is a service, not a good, and therefore there's nothing for me to "give" that I will no longer possess once it's purchased. It's my time and effort. Once I've served you with my game, I can't very well take back that time and effort and do something more worthwhile with it if you haven't paid me.

No other service industry has this level of consumer-entitlement-based cognitive dissonance.

So then do you consider dvds, books, and music cds products, or services as well?

Yes I do, and I disapprove of piracy of them as well. Any type of purchaseable media which is "develop once, duplicate many" must be considered a service because what a Music CD is intended to be is a BEARER LICENSE to listen to the content. It is not consumed like food or clothing is. Goods are things that are absorbed or destroyed in the act of assmilating their worth.

Zachery Gaskins:
Software development is a service, not a good, and therefore there's nothing for me to "give" that I will no longer possess once it's purchased. It's my time and effort. Once I've served you with my game, I can't very well take back that time and effort and do something more worthwhile with it if you haven't paid me.

Yet the end result of a software development project is a product intended for sale--games or software. True you put time into developing that product (as a programmer, I know writing up a program is not an easy hundred lines of code or a few conditional statements), but a manufacturer of a car or a bread baker still end up with a product to sell: The car that goes on the market, or the bread sold in a super-market. If those products were taken from them with nothing in trade, I'd consider that theft. But if that analogy were to fit, its like the software developer, car manufacturer, or bread baker have a product to sell but not finding anyone to sell it too.

The software developer still owns the final product (Valve still sold "Half Life 2", and the same happened earlier with "Crysis 2" with EA). I agree they are losing money because a person could just get the game for free instead of giving them any money, but then this also gets into the ethical issue of used games or used products. The software developer doesn't get a penny if the customer gets their product from a Mom & Pop store, yet the customer legally purchases the product at a better deal for them. Of course the "Mom & Pop store" is usually replaced by GameStop. However, the direction of this argument (lack of payment for service = theft) implies the software developers/publishers are asking too much from the customer for the work they done. Valve had a holiday sale which included "Portal 2"--a game they released last year and was received well by gamers--for a great price on Steam. They continue to make a profit off their old and new products by giving a better deal to the customer.

LilithSlave:

but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer

NO, it does not. That logic is incredibly erroneous.

If you think that piracy does not cause ANY loss of sales you're in denial.

Gamers like games - if they have to pay for them all they will pay for them. Maybe they won't pay for as many as they would otherwise pirate but they will buy SOME. I've been as dirt poor as anyone else at one point or another - I still found cash for the occasional game. Maybe not the latest released on launch day but I could still buy games.

So while I agree that one download does not equal one lost sale, game piracy DOES create lost sales.

Thinking that every single pirated game either falls into 'was never going to buy it' or 'will buy it later' is being silly. The third catagory 'pirated it cause I want it and this way is free' is a MUCH bigger number.

Game demos have been around a long time and most games have them (yes, not all I know). Those are the things you download for a test to see if you want to buy something, not the full game that you play for 10 hours then decide you don't want it.

I could write a whole my blog about how to save money while playing a lot of video games. I've noticed the average game has its price cut in half after six months and many beloved classics and inventive Indie games can be had for $20 or less (often much less).

I'm not sure if anyone else has thought of this but for the past 2000 years (at least) civilization has had a foundation based on a simple and broad exchange; A desired product or service for an agreed-upon volume of a currency and vice versa. While you think of the transaction as acquiring the end result you are also paying for the work that went into its creation.

Now we'll assume a basic level of intelligence and ask what would happen if non-entertainment items were digitized and distributed over BitTorrent. If you still can't see it I should remind you that about half the headlines you see in the news today are from money not circulating. It's not completely impossible I'm not sure what it would be or how but it is a possibility. Remember, no science fiction author could have printed the Internet or the iPod.

Games are to expensive is the most absurd point pirates ever brought up. Games are probably the 3rd cheapest form of entertainment media next to television and radio. You calculate the time spent vs the money paid and it is usually well under $5/hour. You can hardly say that for Going to the movies or buying a DVD.

If your in the United States there is almost no excuse. Between Blockbuster, Redbox, GameFly and other rental systems, you don't have to pay more than $10 for a couple nights with a game, usually long enough to play through the game.

Then there is always OnLive, which is FREE to have an account by the way. Even if you never purchase a game or playpass there. They have tons of games you can get 15-30 minute demos on. Not just old games, but newly released games too.

