Lawyer Destroys Arguments for Game Piracy

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I find the headline for the thread quite misleading. He approached some of the arguments but by no means all of them.

The main argument I see for pirating games is that it is not fair to expect customers to pay 60$ for a game they have no idea how is other than the general genre and a few screenshots. Since anti pirates like to use stealing cars as a valid example, would you ever buy a car you didn't try? I expect not and neither would I buy a game I hadn't tried the demo of, tried at a PC cafe or at a friends house.

As far as I see from friends who pirate games, 90% of all games they enjoy are bought. I am not defending the remaining 10% which they enjoy and do not buy - but I am definitely defending the hundreds of games they tried and found to be nothing but shoddy development disguised by fancy retouched screen shots of "ingame footage" or pre-manufactured hype.

None of the top 5 games pirated (according to the cited TorrentFreak article) have demos - coincidence? I doubt it.

Even so, many demos are so poorly made and do not really show what the game is about or what kind of pace it has going for it, that they are worthless as a platform for seeing if it is a game you would like or not. Most of the demo's I try are pretty bland or outright uninteresting and it is not until later when I watch a "Lets Play" video or see it being played at a friends house that I see how interesting the game really is.

And no I am not defending all piracy but I am defending the right to see what a product is about before you buy it. We do this with houses, cars, boardgames, household appliances, clothes and more or less every single other thing we buy so why should video games be exempt from this?

Lord Kloo:

On another note I don't remember the days when the British Navy pulled over every ship on the high seas to inspect that the ship wasn't being run by pirates.. that would have gone out of the window very quickly..

Ok, so you're either being wilfully ignorant, or you don't understand the modern version of the word "pirate".

Also, you know what Britain did do to get rid of pirates? Hired other pirates to sail around killing pirates not on the payroll. Those that the Brits didn't kill themselves, that is.

Dastardly:
as opposed to simply telling someone else what they do or do not understand.

Like the whole article you are defending is doing?

Delicious Anathema:
1. Make games 30€//$ whatever new, money is hard to come by to play an hobby.

2. Provide valid motivation to not pirate (free DLC, good online service)

3. Use cartridges with flash memory.

The whole point about hobbies is that they are luxuries. If you can afford a game console, you can probably afford a game to play on it. If not, there are plenty of ways to play games for free. There's an excellent Extra Credits video on Piracy which you should probably check out.

I just really, really like free stuff.

But besides this i like how easy it is not having to go to the store. Although i must say that my pirating has gone down several notches since the arrival of steam.
I am crazy for there discounts and i don't even have to go outside.

Well, it's not really a loss for the developers, most pirates wouldn't buy the game anyway, which is unverifiable.

Second, I do wish people would stop calling it stealing. It's not stealing, it's copying and subsequently sharing, and in the case of torrents, it's not even that! It's copying a small section of the wares in question, and then compiling them, and then sharing a small section of ware in question. I wish the publishers would stop trying to take an even higher ground by making it out to sound worse than it actually is, it's not really helping their argument.

I don't agree with the whole 'but the corporations are rich enough already maaaan!' Maybe so, but they are a company, and may I remind you the main purpose of a company is to in fact make money. I also heard an argument that people pirate bad quality games, or games that are no longer sold anymore. Which... Sort of makes me think twice about the well being of the company.

And pirating to get around DRMS? Lul, really bad excuse. Since you can still bypass a DRM with an official copy with other means that I won't go into. You don't need to pirate the entire game to get the DRM off, and i'm pretty sure that even if you DO pirate the game, the DRM will still be on there, so then you'll have to use the method in which you'd use to remove the official versions DRM anyway!

And lastly, you cannot stop piracy. Piracy will change and evolve to get around every firewall, restriction, law, international treaty, super-hero induced bans, and harsh warnings you will ever, EVER devise. Maybe some day you will find a way to combat the mighty torrent formats, or find a way to stop youtube converting or something. But there will always be a way around it! No matter how complex or intricate your restrictions and ways in which you enforce said restrictions get. You can't win. You can try, but you can't. All you're going to achieve is the capture of a few pirates unlucky enough to get caught in the act, and don't know how to format their hard drive.

