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PC Games (Games) Piracy Games Your Rights Online

Witcher 2 Torrents Could Net You a Fine 724

Posted by Soulskill
from the dodging-legal-threats-now-a-valid-gameplay-mechanic dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Eurogamer: "Gamers who download upcoming PC exclusive The Witcher 2 illegally could receive a letter demanding they pay a fine or face legal action. If gamers refuse to pay the fine, which will be more than the cost of the game, they could end up in court, developer CD Projekt told Eurogamer. 'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,' CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiski said. 'In quite a few big countries, when people are downloading it illegally they can expect a letter from a legal firm saying, "Hey, you downloaded it illegally and right now you have to pay a fine." We are totally fair, but if you decide you will not buy it legally there is a chance you'll get a letter. We are talking about it right now.' Interestingly, The Witcher 2 will be released free of digital rights management – but only through the CD Projekt-owned digital download shop GOG.com. That means owners will be able to install it as many times as they like on any number of computers – and it will not requite an internet connection to run."
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Witcher 2 Torrents Could Net You a Fine

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  • Intended Reaction? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:30PM (#34313954)
    A DRM-free game released by a publisher that intends to hunt down pirates. Am I supposed to cheer them on or cry foul? I'm so confused :(
  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:37PM (#34314004)
    Going after people who bootleg the thing isnt going after customers; its going after freeloaders, and generally thats substantially less bad for business.
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:40PM (#34314026) Homepage

    I haven't heard of the Witcher 2 (until now), but The Witcher (1) was a pretty good RPG game.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Witcher_(video_game) [wikipedia.org]

    If the sequel is as good as the first, it's well worth paying for. Having no DRM is a definite plus. Going after those who infringe on their copyrights ... well, it sounds like they've decided that any publicity is good publicity. And they may be right.

    And really, I don't have any problems with them going after the pirates, especially if they make this "fine" a reasonable figure -- more than the cost of the game, but less than thousands of dollars.

  • by black6host (469985) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:40PM (#34314028)

    Games should be released DRM free, publishers should be free to utilize what means have been approved to protect their work. At least that's how it would work in my perfect world....

  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:41PM (#34314038)
    Honest question: why would you cry foul? I would be interested in knowing precisely the rationale behind condemning their plans.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:43PM (#34314050) Journal
    I must object to the use of the term "fine". A "fine" is a monetary penalty imposed under color of law as punishment, or part of a punishment, for a violation of the code of laws, demonstrated in a court of law according to due process.

    Calling a private party's essentially extortionate demand to pay up or face (ruinously expensive even if innocent) legal action a "fine" is acccording it far too much legitimacy.

    Sure, as a matter of probability, not all the threat letters will miss their mark, and some percentage will in fact be sent to people who downloaded and/or uploaded the game in violation of applicable law in their jurisdiction; but even those cases will hew to no established standards of evidence or due process. Given the known sloppiness(and clear perverse incentives involved) of these sorts of things a fair few won't even be accidentally correct, they'll simply be pure extortion without even coincidental overlap with justice.

    No matter how much you hate copyright infringement, conflating vigilante 'justice' with process of law is dangerously sloppy. I don't know whether the CD Projekt spokesweasel is simply internally sloppy, or engaged in deliberate spin; but it is unacceptable.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:43PM (#34314054) Journal
    You aren't a customer if you steal the product.
  • torrent sneaking? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by intellitech (1912116) * on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:45PM (#34314070)

    What the hell is "torrent sneaking?"

  • Re:Leaking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:52PM (#34314108) Homepage Journal

    >>I think youd have a tough time convincing the courts that you thought being offered a single chunk from a "torrent sneaking firm" constituted permission to download the game;

    How about pointing to TFA? The company itself put a version of their software up on a torrent site for people to download from freely. How can they then say said downloads were illegal?

    As copyright holders, they have the right to put their software up for free download, but they can't complain when people take them up on it.

  • by Rivalz (1431453) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:55PM (#34314128)

    I know I'm off based but shouldn't the only person that receives the fine be the one who posted the copyrighted content on the torrent site?
    The internet is about sharing content if you put your own copyrighted content out on the web I would assume you are granting the public access to it unless stated in a disclaimer attached to the link to the file.
    Since most torrent sites have a disclaimer saying DO NOT UPLOAD THIS UNLESS YOU OWN THE RIGHTS TO IT. Doesn't it mean that either the person who uploaded the file is acting on behalf of the owner with their knowledge and permission or they are violating the copyright of the item? And since I cannot issue a court order to get the persons name of the ip address of the person who originally seeded the torrent how am I to determine if the file is legally there or not? And even if I did have the original seeders name how am I suppose to know he doesnt own the copyright of the file?