And finally if you can't afford a game, don't pirate it. Wait til it comes down in price. The games not going anywhere. Wait for Steam or Onlive(if you like that service) to have it on Sale. Or Go buy it secondhand at Gamestop(it still legal). You do not need it right away, no matter what the circumstance(or go get professional help if you do).

Lunncal:

There'll be no trial before websites are censored by SOPA (in fact there's practically no confirmation needed at all, that's one of the main reasons people are against it), and I've certainly never been to a trial before being punished by bad DRM for the actions of pirates (who don't have to deal with said DRM at all).

Besides which, yes, you should be fairly certain that you've got the right person before you go to a trial at all.

Which is exactly what this lawyer is saying, we can be fairly certain that the folks with the IP addresses are the ones that are the pirate, because most of these guys aren't the crackers and simply aren't tech savvy enough (nor concerned enough) to bother with fake IPs.

SOPA's bad all around, I'll agree. However that doesn't mean that no attempts at enforcement are the answer, just that SOPA's a particularly bad one.

Always appreciate the editorialisation and intellectual dishonesty these articles stoop to.

We get it, the Escapist is anti-piracy. Calling it theft and calling anyone who opposes such a draconian and inaccurate viewpoint "apologists" is Fox News territory.

Tubez:

yep proof of one demo shows that every game has demo. Of course.

Hey, I found a demo for every game he named.

Slycne:

LilithSlave:

but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer

NO, it does not. That logic is incredibly erroneous.

As I see it, the two polar notions that piracy is always a lost sale and that piracy is never effectively a financial loss are what is truly lacking logic. The truth is in fact somewhere in the middle.

The problem is that law works best when seen in black and white. It's really hard to make judgments when the problem is so murky and gray. Lawyers like problems that can be solved with "yes" or "no". Unfortunately this is a complicated issue :(

Morality is subjective, the law is not. It's perfectly legal to pirate software for non-profit use in a lot of countries (actually, most of them).
So, pirate only if it's legal in your country. Then you can think about morality.

Dastardly:

Greg Tito:
The arguments for game piracy seem a bit flimsy in response to stories like CD Projekt's DRM-less Witcher 2 being pirated more than it was purchased or this abominable list of pirated games from TorrentFreak. The games industry can't just ignore these thefts, and no amount of backwards logic can argue the impact of piracy away.

And now we are treated to the sounds of:

1"It's not a lost sale, because they were never going to buy it anyway." (unverifiable ex-post-facto justification)

2"Stop calling it theft. The publisher is not denied access or deprived of any property." (a "no true Scotsman" regarding the definition of "theft")

3"Well the publishers need to stop being greedy, and maybe people will support them." (a deflection and complete change of topic. could be called "the Robin Hood defense.")

4"If they made better games, maybe people wouldn't pirate." (logically inside-out, since any improvement to the game itself would equally improve the pirated copy. No disincentive is established.)

5"People only pirate because of DRM." (reversal of the actual state of cause-effect, since DRM measures were created as a reaction to piracy, and DRM-less games are still frequently pirated)

So, now that we've got that out of the way, good article and I'm glad to hear lawyers weighing in on it.

EDITED in bold for clarity in my post below
-ragsnstitches

Total Agreement. I'm honestly sickened by the Pro-Piracy/Piracy Apologists on this site (and wider web).

As a reinforcement to your above points.

1 Sales are defined as "The exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something". If you pirate the game, whether you are going to buy it or not does not come into consideration. A lost Sale is a very simple concept... You have a copy of a item that took time, money and human effort to create, in which you did not invest your own money to reward the human effort and compensate the lost time and money.

The key thing to note is:

YOU DID NOT PAY FOR IT YET YOU HAVE IT! Ergo: YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE IT!

What's more, Sharing your games and 2nd hand game sales are also lost sales in regards to money going to the people that truly matter, though this is a point for another topic. The quality of the game is irrelevant in this point (see point 4 below).

2 Theft... consider this for a moment. The developers are not deprived of anything? You sure? Does this logic claim that an Item must be tangible for it to be considered of worth? The digital age is here for some time fellas, time to climb out of your caves and realise that the the WHOLE WORLD is changing because of it.

Does this logic ignore input involved in the production of a game?

It certainly does.

