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Software Piracy

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Because you don't take someones property, you copy it. That's very straightforward in my opinion. I don't think you can define a digital copy of copyrighted material as property in the traditional sense.

btw, <3 u

FhotoLogo.gifWe all gotta start somewhere, keepin pirating music and see where it leads...

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I don't think you can define a digital copy of copyrighted material as property in the traditional sense.

That's why we've got another term for it, "intellectual property". It may not technically be theft in a legal sense, but calling it "stealing" is close enough shorthand for most people outside of a legal document or a courtroom.

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That's why we've got another term for it, "intellectual property". It may not technically be theft in a legal sense, but calling it "stealing" is close enough shorthand for most people outside of a legal document or a courtroom.

But it's wrong :) copyright infringement is right. That was my point and still is.

btw, I'm not trying to say pirating is a good thing I'm just pointing some stuff out and following the discussion.

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EDIT re: used game industry

I don't see the issue with this. No one complains when you sell a used car, or trade it in at the lot for credit toward a new one. No one cares when people hold a garage sale and sell off a bunch of crap. Why should games be any different? Games generally require that you have the physical copy to play -- either because the disc has to be in the drive for the game to run, or because there's some sort of CD-key that comes unique to each copy of the game. (As an aside, I suppose it would be possible to sell something like Starcraft -- which requires a CD key but no disc to play -- after writing down your CD key. Then you could copy or download the disc and install it using the CD key you bought, copied, and then sold. Anyone buying the disc you sold wouldn't be able to use it, because the CD key would already be in use. How does the used games industry deal with that sort of thing?) By selling your disc, you're selling your license with it, which I see no problems with.

The thing is you can beat a game (assuming multiplayer or high scores or whatever isn't the main objective). Theoretically an arbitrarily large number of people could receive the full benefit of the game from just one purchase. In contrast, (most) people don't beat the need for transportation; if you sell your car you'll need to find a replacement. Who knows, you might even go to the same dealer. And since people tend to keep cars much longer than games, a car might change hands one or two times before reaching the end of its usefulness, while that Final Fantasy NES cartridge could still be floating around within your group of friends 20 years after you bought it.

Of course, games do go out of print and companies do go out of business, so I'm in favor of allowing people to buy used games if solely for that purpose (although digital distribution services like Steam and GameTap are starting to solve that as well). But otherwise I try to buy new when possible in order to support the developers since, from a financial standpoint, buying used is really no different to them from just pirating it. Even renting would help them more.

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I think used sales are just the price developers pay for gamers being cheapskates. :/ A lot of those reasons you just listed could apply to piracy as well.

Oh, that's definitely part of it (though I'd broaden it to say that many people are cheapskates and don't want to buy something they can't return or trade in unless they know it will be quality). The difference between buying a used game and pirating a game is that there's the exchange of something (game media, or, at least, a license key if the game is freely downloadable but requires a key to play) for money. If I trade a game, I'm relinquishing ownership over that registration key or the game media to someone else, meaning that no one else can use that media (I have it in my possession) or that registration code (it's tied to my account).

(Obviously, things can break down a little bit when dealing with registration codes; I'm assuming something like Native Instruments' model here, where I need the code added to my account in order for the product to be registered. If I want to sell the product, I must have the code removed from my account so it can be added to theirs; no key can be added to multiple accounts).

To put it another way, could EB Games complain that I have a few games for sale listed here and on craigslist? Because if I wasn't trying to trade/sell independently, I'd be taking the game to them to sell used, so EBGames is losing money. Again, very different from piracy because however I sell my game, I am relinquishing the rights to use it and relinquishing the physical media or registration code.

As to copies of a game floating around between a group of friends, number of people who use it is irrelevant. I could buy a car and loan it to my circle of friends whenever they liked, or I could buy it and keep it for myself and drive it into the ground, or I could sell it used. In all cases, the manufacturer doesn't see a cent past the initial purchase. I'd argue that (most) people don't beat the need for entertainment either. Our generation is one that grew up as gamers and will likely continue that most of our lives, finances permitting. So if I beat Final Fantasy and sell it to a friend, I now don't have that game to play and am going to play something else.