    I've got a idea. I will make a music cd rip it and let my (friend) have it for free... but he might not be the friend i thought he was and uploaded it to the torrent servers.
    Now since he is somewhat still my friend but i'm pissed at him I will take him off my friends list on facebook.
    But any dumb fuck that dared download my audio cd I will find you and sue you into the ground.
    Btw did I mention every month I will have my name legally changed to whatever the current best selling artist is?

  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:55PM (#34314130)
    I understand pirating games with DRM (why pay a company to screw you over), but since the game is DRM-free, there's no excuse to pirate it. I just bought a few games from GOG.com the other day and seeing as how their most expensive game is $9.99, that eliminates the "but it's expensive.." argument too.
  • Re:Leaking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IICV (652597) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:58PM (#34314142)

    CD Projekt is a Czech company, so it's entirely possible that the meaning of "torrent sneaking companies" got lost in the translation. I can think of a few ways you could identify the IP addresses of people downloading torrents without uploading any material yourself, so they might be using some of those.

    Or, you know, they're a Czech company - copyright law doesn't mean the same thing over there as it does here*, so this may be above-board in certain countries.

    *cue ACTA lobbyist saying "Yet"

  • by Cinder6 (894572) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:08AM (#34314194)

    Even if you assume 100% of pirates wouldn't have bought the game if they couldn't get it for free, what gives them the right to play the game without paying for it? I used to think as you did, but now I'm not so sure. I don't think exorbitant fines (such as the *AA enjoy) are the answer (in fact, I find them reprehensible), but neither can I condone piracy.

    Or how about a different example. Are you in favor of people sneaking in to movie theaters? Assuming a non-full showing, it doesn't "hurt" the theater one bit, but it's obviously the wrong thing to do.

  • by Liam Pomfret (1737150) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:09AM (#34314202)
    You're angry at them for...what exactly? Demanding reasonable out-of-court settlements from those who downloaded illegally (as opposed to the unreasonable out-of-court settlements commonly placed on people who've torrented music by the RIAA), and releasing their game without DRM. Seems fair enough to me. The only real concern is how many "false positives" they might get from people who never downloaded a thing, or whose internet connections were used illegally and/or without their knowledge.
  • by Yosho (135835) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:09AM (#34314204) Homepage

    I hope they get wads of ill-gotten fines from allegedly guilty thieves. They'll need it to compensate for the loss of legitimate sales they now won't be getting at gog.com from disgusted people like me. I only learned about the site recently and was moderately impressed. Now I'm disgusted.

    Why are you disgusted? I fail to see what's so bad about releasing a game without DRM and then going after criminals who pirate it. That seems to me like the way companies should be doing it, rather than treating customers like potential criminals and loading their games with DRM.

    And "allegedly" guilty thieves? Explain to me, how do you download from a torrent of copyrighted material without committing copyright infringement?

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:09AM (#34314212) Journal

    Two major reasons: firstly, IP addresses don't map directly to people and (depending on the gathering method used by the companies) can be trivial to spoof, secondly (and more importantly) defending a civil suit can easily bankrupt even an innocent person - offering a pre-set 'settlement' in this situation is very close to blackmail.

    As I mentioned [slashdot.org] further down, though, I'm withholding judgement here until I see a bit more information. I still feel it to be a poor choice, mainly for the reasons above, but I can see why they're doing it and I don't feel any real sympathy for a person getting something akin to a parking ticket if they have in fact been illegally downloading games.

    This sympathy for the copyright holder is normally somewhat tempered by the fact that I would like to see the bunch of mindless jerks in charge of the companies under the *AA umbrella first against the wall when the revolution comes[1] as penance for the harm they've done us all in infinitely extending copyright, attacking net neutrality, pushing fines and penalties far beyond the reasonable, attacking fair use, attempting to mandate pervasive network surveillance, and kicking puppies[2].

    In this case, though, the copyright holder seems to be more or less reasonable, so I'll be interested to see how it plays out.

    [1]This is exaggeration for humorous effect, alluding to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [wikipedia.org]. Sometimes also known as a joke [wikipedia.org]. Not to be construed as a threat [guardian.co.uk] under the Communications Act.

    [2]See above disclaimer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:12AM (#34314230)

    doing something that hurts no one

    It does hurt someone. It hurts the creators, who would otherwise get some of the money. I know, I know--I'm well aware of the MAFIAA and believe me, I don't support them either. The fact of the matter is, however, that the creators nevertheless do gain revenue from their works (even though the MAFIAA does divest them of a large slice of the aforesaid monies), and illegally obtaining said works deprives them of money.

    I'm not saying the system isn't broken--it is. Its brokenness, however, should not predicate the suffering of content creators from revenue lost due to illegal copying/downloading.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:18AM (#34314274)

    Even if you assume 100% of pirates wouldn't have bought the game if they couldn't get it for free

    I don't assume that. I don't even care if 100% of the pirates would have bought the media. That's like saying that it should be illegal to tell your friends who were originally going to buy a product not to buy it because that could 'hurt' sales.

    what gives them the right to play the game without paying for it?

