ECA Pres: Anti-Piracy Act Dangerous to Gamers

ECA Pres: Anti-Piracy Act Dangerous to Gamers

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Hal Halpin, head of the Entertainment Consumers Association, is worried over the future of gamers' rights with the passing of new national anti-piracy legislation.

A month ago, President Bush signed a bipartisan bill known as the PRO IP Act, a law that greatly extends the governments ability to capture and punish people with illegal copyrighted material in their possession. Fighting pirates is a noble goal, however the legislation threatens to severely crack down on individuals who have committed minor crimes by forcing dissenters to pay outrageous fines (potentially ten times as much as offenders would've paid under older laws).

An example provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains that "someone who downloads each individual track from Guns N' Roses' 12-track Appetite for Destruction album could face a maximum statutory penalty of $360,000; as opposed to the current limit of $30,000 for the album."

"The PRO IP Act was concerning for us primarily because the wording of the law was so broad and open to interpretation," worried Halpin, whose organization fights to protect the interest of game consumers against government and publisher abuse. "It also provides intellectual property holders with unusually over-reaching rights and at a time when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) too empowers that same community."

Misguided actions taken by publishers to protect software sales, such as annoying digital rights management, may continue to hurt customer trust over the longer term as it did for music labels who fought Napster only to be labeled as sellouts and resisted the digital distribution market while CD sales fell.

"I fear that PRO IP and DMCA will drive a wedge between the producer/consumer relationship, one that has served the games business well," explained Halpin. "I would also hate to see us collectively follow the path that the music industry has followed. In addition to it being a patently bad model, proven unsuccessful by every measure, it's also clearly ineffective. Worrying still is how handily it passed - with broad support from both parties. The fact that the Vice-President Elect continues to be a proud sponsor makes me think that it'll be a bumpy ride... one played out in America's courts, for a long time to come."

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So the best way to combat piracy is to lay criminally-high fines on people? Glad to be Canadian, because none of those laws are enforceable here. Yes we have other stupid anti-piracy laws/measures, but it's yet to get that retarded.

That's great, cause you know the people too poor/cheap to buy the media sure will be able to pay the $360,000 needed in the lawsuit.

I'm also Canadian and I'm also glad we don't yet have this kind of nonsense.

While I agree with this guy's sentiments, I can't help but think this would have been more useful before the PRO IP act was passed.

Oh hooray. How can someone be fined hundreds of thousands for a $0.99 song anyway?

Does this attack bottom-enders, who only get material once in a while. Or does this attack p2ps and distributors? What about material obtained outside the U.S.? China has hundreds of millions pirated intellectual properties, and no laws to enforce anti-piracy, but I also don't think many companies distribute to China to begin with. So does this make us better or worse than communists?

There's something to be said about going after a smalltime pirate and suing them for money they likely don't have, especially given our crumbling economy and disappearing jobs. Nothing like threatening your own citizens with complete and utter poverty.

$360k does seem to be a little overkill, but as a PC gamer I'm a little frustrated that I'm forced to buy consoles due to companies being reluctant to release titles on a pirated market. Arrrg where be me Fable 2 an' Halo 3 on pc?

Even in a world without piracy PC games make a pittance compared to console games. That's why there's no Fable or Halo 3 on PC.

I'm curious if these monetary penalties are cumulative because if they are I would hazard a guess how many people have pirated material whose penalties would exceed the GDP in the tens of thousands.

Because every pirate lives in the States. That'll work.

Not...

Yes let the lawsuits begin, your never going to stop pirating there's always someone out there faster and smarter than you government maybe if everything wast greed driven it would be different.

When will the lawmakers understand that heavy punishment is not a deterrant for crime. Capital punishment does not reduce the number of murders and high fines will not reduce the number of pirates.
Just wait and see when the next 25 year old single mother or 85 year old grandmother gets sued for a couple of million dollars.

The consumers are slowly starting to realize which gaming companies to trust and which ones to pirate. An example of this would be Fallout 3 outsold Frycry 2 by a huge margin (I picked this game because it too is cross platform) I know the factors such as better marketing, better foundation and smarter publishing company played a big roll, but I am pretty positive that the public statement of only using traditional methods of DMR and even steam (I brough back my pre-ordered wrapped collectors edition when I learned steam offered Fallout 3) played a big roll is the sales.

I love the bit on the end about Biden being a supporter of unjust anti-piracy laws. I guess they realized that they can't close out any more p2p sites, since most of them started operating outside the U.S.A.'s jurisdiction. Lemme get hell-yeah for TPB!

My only fear is that it's too late before developers and publishers realise that we've gone the way of the music industry. It's already starting now, but there's still time to go back... though, at this rate, it's a slim chance.

Hall Halpin:
I would also hate to see us collectively follow the path that the music industry has followed. In addition to it being a patently bad model, proven unsuccessful by every measure, it's also clearly ineffective.

Fully agree with that statement and I still don't get how these lawmakers and lobby organizations still haven't learned the lessons from the faillure of the music industry. You'd think that being the guys who wield some power, they'd know a bit more about their own industry.

So far I've only seen Codemasters going the awefull route of sueing the actual people, which of course means I'll never buy another product of them ever again. I hope other publishers will not follow their example and instead learn/utilize new ways of trying to get the customer to buy your product.
You have Steam, low to none DRM (Stardock,Bethesda) and just putting out quality games (Blizzard, Valve) and of course downloadable content with activated accounts at your disposal now. Use those and work from there.

In the end when push comes to shove and you still somehow 'need' to sue, sue the people/companies making an actual profit off of it. Like how Microsoft sues/fines/bans outlets after they've sold illegal copies.

So america's new laws are like this:

Murder somebody - Spend a few years in jail(or mental ward if you behave stupid enough) and walk out after that as if nothing happened.

Download a $0.99 song(of which $0.98 will go to a completely unrelated record company too) - Lifelong poverty/jail because you couldn't pay your bills.

Brb, gonna put a swedish flag on my house.

yeah it's a stupid law but that's what you get when you allow corps to write the laws for you

the funny part with a lot of those john doe letters from the riaa is they are being challenged and the riaa are losing them

Why don't they go after the people that are making the content available to download instead of the people downloading it? Its like a drug dealer, do you arrest the people that the the drugs or the dealers them selves that supply the drugs if you go after the people that are supplying you cut down on the number of people using.

reaper_2k9:
Why don't they go after the people that are making the content available to download instead of the people downloading it? Its like a drug dealer, do you arrest the people that the the drugs or the dealers them selves that supply the drugs if you go after the people that are supplying you cut down on the number of people using.

Most cracking groups aren't based in the USA. Neither is their target audience. Try obtaining World of Goo in europe.

 

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