Experienced Points: Excuses on the High Seas

By Shamus
on Feb 20, 2009
Filed under:
Column

“Piracy” has been this week’s topic at The Escapist, and I jumped on the bandwagon with my run down of common reasons given to excuse piracy and why they (mostly) don’t work. (Although there are a few reasons (surprisingly, DRM doesn’t dominate the article, hooray for self-restraint) to which I am sympathetic.)

For contrast, self-professed pirate Lee Evans at Downwards Compatible has posted a list of common reasons for piracy. On Monday he plans to offer some suggestions on how piracy can be reduced.

I’m always glad to read the thoughts of clear-headed pirates who are honest with themselves about what they’re doing. I’ve said before that piracy is a social problem, not a technological one. I still think piracy is wrong, and I take no part in it myself, but I also don’t like the common practice of lumping pirates in with muggers, carjackers, or scam artists. I’m not suggesting that pirates are downtrodden victims and that if we listen to their reasons and have a hug that everything will be just fine. I’m saying that unlike crime in meatspace, you can’t fight piracy with guns, lawsuits, or DRM. It’s a social problem that can only be mitigated, never eliminated. Step one in solving a social or cultural problem like this is understanding what motivates people. Some are dedicated pirates who are lost to publishers, but some can be turned into customers. I think publishers would have better luck ignoring the former and wooing the latter, instead of ineffectually attempting to punish both.

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  1. Johan says:

    I’m sorry, but this one word simply dominated your post for me… “meatspace?”

  2. Rubes says:

    I’m always glad to read the thoughts of clear-headed pirates who are honest with themselves about what they’re doing.

    There’s a good cartoon in there somewhere.

  3. Namfoodle says:

    Calling piracy a social problem is spot on. The thing that kills me is when folks say “I’m too poor to afford my hobby, pity me, the downtrodden victim!”

    Yes, games are expensive. But in order to even be capable of piracy, you have to at least have access to a computer, although usually you have no motivation unless you or your family own a computer. Major investment right there. And you also need to have the skills, which implies getting some education at some point (likely provided by the state and funded by taxes paid by mommy and daddy).

    So, not exactly starving in the streets.

    If you’re an illiterate slum dweller who managed to pull yourself from the gutter and into an internet cafe, feel free to pirate.

    But otherwise, don’t kid yourself. Your actions just make life more of a pain for more honest members of society. And lets face it, most software pirates aren’t exactly the apex predators of the world of crime. If society didn’t protect them from the folks that really are starving or ruthless, they wouldn’t last very long.

    So basically what I’m saying is that most software pirates get a huge benefit from being members of modern society, but when the rules impinge on their leisure time, they can’t be bothered to follow them. Kind of pathetic.

  4. radio_babylon says:

    “I’m saying that unlike crime in meatspace, you can’t fight piracy with guns, lawsuits, or DRM.”

    im pretty sure that if a concerted effort were made to find pirates and upon finding them they were summarily shot in the face, that it wouldnt take too terribly many bullets before 95% of the pirates decided that the risk of getting shot in the face wasnt worth indulging their desire to get something for nothing. you could replace “shot in the face” with “hard time in jail” and achieve mostly the same effect, but then we have to pay to feed and house them. a bullet in the brainpan is a lot cheaper, and guaranteed 100% recidivism-proof.

    i could be wrong, but im confident im not. unfortunately, we’ll never get to find out.

  5. rumleech says:

    One excuse you seem to have forgotten, “I bought it years ago and want to play it again but I can’t be arsed to look for the CD.” That’s the one I use all the time.

  6. Lee Evans says:

    I would normally agree with you, Namfoodle. However, I’m not saying that I’m a victim for being a pirate. I happened to fall on some hard times, but I didn’t want to give up my favorite hobby at the same time that I had to give up my dignity by filing for unemployment. For some of us, there’s a little bit of pride in it.

    “I may not be able to put food on the table like I once could, but dammit, I still know things! I’m not an idiot!”

    I know all of this seems like justification, but there’s more to the piracy/anti-piracy debate than calling one group “boy scouts” and the other group “pathetic.” There’s a lot of factors that have combined to make a “perfect storm” of piracy.

    Here’s the good news: The industry is growing very well, regardless of the piracy. Once this recession/depression clears up, gaming has to be ready to bring pirates back.

  7. ngthagg says:

    rumleech: I’m not sure that qualifies. I know that when it comes to emulators and ROMs, downloading the ROM is apparently legal if you own/owned the cartridge in the first place.

    On a related note, xkcd claims the DRM wars are over, at least for music. I think that games are closer to music than movies, since games and music are used repeatedly whereas movies are more of a one-shot deal. I’m sure there are lessons to be learned from the DRM free online music stores.

  8. Zel says:

    radio_babylon: in France we had a few cases (for music I think) of people going to jail or having to pay huge fines for piracy. But a scandal broke out of a grandma being convicted for her grandson behavior and since I haven’t heard much. Another problem is that software piracy (assimilated to counterfeiting) is more punished than regular theft of a material object (fine is 10x more expensive). It doesn’t really make sense to me.

    I also wanted to point out that piracy isn’t reduced to PC gaming at all, as some publishers would like to make everyone believe. Consoles (all of them) are also commonly pirated and modchips or other means can be bought and/or installed by legal businesses for the price of a game or two. I don’t think PC piracy is worse than console, as everyone I know who owns a Nintendo DS (including 50yo old aunts) also has a Supercard/R4 to go with it. Following on that, what makes PC piracy so important that it must be fought at all costs (paid by paying consumer), while other supports are left unchecked. I’d like to know how much it costs to provide Securom protection in a game, seeing how inefficient it is I hope it’s cheap.

  9. Ludo says:

    @Shamus : you definitely have read Wiliam Gibson

    @ Johan : you should definitely read Wiliam Gibson

    @ radio_babylon : I’m utterly astonished. What good could come from shooting people in the face/putting people in jail ? I’m confident the solution lie in education, not repression.

  10. Namfoodle says:

    @ Lee Evens: Don’t take the “pathetic” label too seriously. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you’re collecting unemployment after getting laid off. That’ what it’s there for. You wouldn’t qualify if you hadn’t worked in the past, with you and/or your employer paying taxes into the system. My wife was laid off a year ago, it happens. So I understand your position as far as lack of funds goes.

    As you say, your lack of resources is a justification or a rationalization. There are plenty of inexpensive alternatives. For example, I’ve bought some games on GOG, but that only works for you if you see a game on there that you like. But I haven’t bothered to pirate any games. I’ve never done it in the past, and I’ve never pirated any music, either. I guess I’m just a luddite for missing those trends, as I’m not exactly a boyscout.