    Answer this: if it doesn't hurt anyone, then why does it matter? You know that no one is being deprived of anything that they previously owned.

    You can say that they're 'stealing' potential profit, but not only is it impossible to steal objects that don't even exist, but you'd be blaming just about everyone in existence by doing so. You 'steal' potential profit merely by choosing not to give someone money or by interfering with their flow of profit. That effectively means that not buying a product from a store would mean that you have 'stole' potential profit from the store (and have therefore 'harmed' them because they would have been better off if you had given them your money).

    Are you in favor of people sneaking in to movie theaters? Assuming a non-full showing, it doesn't "hurt" the theater one bit, but it's obviously the wrong thing to do.

    If you admit that it doesn't hurt them, then why is it the 'wrong' (subjective) thing to do? I think it's fine if it's not inflicting any harm upon them.

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:18AM (#34314278) Journal

    I more or less agree with you, but I'll add that calling something "wrong" without further qualification severely undermines your argument.

    A more convincing point to make would be that the ability to enter a movie for free works to degrade the perceived value of the paid tickets. Basically, consider all the customers who did pay turning around and questioning why they parted with $x while those guys in the front didn't, and subsequently concluding that they shouldn't have to pay either next time. Perception of value drops like a stone.

    Sure, it's all based on a more or less imaginary value to start with, but that's how a lot of our economy works - those who want to argue about the validity of that have a much longer debate on their hands.

  • by Score Whore (32328) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:22AM (#34314306)

    Free riders are a problem. Learn some economics before you start with the "hurts no one" crap.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:23AM (#34314316)

    It does hurt someone. It hurts the creators, who would otherwise get some of the money.

    "Potential profit," then? For one thing, in order for it to explicitly hurt them, something that they previously owned must be taken from them.

    Suppose someone decides not to buy a product from a store. Would the store have had more money if they did? Yes. Using the logic of those who utilize the potential profit argument, this would mean that they have 'stolen' potential profit from the store, and have therefore 'harmed' a legitimate business.

    Suppose that someone tells all of their friends who were originally going to buy a product not to buy it. They ultimately decide not to buy it. Would the store have had more money if the person hadn't told their friends not to buy the product (or if the friends had given them their money anyway)? Yes. Using the same logic above, it can be concluded, then, that the business was 'hurt'. This is an example similar to piracy because many argue that piracy affects sales, but so does this.

    Whether the pirate has the product or not is irrelevant. Merely obtaining the product deprived no one of anything (because they copied the data and didn't take anything from anyone).

    Its brokenness, however, should not predicate the suffering of content creators from revenue lost due to illegal copying/downloading.

    Likewise, the blame also shouldn't be put on people who do things that harm no one (as explained above).

  • by Yosho (135835) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:26AM (#34314330) Homepage

    I take it you missed the story a couple of days ago about some British lawyers apparently sending out threatening letters to 'downloaders' when they knew that some significant fraction were completely innocent?

    Let me make sure I have your argument right. Some British guys screwed up going after some criminals, therefore the concept of some Polish guys going after criminals who committed the same type of crime is disgusting. Is that right? So what's your suggestion, that nobody bother to enforce the law at all?

  • by sammyF70 (1154563) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:28AM (#34314350) Homepage Journal
    Isn't releasing the game DRM free already an effort in the right made by CD Projekt? They make sure that paying customers are not suffering from any piracy/overzealous protection schemes related problems. The people who wants to play the game should do the logical thing and make a step in the right way too, namely buy the game instead of using the "free unlimited evaluation versions" available through torrents (can't call it cracked without DRM, can you?)
  • by seibai (1805884) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:33AM (#34314380)

    Answer this: if it doesn't hurt anyone, then why does it matter? You know that no one is being deprived of anything that they previously owned.

    You can say that they're 'stealing' potential profit, but not only is it impossible to steal objects that don't even exist, but you'd be blaming just about everyone in existence by doing so. You 'steal' potential profit merely by choosing not to give someone money or by interfering with their flow of profit. That effectively means that not buying a product from a store would mean that you have 'stole' potential profit from the store (and have therefore 'harmed' them because they would have been better off if you had given them your money).

    Rather than hurting "anyone" is actually hurts "everyone". This is just another case of what's called the "tragedy of the commons [wikipedia.org]". Each person who pirates a game benefits himself or herself, but if enough people do this it's no longer tenable to make games and no one has a game to play, for free or otherwise.

    You can talk about people making things "for art's sake", and some people will, but a lot of them won't who would. I used to make games, and I still do in my spare time, but I work for Microsoft as my day job, so my productivity in making games isn't nearly as high as it would be if I could do it full time. Other people, people who might be fantastic artists but have a family to feed are going to be in similar spots because people pirate games. Piracy has a direct impact in reducing the profitability of the art, meaning there are fewer people who can practice it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:39AM (#34314410)

    Sorry for the AC post, but I don't have a slashdot account. I just wanted to let you know that I'm a game developer (a programmer, to be precise), and to thank you profusely for doing your part to support us in making awesome games for you to play.

