Lawyer Destroys Arguments for Game Piracy

Zachery Gaskins

New member
Mar 29, 2011
93
0
0
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.
 

M.C.Dillinger

New member
Nov 9, 2010
7
0
0
Scrustle said:
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 naïve 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.
 

Voltano

New member
Dec 11, 2008
374
0
0
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 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/columns/view-from-the-road/7690-View-from-the-Road-When-I-Was-a-Pirate] 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?
 

Zachery Gaskins

New member
Mar 29, 2011
93
0
0
Voltano said:
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.
 

Royas

New member
Apr 25, 2008
539
0
0
Dastardly said:
Greg Tito said:
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 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115003-TorrentFreak-Reveals-Top-Pirated-Games-of-2011]. 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

New member
Mar 29, 2011
93
0
0
Mcoffey said:
Zachery Gaskins said:
Voltano said:
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.
 

Voltano

New member
Dec 11, 2008
374
0
0
Zachery Gaskins said:
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.
 

Sparcrypt

New member
Oct 17, 2007
267
0
0
LilithSlave said:
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.
 

M.C.Dillinger

New member
Nov 9, 2010
7
0
0
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.
 

Baldr

The Noble
Jan 6, 2010
1,739
0
0
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).
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
24,759
0
0
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.
 

Fappy

\[T]/
May 1, 2020
12,010
0
0
Country
United States
Slycne said:
LilithSlave said:
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 :(
 

DonTsetsi

New member
May 22, 2009
262
0
0
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.
 

Ragsnstitches

New member
Dec 2, 2009
1,871
0
0
Dastardly said:
Greg Tito said:
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 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115003-TorrentFreak-Reveals-Top-Pirated-Games-of-2011]. 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.
 

sniddy_v1legacy

New member
Jul 10, 2010
265
0
0
....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 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence]

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
 

AT God

New member
Dec 24, 2008
564
0
0
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.
 

Centrophy

New member
Dec 24, 2009
209
0
0
ph0b0s123 said:
Greg Tito said:
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 said:
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 said:
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 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/115003-TorrentFreak-Reveals-Top-Pirated-Games-of-2011]. 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.