Also, how would renting help the developer more? If I rent, the money goes to Blockbuster, not to the developer. Blockbuster has paid for the game once, just as someone has paid for the game once in order for it to end up on the used shelf at EB Games. The developer doesn't see a cent of the rental money.

Native Jovian: about license keys, EB Games used to have a policy where they wouldn't take any game that required you to "consume" a license key in order to play it (or even in order to play part of it; I couldn't trade in Warcraft III because, although the registration code wasn't tied to anything since I never played online, the assumption had to be made that I'd used it and so someone else purchasing the game would not have the key, and thus would not get full value out of the package). Their policy now is not to take PC games at all, perhaps because of piracy concerns (buy game, rip game, return game, give to friends, torrent).

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The thing is you can beat a game (assuming multiplayer or high scores or whatever isn't the main objective). Theoretically an arbitrarily large number of people could receive the full benefit of the game from just one purchase. In contrast, (most) people don't beat the need for transportation; if you sell your car you'll need to find a replacement. Who knows, you might even go to the same dealer. And since people tend to keep cars much longer than games, a car might change hands one or two times before reaching the end of its usefulness, while that Final Fantasy NES cartridge could still be floating around within your group of friends 20 years after you bought it.

Of course, games do go out of print and companies do go out of business, so I'm in favor of allowing people to buy used games if solely for that purpose (although digital distribution services like Steam and GameTap are starting to solve that as well). But otherwise I try to buy new when possible in order to support the developers since, from a financial standpoint, buying used is really no different to them from just pirating it. Even renting would help them more.

I tend to agree with you and buy most of my games (that are stilla valiable new) new on eBay by smaller companies that buy these directly from the publisher. That way GameStop gets a foot up their ass for their horribly high prices and I still support the developer ;)

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I tend to agree with you and buy most of my games (that are stilla valiable new) new on eBay by smaller companies that buy these directly from the publisher. That way GameStop gets a foot up their ass for their horribly high prices and I still support the developer ;)

To be fair, I tend to buy games new if possible, mainly because I either buy PC games and can't get them used or because I tend not to play DS and PSP games that are as mainstream, and are thus harder to get if they're not bought within the few months after release.

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Their policy now is not to take PC games at all, perhaps because of piracy concerns (buy game, rip game, return game, give to friends, torrent).

Are you sure thats the policy? The local EB/GameStop are still buying games from the consumer, they just don't sell used PC games anymore.

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The thing is you can beat a game (assuming multiplayer or high scores or whatever isn't the main objective). Theoretically an arbitrarily large number of people could receive the full benefit of the game from just one purchase. In contrast, (most) people don't beat the need for transportation; if you sell your car you'll need to find a replacement. Who knows, you might even go to the same dealer. And since people tend to keep cars much longer than games, a car might change hands one or two times before reaching the end of its usefulness, while that Final Fantasy NES cartridge could still be floating around within your group of friends 20 years after you bought it.

So how is a car different from a game? How useful it is (most people need cars; no one really "needs" a video game) or how long it lasts (my car is older than most of the video games I own, incidentally; both my car and some of my games were bought used) is irrelevant to the question of whether or not it's okay to resell it. When you buy it, you purchase the rights (the license) and the means (the physical disc) to use it. When you sell it, you transfer the same to someone else. In this, video games are the same as any other kind of property.

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A game really isn't a piece of property in the conventional sense though, another fact that's highlighted by digital distribution. As cliche as it might sound, games are an experience, they just happen to come on a circular piece of plastic sometimes. You don't see movie theaters letting people keep their tickets and pass them to someone else after they come out of the building, much less sell them at "used" prices.

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So how is a car different from a game?

You can't download a car duh.

But when you sell/transfer the car/game you lose the rights to it without permission of the owner and any retained copies of the game that weren't paid for are now illegal. Amirite?

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You don't see movie theaters letting people keep their tickets and pass them to someone else after they come out of the building, much less sell them at "used" prices.

But people sell old DVDs they don't want anymore. Or are you saying that that's wrong too?