  • by Sancho (17056) * on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:59AM (#34314510) Homepage

    You 'steal' potential profit by not giving someone money or by interfering with their flow of profit. That means that if you decide not to buy a product from a store, for example, you'd be 'stealing' potential profit (you've 'harmed' the store because the store would have had more money if you would have given it to them). That means that you're 'stealing' potential profit whenever you decide to tell people who are about to buy a product not to buy it (and they decide not to) as the artists would have had more money if you hadn't done that.

    The government doesn't guarantee artists money. They guarantee them a chance by allowing the artist control over distribution of their work.

    Perhaps the harm is to society as a whole, for if artists weren't given this control, a fairly large portion of our culture likely wouldn't exist.

  • by seibai (1805884) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @01:00AM (#34314526)

    Friend, if you're going to call the system broken, it seems like you should propose an alternative.

    I've not myself encountered another way for artists to be sufficiently supported to continue in their art. I've certainly seen single case examples (Cory Doctorow and his one book, Stephen King and his one book), but these things don't work at scale and it's notable that neither of them did that twice.

    What would you suggest?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @01:17AM (#34314606)

    why do they need a right to play it? Just because the government of your country gives the *developers* the right to ask money for something, does not mean automatically that some other person in another country is bound by that agreement. I, for one, did not vote for that right given to those people.

    You got the meaning of copyright backwards. Perhaps the "pirates" feel that it is possible to conceive a working society without this right. Obviously it may be illegal to do what they do in many countries, but that does not make it "wrong".

    Go think about this thing some more.

  • by Freyar (1945650) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @01:52AM (#34314828)

    "Potential profit," then? For one thing, in order for it to explicitly hurt them, something that they previously owned must be taken from them.

    Is time and research not valuable commodities? That is effectively what a lot of development is, time and research. They owned their time with the intent to sell off the fruits of their labor (say for example working in a field) for the price that would be set. Instead, people that pirate the game steal the time and effort put into the development as well as the publisher's return on investment and distribution costs.

    You used the generalization that making a physical good is the same as making a piece of IP. Not the case. Physical goods require materials to be handed over to someone at the time of sale, while for IP it's handing over the representation of all that time and effort put into the creation of that work.

    A lot of people that say "it doesn't hurt anyone" seem to firmly believe that the "P" word is completely evil. Profit is not evil, profit is what encourages further investments into future projects. Profit is what makes the next game of the series. Profit is what keeps people interested in development, just like profit keeps people interested in making cars, computers and aircraft.

    Sure not every stolen copy (yes, I said stolen) is a lost sale, but the representation of the work is now effectively inside the pirate's head and cannot be removed. Simply put, games are a part of media. Publishers don't care if you steal the DVD, they care if you experience the game, movie, e-book, etc. without paying the fee asked to experience the medium.

    Why should you get to experience a movie if you don't pay for it? Because you don't take away physical materials from someone by effectively copying that piece of intellectual property? The cost of development is front-loaded on the hopes that there are sales expected to be made.

    Various piracy justifications keep falling flat on their face. Do every gamer a favor, buy your games or go do something else, something a little less expensive.

  • by lexidation (1825996) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:11AM (#34314892)

    cheekyjohnson, are you crazy? Christ man, you're not just "copying data". That's just an inane rationalization. The data you're copying IS the game. It's simple economics. If enough people get it for free, the game maker makes no money. That's all people are trying to point out to you here.

    Yes, the system is broken. On slashdot, you're not going to find many people arguing against you on that front. But until the system is fixed, the fact is that the game maker will be out of business if everyone copies his "data". Even an idealist occasionally needs to get a grip on reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:34AM (#34314996)

    I really agree with you that the system is broken, but I think there is another issue with downloading: Incentive.

    When it comes to physical products, like a TV, you either pay for it and own it or you don't pay and you do not have it. There is an incentive to pay, because that's the only way to acquire the product (assuming you are not a thief and won't steal it).

    With games, music and movies, if people could download for free then there is no incentive to buy the product. It has nothing to do with limited or unlimited supply, it's just that whoever worked to make the product needs money (otherwise they stop making games/music/movies) and if the only way to acquire the product is to pay for it then they have an incentive.

    It's easy to say "I would not have bought it anyway" but 1) That's not always the case, 2) Sometimes there are games you think you'll never buy and one day you suddenly change your mind (happens to me sometimes) and 3) If people bother to download, crack and play a game, it's actually likely they would have paid for it.

    I just don't understand this attitude of entitlement some pirates have. Artists make games, music and movies and somehow just because it costs nothing to copy some people believe they are entitled to these works. I don't get that.