    You say the industry is growing well, but I’m not sure what you mean by that. Sales have been good, but companies are still posting losses and laying off lots of game developers.

    The big companies probably need to get better control of their development costs. Then maybe the price point on new games could come down. But they’re supposedly going towards a model where most games lose money and a few blockbusters are supposed to cover everything.

    So I agree, there is a strong economic incentive to pirate games. They’re a potentially expensive bit of leisure that can be had for free illegally with little or no risk. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s a good idea in the long term for a member of the gamer community. Software piracy just means that the producers of gaming software are less likely to act rationally from the point of view of the average gaming consumer.

  11. Sean says:

    @radio_babylon : Unfortunately, harsh punishments do not deter crime. Do some googling around about the myth of harsh sentences or punishments deterring crime, and you’ll find a large body of information supporting that it’s a myth. As an anecdote, consider that the United States has the highest murder rate of 1st world countries, but still maintains the death penalty (in some states). A good quote I saw: “If fear of death penalty is not sufficient to prevent murders, the argument about fear preventing crime cannot stand.” (from http://www.samarthbharat.com/crimepunishment.htm)

    I really don’t want to start a flame war by discussing politics (heh), but I just wanted to point out that punishment really won’t fix the problem, despite common perceptions.

    Shamus is right on here – the only way to address it is to treat it as a social problem and make non-piracy the more attractive option.

  12. Colonel Slate says:

    The only point that I can refute, at least from my point is the last, “try then buy” out of the few games I’ve pirated, it was mainly to see if they would run or not, example in Saints Row 2 (Didn’t work at all), Assassins Creed (Get on the 360), and Halo 2 (Don’t even think about it) more or less it was to find out, was it a horrible port that isn’t even worth my time, and most of the time, the answer is yes, yes it is.

    As for information is “free” I take a more interesting stand, having been in law school for a bit (not a lawyer, too dull, now I sit at a desk and deal with issues with military law, ironic) I find EULAs to be most wrong in the first place, full of holes and easy to shoot down, as such, I own the game, and all the content of the game when I buy it.

    So, I usually take the game I bought and tear it to shreds, looking at each piece.

    But anyway, typically a good reason to pirate, is if you have the game, and you want a back up. That’s about it

    EDIT—

    Ha, ha ha… ok, then… I love the little size 8 or 10 thing that says “continued on page 2”

    So, not having a rebuttal on the “try then buy” I am now just agreeing with the try then buy point, and I can say, every game I’ve “tried” for more than 20-40 minutes, I’ve bought

  13. Namfoodle says:

    @ Sean. Yeah, the death penalty is not really a deterrent, it’s revenge on society’s and the victims behalf. I doubt it the possibility is considered by the majority of folks that qualify – they’re already past the point of no return.

    From the standpoint of economics and international relations, it’s a bad deal. It costs too much money and it complicates extradition with countries in Europe. You can actually get away with murder if you can get to Europe. Their constitutions won’t let them send you back for prosecution in the US if the death penalty is in play.

    But for whatever reason, there are enough folks in the US who are uncomfortable with getting rid of the death penalty to keep it around.

    I would hope radio_babylon is kidding at least a little bit. Ridiculously harsh punishments are unlikely to work and would never realistically be implemented in the first place.

    You’re not going to be able to prevent 100% of crime. I suppose the goal is to make it difficult/inconvenient enough so that it isn’t so common that society can’t handle the cost. If things break down too much everyone will start acting irrationally.

    Plenty of people still shoplift, but retailers the world over have multiple methods of dealing with it (physical contols, surveilance, prosecution) and the retailing industry isn’t in danger of imploding. They’ve whittled their losses down to something they can live with, and the inconvenience factor to normal shoppers has also hit a level that the majority seems to accept.

    At this point, the PC gaming software industry hasn’t found a similar sweet spot. They are at a bit of a disadvantage because they can’t just “lock up” a physical product and put in cameras and scanners at the door. Current DRM schemes seem to inconvenience paying customers more than many of them are willing to put up with. (sort of like when folks complain they can’t go into certain stores without being followed by security after being “profiled” for how they dress, etc.) I don’t know what the solution will look like, but the PC gaming software industry needs to mature and find a non-draconian combination of tactics that makes piracy inconvenient to enough people that they can accept the results. Then they can stop bitching about how piracy is destroying them and it’s their #1 issue. It just becomes another cost of doing business that you try to keep low.

    And the gaming pundits can stop bitching about DRM and find something more interesting to talk about (like the games themselves…)

  14. “I bought it years ago and want to play it again but I can’t be arsed to look for the CD.” That’s the one I use all the time.

    It is the one that has tempted me over software that was stolen from me. Not enough to give in though.

  15. brashieel says:

    Honestly, I dropped out of the video game pirate demographic when I realized people like Good Old Games would provide classic games compatible with my pc for almost nothing.

    Just had this “Hey, I won’t feel like a chump if I buy that” moment and gave up my criminal ways. At least in regards to computer games.

  16. Adam says:

    This post is of interest only to myself, but here I am posting it anyways. This is a run-down of every game I’ve ever pirated:

    Command and Conquer: Generals

    Pirated to play with a friend, who owned a legit copy. We played five or six games over a 24 hour period, then I deleted it and never played again. Good game, but I wasn’t in an RTS mode at the time.

    Rise of Legends

    As above, except I never actually played with my friend. I played three or four single-player campaign missions, lost interest, and deleted it. Not my style of RTS, and it ran pretty badly even on the lowest settings. I can run RTSs that have come out in the last month, so this was pretty disappointing.

    Fallout 3

    Pirated to check performance. Played it for less than two hours (didn’t even make it out of the vault). Got a below-optimal framerate, and I wasn’t very interested in the game anyways, so I never bought it.

    Now, here’s an excuse I bet you never heard before…

    “I’ve got a brand-new DS, but I’m in a country where all the games are in a foreign language!”

    I bought my DS while studying abroad in Japan. I played a couple of my friend’s games that he brought, then lost interest. At first I had plans to use Japanese games to help my language studies, but then I learned that the Japanese alphabet + the DSs low resolution screen = writing you can only understand if you already know what you’re looking at. Ultimately, I ended up downloading a couple of games to my hack cartridge (bought to play emulated SNES games, not DS ROMs) to keep me entertained.

    I didn’t actually play any of them for very long. No more than a couple of days each. I switched to some SNES classics after that, which fired up an interest in retro RPGs, which left the DS by the wayside as I switched to abandonware via DOSBox on my laptop. Still, that’s probably my most dramatic pirating transgression.

