A Complaint against Piracy and my Response

//A Complaint against Piracy and my Response

A Complaint against Piracy and my Response

The Original Comment:


piracy hurts actors, distributers, producers, the poor schmo who presses the DVD’s for a living, the projectionist, the ticket collector. – jim_doki

My Response:

Well I was about to lower myself your your catchy lines "like fail" but I’d like to remind you that all crime exists for a reason.

What we tend to do is merely attack the crime itself without looking at the factors behind the crime. That being said I know your response will likely be something like "These people are just cheap scum" because that’s the general close minded view of the situation.

However if we are here to argue that you should never do things because they are illegal then I think we best retroactively jail people who flee’d their slave owners, or refused to move on bus’s, or really any other form of activity that at one time was illegal. It sounds ridiculous but if you were to go back in time there were people making your same argument for those activities. "These people are hurting the honest lives of white homegrown Americans."

The thing about piracy I feel at least is that it gives me the means to decide if a product is worth my time. I’m not saying I do it (because I believe most sites ban you outright) but I will say that if it ever stopped existing I’d merely cease purchasing games altogether.

When movies are consistently poor (don’t get me wrong there is a beautiful golden apple in every bad batch each year), games are consistently poor, and many artists produce absolute garbage (to fill a CD around the one good title) people become disheartened.

If I can demo something and I like it I buy it. Kanye West’s recent CD, about 100 dollars in indie games, Guild Wars just made it onto my list, a few books that I dabbled in before I bought are now shipping to me, all in all in the last half year about two thousand dollars that would have NOT been spent has been because I was able to examine whether the product was worth owning.

I know, i know, ‘this is a special case’ but I fail to see evidence that links your example to actuality. In general games like SPORE are released that are absolutely sub par and the blame is placed on piraters instead of admitting to producing something that is barely above flash quality (editor aside). I will say however their DS itineration was well worth the purchase :). For a portable game it was quirky enough to be fun.

It reminds me of the military. The military spends millions and millions of dollars to sustain many times the amount of nuclear weaponry needed to eliminate all life on the surface of the Earth. Whenever the government cuts the military’s budget instead of simply discontinuing some nuclear weaponry (which would in no way hinder the US’s defenses because we’d still have enough for a scorched earth response) they cut the wages of their soldiers.

It’s a political tool. Much like when the Crytek CEO (or whatever his title was) blamed piracy and consumers own lack of understanding on what is good for their poor sales. He not once admitted that Crysis was only noteworthy in graphics (which I believe is a pretty common opinion). He even went so far as to say that graphics were the most important factor (or one of the most important) factors in gaming which I think shows what is really hurting the industry.

So I know you won’t agree with me, and that’s not what I’m trying to get you to do, I just want you to sit back and think about what ’causes’ a crime instead of how to brute force the criminal.

Before heroine was made illegal there were many people diagnosed to use it (because it was believed to be non-addictive), these people overnight went from victims of a flawed medical system to criminals. This same process has happened multiple times with multiple drugs, yet whenever we speak of the situation we act as if the drug users are the problem.

Henry Ford once said that the job of the Industrialist is to "Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible." These tenets have all been broken and the issue is being masked behind a secondary effect of this.

Thanks for your time and if your response is basically to insult me you might as well not post. (Since that seems to be the theme of this thread) I just wanted to maybe inspire a few people to think outside the box.

PS. For instance in the case of DRM. Starforce (a DRM company) linked to a working torrent of Galactic Civilization II on their own website to make a point to Stardock that you must protect your products or criminals will steal them.

Sales of Galactic Civilization II actually picked up because many people wanted to prove that a high quality product for a reasonable price is what we are all asking for. In fact their most recent expansion is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in the gaming world. Stardock is one of the only respectable gaming companies on the face of this planet (I feel) in that they are willing to forego brute forcing the consumer and place their faith upon those they work for. It has done nothing but work in their favor :). Heck even their digital download service has the option of paying them SnH and they’ll send you a hard copy of the game as well as give you instant access to it digitally! Man……I can’t say enough good things about people like them…or the World of Goo guys…or basically anyone with games on Greenhouse games (all those developers are amazing).

Anywho back to reading about the 20th century and the evolution of art (Exam on Monday :((((()


Discussion was located at: The Escapist

Update Below

Its such a relief to see that I am not the only anti piracy nut here. I agree whole heartedly. yes, its a sucky measure, but its the best we have


My Response:

If Piracy ended, I would no longer have the only quick way of seeing if a game is worth my time or my money. Every single game I’ve ever demo’d has been purchased and every single game I’ve hated has been lamented (I think that’s the word I’m looking for).

Now for most pirates that I’ve ever known, this is how the system works. I don’t care what you ‘think’ all the pirates are doing, that doesn’t matter to me, I’m not here to defend all pirates. But every single one I’ve ever known has worked like this. We all have copius gaming shelves full of only the best games, what makes a game the best game you might ask "IT’S A GAME YOU ACTUALLY LIKE REGARDLESS OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE SAY!"

That’s what annoys me when people say "Just read reviews." Frankly they’ve never been an accurate tally for me, I love some games many people hate and I hate quite a few games people get boners just thinking about.