3 Logical response would be "Well maybe the customers shouldn't be so fickle and accept 10 year old tech that is a fraction of the cost to prduuce, a fraction of the time to create and at a fraction of the price". Look at PC/PS3/Xbox 360 v PC/PS3/Xbox 360 threads and realise how fucking retarded that logic is. Look at Console Cycles and how ridiculously short a console life span is (6 years between each new generation, whereby the previous generations support is rapidly discontinued)... also note the high demand RIGHT NOW, for a new wave of consoles. For luxury goods, the Greed of the companies is proportional to the demands of the masses... not the other way around.

Companies Breaking up their games into DLC pre-release to exploit honest consumers is a legitimate way to screw you over for their own greed. Pirating is just indulging your own greed at everybodies expense. Peas in a pod in my eyes.

4 Pure Pirate brainfart argument. Game Piracy has been existed since the advent of floppy discs (and possibly prior). Piracy was noted as a serious problem during the motherfucking golden age of PC gaming. This notion isn't just stupid, it's stupid born with cognitive defects and lobotomised for shits and giggles.

What's more... in the age of Youtube (and such), digital magazines (which are free to browse like this very site), a bajillion reviewers, amateur and professional and so on and so forth, you have so many other ways to gauge the quality of game OUTSIDE OF LEGAL DEMOS, that it's fucking retarded to argue Piracy is simply Taste Testing.

5

Read number 4 again, the part where I say "Game Piracy has been a problem since the advent of floppy discs (and possibly prior). Piracy was noted as a serious problem during the motherfucking golden age of PC gaming. This notion isn't just stupid, it's stupid born with cognitive defects and lobotomised for shits and giggles."

The only form of Piracy I have sympathy for (and which Dastardly did not mention) is Piracy committed due to forced Censorship or Bans. These imposed restrictions are crimes against human rights as mild as they are, and have denied both Developers of new customers, and potential customers of quality products... at least through this, the customers can still enjoy the games.

Still, 99 out of every 100 people I hear using this argument I will call them out for bullshit. Why? Because Pirates are liars and Self-centred fuckwits, I have little basis to believe them when they try to defend their crime.

....There's no sure-fire way to go after IP addresses that have downloaded games illegally, they say, because the hackers can just mask their IP address. Or just because a game was downloaded doesn't mean that the computer's owner was the pirate. Worse, pirates say that any prosecution is just a way to scare people or that most of the time pirates become real customers of the game. Jas Purewal is a lawyer based in London and he pointed out today that most of those arguments don't hold up to any real logical scrutiny.

Purewal says there is really no evidence that most pirates have the desire or technical chops to effectively mask their IP address, and even if some did, that's hardly a reason to stop going after pirates. "There's no empirical evidence so far to support how often IP spoofing is done," he said. "In reality, I suspect fairly few pirates actually go to the trouble of disguising themselves. Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn't mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it?"

OK this lawyer may need some pointers

Innocent until proven guilty

In short 'Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies' or 'the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges'

In other words can you prove from my IP that it was me, I'd say No...and one piece of unsupported evidence is not enough to convict someone anyway....

We move onto reasonable doubt - can this have happened. Yes, as such from IP evidence alone, which is all they have does reasonable doubt exist. Yes

the burden of proof rests on the prosecution throughout the trial and never shifts to the accused;
rather, it is based upon reason and common sense;
it is logically connected to the evidence or absence of evidence;
it does not involve proof to an absolute certainty; it is not proof beyond any doubt nor is it an imaginary or frivolous doubt; and
more is required than proof that the accused is probably guilty ‑‑ a jury which concludes only that the accused is probably guilty must acquit.

Some pointers as to what is involved with reasonable doubt.

Yeh I'm sure you could argue back and forth on that one, but I'd say it's a fairly strong case - and his oh 'just becuase it's not perfect it'll have to do' line makes me think of some medieval witch hunters

I must have missed something because I thought the arguement against this kind of talk was censorship, like how while the BitTorrent client can be used for piracy, that doesn't mean it should be banned. I was unaware there was an actual front saying piracy is okay. I know theres the debate over whether using piracy as a demo thing is one gray area and the DRM stuff is another, but I have never heard of a sizable movement to defend piracy.

Its an interesting concept but not surprising, but can anyone tell me if I am right? I'm very curious if there is an actual large party of people defending piracy.

ph0b0s123:

Greg Tito:

Purewal says there is really no evidence that most pirates have the desire or technical chops to effectively mask their IP address, and even if some did, that's hardly a reason to stop going after pirates. "There's no empirical evidence so far to support how often IP spoofing is done," he said. "In reality, I suspect fairly few pirates actually go to the trouble of disguising themselves. Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn't mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it?"