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A game really isn't a piece of property in the conventional sense though, another fact that's highlighted by digital distribution. As cliche as it might sound, games are an experience, they just happen to come on a circular piece of plastic sometimes. You don't see movie theaters letting people keep their tickets and pass them to someone else after they come out of the building, much less sell them at "used" prices.

But tickets are sold as an understood one-time use item though.

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Are you sure thats the policy? The local EB/GameStop are still buying games from the consumer, they just don't sell used PC games anymore.

It is in every location I've been to in Canada over the past 4 years (6-8 locations in a 2-hour radius). Maybe it's different in the US or even outside of Ontario, I don't know.

A game really isn't a piece of property in the conventional sense though, another fact that's highlighted by digital distribution. As cliche as it might sound, games are an experience, they just happen to come on a circular piece of plastic sometimes. You don't see movie theaters letting people keep their tickets and pass them to someone else after they come out of the building, much less sell them at "used" prices.

With digital distribution, you might have a point because that starts to cross the line into there being nothing physical (although, I'd argue, the license key counts in that regard). As for movies though, you're buying the right to sit in a specified theatre at a specified time to see a specified movie. Once that time is over, having the physical ticket is meaningless. Before (or even during) that time, what's wrong with selling your ticket to a willing buyer (scalper issues aside?) The theatre doesn't even really care whether you sit in the seat and watch the movie or not as long as you've bought the ticket.

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Interesting to note is that according to rumors sony's new PSP will ditch the UMD format and be 100% digital distribution.

I wrote a bit about this here: http://anosou.blogspot.com/2009/03/umd-is-dead-long-live-psp.html

Will be interesting to see how people react. I'm still pro-physical media since I like owning stuff and touching them.

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Large quote directed at me

I agree with just about everything in that post. Cubase is no longer on my system.

I think your example about Omnisphere is fallaciously confusing physical theft for pirating theft. (I don't mind calling it theft. Don't fucking mince words you guys, but understand that there is a difference between pirating virtually and plundering physical items, therefore calling both thievery gives the false impression that they are mutually exclusive in consequence)

BGC, I think your agreeable post should apply to the Omnisphere example as well. Of course he shouldn't have shoplifted. If he wanted to try the game, he should have looked into demos. Or if demos aren't available, sure, give it a try via BitTorrent, and don't use it extensively without making the purchase.

I've been trying a bunch of DAWs and staff editors recently. Fortunately, there was only Cubase that lacked a demo. After installing and uninstalling all of these demos, my registry probably looks like shit now. :\

edit: Please stop comparing DVD use and a theater ticket. A ticket's inability to get disc scratches is only one reason why they're completely different. That's the worst red herring I've seen in a while.

Also, one can buy digitally distributed software and back it up to the storage medium of their choice to ensure that they have a second copy around. I bought a nice VST a couple days ago, and you better believe I backed it up first thing.

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Because you don't take someones property, you copy it. That's very straightforward in my opinion. I don't think you can define a digital copy of copyrighted material as property in the traditional sense.

Well, technically there are copies of everything, whether it's a data-based program, or a car, or a box of cookies, or a pair of shoes. If a guy invents a pair of shoes, and people like it enough that he makes copies of the shoe for the purpose of selling them to others, using the exact same materials and procedures for assembling it as he did with the original shoe, you're not infringing on his product if you acquire a copy of a of those shoes illegally, you're stealing them, not infringing on his rights of ownership.

Now, naturally, you're talking about someone taking those shoes and with a couple mouse clicks making perfect duplicates of them and putting them up on the ol' Pirate Bay or something, which is obviously different when dealing with digital information versus something tangible and made of leather and rubber. However, since the man went through the appropriate process of ensuring that any and every such shoe that is IDENTICAL to the one he created belongs to him, and when you obtain his shoe, you must acquire the necessary license to use it, and furthermore, you do not have the right to copy, recreate, or distribute it, then you are essentially infringing on his rights, AND stealing from him. (how's THAT for a runaway sentence??? woo!)

I mean, I definitely understand your line of thinking, it's in a very technical sense, but since copyright infringement is so closely tied into theft, it's sometimes kind of hard (and perhaps pointless) to bother distinguishing where one technically ends and the other begins. It's easier to just think of them as kind of a whole.