  17. Taellosse says:

    Actually, about 95% (semi-random statistic–I don’t have hard numbers) of crime, in or out of meatspace, is a social problem, and can’t be solved by the use of guns and prison. The overwhelming majority of criminals become that way because they feel like it is the only means available to them to succeed. Generally they’re wrong, of course, but that perception most often arises out of genuine disadvantage, to a greater or lesser extent. Most of the rest of crime is the result of one person exploiting the disadvantage of another for personal gain. Pretty much the only crimes that are not social problems are those perpetrated by the mentally unbalanced–serial murder, pedophilia, and such. And crime shows notwithstanding, the actual percentage of that kind of crime compared to the whole is vanishingly small.

    Which is not to say that there is an easy solution–the social problems that give rise to most crime are intractably difficult to solve. But for the most part, they aren’t helped in any meaningful way by traditional law enforcement methods. Incarceration is far more likely to turn mild criminals into hardened ones than reform anyone, and it does nothing to address the underlying problems that give rise to the acts in the first place. And as others have already pointed out, capital punishment is equally ineffective.

    So, contrary to your implied point, digital piracy isn’t actually particularly exceptional in the realm of crime. It’s actually pretty typical. It can be fairly readily compared to a number of other sorts of crime that are widespread and difficult to enforce effectively (speeding, for example, or low-level use of some of the more mild illegal drugs).

  18. Alan De Smet says:

    I want to smack those people who use “information wants to be free” as a justification to engage in copyright infringement. Yes, information wants to be free. Water also wants to flow downhill, but that would be a stupid reason to blow up dams. “Information wants to be free” isn’t a moral imperative, it’s a warning that stopping the flow of information is extremely difficult, just as stopping water from running downhill is difficult.

    (I refuse to call small scale copyright infringement “piracy.” Major copyright industry lobbyists are trying to blur the difference between theft of physical property and infringement upon a government granted monopoly, making inane comparisons like saying that downloading an MP3 is exactly identical to shoplifting a CD. They don’t think they can win the public’s mind if they’re forced to actually honestly discuss the nature of the crime. They’re all too happy that “piracy” has multiple meanings. So I stick with more accurate words with no possible misinterpretations: copyright infringement.)

  19. WysiWyg says:

    If someone already mentioned this I apologize, but since I have the attentionspan of a 3 year-old hoped up on sugar I can’t read all those comments. Yet I felt I had to make sure that this was written at least once.

    I don’t agree with you that it’s a “problem” at all. The way I see it there could be two things that could be construed as a “problem”;

    1. The fact that they loose control over who enjoys their game/music/movie/tv-show/whatever. However, they lost this control the second they released it to the public. As long as something is released to the public I can’t see any problem in the public enjoying whatever “it” is.

    2. The loosing money. I just love it when for example the IFPI or the MPAA goes on record crying about how much money they’re loosing. What they seem to fail to convey to us is the fact that the music industry as a whole is booming, and that the movie industry is making more money than ever.

    For example we have the cinemas crying their hearts out a couple of months ago (in Sweden) over how much money they’re loosing, all the while producing reports that says that both 2007 and 2008 broke the all time highscore.

    So that’s my basic thought; since noone is loosing any money, and they already have released it (admittedly that’s not always the case, but I would think that the pre-releases are somewhat few in the big scheme of things), so what’s the problem?

    Oh, right, I almost forgot; there are scientific studies that show that onlinepiracy has little to no negative effect on sales, and that sometimes it even has a positive effect.

    Oh, and also that pirates are generally huge customers. That’s right, we pay the big bucks too. We just enjoy all the other things we can’t afford to pay for as well.

  20. JB says:

    In the beginning there was freedom.

    But with freedom you could do and take whatever you wanted. Whatever you were able to, anyway. So the powers that be understood that freedom had to be limited. We got laws to protect people and their property.

    The freedom was limited, but you could still do whatever you wanted as long as it wasn’t intruding on other peoples property.

    This worked very well for many years. But them came technological progress. And with this progress came the ability to share. People were being good friends and was sharing music, films and games.

    Ohh, but this was not too the liking of everybody. When people shared, they didn’t buy as much any more. Something had to be done about that, for who should be able to listen to music without paying for it? That’s immoral, and even worse, that is not as much income as it use to be!

    The old business model could of course not be changed. It is much better to change the law, to limit the freedom of people even more! So to protect the old business modell, the laws was changed again. People were no longer allowed to share freely.

    Is it moral to limit freedom of private people in order to ensure a business model continues to be profitable, even when changing conditions that normally would mean less profit?

    Personally I think the piracy-laws are immoral. They can in my oppinion only be defended in one way, and that is if the business would cease to exist if not protected. That may be true for the gaming business, but I do not think it is true for neither the movie business or the music business.

    Personally I pirate very little. I am one short of having bought 50 blu rays, and I regularly buy both games and music. But I still think it shold be legal to copy and share, and I think people who earns enough money should buy most of their games, music and movies.

  21. Moridin says:

    #20 WysiWyg: “Oh, right, I almost forgot; there are scientific studies that show that onlinepiracy has little to no negative effect on sales, and that sometimes it even has a positive effect.”

    Source, please.

  22. WysiWyg says:

    @Moridin: Let’s start with Harvard shall we?

    http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/04.15/09-filesharing.html

    Then we have KTH (swedish “university”), unfortunately the link I have is to a swedish newspaper. But if you can read swedish, or translate it, here it is;

    http://www.aftonbladet.se/pryl/article330240.ab

    Now, admittedly these studies are only about musicpiracy, but since the other industries as well are booming I would say it’s not to farfetched to assume that the same hold true for the rest of them.

    Then we have the Dutch study that seemed to be more general (all though I haven’t actually read it), that found that in the end society as a whole benefits from piracy.

    http://arstechnica.com/web/news/2009/01/dutch-government-study-net-effect-of-p2p-use-is-positive.ars

    The brutal truth is that the oldschoolers out there just don’t want embrace the opportunities.

  23. ima420r says:

    The only real reason to pirate is to play games.

    I have downloaded my share of games in the past, but the ones I keep going back to are the ones I have bought. Fun games that have online play like Warcraft 3 or Half-Life, games you can’t play online with pirated copies, those are the ones that fill up my hard drive these days. Of course, I work and make money and can afford games, years ago it was a different story. I’m even one of the few people who bought World of Goo (after downloading it and falling in love with it).