    Now, I have to agree that the system is broken for many reasons, such as:
    - Digital products don't obey the law of supply and demand, therefore they're not entirely compatible with our economic system
    - Digital products don't base their price on production cost. When a computer becomes cheaper to manufacture, prices drop. When it became possible to sell media through the web (download) instead of recording it on CDs that you need to ship to stores (cost of gas), prices did not change accordingly.
    - Companies should go against uploaders, not downloaders.

    The solution?
    Either a mass boycott of games until companies really make good games that are worth the money instead of copying Call of Duty Modern Warfare and calling it "Modern Warfare 2" or "Medal of Honor". Or, media should be free but artists should be rewarded with donations.
    In any case, things would change faster if people stopped acquiring music/movies/games instead of pirating. Pirating allows the companies to use the "They want it for free" excuse. If there was a boycott, companies would not have that argument and would be forced to fix the issues raised by people who don't buy their stuff.

  • by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:42AM (#34315026)

    The few studies that have been done on pirating have found little to no negative effect on game sales. There's a reason the most popular games also happen to be the most pirated ones. A lot of people don't have thousands of dollars to divert solely to games, and by keeping up on the games they *want* to play they remain engaged in the industry and encouraged to buy games later on, when they *do* have capital to spend. Otherwise they'll simply resort to cheaper alternatives, and the games industry will get nothing.

    I think the perfect example of this phenomenon is the PS3 vs. Xbox 360, Wii, and NDS. The latter two have been pirated for years while the PS3 was foolproof, but the sales of the 360 have trumped the PS3, while the DS has swamped the other two combined. The DS is on its way to break the record for hardware and software units sold *ever* for a standalone gaming unit (maybe it has already?). The Wii has demolished its competition. Arguing that pirates have harmed Nintendo's sales is just greedy, myopic, and ridiculously short-sighted.

    tl;dr: Piracy doesn't hurt anyone. Nintendo's whalloping its competition. Not everyone's super rich.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:59AM (#34315124)

    When games are DRM'd I can understand. DRM sucks and people want to play but don't want it. Ok, I can understand that position, if not support it. Also I can understand when you can't get a game via download. I'm lazy, I love buying stuff online. I can understand the feeling of saying "screw it" and just downloading it because it is easy.

    However when it is downloadable AND DRM free? Well then you are just being cheap. They are giving you what you want and you are refusing to pay for it... That is just cheap.

  • by SilentSandman (1488023) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:05AM (#34315144)

    I try to avoid this subject, and unfortunately, I'm not always successful in that goal.

    I'd like to offer you my perspective as an actual, real, game developer. Not some imagined or particularly convenient for your opinion one, a real one.

    I disagree.

    Some of what you say is correct, but just because those things are correct, does not mean you can make some wild leap into entirely unrelated contexts and base your reasoning on the previous thing.

    Piracy is not theft.
    WHEN someone downloads a copy of the games I create, it costs me absolutely nothing. -NOT ONE CENT-. I don't care if they enjoy the game, or thing it's the worst thing to have been created since the wheel. Those people are completely, and utterly irrelevant. The ONLY people who matter, are my customers. I create a product that they enjoy, and they pay me for that service.

    I will not spend money paying tha 'mafiaa' thugs to bankrupt some sap because he didn't have the cash to pay me. I won't waste my time, money and effort trying to 'punish' or 'disrupt' the imagined boogey-man. I put every cent I have, and every moment of my development time -exactly where it's needed-, improving the product, and making the next product FOR MY CUSTOMERS.

    If people don't want to pay me, that's their business. They haven't 'stolen' from me. "Potential profit" IS NOT PROFIT.

    Because I spend my time and effort on making products that people want, they buy them. Occasionally I even get the "big bad evil pirates" buy my products. Not because I punished them (and my customers with them) but because they liked what I had to sell, and knew that paying me for it means I can make more.

  • by redherring728 (1927764) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:17AM (#34315184)
    Whether you agree with cheekyjohnson's post or not (I agree with part of it, but not all), I fail to see why this has been marked as Troll. Disagreeing with a moderator is not the same thing as trolling. Not even if you're a Neo-Nazi.
  • by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:19AM (#34315192)

    I've seen about 8 posts from you in this discussion talking about fixing the system. What system are you talking about? Distribution system? Capitalism? The system where devs get paid by some altruistic fairy godmother to make the games you want to play? I am a game dev and I don't particularly think the system is broken, per se. What I do see is a lot of missed opportunities in the way things are priced and distributed, especially online. When you're talking physical goods you're talking about a minimum price to put something in a box and ship it all over the place, and then there's the first party cuts if its a console product. Digital goods have lower and lower margins all the time (the gigabytes and servers add up after a while, but the margins are smaller). It seems like there needs to be a much bigger variation in pricing. I tend to get a lot of free copies of games so I play a lot without paying in a lot, but there's a lot of times I've got a game where I'm think to myself "no way would I pay $60 for this, but $20 would be a no brainer impulse buy". The other thing is that I can pretty much get any book instantly from Amazon the second its released by paying 10 bucks and putting it on an ereader, yet to get a downloadable copy of a new AAA title on my 360 I have to have it shipped to my house. I can get old titles in an arguably superior and more convenient format by downloading them from Xbox live, but I can't get the new ones. Stupid.