Robert Ewing:

You can't win. You can try, but you can't. All you're going to achieve is the capture of a few pirates unlucky enough to get caught in the act, and don't know how to format their hard drive.

Pity the industry will hit those pirates with fines which would make Bill Gates cry. Turning pirates into low hanging fruit could actually turn out to be a way for the industry to make even more money. Actually, that's a great idea for a new revenue stream, fining pirates.

Greg Tito:

The notion that piracy does not equate to lost sales is just as erroneous. "Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer," Purewal said.

So it's erroneous because it's erroneous. ARGUMENT DESTROYED! Oh wait. Am I supposed to take everything he says for granted just because he's the mighty lawyer?

Dastardly:

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

Don't you mean a valid, logical argument from an unbiased standpoint?
Oh wait, no, you probably looked long and hard into wikipedia's list of fallacies until you found one that kinda fit. It's okay, as long as your argument is composed of some valid points, no one will call you out for inserting bullshit.

Except maybe me.

And I suppose he wants to bring up the entire planet on charges? His arguement is pretty weak. And shows an extreme lack of understanding in how the planet actually works. An idealist living in a pipe dream.

I think we need to add game piracy to the list of "politics" that are discussed in the religion and politics board, it's obvious the short, venomous, and reactionary comments here that there is no discussion value in this topic because its full of people who aren't going to discuss so much as tell you why you're wrong.

Doesn't matter how many degrees you have or how much you know, people who make there decision on this issue won't budge. The only solution is coming up with DRM customers don't see as DRM or don't notice, like Steam, since then they won't complain and developers are protected. Sort of a "don't ask, don't tell" over a subject no one seems to be able to discuss civilly. Course, that requires technical knowledge lawyers don't have, I guess.

I don't really care about the debate but people who say, "It's not really a loss because I wouldn't buy it anyway" are simply ignorant of how economics/pricing/sales works. As the man said, companies do not exist to essentially loan you a game until you decide it's worth your time.

People act like somehow game companies owe them demos or increased before-purchase access but game companies owe you nothing. If you don't like that you can't have a demo, then tough, you don't buy the game. If you want to buy a car but they won't let you test drive it first, then you don't buy the car; it's still wrong and illegal to hop the fence and take it for a drive yourself because they didn't offer you the right to do so legally. Their product, their rules - it's how the market works. If you people refused to buy games without demos instead of just illegally taking them then there would be some kind of market incentive to provide early access but as long as people have the delusion that they get to decide what they can and can't do with another's product, that market incentive won't hold.

Kwil:
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?

Yes, but I don't think you do.

There are costs incurred when two parties go to trial. Both the prosecution and defense must pay for attorney fees and accommodate the necessary time to make the trial possible. If the trial ends up resulting in an "innocent" plea from judge or jury, the "innocent" individual still gets to pay the court and lawyer fees, meaning they become an injured party as a result of the frivolous trial, and numerous people's time was effectively wasted in trying an innocent person. "Just counter-sue for the court costs", you say? Brilliant! Then even MORE money and time is wasted correcting the error of the previous trial!

So yes, if something goes to trial, it might be best if the person prosecuting has a good solid case. Otherwise we're wasting taxpayer dollars only to make the situation worse for multiple parties and for no good reason, which I suspect you would agree is kind of stupid.

peruvianskys:
I don't really care about the debate but people who say, "It's not really a loss because I wouldn't buy it anyway" are simply ignorant of how economics/pricing/sales works. As the man said, companies do not exist to essentially loan you a game until you decide it's worth your time.

People act like somehow game companies owe them demos or increased before-purchase access but game companies owe you nothing. If you don't like that you can't have a demo, then tough, you don't buy the game. If you want to buy a car but they won't let you test drive it first, then you don't buy the car; it's still wrong and illegal to hop the fence and take it for a drive yourself because they didn't offer you the right to do so legally. Their product, their rules - it's how the market works. If you people refused to buy games without demos instead of just illegally taking them then there would be some kind of market incentive to provide early access but as long as people have the delusion that they get to decide what they can and can't do with another's product, that market incentive won't hold.