    Perhaps if PC games went the way of the console game as far as the used market was concerned, things would be different. I have lots of Wii and 360 games. Lots. I bought most of them used and cheap. You can’t get used PC games anywhere these days. Back when I had an Amiga, I could buy a game used for half the new price, and sell the ones I didn’t want anymore. You don’t see used games anymore. Of course, with the use of game keys, buying a used game can be a gamble. Will it be included? Has it been ‘leaked’ to the pirate community? If it doesn’t work, your SOL.

  24. ClearWater says:

    I’m saying that unlike crime in meatspace, you can’t fight piracy with guns, lawsuits, or DRM.

    Are you saying that there are crimes that can be fought with DRM?

  25. Magnus says:

    Without things like Napster letting people in on the world of digital music, we would never have the legal digital distribution models we have today.

    The same is evident with gaming.

    The alternate is with books, which are still sold as they were for years, with the internet only used as a more efficient version of mail-order.

    Change only occurs if there is pressure. Piracy provides the pressure for change, it is up to the companies to decide how they change.

  26. Ham08 says:

    Here’s an eery thought: The gaming industry has declared war on their own paying customers. Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

    DRM is nothing but a scam, used to wrestle control and rights away from the paying customer. It does nothing to stop piracy or even slow it down (Example: Spore was cracked on release day or even before.). It is clear to me that what is really happening is that the gaming industry wants to stop second-hand sales and sharing, because they do not profit from it.

    I wonder if the gaming industry itself wants to kill off PC-Gaming because it’s much cheaper to develop for consoles despite charging higher prices for those games, since they no longer have to deal with infinite hardware configurations (All Xbox360s have essentially the same hardware specs, except the hard-drive which doesn’t really matter. Same with the PS3, WII, etc.). Also, piracy is much less of a problem on consoles for the reasons already mentioned in the comments. This is a pretty ignorant endeavor, since we all know that PC-Gaming is what drives technological advancement in the industry, much more-so than the consoles. Not to mention the fact that console games can be rented, but not PC-Games, so there is a loss in profit that may not have been considered. Or maybe it has.

    The crime of DRM is thus: Artificially limiting the number of times the customer can install and play a game that was purchased is absolutely unacceptable. Period.

    There are folks that will purchase and pirate a game at the same time, because the pirated version is the superior product since the DRM has been removed. The problem with this is that by purchasing a game with limited-install DRM, the customer is supporting this feature whether they like it or not. The best way to deal with it is to develop will-power enough to refrain from the purchase all together and maybe the industry will stop with the criminal DRM activities. Don’t pirate it, but don’t purchase it either. Support companies that do not use this criminal DRM scheme and let the others die if they don’t change their ways.

    P.S. If you require citations of sources, then you haven’t been paying attention to the issue.

  27. Mario says:

    This is more of a philosophical exercise than a suggestion in any form, but I feel the need to say it.

    Economics distinguishes different types of goods, based on rivalry and excludability. Rivalry is when the use of a good by one person precludes its use by another, and excludability refers to the potential to limit access to the good.

    Private goods are rivalrous and excludable, like clothing, and easily provided by the free market. Collective goods are things like cable television, excludable but non-rivalrous, also provided by the free market. Common goods are the opposite of collective goods, rivalrous but non-excludable. These are things like hunting grounds, whose use needs to be regulated in some way so that they are not overused and destroyed. The last item are public goods, things that everyone can use and enjoy at the same time. These things, like national defense or lighthouses, can’t be made profitable on their own since the free rider problem is too high, so can’t be provided by the market.

    My point (if anyone bothered to read this far), is that digital media may have crossed the barrier from collective goods into the common good category. In that case, the only way to continue its provision would be through the government. Needless to say, this isn’t a great idea, but I can see the day where it becomes necessary in some form.

    [I would never suggest the the government actually produce digital media, but only provide subsidies; possibly backed up by survey data to ensure that the things most enjoyed are provided the greatest income, and the least for the things most hated.]

  28. Mike says:

    @Magnus:

    You’ve heard of Amazon Kindle, yes? Books have the difficulty of not being in a format (historically) that can be easily transmitted via the internet (unlike music and games) but suggesting that there isn’t online distribution of books via a network is a few years outdates.

  29. Magnus says:

    @Mike:

    The kindle and its ilk are hardly bringing down the house, are they?

    I can’t see myself going digital for books for a long while, if ever. I would think that many others will take my position.

    There is no pressure on the sales of paper books. They’re cheap, easy to transport, and you can even loan them for free from your local library.

  30. Jens says:

    Let´s look at this from another point of view, shall we?

    To understand what is going on at the moment we shall use an old science fiction gadget called a „replicator“ Star Trek does have these mostly for making food, but in theory they they can make any other thing you can name as well.
    (OK, there is strong scientifical evidence such a device is not possible at all, as a thought experiment it is still viable)
    What does it do?
    Well basically, you put in an original or a blueprint thereof and out comes a perfect copy of this original. Or ten, or a thousand , does´nt matter .
    Even better, you may link all your replicators and then everyone of them will be able to make a perfect copy of that one original.
    For very little to no cost at all for you.
    Once you copied an original you can do it again and again.
    OK we defined what a replicator does, let´s pretend we have them.

    The question is, what will it do to our economy.
    The answer: Economy as we know it will cease to exist and will be replaced by something we cannot even imagine right now.
    Think about it, everybody can have a house made of gold bricks and he does not have to stir a single finger to get it. He may be the richest person in the world or a homeless living under a bridge right now. Does´nt matter anymore.
    The only things, that are worth something would be the few originals that still need to be made. (And the makers should be paid in advance because once it is out it´s worthless)
    Another thing of worth would be services. After all a replicator would do nothing for your toothache now, would it?
    In the beginning there would be a lot of whining from owners of the originals, but what would it change? You have to come up with an entirely different way to compensate them.

    Well that was a long introduction, now lets come back to games and piracy.
    We will add cheap means of copying and a distribution system:
    Computers, DVD burners and the Internet
    Let´s see:
    Get an original and make as many copies as you like? Check
    Easy distribution, money no object? Check (within reason, this changes a lot right now)

    Yepp it´s a replicator for bits and bytes.
    So all implications of a replicator cut loose in our world should apply.
    This means all this talk about copyrights an piracy does not get un anywhere.
    The basic rules of the game have changed completely and you have to come up with an entirely new way to play, everything else will get us nowhere.

  31. Daran says:

    Another reason to pirate: releasing buggy games. When I got my first job I bought a couple of games. The high price point, coupled with a lot of bugs (I’m looking at you, Civilization Call to Power) quickly soured me on that concept. I still have to pay for my favorite MMO though.

    In addition, every election cycle there are lots of artists saying we need to share more. I’m happily taking them up on their offer.