    So yeah, I think there needs to be a much better model for distribution and pricing, that "system" seem broken. But if you're suggesting that some how myself and my other deluded brethren in the game industry somehow support ourselves and have families based on magic fairy dust and good will from our fans, then you're just deluding yourself. I don't particularly care that you pirate a game, as more and more titles are just going to shift to online and it won't be possible to do much without some serious effort by cracker teams to reengineer backend online services. I think the guys in this article are deluding themselves in that they're going to feed anyone else but the lawyers involved in the case with the money they recoup from piraters. DRM will continue, pirating will continue, and games will continue to be made, don't listen to any naysayers. But think about throwing us guys in the coal mine a bone every once in a while. Otherwise you're just a selfish prick, no matter how you justify it.

  • by Rallion (711805) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:21AM (#34315202) Journal

    Your claim is that any system built on artificial scarcity is inherently broken (although this only because you are following your own moral code, which nobody else seems to agree with).

    There IS no alternative, logically, unless you consider something along the lines of selling merchandise. Your argument considers any system that sells an unlimited-supply item to be broken, all data is unlimited, so any system that sells data is broken. This includes video games, all written language, music, movies, and to an extent all visual art.

    So, even though there is no alternative possible, you somehow cling to a sense of moral superiority while you claim, in essence, that a creator is not entitled to be rewarded for their work if it has no physical form. Certainly, you don't use those words, but that is the logical conclusion to your reasoning.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:26AM (#34315226) Journal

    Actually I'd say it WAS the best system anyone could come up with, now it is shit. Case in point: Abandonware. There should be NO REASON why I can't take games that are no longer being sold, no longer run on modern systems, and package them into a "DOSBox...in a box" style app that lets you run them from a CD. But thanks to the legal minefield we have now you would be lucky if the first PDP apps are now public domain, and by the time anything of the past 30 years enters PD it will be soooo damned old nobody will be able to even find a copy or the machine that can run it.

    And THAT to me gets to the heart of the problem. Copyrights are a contract between We, The People, and the copyright holders. In return for a LIMITED monopoly We, The People are supposed to get a richer PD. Instead we have them stealing things OUT of PD, and by the time anything ends up in PD it has been out of circulation so long good luck finding a copy or the machine to run it. Look at how many films have been lost because some short sighted studio couldn't think of a way to "Monitize" it, or how many games from the 80s are most likely gone for good.

    To me THAT is what the real problem is. For every "I have a dream" you have a thousand other broadcasts that people might enjoy that will simply be lost forever, for every DOOM the same. I would argue that if we want a functional system than 10 years for copyrights, with one year extensions after that with a raising price upon each extension. If you don't pay you get 90 days notice then it is PD for good. That way if you are still able to make money on it fine, pay for the extensions. But at the same time it would keep the Disneys of the world from hitting the snooze alarm on copyright time limits by treasonous bribery while raising revenue and keeping so much of our history locked behind paywalls. This to me would be a fair and equitable trade and much better than out current system.

    Slashdot wants an alternative? Hairyfeet just gave ya one.

  • by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:30AM (#34315236)

    "Don't you think that it's a shortcoming of a broken system if people can no longer do what they enjoy without attempting to harm people who have done nothing to them or harmed them in any way?"

    What?? "Do what they enjoy". Is that what you think is what drives the big game releases?

    As a software developer, I can say I enjoy some parts of the development process, but I would never, ever spend 8 hours per day on it if I didn't get paid for it. Since even us developer geeks tend to have families and responsibilities, I believe I can say with pretty good certainty that this attitude is matched by most software developers. A couple of hours a week on hobby projects is the most you'd get out of the bulk of developers without payment.

    I used to think a bit like you (although not as extremely) but I've come to realise that proposing to tear down a system for which you have no alternative is both immature and irresponsible.

  • by gregrah (1605707) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:03AM (#34315364)
    I wonder what percentage of your customers who are paying for your games are doing so because they actually want to support you. And what percentage are paying for your games because copyright laws and enforcement thereof, though badly broken, are still effective enough to make buying a legal copy of the game worth their while.

    For example, let's say that copyright laws didn't exist. And whenever you release a new game, I make an exact copy of your game including all of the CD art, instruction manuals, and other packaging, and sell it to retail stores for a fraction of the price that you are charging. Since copyright laws don't exist, the stores are free to sell my version of the game without fear of legal punishment, and buyers are free to buy it. For customers who don't care to own the CD or the box, I'll throw it up on my website, guaranteed to install without a hitch and virus free, for 99 cents a download.

