Are you a pirate?

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Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006


Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
I think it's a case where the

I think it's a case where the companies in question are villainous. The perception (probably correct) is that most of the companies are ruthless, vindictive, and only just a few pinstripes short of being gangsters. They act like the worst sort of trash imaginable, willing to sell out anyone (including their society) to make a fast dollar, and then want to act indignant because people are pirating their garbage. They can claim what they want, but we all know it's just a few incredibly rich and avaricious vultures at the top doing all this squawking. It's easy enough to bribe a politician or six into supporting them; the "common Joe" ain't got nobody that gives a rat's ass about him.

I see anti-piracy like prohibition. It's kinda hard to stand up and say "alcohol is a good thing." You can debate it, but most of us probably feel that at the very least it's unhealthy, and there's no doubt that it can cause a whole world of hurt. So it makes sense for it to be illegal and we shouldn't drink it.

Yet there are plenty of people out there--too many, in fact--who will get their hands on alcohol NO MATTER WHAT. You end up with REAL gangsters with all that goes with that. Like it or not, it's part of our culture, and the only way to really get rid of it would be to destroy our culture.

The same is true for piracy. Most of us view at as a necessary evil. We WANT to be able to surf the net, exchange files efficiently, distribute digital stuff without a lot of hassle. It's the "information superhighway," not the "information toll road with armed guards at checkpoints." Most of us have gotten used to the idea (if not the practice) of being able to download whatever data we want for free.

It'd be like living in prohibition times and discovering that every city, town, and even village has its own speakeasy--but get this--at these speakeasies, you can drink whatever you want, however much you want, whenever you want, and it's ALL FREE. Take a moment to really consider that. Sure, it's wrong. But once you've been there--can you really willingly go back to never drinking again?

Hollywood, the software industry, the recording industry, anyone who makes stuff for digital distribution has to understand that their product is worthless because it's abundant. The only way to make it scarce is artificial; make a law against it. Again, imagine those millions of speakeasies where you can drink all you want for free. Are you going to resist the temptation just because there's a law against it--and especially when you know the chances of getting caught are practically nil? And that millions of people are doing it right this minute?

I've said repeatedly that the smart thing to do is quit selling content as so many widgets and find other ways to make money. If you got infinite booze for free, you don't go to the mayor and use the police force to try to force people to pay for it. That's the STUPID way. The smart way is to make sure your speakeasy is the best one in town, with comfortable couches, a friendly barkeeper, security, and whatever else you DESIRE enough to PAY for. The Apps store is a great example of that--it's easy, fast, convenient, and has a solid reputation behind it. Sure, you could jailbreak your phone and get all the apps for free, but why bother? Is saving a few bucks on an app or MP3 really worth risking a virus or worse? And what if you want support? It's not like Pirate Bay is going to help you if you can't get that illegal copy to work.

I think I should make a podcast about all this. :)

Joined: 01/21/2009

take a read, its one of the guys at Pirate bay.. now i have no idea if any of its true (about the judge and such, US clout on this etc..), and he raises some excellent points. The comments after are worth a read too.

I think most of us agree the old bloated and cqite possilbey questionable practices of the movei/recording idustry are probely not on the up and up.. As stated in the comments, they ahve been sued ( and lost) and accused of screwing people many times over.. They basilcy try get away with whatever they can. The movei industry has been accuses of price fixing many times.. and lost many times.. so we get into the old.. loss a few million to make a few 100 million problem. the courst say bad boy, slap a fine that is pcoket change and they rince and repeat.. The contracts gave to recording artists are criminal ( but legal).. and so on..

BUT!!!! as so many say.. we should screw them by pirating? so we become them to beat them? I think almost all of us agree, pirateing is breaking the law.. there is NO REASON that justifies it.. plain and simple. but.. a game you can not aquire, a tv show not sown in your area of the world, etc.. you take your risks to enjoy it. I will never tell you there is a good reason. I will tell you we each hav to decide what watching a TV show that is not local, a game not released in the US (please insert country of your choice here). I look at it like speeding.. long stretch of road, nobody in site.. i go 85 instead of 75.. no harm no foul, right? seems that way in practice. But... you risk have an accidnet, yes a very small risk, but speed, a problem and reaction time.. its very doubtfull 10 MPH would make much differnece, but there is times it would.. so i wreck and IM the only one hurt.. my won fualt i payed.. again.. seems that way but its not.. i have massive medical bills, ambulacne etc.. thsoe doctors could be saving sombody else, those bills are paid by 1000;s of people who pay insurance etc.. its isnt just me..