  32. radio_babylon says:

    there was a little bit of a misunderstanding about my earlier comment. i wasnt saying that we SHOULD shoot pirates in the face. i was only saying that we COULD, in response to the idea that this is a problem that cant be solved with a gun. it absolutely could be. there are very very few “social” or “educational” problems i can imagine that COULDNT be solved with a gun, provided one were ruthless enough in its application. people dont like to hear this, it offends there delicate spineless *cough* excuse me “civilized” sensibilities.

    as to “harsh punishment doesnt deter crime”… how would we know? we’ve never HAD harsh punishment. nothing, and i do mean nothing, in this country up to and including death penalty that may take 20 years to apply (and in a painless “humane” way no less) could be considered harsh. hell, summarily executing an offender (pirate, murderer, shoplifter, whatever) with a shot to the face isnt harsh. harsh is shooting them in the face, then rounding up their first-generational relatives (up and down the tree, so parents and childred) and neighbors on both sides and shooting THEM in the face, sparing only those who actively informed the authorities of the crime BEFORE it was otherwise discovered. *thats* harsh. *that* would encourage social and familial pressure to keep your ass in line, and if you didnt, you could be SURE that as soon as your theiving/murdering/whatever ways were discovered youd be reported and receive punishment. thats harsh. 3 hots and a cot with cable tv, a library, and a gym for the rest of your remaining life IS NOT HARSH. execution, maybe, after a dozen appeals and 20 years IS NOT HARSH. put me in charge of crime control and prevention for 10 years, and ill show the world HARSH. we’ll find out just how much of a deterent it is or isnt.

    now back to piracy. piracy isnt a social problem, it isnt an education problem. its an authority problem. pirates want what the want, and theyre going to TAKE it, and not even give it a second thought. why? because there is no credibly authority to enforce the rules that say “dont pirate”… its got nothing to do with whether they think its right or wrong, or whether it actually IS right or wrong… there fact remains there are little to no real consequences for it, and enforcement/application of even those minor consequences is virtually non-existent. and your average hairless ape, in the absence of credible consequences, is going to do whatever the **** it wants to do. thats not a lack of education or a lack of social aptitude. its man doing what man does best, in the absence of pressure or consequences: whatever he thinks benefits him. and people refuse to acknowledge that because it paints a damn ugly picture of humanity, and because if they could have an ounce of honesty they see themselves in that picture as well.

    im rambling at this point, so ill sum up my original arguement: piracy absolutely positively could be solved with a gun, given adequate will to apply it ruthlessly. the end.

  33. DaveMc says:

    Nice try, Shamus, but I’m not going to be sucked into this debate again, I’ve still got a twinge in my elbow and a distant tinny sound in my ears from the last time this flared up, some time last year. I’m going to skim through the comments and when I feel the urge to comment, I’m going to just breathe deeply until it goes away.

    Also: http://xkcd.com/546/

    But by all means, have fun, everyone. :)

  34. Mari says:

    In response to the thought that refusing to allow returns of software combats a non-existent problem: Many moons ago in my youth there was a mall software store chain that some of you may remember by the name of Software Etc. We had one in our very own hometown mall. Being the young person I was, I tended to cruise the mall as a form of entertainment and being the geek I was Software Etc was part of the cruising pattern. It was there that I got into a conversation with one of the employees. I complained about the fact that their prices were 15-30% higher than other software outlets. He let me in on a secret: it didn’t matter how much higher their prices were because they had the most generous return policy of any retailer. He explained that I could buy software from them today, install it on my hard drive, and return it tomorrow for my money back. He would then be told to re-wrap it back into its original packaging and sell it to the next schmo.

    I never had the heart to exploit the system he explained. I claim no moral high-ground for that as I’ve done things every bit as rotten. But I started talking to people and found out I was one of the few in my social circle who didn’t take advantage of Software Etc’s generous return policy to get all the latest, greatest software (such as, and this dates me to no end, OS2/Warp) for “free.”

    Over time CD checks on software combined with Software Etc tightening up their practices led to the extinction of the chain, but I’ll never forget the lessons that their minimum wage employees taught me about the world.

  35. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You are missing one group.They kind of fall under the “not available in my country” group,but not quite.Where I live,until recently,there were no originals available.Anywhere.But,there were stores selling pirated games/movies/music/programs.Actual legal stores.Many people didnt even know these were illegal copies when they bought them.Even the hardware retailers installed pirated OS on your machine,without you ever knowing that its not legal.And Im sure there are many places like this in the world.

  36. Zukhramm says:

    Personally. My “excuse” for pirating might be simmilar to the “information wants to be free”. To many, it seems as the concept of copyright itself is completly natural. That it’s obvious that a song, a piture or a piece of software can be “owned”, can be considered property. To me that’s just very strange.

    No matter how many times I’m told that people would never create anything unless protected by copyright and that if someone puts time and energy into creating something it should be rightfully “theirs”, I just don’t get it. I makes no sense at all to me.

    Anyway, no matter my opinion, what you say is true. It’s not a technical problem, it’s a social problem. When trying to think up solutions it always seems to me as if games are the hardest to come up with ideas for.

    One solution is the most obvious. Make the legal alternative better than the illegal one. I love it when CDs come packed in something more interesting than the standard plastic case. A cardboard case that’s a little more interesting to open. It’s not much, but just a small thing making the purchase feel a lot more worth it. Why don’t games do this? The only one I’ve seen is Shadow of the Colossus (I think Ico had it too), but it does a lot, to me at least.

    Another thing is to look on the bright sides of piracy, and try to figure out how to make money from them. People have probably never listened to so much music, watched so many movies and played so many games as today. How do you make money off of that, without charging for the separate viewings or copies?

  37. Angie says:

    Publishers complaining about pirates “stealing” from them should note that if someone pirates your game, you do not suddenly become $60 poorer, but if you sell someone a game that doesn’t work and don’t give them a refund, they really are $60 poorer. Who’s “stealing” now?

    Yep, that right there. The publishers are weakening their own crusade against piracy quite a lot because of this. They’re all strident about wanting everything to be fair and right and just, until it’s time for them to be fair to the people who’ve handed them money.

    I also have a problem with the buy-it-then-download-it approach. I agree that it’s not piracy, but it is financially supporting the publishers who include draconian DRM. I’d been looking forward to playing Spore ever since I first heard buzz about it, but when it was released I didn’t get a copy. I thought hard about buying it and then downloading a DRM-free copy, but finally didn’t, because the bottom line is I don’t want EA to think that I as a cuatomer am willing to deal with their DRM schemes.