    Do you think that in a world like this you would still have a job writing videogames? Could such a world produce big name titles like Halo, Grand Theft Auto, etc.?
  • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:07AM (#34315386)
    Well how about you don't expect to be able to get stuff when you don't have the money. I would love to have a copy of Call of Duty: Black Ops right now. But I can't afford it. So, should I whine about how I should be allowed to pirate the game just because I want it?

    Hell no. What I am going to do is save up my money until I have enough extra to buy a copy for myself. The problem with people nowdays is that they are whiny little bitches who cry, "I want, I want, I want."

    I get tired of their shit.

    GO EARN IT

    Sincerely,
    Get the hell off my lawn...
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:11AM (#34315400) Journal

    If you think that "information wants to be free", and are disgusted with the idea of anyone being sued for copyright infringement, then why do you even bother with GoG today? In your ethical value system, it should be perfectly okay to just go torrent things.

    If you do find some value with GoG, enough to actually give them money for the services they provide, then you should understand that those services aren't free to implement, and that freeloaders (like those who torrent) make the price go higher for you, and others who don't freeload. In light of that, why would you be opposed to using the law to prevent such freeloading?

  • Re:Meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:16AM (#34315436) Journal

    Right now I am not over the activation energy of playing Witcher 2 even for free, let alone paying for it. If I were over that, via free demo or torrent, I'd be one step closer to thinking "Hmmm... maybe I WILL pay for it."

    It's not released yet. But the first game had a free downloadable demo, and the second one probably will, too; so "but I need to try it" is not a valid excuse here.

    But hearing that they think their not-that-amazing game is so precious that they want to take money-wasting punitive actions

    Regarding "not-so-amazing" - I'm sorry to hear that you didn't like the first one. I didn't, either; but they have 81% at Metacritic, and, more importantly, 9.3 user score - which is pretty high.

    For the rest of it, I don't understand why you have a problem with property owner using legal means to defend said property. Even if you disagree with their assessment of its value.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:26AM (#34315476)

    How about:

    Stop making non-commercial piracy have such goddamned huge fines..

    Millions saved every year in court costs, the dockets are freed up, and some of the people doing the real harm (people selling pirated media for profit) are still against the law. Best of all, all of the lawyers who make a shit-ton of money on these dirty letters lose a massive stream of revenue.

    7-14 years for copyright might have been fine when the laws were written originally but nowadays at the pace media comes out that's practically forever. At that rate, the first Harry Potter book would be available for free June 30th of 2011.

    1-2 years of protection on the original item (in regards to personal use, and the original 7-14 years for commercial use) and a 3x the lowest retail price (in brand new condition) fixed fine per infringement. (Lowest retail price to keep the companies from making online stores that sell books for $50,000 each or something.) Standardize a system by which notices are given out and have a way to contest it (much like traffic court).

    Piracy is going to happen anyway; it can't be stopped. It can't be legislated away nor can it be fully curbed without massively infringing on the rights of the people. The best thing to do is to come up with a reasonable compromise.

  • by vegiVamp (518171) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:16AM (#34315986) Homepage

    I would think it rather obvious, but it is "wrong" for the simple reason that the movie theatre you sneak into only exists because paying for your ticket is what allows the movie theatre to actually exist and show movies.

    The same goes for games, of course - people paying for the games they play is what allows developers to actually spend time and effort making games, instead of having to spend their time doing other things in order to feed themselves and their families.

    I don't think illegal copying is the right thing to do in any way, but I find it especially loathsome if done against a developer/publisher that is being fair and provides the content you buy without any DRM or other hassle. These guys should be encouraged, not "robbed", for want of a better word.

    So, yes, I fully support their cracking down on piracy, although I do hope they won't be going for MAFIAA-style settlements. I'd say full price of the game plus full compensation for actual costs incurred (search, legal action, etc.) would be both fair and deserved.

  • by SilentSandman (1488023) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @07:23AM (#34316320)

    I'm actually not sure what I think of this, I've not come across such a situation before. Initially I think I would mostly be wary. The guise of 'donations' has been used inaccurately in the past.

    Thankyou for this question by the way. I've been having difficulty coming up with an answer I find satisfactory, which suggest to me that I need to reevaluate.

    For the most part I would hope to look at the situation as something I would 'ignore'. As you mentioned in this hypothetical, there is no profit element on your side, and my product (I would hope) would advertise itself. So in a sense you would simply be providing free advertising, and absorbing all the 'demo' bandwidth costs on my behalf. Those are the apparent benefits. There is the issue of 'competing' with my own product for my own profits.

