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Other Piracy

Discussion in 'Software' started by Zinfandel, 2 Aug 2010.

  1. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Fixed.

    Remember, you can rationalise anything.

    Regarding Cory Ledesma's statement: why should he care? Second hand games do not contribute to his profit margin so he has no obligation to cater to them. To state that he is being cheated does seem a bit strong to me (and to you, I presume) but the solution is simple: buy the game new, or put up with the limitations of the used game. Or don't buy it at all.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2010
  2. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    This is the kind of response stuartpb gives every time I try to get my point examined directly - a smiley brush-away that evades the issue.

    You both have me wrong. I'm desperately trying to rationalise not pirating, because I don't like piracy. It irks me. But in the course of this thread, examining my old habits, I've found a type of piracy that appears morally positive to me, and I'm now trying to find something that undermines it. I'm not defending my own beliefs at all, I'm trying to interrogate them.

    All of the arguments presented until now have dealt with why piracy at large, as it occurs, is harmful. I agree. They have also clarified that it is definitely illegal no matter what - that there is no defending any form of piracy in court. Again, I agree. Contrary to appearances, I'm not flogging the same issue; mine is a different one.

    Morally, I can't see anything wrong with try-and-buy piracy. Here is the process:

    I pirate a game. I play it for a few days. Then I buy it.

    I'm trying to find a reason this is wrong, but honestly can't beyond it being illegal. (And the law is not morality, although it attempts to approximate it.) Nothing is lost, nobody is harmed, no revenue is denied. Pragmatically, the process is identical to going out and buying the game to begin with, isn't it?
     
  3. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    So you expect us to make the decisions for you whether piracy is morally right or wrong? It does sound like that a little. We are expressing our opinions here, and I would hate to think someone is basing their own morality on other people opinions. It's a question you have to answer for yourself to be honest.
     
  4. Bakes

    Bakes What's a Dremel?

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    Forgive me for asking, but is there any difference between pirating a game and buying it three days later and just buying it in the first place? If you really are trying and buying (although you must consider that bittorrent clients seed automatically so you're giving the game slowly to others who may not be trying and buying) it doesn't change anything.

    If you were to then uninstall the pirated game and not buy the actual game, that's when it just becomes plain piracy.

    Most single player games can be completed in 3 days. Do you then think 'ok, I've completed the game, I might as well not buy it then' or 'ok, I've completed the game, I enjoyed it, so I'll buy the game, even though I'll get no further benefit out of it'?
     
  5. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Are you still here?


    Well you see.. I pay for software so I can get support, upgrades, help, patches and all that shiz. I know you can just re-download a newer pirate copy to get updates, but sometimes, you just run into problems. I had such a problem with Acronis, and there's was no solution to be found anywhere. In fact, their tech help couldn't find a solution straight away either. I'd found a bug. They found a workaround in the interim, and it was fixed in the next patch. If I'd downloaded a cracked copy, I'd be stuck until a newer cracked copy slithered itself onto the warez sites and people started seeding it.

    Having adobe help and support is not to be sneezed at either, especially if you rely on software professionally.

    I buy games to support the games industry, which despite all that's been said on here, has to be a good thing. You can't really argue that giving money to the games industry is harming it in any way.. surely.. even the most rabid pro-piracy loony has to admit that. Buying the products is doing far more good than taking them for free. That's not a moral standpoint.. that's just common sense.

    So I don't see it as irrational to give money for a product if I don't have to. I also donate to freeware publishers if they have a paypal link. I wish to promote, and help people create great products. I see it as an investment.

    So morals don't really play a massive part in it. It's a pragmatic choice I make that offers advantages.

    Not at all. I'm sorry. I'm big enough to admit when I'm wrong, and I meant no offence. When someone constantly counters your arguments in a thread like this, it's easy to assume they are pro-piracy, and when a thread gets this long, and you are responding to so many people mistakes are made, especially last night when posts were coming in so fast that I had to edit my posts to accommodate new replies that had been posted in the time it took me to respond.


    If I apologise to someone, I mean it. If I didn't I wouldn't bother even responding to that comment.