No, but it does mean that companies need more evidence than just an IP address to take people to court.

Greg Tito:

The notion that piracy does not equate to lost sales is just as erroneous.

No, it's not. Someone who pirates a game was not definitely going to buy it if they could not pirate it. So if you stop all piracy, it does not mean that all those pirated copies would turn into sales on a 1:1 ratio. This is hardly rocket science, but some people try very hard to ignore common sense.

How is this article titled 'Lawyer Destroys Arguments for Game Piracy', when he does not even discuss any pro piracy arguments. The only things he is talks about are evidential short comings of enforcement and the industries wrong assumptions about how much piracy is costing them.

Greg Tito:

The arguments for game piracy seem a bit flimsy in response to stories like CD Projekt's DRM-less Witcher 2 being pirated more than it was purchased or this abominable list of pirated games from TorrentFreak. The games industry can't just ignore these thefts, and no amount of backwards logic can argue the impact of piracy away.

And as I predicted in my comment to the top pirated games article, the figures now are being reported as fact even though they are ESTIMATES based on bad data collection methodology. And the two ESTIMATES don't even tally as if the Witcher 2 Piracy ESTIMATE was right, then the game would have appeared in the top 10 Torrentfreak article.

I don't like games being pirated and buy all of mine, but the reporting / journalism here on this issue, leaves a lot to be desired. All these badly sourced ESTIMATES do is convince developers to add more intrusive DRM schemes which only affect legitimate buyers, like myself.

The problem is that this is the narrative that the owners of this site want to drive. Sadly this is a common tactic in the media and there is nothing we, the readers/viewers/consumers can do about it. After all, publishers are privately owned and they dictate what can go in their publication. I don't like it, because in the age of unprecedented access to information, factual unbiased information has become more difficult to find. Either way, games "journalism" is a whole lot of wank anyway. Now as for the "The notion that piracy does not equate to lost sales is just as erroneous." - Is just well... erroneous. Allow me the liberty to use a hypothetical situation.

Ahem, I have made a self portrait that I worked very hard on. While doing this my living expenses were subsidized by a few investors (friends, family, etc). Now before it goes out, I decide on a sale price of $1,000,000. I also have a way to make quick replications of my masterpiece. So I go and people look at the painting, some even take photos, but no one buys it. Am I right to say that those who saw the painting and decided to keep on walking were lost sales? Can I return to the studio and say that I lost $75,000,000 because my painting didn't sell? No! I never had $1,000,000 in the first place. I had a painting that I put an arbitrary price on! What about the ones that took photos, you ask? Did they steal from me? No! They were never going to pay the asking price, they didn't steal the physical product either. But it's okay for corporations to have to treat projected profits as actual sales figures.

Ah but arguing this on the internet is like arguing politics. The minds of people just work differently. Make no mistake though, the piracy debate does come down to politics. If this was hard to follow, sorry, I'm terrible at debating.

deth2munkies:
He didn't seem to touch the harder arguments that people make about things that are not available/not in production that are being pirated.

To curb a large amount of piracy just do 3 things:

2) Allow for digital distribution.

3) Use reasonable DRM.

Is there something I'm missing with DRM? Every single system of DRM I've used isn't that much of a pain in the ass in a first-world country. face it, you live in the western hemisphere and you're a gamer. You'll have always-on internet.

Dastardly:

"It's not a lost sale, because they were never going to buy it anyway." (unverifiable ex-post-facto justification)

Erm, it sounds more like a counterargument instead of a justification in and of itself. Unless the argument that it IS a lost sale is out there, there would be no reason for someone to argue that it isn't.

As for it being unverifiable... well it's about as verifiable as the opposite claim, that it is a lost sale. It's silly to sling around 'unverifiable' if the opposite claim kind of lacks it too.

You vote with your money. The money you hand over isn't paying for the game you take home, it's funding the next one.