This. This right here people. I don't know where this guy's been hiding, but what he's said is spot on. The entertainment industry is not in the business of giving out interest free loans on it's IP, or it's money. It does not owe you anything. Stop taking it for granted.

Infidel666:

I think the biggest counter to your arguement is the reason why people pirate games. The general reason is not because they are cheap bastards and dont want to pay for the game but because they dont have any money to spend on that game. The reason they dont have any money to spend on that game however is because they already spent their spare cash on other games.

found the paper those news articals are quoting and oddly:
"The main conclusion that can be drawn from the above is that not every
file downloaded does result in one less CD, DVD or game sold. The degree
of substitution is difficult to determine." (that sounds like my point just with proper grammar)
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1609847 (if you want to read)

Your not wrong,page 9 if your wondering, people who pirate music tend to buy more its just its not a counter to what I was saying.

what I was stating was about 3 years of economic theory condensed down into a paragraph. Its right, I sorta tiptoed around why as that would take an essay(page 12-15 if you want a crash econ 101 lesson).

This is slightly off topic:
I did find one paper that basically highlights why we have restrictive DRM in the game industry compared to outer software products
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1752-5209.2007.00012.x/pdf

CriticKitten:

Kwil:
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?

Yes, but I don't think you do.

There are costs incurred when two parties go to trial. Both the prosecution and defense must pay for attorney fees and accommodate the necessary time to make the trial possible. If the trial ends up resulting in an "innocent" plea from judge or jury, the "innocent" individual still gets to pay the court and lawyer fees, meaning they become an injured party as a result of the frivolous trial, and numerous people's time was effectively wasted in trying an innocent person. "Just counter-sue for the court costs", you say? Brilliant! Then even MORE money and time is wasted correcting the error of the previous trial!

So yes, if something goes to trial, it might be best if the person prosecuting has a good solid case. Otherwise we're wasting taxpayer dollars only to make the situation worse for multiple parties and for no good reason, which I suspect you would agree is kind of stupid.

I agree with all of that. And this is where the lawyer's comments come into play. The simple facts are that we can be reasonably certain that those who are downloading the pirated software have not bothered disguising their IP addresses.

AndyFromMonday:
For calling itself the "mouthpiece of the gaming generation", the Escapist has got to be the most disingenuous news website on the entire fucking internet.

I'm getting tired of Greg Tito's disingenuous assertions myself. I think I'm going to show him how tired I am of his disingenuous assertions.

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^-------------- THIS tired.

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Credossuck:

Superior Mind:
I've never bought the argument for pirates who download games to 'try before they buy'.

The notion that piracy does not equate to lost sales is just as erroneous. "Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer," Purewal said. "Sadly developers are not gamer banks, willing to effectively loan gamers money until we decide we like them enough to pay them."

However I disagree with this argument. Gamers pre-purchase games all the time, what this results in is game companies holding your money interest free long before you actually have a product. Is that any better than pirates downloading first and buying later? Not really, despite it being illegal of course. He argues that game companies aren't willing to effectively loan us money until we like a game enough to pay them - well why do they expect us to loan money to them before they've even given us a product?

Not that I'm arguing for piracy, I just think that this is a weak argument given the circumstances.

Wrong.

If you pre-order, the seller is legally bound to actually deliver the product you ordered (and depending on where you live, is also legally bound to compensate you if the product is unplayable - bugs, online DRM system etc.).

However if you just pirate: where is the legal safeguard for the seller that forces you to later give him the money? Or compensate him (in case of digital distribution) that you bought it at the special-offer super low price event?

?

Pre-ordering is legal, legal in the sense that there are screw over protections and safeguards built into theprocess. Both sides are protected from the other sides douche bag behavior.
You pirating a game leaves no safeguards for the seller that you will actually buy the game at any point.
Hes left hanging in the wind.

They had your pre-order money for month with no interest BECAUSE YOU GAVE IT THEM in good faith and knowing they have to deliver or refund/compensate. You feel safe to pre-order because you know there is a legal system serving your interest as much as theirs.