    Exactly. I raised this point a few pages back. You're never totally innocent if you are involved with an unlawful activity are you... even if your intentions are honest. You're still supporting the system that propagates the material. You could massively throttle your seeding I suppose... but can you stop seeding totally? If you can it kind of makes a mockery of the P2P system.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2010
  6. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    Well, to me morality's a matter of reason, not opinion or unthinking instinct. I'm very utilitarian about it. If there's no reason for something to be wrong, I have a hard time convincing myself it's wrong. I believe all beliefs should be subjected to reason*. I suppose the only point we might hit a brick wall is if you feel differently on that point and are happy having beliefs that don't stand up to logic - that's the point where there is literally nothing more to discuss.

    In any event, it's not a matter of pride for me. In my experience, there's almost always someone else who knows better. I don't just swallow other peoples' beliefs, granted, but other people can often help form them.

    No, I honestly buy all the games I pirate. Some have a rather delayed purchase due to me being miserably poor at a given time, but I do buy them. Nobody seems to believe this. I went back and bought every pirated game from my adolescence. It cost a fortune :)

    In any event, the question is hypothetical, since I haven't pirated in ages; it's a thought experiment. What if you pirate and then buy a title? Is it wrong - and why?

    ...also, your point about torrents is a very good one and one of the many reasons I no longer use torrent software (for anything at all). The question assumes the use of server bases like rapidshare or other similarly convoluted systems of piracy.

    *Except this one, of course.
     
  7. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Yes it is. One argument is the whole torrent thing.. see above, but even if you use an alternative method you are adding to the demand for these items. If absolutely no one wanted them, would people even bother to crack them and distribute them? By using services that traffic pirate software, you are increasing demand, and the very reason warez sites exist in the first place. You paying for it a few days later only goes to remedy the lost revenue to the publisher, but the fact is by using the services out there that peddle this stuff, you contributing to their existence.

    That's the way I see it.

    A genuine question here: How many recent games have NOT had a demo available?

    I've just realised there are ambiguous areas though that don't sit well with my conscience. Deleted titles no longer commercially available. If something is not for sale, where does that put it in the scheme of things? Legally it's still bound by copyright law, but it's not commercially available. You are still infringing copyright law, but to what effect? There's a thorny one.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2010
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I never read the whole thread so I was not really referring to you, sorry... didn't mean to leave you out. To your question:

    Well, yes and no. Personally I am a supporter of the try-before-you-buy principle. So much so that I browse the magazines before I buy them (otherwise how do I know they are worth buying?), and even would go as far as gently prising open the cellophane bag that some mags come in. My reasoning was: if you want me to buy it, I have to be able to sample the wares.

    On the other hand, strictly speaking I shouldn't. After all I could browse a mag and put it back on the shelf but still benefit in some way from the information I glanced in it. And really, if I can't sample the wares I should simply decide not to buy. So lately my policy is: if the mag comes in a plastic bag I won't open it, but I just won't buy it either. A good magazine should be confident about its contents and show us the goods.

    There is arguably nothing wrong with trying a pirated game before buying it (even if you decide it's crap and you don't buy it, but don't continue playing the pirated game either); all you are doing is trying to reduce information assymmetry to prevent adverse selection: i.e. spending your hard-earned money on a crap product. It also reduces the moral hazard of computer game companies ripping customers off with poor products because the customer can now make a more informed judgement about the product (and I suspect that this is at least one other reason why games publishers don't like piracy).

    On the other hand: as Pookeyhead says, how many games have not had a demo available? A producer will want to show off a good game. If there is no demo version available, chances are it is not worth buying in the first place.


    My view is that piracy is simply a product of bad self-targeted marketing. Self-targeted marketing means that you release different qualities of product, at a different cost, for different customers. Some customers want a cheap product and in return are happy to accept for it to be no-frills, does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin. Some customers are prepared to pay a premium for the top-of-the-line, deluxe special-limited-edition product with bells on. Most other customers are somewhere in between. Hence you have Tesco Value tinned tomatoes, Tesco Finest tinned Tomatoes, and Carluccio Berlucci's Organic sun-ripened tinned tomatoes. You get the idea.