    This really sucks from my POV, because even having read some of the gameplay complaints, Spore still sounds like the kind of game I’d really enjoy. But EA is insane about DRM and I refuse to contribute to their delusions by giving them money. :/

    Angie

  38. Felblood says:

    I’ve never paid $60 for a game, and I don’t think I ever will. I am a bargin bin man. I like games, but my purchasing pattern was shaped in a time when I was scraping together allowance quarters to buy my games. The $10 rack Star Wars FPS was a staple of my gaming diet, and remains so now that it’s called The $20 Rack.

    Nowadays, I often play games and see movies before they hit the discount bin (or even hit the shelves) but I have paid for most of those games, after they hit a price I would have actually paid for them –Assuming they do. Games exclusively sold online tend to never go down in price, no matter how many years pass. $25 for a game that was five years old when I got it? In your dreams.

    @Mario: You’re neglecting the possibility of non-profit organizations providing games. Free indie games are part of the solution, bu they rarely measure up to the quality of professional games.

    In the future, there will be fewer professional game companies, but there will still be some. The market is not as big as it looks, because the number of people who would be willing to pay for your product is almost never as large as the number who want it.

    @Shamus: The longer I go without employment, the harder it becomes to resist the impulse to download things I know I’ll never pay for.

    I’m trying to get by on Abandonware and Free games (Thank you, Bay12 Games!) but my voracious appetite for variety and quality (I rarely finish games) makes it a battle to fill my free time without violating my principles.

  39. Yar Kramer says:

    Hmm. Couple thoughts …

    – I think that someone who tries to take the “moral high ground” by using “Information wants to be free!” as an excuse to break the law is actually saying, “I want this information to be free, whether it is intended to be such or not, so I’m going to anthropomorphise it and claim that it wants it to take the blame off myself.”

    – If every game released had a demo, that would shoot the “I want to try it before I buy it” excuse right down. Granted, it doesn’t resolve the “no returns policy” issue, but it at least takes away that excuse. (As an aside, Valve really screwed things up by removing the Left 4 Dead demo. I was this close to convincing myself it was worth $45/$50 of my own money. On the other hand, I would now really wish I still had said money, and anyway a friend got it for me as a gift during the sale last week, so it all worked out in the end.)

    – I agree that “I bought the game legitimately ages ago, and lost the CD and can’t be smegged to find it” is at least worth glancing at. Also, you totally should have added “Because I can, and because I feel like it!” to the list and come up with a response … wait, no, that’s not an excuse, that’s the actual reason. ;)

    – It occurs to me that your expression is just about perfect when coupled with the “dork” label. ;)

  40. Marmot says:

    That was a totally awesome and very much spot-on summary. I find myself guilty of a few on the list as well, though I like to think that I’ve really improved during the last several years* :)

    p.s. * now that I am, DRM will start killing me. What a time to decide to be 100% legal, eh?

  41. ehlijen says:

    There’s another, not very common, excuse:

    I bought the game and was horrified by the botched localisation. Instead of hearing poor (insert language it was translated into) I’d rather play it in (insert language it was originally written in) .

    As I said, not a common one.

    But yeah, the only ones with even a smidgen of validity are the ones that involve “I bought it, but now…” I say. Can’t afford it? Gaming instead of doing something about that probably isn’t going to change that situation. Don’t like the DRM? Don’t play it. As in, not just don’t buy it, don’t play it. Games with drms that make people not buy them deserve to be forgotten, not have the whole internet talk about them anyway.

  42. “Games with drms that make people not buy them deserve to be forgotten, not have the whole internet talk about them anyway.”

    Even if they are marvelous games, doing everything right? That hasn’t come up, yet, but a game needs to be judged based on the game, not on the DRM associated with it. Purchasing habits, however, need not be judged by such a metric.

    I buy all my games, these days, unless they’re old and I can’t find them on GoG.

    Ben

  43. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The thing everyone seems to forget is that its not just games that get pirated.All software is pirated.So,while the “cant afford it” argument is valid for games,what about software that helps you earn money to feed your familly?Is it ok to ask someone not to buy new clothes for his children just so someone else would earn a few dollars?Someone who already has millions.

  44. ehlijen says:

    Benjamin: If you disagree with the notion that you should not buy drm games out of protest that’s fine. What I meant to say was: if you do believe in protesting drm by not buying, then ignoring its existence outright is more effective than pirating it and still talking about it. Word of mouth like that will make people interested after all.

    Lucifer:
    Your example doesn’t really work. You are saying that there are people out there who make money using pirated software but can’t make money in any other way?
    That’s like saying “If we ban drugs, what are the dealers going to sell to make money to feed their family?”.

    If you can’t do a job without illegally using some tool, then it’s not a legal job.

  45. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @ehlijen

    Yes,its not a legal job.But lets not forget that women working at all was illegal not so long ago(and probably still is in a few countries).So,youre saying that single mothers needed to die from starvation with their children because it was illegal for them to work?

    Oh yes,lets not also forget that meanwhile you can take any song,remix it(insert a gunshot every 10 seconds,for example),put some idiotic title on it,and sell it as your own,earning thousands of dollars without any effort(case in point:kayne west).This is perfectly legal.

  46. Jens says:

    @ehlijen:
    Quite OT:
    “That’s like saying “If we ban drugs, what are the dealers going to sell to make money to feed their family?”.”

    Ehrm if you replace “dealers” with “farmers” that is exactly the point. You have to come up with other things for them to make a living or they will not stop producing those drugs.

  47. smIsle says:

    Software piracy is a big one. When Adobe buys a $30 program, re-skins it, REMOVES some functionality and then bumps the price up to $300 … What exactly are you paying for? I’m referring to Audition and Cool Edit. The ONLY thing that was better about the new Adobe version was added support for new file types. By pirating Audition you aren’t robbing Adobe of their intellectual property, they have put no effort into the program, rather you are causing them to earn back their 16 million a little bit slower.

    note: they have added new features to the third version, and raised the price $50. They also came out with a crapped-up version, Soundbooth ($200), which sucks even for a graphic design person like me.

    I guess it says something to me when you can buy the CS Master suite for $1000 or the Design suite for $600 as a student edition, where the standard editions cost $2,500 and $1,400.

    When software companies overcharge for their products, I don’t feel too bad about people pirating from them. Luckily, I only use photoshop and am smart enough to only upgrade once a decade :-)

  48. smIsle says:

    oh yeah,

    @26 magnus
    Books were probably one of the first things to be pirated on the internet, seeing as how they are just text. The difference is that it isn’t enjoyable to read books on the computer. The only benefit pirated text documents have over the real thing is searchability, and that mostly applies to non-fiction.