Piracy is not pre-ordering.
Its not the Dev GIVING you the game in good faith knowing that he will get paid for it later. You just took the game in the cover of anonymity. There is no consent here. No deliberate choice on the part of both parties. No "offer" and no "taker".

No, not wrong. My point was that Prewal's argument was flawed, I'm not saying "piracy equals pre-ordering". The original argument from Prewal was that game developers aren't banks who could absorb the costs before pirates decided to pay them. My point was that if this is the concern then pre-ordering shouldn't be acceptable either.

You're right, the key difference is the obligation game developers have to those who pre-order their products, there is no such obligation for pirates. But Prewal's argument that it was unfair for pirates to expect developers to temporarily absorb the cost - well why is it fine for the consumers to temporarily absorb the cost?

I'm not saying piracy is acceptable, even if the pirates decide to later buy the game, I'm saying the Prewal's apparent game-changing argument is flawed.

brainslurper:

LilithSlave:

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

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

Yes it does. They worked hard on something, and what would be a paying customer got it without paying for it, depriving the developer or their profit.

I didn't buy Psychonauts till the Steam sale. That doesn't mean Double Fine or even Valve lost money until I bought it, it means they just didn't get any from me for it till the other day.

edit: Note that I'm not a pirate or defending them, but that I'm just showing you the flaw in your argument.

Asehujiko:

Dastardly:
as opposed to simply telling someone else what they do or do not understand.

Like the whole article you are defending is doing?

1. Elaborate -- where do you feel the article did this?

2. Who said I was defending the article, rather than just defending the anti-piracy stance?

Guys this thread....
its Deja vu

image

its a glitch in the matrix it means they changed somthing

Dastardly:

Asehujiko:

Dastardly:
as opposed to simply telling someone else what they do or do not understand.

Like the whole article you are defending is doing?

1. Elaborate -- where do you feel the article did this?

2. Who said I was defending the article, rather than just defending the anti-piracy stance?

1. Right there in the title. And about every other line.

2. You implied. And no, I'm not interested in you pedantically nitpicking irrelevant parts of posts until you write yourself into a corner again and brush it off with another "hurr we're discussing totally different things" again and continue on as before.

Double A:

brainslurper:

LilithSlave:

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

Yes it does. They worked hard on something, and what would be a paying customer got it without paying for it, depriving the developer or their profit.

I didn't buy Psychonauts till the Steam sale. That doesn't mean Double Fine or even Valve lost money until I bought it, it means they just didn't get any from me for it till the other day.

edit: Note that I'm not a pirate or defending them, but that I'm just showing you the flaw in your argument.

Ah yes, but you BOUGHT the content. You didn't just attain it illegally. People got money for you enjoying their creation.

brainslurper:

LilithSlave:

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

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

Yes it does. They worked hard on something, and what would be a paying customer got it without paying for it, depriving the developer or their profit.

No it's not.
It's potentially a lost sale.
There is a huge difference between something being sure and being just potential.

Saying it's a lost sale would mean that you can prove that every pirate would buy the game if he wasn't able to pirate it. You can't prove it, so it's just potentially a lost sale.

And I'm not saying piracy is good, nor will I argue about it.
I'm arguing that it's not a lost sale.

Tubez:
Good to know that Escapist doesnt show any bias in their news.

Sometimes escapist is even worse then Fox news with headlines and "information" in article.

...so, you're all for piracy? Correct me if I'm wrong, because that was exactly what your statement sounded like.

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.

This is a sentiment I can agree with. If there was no method of piracy, would pirates simply abandon their gaming habits altogether? I doubt it, but at the same time I doubt that barely any of the pirates would purchase games in the same magnitude that they pirate them.

Sparrow:

Tubez:
Good to know that Escapist doesnt show any bias in their news.

Sometimes escapist is even worse then Fox news with headlines and "information" in article.

...so, you're all for piracy? Correct me if I'm wrong, because that was exactly what your statement sounded like.

Slycne:

LilithSlave:

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.

This is a sentiment I can agree with. If there was no method of piracy, would pirates simply abandon their gaming habits altogether? I doubt it, but at the same time I doubt that barely any of the pirates would purchase games in the same magnitude that they pirate them.