    You also get the basic DVD, and the Special Edition DVD with second disc containing outtakes and bloopers, the 'making of...' documentary and director's comments (in Koster's Waterworld that basically consists of him apologising over and over), and the Collector's Boxed Set with six CDs containing the film, the remastered film, the director's cut, outtakes, bloopers, the documentary, director's comments, storyboards, extra media for browsing on your PC, posters, booklets, keyring, stickers, T-shirt etc. Of course, all at a commensurate price.

    A pirate basically wants their game/film/music as cheap as possible (preferably free). In return they are happy to put up spending hours finding a Torrent download that does not turn out to be some Austrian porn home movie, downloading it and burning it to a blank DVD-RW. However, if they could just buy the game/film/music legally for say, £2,--, no frills, no box, no sophisticated tech support they might just find that acceptable. This is why the Apple App store is doing so well. Stuff's practically free, but still legal and of reasonable quality.

    Others may want the box, the paper manual and the full tech support. They pay a bit more. Others may want the special edition, on-line services and add-on packs and features. They pay a bit more still.

    Or you can put together your own package: game: £2,--. Box and manual: £0,50. Add-ons and features: £1,--; on-line services: £2,--; licence to run on 4 machines concurrently (the LAN party pack): £4,--.

    A company that practices good self-targeted marketing has nothing to fear from piracy. Pirates are just customers waiting for a better deal. All you have to do is pitch the price right, and leave out the features that they are willing to sarcifice for the cheap price.

    So Nexxo's moral of the story is: piracy is like any transaction (even if it's a failed one): it takes two to create the dynamic. Publishers need to lower their prices to a point that makes piracy frankly a pointless hassle, and in return they can drop some features (and associated production costs). Meanwhile they can keep the added value products at an increased price for those willing to pay the premium for the additional features. Pirates need to accept that there is no such thing as a free lunch. It is in their interest to keep the industry alive. Else where are they going to get their next game/film/music?
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2010
  9. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    First you have to convince them that this is so. That's the hard part.


    Good reply though, and makes perfect sense. I'm not saying that publishers are without blame. My standpoint is that you should protest by boycotting the product, not stealing it, as stealing it still indicates that there is interest in the product, and then the publisher just slaps outrageous DRM measures in place to thwart you. That is unfair to those who have paid. If you just boycott the product they will HAVE to listen to your reasons why. They will have no choice.
     
  10. Bakes

    Bakes What's a Dremel?

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    I agree with almost everything you've said here, but many pirates still steal if the stuff's basically free in the first place.

    Do you remember Wolfire's Indie Game pack thing? They let you choose the price, ie anywhere between $0.01 and $5000.

    Still, there were significant numbers of illegally downloaded versions - 25% of people didn't even want to pay $0.01.

    http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Saving-a-penny----pirating-the-Humble-Indie-Bundle
     
  11. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    But 75% did want to pay, and did. 25% piracy is preferable over 75% piracy.

    And when the price is ridiculously cheap, it is harder to justify piracy to peers and to oneself. At the moment it is easy for a pirate to accuse publishers of being rip-offs and to project oneself as a rebel fighting for consumer power and all that crap. But when the game you pirate cost just £5,-- in the first place, you just look like a greedy dick.
     
  12. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    Agreed with generally all of the post, though I don't like try before you buy myself. If it has no demo and you aren't sure then just don't buy it. You have no legal right to pirate it for a demo, yet you have all the right in the world to simply spend your money on something else. Besides, isn't that the idea behind capitalism?

    But regarding the quoted selection, be careful with those words! That may be a common type of pirate, possibly the majority, but there are people who will pirate things even at a reasonable price. Mainly, there will always be a minimum price for goods to be sold at before they start being sold at a loss. For some, that minimum price will still be too high and rather than admitting that the item simply cannot be afforded (as most of us do with sports cars and in home swimming pools) they resort to piracy. There is also a group of people who will pirate due to means of availability. A game requiring credit card only for online purchase may be pirated even when sold at a striking loss. Obviously this is most common with younger gamers who can't borrow a parent's card, or who don't mean the game's age requirement. But the worst kind will, in my opinion, always be a threat. Those who simply feel no need to pay for anything when a free alternative is available, regardless of price. These kinds of people are everywhere in society and no deal is ever enough when free is an option, regardless of morals or laws. Just no changing that. Edit: some people are just greedy dicks as you say, and are fine with that.
     