If you keep pirating games you like, you might find people stop making them. I'm not talking about genre or setting, but fundamental game mechanics and market strategy will move towards:

- Intentionally short, easy-to-play games with minimal overhead chasing the impulse purchase,
- Annual releases with minor updates in an attempt to emulate a subscription model.
- Completely locked down, download-primary ecosystems (XBLA, PSN, iOS, OnLive) where your game library can be held hostage for failure to comply with their ToS.
- Addenda to the above: episodic, DLC-heavy gameplay that, again, seeks to emulate a subscription model- even blatantly, lately.
- Free-to-play supported by in-game purchases. This is a proven money-maker in the right environment (MMO), but experiments are already underway elsewhere (such as Team Fortress 2).
- Kickstarter / hostage-based funding (I like this one, actually)

None of these are an evil in an of themselves, but the industry is shifting (and will continue to do so) towards what makes them money.

And if that isn't you, you don't get to complain.

Kwil:

Tubez:

yep proof of one demo shows that every game has demo. Of course.

Hey, I found a demo for every game he named.

yeah you mentioned that one game that he actually bought.

...........

Kwil:

Lunncal:

There'll be no trial before websites are censored by SOPA (in fact there's practically no confirmation needed at all, that's one of the main reasons people are against it), and I've certainly never been to a trial before being punished by bad DRM for the actions of pirates (who don't have to deal with said DRM at all).

Besides which, yes, you should be fairly certain that you've got the right person before you go to a trial at all.

Which is exactly what this lawyer is saying, we can be fairly certain that the folks with the IP addresses are the ones that are the pirate, because most of these guys aren't the crackers and simply aren't tech savvy enough (nor concerned enough) to bother with fake IPs.

SOPA's bad all around, I'll agree. However that doesn't mean that no attempts at enforcement are the answer, just that SOPA's a particularly bad one.

They aren't concerned enough yet, but as soon as you do start punishing them using their IP as evidence, they will be.

I just Googled "mask IP address" and sure enough, here's the top result:

How to Hide Your IP Address
whatismyipaddress.com/hide-ip
Instructions on how to hide the public IP address of your router or computer by masking so you can surf anonymously and protect your identity.

A page that shows 4 different ways of masking your IP address in a couple of small paragraphs of text.
What was required? Use of Keyboard. Ability to read. Brain (debatable).

Punishing them based on IP addresses just wouldn't work. Even worse, it could result in trouble for innocent people who have their networks used without their permission. Although I'm sure that 99.9% of the people who pirate are not tech savvy or cautious enough to do this, there is always the 0.1% that are, and it's just not worth it.

No-one would benefit from this, not the developers, not the publishers, and certainly not the innocent consumers.

Well... no-one but the lawyers, anyway.

The argument that piracy doesn't lead to lost revenue is complete and utter hogwash. Yes, the ratio of lost sales to copies pirated isn't 1:1... there ARE people who wouldn't be able to afford the game at all (and thus wouldn't be sales anyway), and there ARE people who would buy the game after pirating it. However, it is NOT 0:1, either... there ARE people who can... in fact.. PAY for the games they're pirating, but CHOOSE not to. While it's not 'theft' in the strictly legal sense of the word, as there are no physical goods being taken, it's not exactly saintly behavior, and is detrimental to the way society expects people to behave. If somebody provides a service to you with the expectation, be it a charity car wash or providing a game for you to play, and you consume such service without paying for it... well... there shows to be a significant breakdown. You wouldn't drive off after some high school club washed your car without paying... why would you pirate a game?

Likewise, though... people have to be able to say they're getting their money's worth. You'd be righteously pissed if... in going to the aforementioned car wash, you gave your money, but then told to piss off... or perhaps for a more apt picture to fit the scenario, they cleaned off the windows, but left mud caked on the sideboards. So many times, with so many games, it feels like you're given an experienced that's either incomplete unless you fork over additional money (mandatory day zero DLC and such)... or you're just given a product that is so inferior that there is no reasonable way you can say that it is worth your $60. These are serious issues that need to be addressed by the games industry.

For those saying there's should be no DRM... face it... it is NEVER going to happen. It is just naive to expect that if a game is released without DRM, that nobody will pirate it. Look at World of Goo, Witcher 2, etc. Some DRM is necessary... not so much to ensure that the game never gets hacked (which most likely will happen... sooner or later... if nothing else, the crackers love the challenge), but rather to keep would be paying customers honest. There are fewer people then people would want to admit who would pay for something if they can get it for free. It's that simple.

DRM, however, doesn't have to be completely draconian. Steam, as mentioned in the article, is a very good (though perhaps not perfect) example. It adds something to the games beyond simple DRM. The social aspects, the ability to re-download games, the quickly distributed updates, all provide a reason to make you want to continue using it beyond the simply copy protection. Yes, there are flaws to it, but in my own personal opinion, it's a net positive.