Yeah cause either I love biased news with headlines that are completely shit or I must love piracy.

This one of the many reasons I never will debate about piracy on this website.

No need for you to reply since I will not be answering.

brainslurper:

LilithSlave:

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

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

Yes it does. They worked hard on something, and what would be a paying customer got it without paying for it, depriving the developer or their profit.

+0 is not loss. Loss indicates a negative, in other words, cost. They, and publisher apologists, use the word "loss" instead of "less profit than we are entitled to/should have made" because it sounds more dramatic and less scummy.

By the logic of "Not buying = deprived of profit = loss" every single person who didn't buy the game, not just the ones that pirated it, is making them lose money.

And lets not forget, in the eyes of these people, buying used is just as bad as piracy. So if you bought a used game in the past 30 years, you're a pirate in their eyes. But keep defending the same people who'd spit on you in the street given the chance if it helps you sleep at night.

Greg Tito:
Even though Purewal is a lawyer and should therefor be on board for litigation solving all problems, he's also a gamer. The solution to piracy should come from publishers offering better ways for customers to enjoy their games, not suing willy-nilly. "If we can reduce piracy through the means of technology and via the market, then that's got to be better than getting lawyers involved," he said. He applauds platforms like Steam that are a form of DRM which don't slap paying customers in the face.

This. This to the MAX.

I used to pirate all the time. Not anymore, though.

The reason I went out and grabbed the official version of Knights in the Knightmare back in the day? Well, not only was the game pretty fun, and I was on the fence about actually paying for it, but the official game came with the actual soundtrack. And that game had DAMN good music. As soon as I found out it came with the OST, I went out to buy the real game.

Throwing in little extras like that goes a long way.

Hell, most of my friends pirate DS games to the point of not buying them anymore, AND ALL OF THEM BOUGHT POKEMON HEARTGOLD/SOULSILVER BECAUSE OF THE POKEWALKER. A relatively useless, but fun little gizmo.

So yeah, unintrusive DRM (like Steam), and actual physical bonuses are way better at convincing people to grab the real thing.

Tubez:
This one of the many reasons I never will debate about piracy on this website.

No need for you to reply since I will not be answering.

Sheesh, buddy. Talk about passive aggressive. I just meant people will jump to conclusions if your argument is just "urgh, this is so anti-piracy and this angers me!"

Tubez:

Sparrow:

Tubez:
Good to know that Escapist doesnt show any bias in their news.

Sometimes escapist is even worse then Fox news with headlines and "information" in article.

...so, you're all for piracy? Correct me if I'm wrong, because that was exactly what your statement sounded like.

Slycne:

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.

This is a sentiment I can agree with. If there was no method of piracy, would pirates simply abandon their gaming habits altogether? I doubt it, but at the same time I doubt that barely any of the pirates would purchase games in the same magnitude that they pirate them.

Yeah cause either I love biased news with headlines that are completely shit or I must love piracy.

This one of the many reasons I never will debate about piracy on this website.

No need for you to reply since I will not be answering.

Dude I work for News Corporation. We're not that bad. IGN didn't have a review which said that DA2 was the "pinnacle of RPGs".

In direct reply. If you have no interest in discussion or debate, why are you posting? If you're not interested in replying, why are you quoting someone else?

Sylveria:
+0 is not loss. Loss indicates a negative, in other words, cost. They, and publisher apologists, use the word "loss" instead of "less profit than we are entitled to/should have made" because it sounds more dramatic and less scummy.

By the logic of "Not buying = deprived of profit = loss" every single person who didn't buy the game, not just the ones that pirated it, is making them lose money.

And lets not forget, in the eyes of these people, buying used is just as bad as piracy. So if you bought a used game in the past 30 years, you're a pirate in their eyes. But keep defending the same people who'd spit on you in the street given the chance if it helps you sleep at night.

What the hell is this crap? Really? You're justifying piracy by saying it's just as bad as not buying the game?
It's not a +0. It's a -1. It's a LOST SALE. Not because there's a finite amount of digital copies that can be distributed, but because somebody is using your product, and you're not getting your due. That's income that should have come in, but it hasn't. And now it won't.
It's still a lost sale. It's still theft. And you're still a criminal.