  13. stuartpb

    stuartpb Modder

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    I believe my morals do stand up to logic, and have been saying why all throughout this thread. You say you buy every single game you pirate, I have a hard time believing this, I can't call you a liar, because I cannot prove it, but you can't expect me to believe you solely based on your word. So we meet a stalemate. My logic tells me that this doesn't happen with pirates, as I was a pirate consumer myself, and I know there were many titles I pirated that I never went on to purchase, even after having obtained the pirate copy with the intention of trying before I bought. I also know many friends, throughout my computing history, who pirated games with the same claim, and I know they never bought every game they pirated. They only bought the ones they considered worthy, or where they got bored of SP and wanted MP. This says to me that you are either one of the few who I have never met, or I can't trust what you say. Either way, it gives me the belief that try before you buy is NOT a morally correct behaviour, because it is very rarely try before you buy, it's most often try and if you like buy, or try and if you get bored of SP, then buy.

    The thing is Boiled, that you are trying to tell us that it's morally correct to illegally obtain a game that you have every intention of buying at a later date. This may be so, but why the hell not just buy the game in the first place, instead of supporting an act that is illegal and immoral? Seems like backward logic to me. If you say you can't afford the game when it comes out, wait till the price drops (which it will). If you are undecided about the game, then obtaining a pirate copy to decide isn't try before you buy, it's try and then decide whether to buy. Which you yourself have said IS immoral.

    Again we come to the point that people who condone piracy like to seperate the product from all other commercial products, and apply different rationale to it to support their personal choices. Owning the latest in digital media releases isn't a right or a neccessity, so why do we have so many people that seem to think it is? FUBAR!!
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2010
  14. unikey

    unikey What's a Dremel?

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    "Again we come to the point that people who condone piracy like to seperate the product from all other commercial products, and apply different rationale to it to support their personal choices. Owning the latest in digital media releases isn't a right or a neccessity, so why do we have so many people that seem to think it is? FUBAR!! "

    But so do the rights holders, what other product do you buy that stops working when you leave the country,why doesn't the DVD I bought in london work whilst i'm in florida and vice versa, why doesn't iplayer work while i'm in hong kong, why can I only sync my ipod to one pc if i want to use itunes, starcraft 2 refuses to work for me at all not because there is anything wrong with the game its their DRM.

    I've paid for it I'll choose when how where and on what I'll listen/watch/play it on
    Currently all of my media is download from a private tracker because its quicker than ripping the DVD myself it also fixed starcraft where I can play using the cracks but not the original
     
  15. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    What product stops working when I leave the country? Data services on my mobile (or, they continue to work but at a vast premium). Anything that uses 240V mains power --if I go to the US.

    DVDs are region dependent not just because films are released at different times across the world (if you could use a US DVD in the UK, its release would coincide with the cinema release and the publisher --and cinema-- lose out). They are also region dependent because different regions use different video signal formats.

    iPlayer shows programmes licenced for UK viewing only. You can sync an iPod with up to five computers (and a computer with up to 60 iPods). This limitation has been set up to prevent people from mutually copying their music collections (illegally) with all their iPod mates.

    The draconian DRM management of Starcraft is a result of piracy. Blame the pirates.

    It all sounds a bit whiney to me. In all these instances you are not paying for ownership of a product (if, in the case of iPlayer you pay at all). You are paying for the right to use the product under specific circumstances and limitations. You are paying for a service. You don't like those limitations, you don't buy. But it is not your frigging birthright or something.