    This all proves the point that if you make the original better than a pirated copy, people will shell out the bucks for what they want. Imagine if book publishers added a sort of DRM into books so that they could not be scanned with OCR. I’m imagining an entire book written like a captcha. The hackers would create filters that would still allow their OCR software read that particular publisher’s distortion, and regular customers would no longer be able to enjoy their legally bought books. That set-up sounds familiar for some reason.

  49. ehlijen says:

    Lucifer:

    My point was: No job relying on pirated software is so irreplaceable that it is indeed the only option left.
    If it’s crime or die, yes, the answer is going to be obvious (but that still won’t automatically absolve you from punishment if you get caught). But who cannot earn money wihout pirating software? Ie, who can afford a computer and internet but not the software he needs to make money? Compared to the computer and the internet over the course of a year, the software does not cost that much (no software does).

    Yes, what software companies are doing isn’t nice. But that does not allow us to cheat them, just as badly made cars do not allow us to steal those cars.

  50. RodeoClown says:

    Is there an RSS feed of the Experienced-Points articles?

    I can only get a feed of the op-ed articles, and I don’t feel like wading through everyone else’s articles to find yours (find a good author and stick to him like glue!)

  51. Anaphyis says:

    Usually in a dispute between two parties, you have to decide who is right. Turns out, both are liars and hypocrites indulging in rationalizations. And why shouldn’t they? The music industry for example is from an economical standpoint smaller then one large hard disc manufacturer – yet they can actively manipulate legislation (probably explained either by the cultural value of music or the cocaine and hooker parties by the lobbyists) to get more money they may or may not deserve.

    But this is stereotyping. There are many types of companies out there and there are many types of pirates out there. Some are douchebags. When a friend told me he pirated and indie game because he was too cheap to buy it (and he made perfectly clear he wouldn’t buy it even if he liked it) I ripped him a new one. Others pirate because they have no chance to get the game legally or because they have been screwed by beta-retail software one time too often. And then there is the type which collects terabyte’s worth of stuff they never play anyway.

    Anyway. Nice article Shamus, although using a common controversy among gamers to push your escapist PI’s is somehow transparent ;)

    Oh, BTW for everyone discussing copyright issues: The EULA is not a universally accepted contract, all around the world. They have questionable legal status in the US and in other countries, they are just plain invalid. In Germany for example it isn’t legally binding because you read it AFTER you already made your purchase and thus made your contract with the dealer. And even for MMO games and digitally distributed ones where you read the EULA before, it is questionable. People are so extremely conditioned by the Internet that they will click “I accept” even if they could understand lawyer-speak.

  52. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @ehlijen

    A guy I went to school with worked as a dj for some time using pirated software.It didnt really save him from dying,but it did buy him new clothes and shoes and eased the pressure from his parrents who already strain themselves.What you are saying is that he shouldve just quit schooling in order to find some legal job that would bring him the same amount of money but with three times longer working hours just so he wouldnt be a pirate?

    And really,compare the price of an average computer with the price of a software:700$ split over the period of 2 years(thats about the amount of money I had spent on my last machine that worked for the last 2 years,and it was above average when bought)is 30$ a month.Windows+antivirus+specialised software for work in the same amount of time would cost about 200$,or 8$ a month.Now,8$ a month maybe doesnt seem much to you,but here average salary is about 300$,so it is much.For 8$ you can feed a familly of 3 for a whole day.

    Im not exusing myself though,since I live pretty well,but many people I know arent so fortunate.

  53. ZzzzSleep says:

    RodeoClown: It looks like you can subscribe to specific tags on the Escapist site, but that appears to be broken for tags that contain multiple words. However, there is a solution. Yahoo pipes allows you to filter a RSS feed and subscribe to the filtered content.

    I’ve knocked one together at http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=4gXA4JUB3hGwJhBh6icw5g
    All it does it looks at the Escapist op-ed feed and grab any items that have the word Shamus in the author field. Can you let me know if that works?

    Cheers,
    ZzzzSleep

  54. Avilan the Grey says:

    I don’t pirate games anymore. Last game I pirated was Roller coaster Tycoon 3.

    I do download TV series in AVI format and delete after watching them once. The biggest reasons for this are fourfold:

    1) Stupid Swedish season breaks over summer (2-4 months off) in the middle of each season. Usually means I download the rest of that season and finishes it instead of waiting for it to start again

    2) Swedish seasons too far behind / Got hooked on the series before it started in Sweden.

    3) Getting a complete package and do a marathon (most recently Drew Cary, we downloaded the complete show and is doing a marathon (4-6 episodes a night). Usually (as in this case) inspired by the fact that a channel started airing the show again and you remember how much you liked it. Which also causes “2” above.

    4) NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS! NO COMMERCIALS!

    etc.

    I pirate lots of movies, but in the old fashion way. We have one of those deals where you get 3 movies in the mail, watch and then return. We always copy them before sending them back if we like them.
    This is the pure piracy, for me. Yes it’s Like-Stealing. I do it anyway. Because there is no way a DVD is worth 200SEK.

    Music is where I am really bad, we have 400Gb of music, and only about 20% of that is bought.
    But the biggest reason for this (and it’s a reason, not an excuse!) is the price. Again. You tell me that that plastic disc is worth 120-200SEK. I believe that as much as I believe Duke Nukem Forever was released last month…

  55. Tomas says:

    Zukhramm (#34), I agree with you completely.

    Copyright is artificial and arbitrary. Since file sharing is nothing more than a form of information exchange, criminalizing it means criminalizing communication. It is easy to make up a Gedanken experiment where people talking to each other – using only the words “zero” and “one” – would break the law.

    What I’m saying is that although I can appreciate a business model that produces good games, movies, or whatever, I’m not willing to sacrifice what I consider to be basic human rights to preserve it.

  56. ehlijen says:

    Tomas:
    So the fact that it took several people working a long time and using equipment, time and power that are all valuable means nothing if what they produce is just ‘information’?

    It’s not just information, it’s a product resulting from someone’s work. That person has a right for you not to take away his product and use and distribute it without him benefitting. Just because you can copy it by clicking a few menu items does not mean it didn’t take someone a lot of work to make the original.

    You can lament DRM and copyright all you want, and you’d even have my ear. But to suggest that it is your right to effortlessly replicate and freely distribute what someone went to great lenghts to create is just wrong.

  57. Daimbert says:

    when I was in high school a teacher of mine loaned me a set of Commodore 64 disks — most of which were cracked — to go and play and copy as much as I wanted. He commented that if someone played a game and really liked it, they’d buy it, because you got more out of the retail version than the cracked version.