I'm not defending the publishers. No. I'm defending the God damned law. I don't care how mistreated you feel by the big bad corporations. If you really want to suffer to fight back, stop buying their games, and go outside and play. You don't need these games. You WANT them. But you're not prepared to give the bad guys their due, so please tell me one thing.

How can you look down on us 'apologists' when you're playing stolen games? No amount of rhetoric is going to escape that fact. 'Less profit than we are entitled to' is a more serious concern than "Corporations are evil and I am a revolutionary for stealing from them."
You're not a revolutionary.

Those rioters in London this summer? Taking advantage of the chaos to bag a load of free shit? You're no better than they are. Dirty pirates.

The moment there's even a 5% chance of pirating leading to a person getting a caught, you can more or less depend upon the release of IP-hiding programs, peerblocking programs and other such things.

Until these can be countered, there is absolutely no reason to go after pirates, doing so would only be a waste of money and placing restrictions only further annoys legitimate customers.

The argument the lawyer brings is one which can simply by countered by the word "Yet".

For it is simple to do, just there's such little chance of getting caught, why bother?

Dastardly:

Devoneaux:
You seem to have trouble understanding the difference between theft and copyright infringement.

It's not a fallacy of any kind, it's a mislabeled crime. Difference.

Edit: While i'm at it, I went back and double checked. US law has a clear difference between stealing something and duplicating it illegally, Piracy and Theft are NOT the same thing, supreme court rulings in the past support this. (See: Dowling v. United States 1985)

Firstly, I appreciate that you went back and added a bit more of discussion value to your post.

On the topic itself, we're not talking the official labeling of crimes here. More specifically, I do not intend to. Allow me to clarify my position (though this does not necessarily apply to others making superficially-similar arguments):

I'm not arguing the legal definition of terms as used in courts. In these cases, fraud, embezzlement, robbery, and counterfeiting are technically not the same as larceny (commonly referred to as "theft"). That's because our legal system has to more carefully categorize crimes based on the method and means of commission, not just the impact of the crime. That's why murder, manslaughter, etc., are separate crimes.

Whether by murder or manslaughter, we can rightly say, "The convicted person killed the victim." It's the court that has a responsibility to be more specific--this is because the law has no "spirit," only a "letter." But if someone told you they were going to sell you something, you paid them, and then they fell off the grid and never contact you, would you say, "Hey! That guy criminally defrauded me of my money!" or would you feel (and probably say) that you were stolen from?

Where I find the problem is that most people tend to view "stealing" as a broad category of crimes. It includes robbery, larceny, fraud, and all the rest. But when the discussion comes up, we narrow the definition artificially by citing the very narrow legal definitions... and yet some of the very same people using that argument will throw out laws or cases that reinforce ideas they disagree with regarding piracy. It's the inconsistent application that bothers me.

That's why I take a step back from the legal system. I'm discussing the action itself on moral/ethical grounds. A person is receiving property that belongs to another person, to which they are not entitled and have not compensated the proper owner. If one was unaware of how computers work, regarding copying, one would look specifically at the behavior and say "That dude just stole that!"

Even back in 1985, we were still trying to deal with new ideas. Data was getting faster and faster, and the fidelity of recordings better and better. No longer could someone simply argue, "Yeah, he has a bootleg, but the quality sucks!" The quality was improving, to the point that the false product was nearly identical to the original. A crime that was easily ignored (or at least marginalized) was becoming more consequential.

And, as with any new things, the Supreme Court made a very conservative decision -- they didn't want to "throw the book" at this guy rashly. I disagree with their decision, and there's always still room for such things to be overturned by later decisions. I recognize that, under law, these things are prosecuted differently. I prefer to look at it from the human angle, however -- which is actually why the law exists in the first place. The technicalities are simply there to manage all the ins-and-outs of it.

____

Now, as for whether or not data has the same weight as physical goods... we already demonstrate the belief that it does, and we do so daily. My money, almost in its entirety, does not exist in the physical world. But we all, as a society, agree that the digital representation of my money is enough to assert its existence and resulting value. I can spend, loan, borrow, and otherwise operate on this "money" in any way I could actual bills.