    It is time that people get their heads around this, and get away from comparisons with a physical product that they own. They are not paying for a product; they are paying for its use. They are paying for a service. As our computers, TVs and smartphones are ever more tightly connected to the Internet, with online services, gaming and media and cloud computing and web-based applications, this distinction is going to blur even more. I pay for my computer and iPhone, but I also need to pay for my broadband ISP and mobile phone services. I own the machines and I can do with those what I like, but I rent access to the services that I access on them; I don't own those.
     
  16. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    That's a good point, and if I were to try and enforce this model on myself I expect I would eventually break my own rules and not buy a game that I'd previously pirated. What this suggests is that within a try-and-buy system, the piracies you follow up with a purchase aren't immoral, while the ones you don't buy are.

    Although, Pookey, you're right that technically it is increasing demand. I could argue that one more person downloading isn't making the demand, but that's the same logic that drives apathetic people to say "one vote doesn't make a difference".

    Next problem, at the core of the try-and-buy mentality:
    Do consumers have a right to try products before they buy?
    I'm inclined to say "no, but it's an unspoken expectation that any good seller will make it possible". If you're not able to test-drive a car (an ever-popular analogy in this thread :)) you assume (probably rightly) that it's crap and don't buy it.

    However, this is troublesome in the case of games because we now have a ton of games coming out that you can't try before you buy - and they're games that, through other sources such as reviews, we have good reason to believe are excellent.

    For this reason - your suspicions were correct, stuartpb - the one game I've pirated and not yet bought was Modern Warfare 2. It was universally acclaimed but murderously expensive, and there was no demo. I crumbled and pirated it to try the single-player (the only part I care about) only to find that the single-player was absurdly short for the price. So I'm now waiting for it to reach a sensible price relative to the length of that goddamn campaign before I buy it (£30 for 6 hours is like being slapped in the face with a phallus, to be frank).

    What should gamers do in this case? It's not like other products - saying "if you dislike not being able to sample it, just don't buy it" isn't adequate in the case of many games, because they're reputed to be fantastic but are expensive and still might be crap (opinions are subjective, after all). If a car is good you can read specs and reviews and know that it's good, but the only way to know whether a game is for you is to play it.

    These alone are the titles that drive me to piracy now. For everything else, and for more reasonably priced games, I do simply buy them, because it's not a big deal. Far Cry 2 was crap, but I got it for £15 so what do I care? I got a few hours out of it, so it's okay. But when games are £35 and you have nothing to judge them by, it gets difficult.
     
  17. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    That is correct. It is not a right, but it makes good business sense.

    Sorry, but this is where your logic falls down. We are talking about games. They're a luxury item. You can actually live without them (I know, I know, controversial view to have on a computer geek forum but there it is). If you can't try, either accept the risk or don't buy. I would for instance never buy a car without trying it. But the quality of games is not a matter of life and death (whereas with cars it can be). If you don't want to take the risk, simply don't buy.
     
  18. roland777

    roland777 What's a Dremel?

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    I think you should look up the word 'colloquially'. What he's saying is that while at first glance, in an informal sense, copyright infringement may look a bit like theft, when examined more closely it is plainly not, and cannot be tried under the same laws.

    This highlights what you, nexxo, stuart and pookey have all failed spectacularly to grasp: Just because copyright infringement has an element of gain (on the side of the 'pirate') and an arguable element of loss (on the side of the content provider), you automatically claim that it's theft. You don't claim that it's a bit like theft, or that on a moral scale it's just as bad. You all state something along the lines of 'it's theft, plain and simple'. This (as the judge quoted above is trying to say) is just plain wrong.
     
  19. Bakes

    Bakes What's a Dremel?

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    Read reviews from people who have similar tastes to your own. For example, I like Joe's reviews, because I know that the games he likes are largely similar to the games I like - and I haven't yet been let down because of one of his reviews. It's the same with Ars Technica's reviews.

    You don't get the same experience as trying it out, but you at least get a professional opinion from someone who has similar tastes to you.

    On the other hand, I don't read IGN, Gamespot, or Gametrailers - they're just not my sort of thing.
     
  20. Bakes

    Bakes What's a Dremel?

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    They haven't failed to grasp it in any way - you just haven't let it die. We're talking about things here from a moral perspective - not a legal one.
     

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