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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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  • Leaking (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Formalin (1945560) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:32PM (#34313966)

    'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,'

    That makes it sound like they are going to seed the torrents, making it available. I can't see that being airtight - If the copyright owner is making the torrent available, a leacher should be able to assume that they were granted permission to download it, no?

    Seems pretty bent to me either way.

  • by RsG (809189) on Monday November 22, 2010 @11:49PM (#34314086)

    I'm cheering, tentatively.

    My "Ideal Future" is no DRM whatsoever, with the game companies selling their product through digital downloads, and possibly brick-and-mortar/snail-mail retailers for those who want physical media.

    I want this future specifically so that I can be sure the games I buy today are still good to go fifteen years from now. Not as unreasonable as it sounds, when you consider that my own collection includes titles like X-Com (1993), Fallout 1&2 (97/98) and the Infinity engine series (late 90's), all of which work, or can be made to work, on a modern PC.

    The biggest resistance to the "DRM free" approach comes from the fear of piracy. I don't think this is a particularly rational response to the problem on the part of the devs, as only a single game copy needs to be cracked and torrented to make the DRM irrelevant - you can't reasonably stop that without complete control of the box that runs the game, something you can only partially achieve with consoles, and arguably not even then.

    Is suing the pirates in lieu of DRM any more rational? Debatable. But I've no doubt it's an improvement. After all, DRMing the games causes problems for me, the legit user, while anti-piracy suits do not.

  • Re:Farewell, gog.com (Score:2, Interesting)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:19AM (#34314288)

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

    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?

    The simple reality today is the the legal systems in the West are so corrupt and expensive that someone who's completely innocent simply cannot afford to pay the legal fees to prove their innocence.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @12:24AM (#34314318)
    I remember getting a letter from Direct TV years ago because I had supposedly pirated their satellite signal. Their sole evidence was that I had purchased a USB smartcard writer. Because, as everyone knows, Direct TV invented smart cards and were the only company on earth to ever use them for anything. They promised to forget about the whole thing if I coughed up the small sum of $10k. My lawyer found it very funny and sent them a letter in return asking for contact information for our counter suit. Strangely they never replied.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @01:07AM (#34314572)
    Perception of value does NOT drop like a stone. How many game have not been easy to pirate? 1 out of 50? The industry is doing just fine in spite of that...

    I think the only reasonable answer is that most people pay the artists and creators of a game because they do want to pay. Don't ask for too much for the value you're offering, produce a good game, don't mess the overall impression up by making the game an annoyance with DRM or such, and you'll find computer games are good business...
  • Meh. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Databass (254179) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @02:06AM (#34314876)

    What if I don't care about The Witcher 2 enough to download it even for free? I bought (bargain bin) and played Witcher 1- for about 30 minutes.

    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." I've grown to love and then paid for a dozen games this way. Then they face the money activation energy hurdle. $49.95? Eh, probably not. $9.95? I could be persuaded.

    But hearing that they think their not-that-amazing game is so precious that they want to take money-wasting punitive actions makes me more likely to file the entire experience on the "Nah" Category, case closed. This has happened for other games I was fully willing to pay for, due to DRM, (which at least they are skipping): Spore, Command and Conquer 4, Assassin's Creed 2

    Their threats of punitive letters might prevent an unknown number of piracies, but it also prevents an unknown number of legitimate sales, including mine.

  • by bumby (589283) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @03:28AM (#34315232)

    Perhaps it is a good thing that the game makers whos business model is based on a pre-digital/pre-internet era goes out of business. Obviously people doesn't value them very highly if they need to legislate their rights for sales.

    Perhaps the problem lies in charging $50-$100 for a game full of artificial restrictions. I personaly haven't bought games in years, until i found gog.com who sells drm free games for $6 and $10 and no more (some they even give away for free). I've happily payed for a couple of games there, not so much to play the game as to support a company which I believe is doing a good thing - selling drm free games to a reasonable price.

    If it's simple economics that if enough people get something for free, someone has to be hurt, then perhaps it is time to overlook the values of these economics.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:55AM (#34315628)

    Is that what you think is what drives the big game releases?

    If you think that all game developers that work in large companies do not enjoy developing games, then I believe that you are wrong. Sure, some of them are doing it for the money, but I suspect that that number if not very large. From what I hear, working in a large game developing studio is very hectic, to say the least. These are the types of developers that we can stand to lose.

    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.

    Why is that? Is it because you need to have money to live in the current system? There are actually plenty of developers who work on software in their spare time. Very talented ones.

    Would you still be a software developer if you lived in a system where money was not required?

    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.

    It's not immature or irresponsible to make people aware of the flaws in something without providing an alternative. Admitting the problem is just a first step, and once enough people are aware, then a solution can be worked out. I may not have an alternate solution myself, but that does not mean that I'm immature or irresponsible for merely pointing out the flaws in our current system.

  • by makomk (752139) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:20AM (#34315750) Journal

    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.

    Except that in practice this doesn't happen. There are enough people who don't consider the amount of money a big deal, feel there's some kind of intangible benefit in buying a legit copy, or are just plain lazy that plenty of people buy games. The only time I can see this not happening is if publishers raised prices to a truely unwise level.

    Now, there will always be people who pirate, but for the most part they're people who wouldn't have bought it anyway. As someone upthread hints [slashdot.org], there's a reason why there are so many such people - it makes the game publishers more money than if everyone who was interested in the game was willing and able to buy it. They're actually making money from creating this vast swathe of people who pirate rather than buy!

  • by delinear (991444) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:16AM (#34315980)
    We're not talking about some theoretical breech of copyright that may or may not happen in the future. This is already happening. It's been happening since the dawn of games on computers, and even with the advent of the internet and mass downloading it's been happening for the best part of two decades. Doesn't the fact that people still have jobs as games developers prove that it's still worth their spending 8 hours a day developing games, even when file sharing is ubiquitous on the net? We have actual real world data that piracy doesn't kill the games industry, we have probably 30 years worth of said data at this point (and the same goes for movies and music). I can understand why the games industry (and the entertainment industries as a whole) wants to perpetuate the myth - after all for them it's about being able to control what we consume, how we consume it and, most importanly, who we can buy it from - but I can't for the life of me understand why so many people are willing to blindly buy into it.

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.

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