If someone were to illegally access the banks computers and duplicate some of that digital money, inserting it into the bank's system, I would not be deprived of anything. They didn't necessarily steal from me, but that money is stolen. Until the crime was discovered and reversed, someone somewhere would be responsible for the value of that duplicated money. So, if the issue is that the goods don't actually "exist," we're inconsistently handling that. A digital good is a representation of something else -- in this case, my monetary value, and in the case of software, it is representative of the work and money put into the creation of the data.

Really think about this a moment -- "money" is intellectual property, in the sense that it only exists in our mind. Just like with software, we impose artificial scarcity on it. There's no reason we couldn't just all agree, "Hey, everyone is worth $1 million dollars." But we don't. We limit the monetary worth of people and demand that they go through proper channels to establish it.

But all of the physical goods (paper bills, metal coins, credit cards, even the computers upon which the data is stolen) all exist simply to represent the concept of "worth," which is entirely arbitrary when you get right down to it. Why is it illegal to steal someone's money? Is it just the paper that's being taken? No -- it's what the paper represents that is being taken. The law allows the physical good to stand in for the concept, but it is the concept itself that is the purpose for the law (if money had no "value" assigned to it, it probably wouldn't be a big deal to "steal" it any more than taking something out of someone's trash bin on the curb).

Intellectual property is still a relatively new concept in the eyes of the law. It hasn't been around as long as money has, in its various forms. Given enough time, as the world becomes more and more information-focused, we'll begin to see intellectual property gain ground as the same kind of concept that is behind our most basic ideas of "ownership" and "monetary value."

Just something to think about. Because, again, I'm not arguing this from a currently-enforceable-legal-perspective. I'm arguing it ideologically. Is that binding in any way? No. But I still feel it's worthwhile to think about, even just for the mental "exercise" of it.

I'll give you this, your point is well made and to be honest I can't really argue against or even disagree with what you've said here, so i'll concede the point to you and thank you for giving me clarity on this issue (as well as giving me something to mull around on in the process.)

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 yet there is nothing they can do to stop it. They will never stop piracy, or hurt it in any meaningful way, and all companies like Ubisoft and EA are doing is kneecapping paying customers.

Piracy continues to be a viable way for potential customers to try out their very expensive product and see if it suits them before dropping their hard earned money. I noticed that of the games on the top pirated list, only FIFA and Crysis, and Forza had demos.

So because they can't stop it they shouldn't try? Seems silly to me...

edit: Also, it's not theft and it's simply incorrect to call it such.

How is it NOT theft? They are obtaining a product which is sold to the general public through a market for profit, but pirates get it through illicit means paying no money so that the producer makes nothing. I'm not trying to be thick, but please tell me where in the world this is not considered theft? It would be like not paying the grocery for bread but eating it anyway because hey I like bread... just not enough to pay for it.

Yep, piracy is just killing the industry

image

With revenues climbing every year!

But Hollywood is hurting too, right? That's why they had their highest grossing year in the history of Hollywood in 2009 I assume. Admittedly 2011 box office sales dropped 4.5% this year, but movies kind of sucked this year...

The games industry has grown their revenue by billions of dollars every single year since 1993.

I think Piracy is still a theft,but I don't treat all pirates as filthy thieves.

I live in Thailand (If you don't know: it's a place where piracy is a very big problem) and I help moderating a Minecraft Server.

We know that there are very few people who legitimately bought Minecraft in this pirate heaven,and if we open an "online-mode=true" server,we won't last very long.

So instead we open "online-mode=false" but give benefit to users who bought the game and keep persuading "pirates" on our server that buying the game is the way to go if they want these benefits.

Well,It didn't automatically convert all pirates to go legit,but at least the number of Premium Minecraft Players are going up,and that's a good thing =) (fewer pirates more legit gamers)

What I am trying to say is this:Those pirates don't just represent lost sales,but they're also potential customers who interested in your product,if you somehow convince them that buying your game instead of pirating it would benefit them more,then you can convert some of those lost sale into profit.

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