Value is something that needs to be seriously looked it. In all honest, for way too many games these days, they are NOT worth the sticker price of $60 that is asked. Many developers/publishers need to sit down and take an actual look at what they're providing, and price it accordingly. In a handful of cases, the price of games may go up. I know I, for one, would probably have been willing to pay MORE then the $60 asking price for Skyrim, for example... bugs and all. In many other cases, the price would drop. I feel sorry for anybody who paid full price for Duke Nukem: Forever. Finding the balance is key.

SOPA, however... is an iron fisted, heavy handed way of handling things, though. I'm not usually fairly progressive as far as my view of government goes, but in this case, I think the libertarian approach is probably ideal. Have the market decide the balancing point. It's an ongoing and continuing balance to find, and not an easy problem to solve. Blanket censorship without due process... well... most people here know the arguments... the vast majority of which really have nothing to do at all with piracy in the first place.

As for his arguments...

1.

There's no empirical evidence so far to support how often IP spoofing is done and, without that evidence, claims that anti-piracy action is useless because IP tracing can be spoofed are just as silly as the unsupported claims by the music/film industries that massive piracy and that alone is killing them. In reality, I suspect fairly few pirates actually go to the trouble of disguising themselves. Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn't mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it? Game development is a business like any other: if you're suffering a loss because someone isn't paying for your product, you do something about it or you go bust.

First off, it isn't their job to prove themselves innocent, it's the job of the companies to prove that the IP is sufficient evidence that it IS that person. And if the method is imperfect, unless you have some way to make up for those imperfections it means said method should not be used. First priority is that no innocent people are harmed here. Go ahead and find a different method, or refine the method, but if it has a glaring flaw then it isn't fair to decide people are guilty based on it.

And that last sentence is a false dichotomy. You can suffer a loss for someone not paying for one instance of the product, but that in and of itself isn't going to make you go bust if you do nothing. We have over a decade of piracy and I have yet to see a company go bust specifically from piracy.

2.

Yes, it's possible someone nicked my connection to pirate a game when I wasn't looking. But that's not massively likely in ordinary circumstances. Has it ever happened to you? I bet not. Besides which, it's my responsibility to take reasonable steps to protect my own connection. Of course, it gets more complicated in situations where you are deliberately extending your broadband connection to other people, like a coffee shop or a library, in which circumstances there can be legitimate concerns about receiving a legal letter.

Well now, first there was a complaint about no empirical evidence, then a claim is made without empirical evidence. Where is the evidence that is not massively likely in ordinary circumstances? If someone DID nick my connection, I wouldn't even know. And whether it's your responsibility or not to protect your connection, it is definitely still the responsibility of the company to prove you did it. If someone steals my gun and murders someone with it, that alone isn't evidence just because you think I should be more responsible. This is assuming that I wasn't responsible in the first place.

3.

Maybe, maybe not. Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer. Sadly developers are not gamer banks, willing to effectively loan gamers money until we decide we like them enough to pay them. Besides which, again, where is the empirical evidence to demonstrate that piracy is not a lost sale?

Wait a minute, 'in the meantime it means a financial loss' after you say 'Maybe, maybe not'? Well if you were just going to say "Yes, it is a lost sale!" say it outright instead of pretending to not be taking a side on whether it is or isn't then acting as if it is. And the burden of proof should be on the people saying it is a lost sale, they're the ones trying to act based on that argument. A counterargument should certainly have evidence, but complaining that it doesn't when the original argument doesn't have any itself is silly. Don't throw stones in glass houses.

4. I agree this argument for piracy is stupid, but why in the world is this one ranked 5/10 when it's rather obvious it just needs to be handled properly?

5. Nothing to say about this, except that I don't get why it's ranked high. I see the argument being problematic because it simply doesn't address the fact that you do both.

And in conclusion, I'm against piracy, but I just think the arguments involved were rather... lackluster.

So I don't support piracy (yay...). I also think that any argument that attempts to make piracy 'justifiable' is silly. With that said, I also really dislike intellectual dishonesty, and think of it as being just as morally reprehensible. I see a lot of straw-manning going on, and claiming the moral-high-ground with such a snooty 'I am pure, and you are an evil pirate that deserves to burn' mentality just reeks of nasty >_>

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