    At the end of the day, I don't know. I would likely keep a careful eye on this, and try to find out exactly what sort of effect (positive or negative) such a situation might have for me, and make a decision based upon that instead. In either case, I would do my best to contact you and discuss the situation, possibly for our mutual benefit if such a thing is possible.

    I will certainly contemplate this more. (And for anyone who knows who I am/what I sell etc, I'd prefer you contact me before you try to take a casual conversation on the internet as hard-boiled, irrefutable fact and decide to start making websites with my product all over them. ^_^)

  • by PMBjornerud (947233) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @08:08AM (#34316528)

    Rather than hurting "anyone" is actually hurts "everyone". This is just another case of what's called the "tragedy of the commons [wikipedia.org]". Each person who pirates a game benefits himself or herself, but if enough people do this it's no longer tenable to make games and no one has a game to play, for free or otherwise.

    Be extremely cautious when comparing information to physical property. James Boyle have written a nice book about the trap you are falling into:
    http://www.thepublicdomain.org/ [thepublicdomain.org]

    Instead of thinking in terms of black and white, we really need to focus on the real issue: How much legal protection is needed?

    I think we can all agree that "life + 75 years" (depending on country) is vastly more protection that a computer game needs. In my opinion, this excessive protection can only lead to stagnation.

    We need to create a sensible copyright law first, then people will respect it. And only then can it be successfully enforced.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @08:44AM (#34316766)
    So, did Paramount gain a paying customer or lose out on your business altogether?

    If you started paying for the content you consume, well done. you successfully proved that, in your one case alone, a pirate is definitely a lost sale. If you stopped consuming their products, then really well done. You've proven that pirates aren't lost sales, and they need to reduce their outrageous prices on digital media to get consumers back.

    Here's hoping you send the right message.
  • by bberens (965711) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @08:45AM (#34316772)
    First of all, you're lying. You will never go back and buy the games you pirated and even if you did you'll pay the bargain discount price because it will be several years old. You won't pay the full retail price. And the other argument about the value of the game based on how long it engages you is complete garbage too. That's why there are game rentals at your local store or any of several netflix style game rental sites. If you pay to go to the movies you can't get your money back because you didn't like the movie. You generally don't get your money back for meals unless it was really atrocious. This idea of having your cake and eating it too. Most games are in the $50 range. If you can't be bothered to cut two lawns on a Saturday to get a newly released video game then you've got problems. And if you don't like the game? It only cost you the time you played + 2 hours and a bit of gas.
  • by openfrog (897716) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @09:15AM (#34317052)

    Well how about you don't expect to be able to get stuff when you don't have the money.
    I get tired of their shit.

    The parent never said that people should have it for free. He just pointed out, with the support of facts, that the claim about companies being hurt by piracy are unfounded.

    The difference this point makes is in the legitimacy of the amount of damage that is claimed when teenagers get sued over this.

  • by shovas (1605685) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @09:15AM (#34317060) Homepage
    I'm interested in the nuances of your story. You're so candid about being caught and reforming. Would you have kept on pirating if you knew you wouldn't have been caught? For what reasons? For what reasons have you now stopped pirating? Was stopping simply about realizing it could hurt you? Was there no part of your reform that realized your actions hurt others?
  • irrelevant (Score:2, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @09:16AM (#34317072) Homepage Journal
    nothing is taken when a digital copy is copied. it is a COPY. it doesnt take approx 20 seconds or so to copy an average cd's worth of game.

    in the process MORE of the product is created, with NO cost to anyone.

    you dont TAKE things in this case, you PRODUCE those things, as the one who is taking it. there was one copy before, now there are two copies of the game.
  • Steam (Score:2, Insightful)

    by leuk_he (194174) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @09:52AM (#34317500) Homepage Journal

    With steam online DRM you have a bigger problem: YOu think you bought the game. But STEAM can take it away from you whenever they want.

    -Steam (/valve) goes out of business or gets bought?
    -They think you cheated?
    -Someone steals your account. (And you never get to find out how...)

    In all those cases it becomes clear you never bought the game. YOu licensed it (with a long text most never read or fully can understand)

    That is why i don't buy from steam, you never truely sure you will get to keep what you bought.

  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:30PM (#34321690) Homepage

    I'm assuming the banks are investing the money (otherwise they really should stop giving me interest). So in reality my money is being used to help the economy in the form of loans and investments.

  • by Saib0t (204692) <saibot@hesper[ ]mud.org ['ia-' in gap]> on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @07:25PM (#34325584)

    Yes, we do go back and buy.

    You have bought a legitimate license for EVERY SINGLE GAME you've ever downloaded/copied illegally?

    Oh, the nice fallacy of the indivisible middle... "we do go back and buy", he said, not "we do go back and buy EVERY SINGLE TIME".

    Now, if you're interested as to when, there's crap games, there's "meh" games not worth the money they're sold for and there's nice games. Those are the ones that are gone back for...

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