It's like, trying to tell "unmellow yellow" apart from "laser lemon super happy yellow"

:tomatoface:

btw, <3 u

naturally, this of course goes without saying, as the look in your eyes when we spoon says it all.

<3

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But people sell old DVDs they don't want anymore. Or are you saying that that's wrong too?

With DVDs there's a natural wait period between the time the movie comes out and the DVD is released, so they get that initial influx of cash from ticket sales. In that light, I think it would make sense for there to be a waiting period for games too, during which used game stores can only accept recently-released games after a certain period of time.

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@ Slygen

That wasn't entirely directed at you, I'm not making accusations or taking anything personally. It's all for the sake of the discusssion :)

A couple things though, Omnisphere isn't a game, it's a ~$500 synth instrument. (If you already knew that, my bad, I just gathered from your post that you assumed it was a game).

Also, the reason I was mincing theft and piracy in that instance is because whether or not the copy was physically shoplifted or pirated still pisses me off, because I paid money for my right to use the program and the people on the other side of this fence did not, thus I compared it to someone cutting in line when they have no right, and I've paid my dues.

Again, I personally don't care about trying before you buy, and if Cubase doens't have a demo version, then it's their own fault if people pirate their software for (genuinely) evaluational purposes. Once you've evaluated it fairly though, I think it shows good form (:<) to either buy it or delete it. Which it seems you did, so rock on.

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It is in every location I've been to in Canada over the past 4 years (6-8 locations in a 2-hour radius). Maybe it's different in the US or even outside of Ontario, I don't know.

GameStops stopped taking PC games a few years ago, and basically stopped selling them at about the same time. Largely this was due to CD key issues. This has actually invaded some console games. FFXI, for instance, can't (or at least couldn't last I checked) be traded in because of the CD key and the whole online thing. But for PC games, this extends way beyond MMOs because a lot of games have to be registered by the CD key or serial number and it could cause problems. Or at least that was the explanation. I think a better one is that used PC wasn't very profitable and it was very costly when people walked in with a box of old Windows 98 software in 2003-04, just to turn around and sell it for $0.99 in 2005.

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My local GameStops stopped taking PC games, but they're still selling them.

As for movies though, you're buying the right to sit in a specified theatre at a specified time to see a specified movie. Once that time is over, having the physical ticket is meaningless. Before (or even during) that time, what's wrong with selling your ticket to a willing buyer (scalper issues aside?) The theatre doesn't even really care whether you sit in the seat and watch the movie or not as long as you've bought the ticket.

That's not exactly relevant to the point I was trying to make...let's say it's a season pass to an amusement park, or an all-you-can-eat buffet. These things are sold with the clear stipulation that you won't just buy one and go sharing it with all your friends.

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Guys, "theft" or "stealing" is appropriate shorthand for copyright infringement. It's not literally the crime of theft or stealing, but think about it. What do we call it when someone uses your credit card? Identity theft. Are they literally TAKING your identity, so you no longer have it? No. All they're doing is just using your card without your authorization. But "identity theft" is easier to say and the effect of the crime is similar.

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That's not exactly relevant to the point I was trying to make...let's say it's a season pass to an amusement park, or an all-you-can-eat buffet. These things are sold with the clear stipulation that you won't just buy one and go sharing it with all your friends.

Fair enough; what if they weren't sold with such a stipulation? I'd argue I'd be well within my rights to sell or share them, and too bad for the original manufacturers.

Getting back to games, I have no objection to not being able to trade a PC game because of the high potential for making a copy (although, for that matter, I could do just that with PSP games), but I'd argue that the right of first sale trumps anything else at this point, and if game manufacturers lose out, so be it. Like any other industry, it should be that in order to have a successful product, it should either be quality or low in price. The fact that too many games are neither is a big reason why so many games get traded in. I personally will gladly hang onto a game that I've enjoyed and will play it again, but if you put out something that doesn't interest me and has no replay value to me, I'm not going to keep it with the misguided ideal that I'm somehow supporting a company - if their product isn't good, I don't *want* to support them.

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Guys, "theft" or "stealing" is appropriate shorthand for copyright infringement.

if I steal an apple I don't think I am infringing on the copyright for apple trees

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