    This is what publishers need to do: make certain that you get more out of the retail copy than the pirated copy. So, adding little extras like artbooks, figures, soundtrack CDs, support, the inside track on new software updates and extras and so on and so on. Then more people will buy, even if they may grab the pirated version to see if they like it first.

    Invasive DRM and the lack of any little extras is making this worse. If anyone will consider buying a game and then downloading the crack because the cracked version is more convenient, you know you have a problem.

    And here’s a comment about cost: imagine that you have three friends who can afford to buy one game a month. In one month, there are three great games available. Which is better for the industry: all three go out and buy three copies of the best game, or all three go out and buy a copy of each of those three games and make copies for their other two friends? In the former case, one company and one game gets the sales; in the latter, all three companies get less but still get some sales, demonstrating that the three games were all interesting concepts and good games.

  58. Tomas says:

    @ehlijen

    I think you missed my point.

    What I said, and firmly believe, is that freedom to communicate is a much more profound right than “owning” information. If the latter takes precedence over the former, just because the music/movie/software industry might make less money, then something is fundamentally broken.

    If someone distributes my work (against my approval) then I would probably dislike that person, but I would not claim that he does not have the right to do it. Of course he has the right! As I said in my other post, he could do it simply by talking jibberish.

    I’m a software developer myself, so believe me when I say that this is not a view based on selfishness.

  59. Both articles were pretty interesting.

    The DRM thing really is a big one for me. I broke down and asked Santa for The Sims 2 Bon Voyage for Christmas…which I have a No-CD crack for. Saved me from SecuROM and the game does run a bit faster. It also keeps my CDs in good condition in case I need them again.

    Otherwise, EA has pretty well lost me as a customer. I’m not fond of Steam…I bought Portal on it (before I found out how that I’m not fond of Steam), but being a console gamer at heart, I was perfectly happy to snap up The Orange Box on the PS3 just for Portal. I’m a little annoyed I paid for it twice, but some games are good enough that I’m willing to do it.

    I think you’re right about it being a society issue. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks its ridiculous that I’m not legally allowed to make a mix-CD for a friend for her birthday, or have back-up copies of my software CDs. So some people, like me, pirate some things because we feel the laws are too draconian. I’m all for paying for things, I just don’t think all the limits placed are really right. Giving someone a mix-CD is considered piracy.

    I’m very happy that iTunes has decided to remove DRM from music. Now if they would only do something like, say, provide them to me for free, since I paid for them already, rather than charge 30 cents a song in one fell swoop for it… I can’t afford it, and until they change that, they have lost a customer.

    Maybe it sounds strange to say it offends my sense of morality when some company tells me when, where, and how often I can use software/music/games I legitimately purchased when I, as an artist, would have an absolute fit if someone took a copy of my art posted online and sold it to people (I know if they did so they would not be stealing my art, but they would be making money off my hard work). I suppose that’s hypocritical of me.

    Amazon is a bit ridiculous about that, too, last I checked–my immediate family has two Kindles, and yet I can’t download a book my mom bought for hers to mine. Since when can a family member not share a book?! (Unless I’m missing something–I’d like to be wrong about that). Currently, non-fiction books are what I pirate most (and I don’t do that a lot)…but if I use the book on a regular basis or like it, I’ll generally buy it. I like the physical copy better than a PDF anyway; it’s easier to use.

    In the past I’ve pirated something because it was not available anymore (abandonware is in a legal gray area). Say, a ROM of Secret of Mana before it was available on the Wii Virtual Console. My justification for such was that the company has already made their money, if I DL a ROM of a game no one makes anymore, I’m not depriving the creators of any income. Though I could not run fast enough to buy the Wii version when it became available.

    Microsoft might not like it much, but I have done somewhat similar with older Office products. A friend gave me Word 2000 because I need it for certain reasons–though technically that’s against their EULA, Word 2000 is pretty much abandonware and we followed most of it fine…the friend doesn’t use it anymore, so it’s not installed on their machine. Microsoft did not lose a customer for that–I treasure my copy of Word ’97 because I like it far better and I won’t buy other Office programs simply because I don’t like them.

    So I suppose a lot of what little pirating I do falls under two headings: “I can’t legally get it somewhere else” (ROMS) and “Try Before You Buy” (books). There is a large dash of thinking some of the laws are nonsense and they offend me. Raise your hand if you have ever videotaped a TV program and kept it for longer than 24 hours.

  60. MaxEd says:

    I pirate games, because I don’t want to pay for them before I know I would LIKE to pay for them. Meaning, if I don’t think games is good enough for me even after finishing it, I don’t want to pay. This, I guess, makes me a hardcore Evil Pirate, but here is some reasoning:

    If I don’t pay for game, company that made it makes less profit from it and may decide not to make SUCH games anymore. If I didn’t like this game, that will be outcome I welcome. For example, I totally hated latest TMNT on PC. I don’t want Ubisoft to make more such games. Therefore, I don’t want to pay for it. Same goes for Fallout 3 – I will never pay Bethesda, even if I played around 20 hours of Fallout 3, because I don’t think F3 deserves to have a sequel for MY money. Now, if Bethesda promised ME to make next Fallout game to MY liking, I’d give them some money, but this is impossible.

    So, here is one more reason to pirate for your collection: to stop developers make games that I don’t like :)

  61. MaxEd says:

    Kind of P.S. to my post (I can’t edit my posts, it seems, because I browse through proxy, my Russian IP is blocked :( ). There is a book from Russia author, it is called “The Economics of Symbolic Exchange”. It deals with problems of piracy and crappy production at the same time, and offers quite an interesting solution (I’m not sure it it will work 100%, but it IS more interesting than anyone else offers).

    In Russian, you can read this book legally for free, but I could not find electronic version in English, so if you’re interested, you can buy it (http://www.springer.com/economics/microeconomics/book/978-3-540-79882-8) or learn Russian, or try to find electronic copy yourself.

  62. MaxEd says:

    Sorry for flood. I found it: http://artpragmatica.ru/en/book/
    Official author’s site, English version.

  63. RodeoClown says:

    ZzzzSleep – thanks for that, unfortunately it didn’t work :(
    I got an empty thing. I might just hit up Rsspect and rig up a feed using it.

    Thanks again.

  64. […] of digital media, in this case news reporters.  I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in a comment on Shamus Young’s Twenty Sided.  The problem, if I may paraphrase myself, is that digital […]

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  1. By Payment for Digital Media « The Sphere of Choice on Wed Mar 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    […] of digital media, in this case news reporters.  I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago in a comment on Shamus Young’s Twenty Sided.  The problem, if I may paraphrase myself, is that digital […]

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Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>