Now you might say "That’s what Demo’s are for." and I agree. Any company that has ever provided me a Demo has never seen my IP on any torrent site for their game. Well I suppose I should rephrase that. Any company that has provided me a real demo has gotten that courtesy. DoWII for instance gave me the option to demo their game (because I bought Soulstorm, a game I pirated first I might add) and I appreciate that. I mean I’m not going to buy it because to me it’s a complete piece of shit. That’s my opinion, I know many of you don’t agree with it but that’s how >I< feel. (I’m being specific here to limit the amount of bitchy responses if anyone is curious)

The problem is most companies don’t probide proper Demo’s anymore, all the major review sites now have immense levels of pressure and integrity issues (Seriously people who gave SPORE a 9 or a 10 even with my open mind I feel there is a disconnect). There is also the issue of the new car smell that catches many people by surprise. Sure for the first week you think its the greatest thing ever and you tell all your friends, then reality hits you and now all your friends are 50 dollars out too and likely feeling the same thing.

There are exceptions to some of the above of course. If a game is properly priced I will buy it without checking in advance, a few of my DS purchases have been like that, they were cheaper than their competitors and I appreciated that nod to me. They realized that I have other bills in my life and while I want to support them I can’t fork out 35 dollars everytime I want a handheld game. In the end they get a thank you, some money, and I get a product which is how I used to feel the gaming world worked.

DRM has never and will never stop piracy, what it does do is insult people. I’ve made multiple products that at any point anyone could have given out on torrents and essentially killed my (albeit small) income from those products. Likewise I’ve had things I’ve toiled over stolen because other people didn’t understand copyright laws (for instance the act of editing an image to get to that ‘original content’ % people talk about is already a crime without permission of the original author :)). Do you see me doing things differently? No I have a very stardockian way of viewing things.

You should notice a popular quote I like to steal quite often from the late Henry Ford.

"There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible. "

Lemme say why this is important, if you feel I’m incorrect in my logic show me a company that has followed this and not had my results:

Any company following Henry Fords one rule garners respect from the consumers.
Anyone who has respect from the consumer will gain their support.
Anyone with support from consumers will have enough gains to survive and to grow.

Now we can argue that business’s should be able to milk you for every penny you have on you. But that is not the ideal form of Capitalism. The idea is to create a business of the highest quality while not lessening the quality of the lives of those you cater to.

It is entirely possible to produce games of exceptional quality with absolutely minimal protection (See CD Key) and still survive and become a thriving and utterly dominating company.

All that DRM does is remove that tie of respect between customers and businesses. Look at EA’s stock after SPORE was released, it has been on a relative free fall since that date and with each report of a new more advanced DRM their stock takes another hit (it may be recovering lately but it still has ages to go before it is back to normal). You might say "It’s the recession" but keep in mind EA was the biggest loser of all other business’s multiple times in the last year. Even if you take into account other people are losing money EA is losing money at a far more impressive rate.

Now I’ve lost my place but I’ll continue from where I think I was going with this :P. If Piracy stops I will merely stop buying games from any company that doesn’t provide me with a sincerely accurate portrayal of their product. That means companies like Bethesda will lose sales from me (considering I’ve bought every single thing they’ve released since Morrowind, each time pirating before I bought to make sure I liked it). In fact I’m quite certain every company except for indie developers, valve, and stardock would instantaneously lose my business.

There ARE people who abuse piracy, likewise there ARE people who go into the store and steal things, does that mean that everyone should be treated as a criminal that walks into a store? Most businesses find that the amount of theft in the store is directly related to the amount of customer relations completed in that store. Likewise you’ll find the companies working the hardest the distance themselves from consumers (Like EA who tends to ban anyone who questions their practices) are the ones suffering the hardest from this all.

The biggest issue I think I have is that piracy nuts believe there is a direct and almost unanimous correlation between piracy and loss in sales. Never once questioning the developers or the product. It is no wonder that SPORE was pirated so many times and didn’t get many sales, I imagine most people pirated it and were appalled at what had become of a revolutionary concept. Games like Crysis complain about piracy but frankly it was a turd with a shiny crown on it, it did nothing exceptionally well except cover up its problems with beautiful landscapes. That’s admirable but I have high definition images when I want pretty.

Plus DRM companies aren’t here to protect the people making the products, they are here to make money. Starforce released a live link to Stardock’s Galactic Civilization II in response to Stardock refusing their DRM service. Sony’s team behind SecuROM is no different, these services are run by children who charge many thousands of dollars to put an easily crackable block on products. Last I knew it cost 3k dollars per movie (not per copy of movie mind you) to use blu-ray’s DRM. DRM that was cracked on what…day 0? Week later? That’s why you don’t see small time movie makers using Blu-Ray, you end up spending more money on the DRM than you make back in many many sales.

The cost of DRM has never and will never offset the little that it does especially when the little that it does is drive away consumers and create more of the very thing it is said to create.

I just have trouble understanding how you all defend censorship and DRM when the latter has been caught red handed abusing piracy for its own end and the former merely causes the crimes to become even harder to detect. Many illegal activities now are no less prolific than they once were they are just harder to see and I feel that it is far less safe to be amidst crime that goes undetected than crime that is.

Extra Note: Likewise these fantasy characters that pirate because they refuse to pay for things (that are in many examples on this site and others) would not buy the games if you got rid of piracy entirely. They’d (almost entirely) just turn to something else.

By | 2009-02-02T19:02:59+00:00 January 31st, 2009|Journal|Comments Off on A Complaint against Piracy and my Response