The problem is that anyone who's distributing eggs is now out of a job. But that's ok, because they have an unlimited supply of eggs, right? Well, unfortunately, you can't pay for other things with eggs, such as shelter or heating, as they've now become worthless with the ability to copy them. Suddenly, this starts a trend where other food companies like peanut butter are quickly taken out of business because eggs become the source of protein as they're so easy to get. That's more people out of jobs who can't afford their houses because all they have ar eggs, a fairly useless product in terms of selling or trading for other good and services. Then, suddenly, someone from Hungry asks Mr. Guy for an egg, because he too is hungry, but really he just doesn't want to go and get a carton of eggs when he can get them for free. Out of kindness, Mr. Guy replicates him some eggs. Soon, everyone in Hungry is saying they can't afford eggs and are asking Mr. Guy for their eggs, regardless of their finacial situation.
You see where I'm going with this?
Engaging in this counterfactual doesn't really help us with dealing with morality of piracy. The fact is that despite piracy, video games are being made and profited from. Yes, you're right, if everyone did it for every game, there would be no games industry, but that isn't the case and it isn't a useful point. Do you think that withdrawing your money from the bank is morally unacceptable? If not, do you recognise that if everyone did it our economic system would crumble down in a bigger meltdown than the great depression, plunging society into chaos? Assuming you've answered those questions as I anticipate, you must see that 'if everyone did it, things would be bad' is not useful for distinguishing 'wrongful' acts from 'rightful' acts, or at least it is insufficient. Do you have anything to add to it or replace it with?
In fact, I do have something to say. I'm not sure how banks work where you live, but in Canada, technically speaking
, banks could
be self sufficient. Because the entire premis of a bank is to make investments, they could still make investments without people giving them money to do so. Would they be nearly as successful? Probably not. Would people need to find a new way to store their money? Yeah, that'd be a pain, too. Would it be entirely possible without throwing our economy into the shit hole? I can confidently say for my country, a resounding yes! As long as money keeps circulating, the economy might shrink, but it won't completely crash, as you suggested. I'm sure in my example that the economy would shrink as well and I was being a tad overzealous, but you see my point, right? Even if someone decided to pull out of one or two banks, the economy would shake, and unless there is some sort of government institution to assist regulate this (like the Bank of Canada, but sadly no Video Games of Canada) it would more than likely mean a downward sprial towards a crash in that particular market. Banks wouldn't be needed except for the select few. Are you prepared to cause another Video Game crash much like in the 80s?
I like this egg scenario people have been throwing around, so I think I'll stick with that for my example. So Mr. Guy has a replicator that can make an exact copy of something, in this case an egg. So he decides he wants to solve world hunger and replicate this egg for people who wouldn't be able to afford eggs, in this case Romania. So he copies a single egg for all of Romania and everyone is happy.
The problem is that anyone who's distributing eggs is now out of a job. But that's ok, because they have an unlimited supply of eggs, right? Well, unfortunately, you can't pay for other things with eggs, such as shelter or heating, as they've now become worthless with the ability to copy them. Suddenly, this starts a trend where other food companies like peanut butter are quickly taken out of business because eggs become the
source of protein as they're so easy to get. That's more people out of jobs who can't afford their houses because all they have ar eggs, a fairly useless product in terms of selling or trading for other good and services. Then, suddenly, someone from Hungry asks Mr. Guy for an egg, because he too is hungry, but really he just doesn't want to go and get a carton of eggs when he can get them for free. Out of kindness, Mr. Guy replicates him some eggs. Soon, everyone in Hungry is saying they can't afford eggs and are asking Mr. Guy for their eggs, regardless of their finacial situation.
You see where I'm going with this? Maybe the copying of a game doesn't effect the developers directly in your isolated case
but the world isn't just that simple. Suddenly the people who are distributing these disks are out of money because they lost those contracts. Other hobby stores that could also really
use the money are losing out because people can just download entertainment for free instead of looking for alternatives to video games. Your actions also reinforce and educate other people on pirating, which then becomes a trend and is seen as morally acceptable. Enough people do this and there goes another gaming company because there are no renewable sources of income to invest into their next blockbuster project. So now you've just destroyed three facets of the economy through pirating and that only furthers the downward spiral of a capitalist economy (which I believe most of the world runs on now) as you truly do need to spend money for the economy to make money. If people start losing jobs, that's less money to spend, which causes more jobs to be lost. Vicious, but true.
I see what you mean. Even when not doing direct harm you can set a dangerous precedent. I can't say I've thought of it that way before. I won't say you've totally convinced me, but you've certainly given me something to think about. Admittedly, in your argument piracy is wrong because of the economic system we live in, which makes it sound more like an indictment of capitalism than of piracy, but since I'm stuck in a capitalist society for now the effects of what I do under a capitalist system are what matters.
Thanks for the consideration. I know it's difficult to convince people that piracy is wrong through simple means of factual argument. In all sense, you really need to start using extremes to get a point across that potentially won't happen. But do you really want to take the chance?
In all honesty, I'd love to see free distribution of particular titles that are of the last generation, or the generation before, through some sort of Digital Distributions Act or something. Basically, it would state that the copying of these materials would be legal so long as they're A)Clearly out of production -and- B)Are X amount of years old. Though gaming is something I'd like to share with everyone, I can't condone Copy Right Infringement. I think the point where a game becomes art is once the profits stop coming in. At that point, developers can sit back and really look at how everyone is enjoying there game and take pride in the fact that it's so well known. By the same example of art, as long as no one is making copies and claiming the work to be their own after any once of profit is made, there really is no harm in giving the thing away for free. The industry is very slowly
inching its way towards this with digital redistribution of classic titles and re-makes for a small cost, but we need to really get the ball rolling on original copies of these games. If a company doesn't want to brush up the graphics, change some U.I. or add in additional features, what's the harm in fixing it up into a ROM and distributing it across the internet for anyone who wants it? Hell, at this point, they don't even have to make the programs to mount these images, they just need to make sure their code is in-line with a particular program and promote the use of it!
Where there's a buck to be made, unfortunately, companies aren't going to turn a blind eye to it. However, as I said previously, we've at least taken some steps to unsuring digital distribution cuts costs, that older games are available for very low costs (most games from about ten years back are $10 or under on digital distribution sites like Steam, GOG, Gametap, etc...) so that you may not have the flashiest of games, but you can still enjoy video games in general. And this is why I draw a line and look at people who pirate with such distain. If you can't afford to spare $10 every few months to get one of those classic titles, you're absolutely shitting me on other things, too. You cannot tell me with a straight face that you spend every single penny you earn on living costs alone. Sorry, not gonna buy it. Eat some Mac & Cheese and instant noodles for a few days a week instead of going out to McDonalds and you have yourself a classic title that will last you a lot longer than most titles out today. Saving up money for something they truly
want by cutting back on other lifestyle choices is just something people have to do in the real world and you're no exception. So don't give me your "I can't afford video games" speech, because there are plenty of titles that are affordable from past generations and you're just being greedy, Mr. "Gamer"!
P.S. I just want to point out that the last bit isn't specifically directed towards Mr/Miss Scobie, but rather to whomever argues that they can't afford video games so pirating is correct.