Same is for pirating.. a game a song nobody will notice.. but there are people beside the artist and record compnonies that make money off that song.. peopel in deleiver, record store, manufacturing.. and when you figure a song is worth $.99 cents ... how much of that do they get $.0001cent? so every song adds up big time...

Ihave pirated, I stil do ( tv shows)... but game and MP3's.. not really anymore.. steam and music avilible by the song has prettty much stopped my pirating.

Goes to show you, easy of access can make even us hardend criminals pay :)

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
A lot of these arguments go

A lot of these arguments go back to Plato, whose interlocutors debated topics such as whether a rich man or a poor man was likely to commit a crime; the rich man has more access to vices, but the poor man may be "forced" to steal and/or has less to lose in any case.

I've been watching Downton Abbey lately; highly recommend the show. However, if rankles me to no end to see the damage wrought by an aristocratic society. I will never, EVER, fully support any system--including ours--where the raw chance of being born into a certain family affects your future so strongly. The few things that might make a difference are the first to go in any crisis--oh, we're low on cash, by all means, let's slash the schools. Let's raise tuition at colleges. Let's cut rehab programs. OH, but we MUST keep up the military and security. When these poor people riot, we want to make sure we have plenty of tear gas on hand.

From psychology and sociology we get lots of studies of stuff like this. Apparently, people are usually only as honest as their neighbors. If you live in a neighborhood that's clean and tidy, you probably won't just throw your litter out the window. You probably won't spray paint graffiti on the walls. If, however, you see lots of litter, bars on windows, and possibly even crimes being committed in front of your eyes, you are MUCH more likely to do bad things yourself.

It's obvious to me that the copyright holders have lost the war already. Suing a few people here and there, even thousands here and there, is just too little, too late. You basically have a situation where multiple generations are accustomed to pirating whatever they want. No matter what you do, you're not going to get them to suddenly tuck their tail between their legs and start gladly paying for stuff they originally got for free. Ain't gonna happen. If the powers that be get serious enough fighting, there will be revolutions--and the outcome will be a lot uglier than just moving in.

I think what we WILL see is the legal options becoming so affordable and convenient that it just isn't worth bothering with piracy. If a game costs a buck, why the hell bother with pirating it? If you can watch practically any show or movie ever for $10 a month, why the heck bother with downloads and torrents? At some point, it's just a no-brainer to pay a few bucks than to go through the trouble and potential risk of dealing with piracy.

Imagine if the same product was available at the black market for $10, and at a legit store for $5. Which would you buy?

ruthan's picture
Joined: 01/22/2012
This is very hard question,

This is very hard question, there are lots of aspects, but 2 points most important for myself.

1) In electronic media era, information / culture can be free (almost, you need some coins for servers, power etc) for everyone, or for elities with money. Music, movies, even books (google books are great, free books are great, but everything is in english, if you are not very good in english, you must pain even for 200 years old (copyright is already passed) electronical version of book, because you dont pay for content, but for translation (full price, because you know paper, ink, labour) - from publishers point of view.)
You havent money, you are simply force to steal, because you want to be better men (more cultural). For the rich men is good to keep the slaves of the stupid and uneducated.
2) In rich lands, you can buy same game (digital form) for money, which you gain by few hours work, in poor lands you must for work few days for same stuff. Its fair, think so not.. They must be prices for region, depending on economic situation, thats fair.

In Europe/ Asia (in China is ilegal to buy legal games because there is not legal import of western games, regarding my information, console are even forbbiden as tool of evil) and Africa + South America (for example typical price of new videogame is Brazil is 150$ because of taxes)=> almost everywhere , is more pirates than non pirates, so if it were will democratic solution (democration from latin= means rule of people ->majority ). However, I think that the worlds hypocrisy will win again, because most people are from 8am to 6pm fanatic enemies of piracy and from 6pm to 2M they are already playing stoled stuff. Its almost like cheating, it never change, yeah there will be becautiful exceptions for the beauty of the world.

Bottomline, as i said there are lots of aspects:
3) True is more complex (not molyneuxan - black and white), if isnt too poor, he something buy few very good games per years, too support them to have great box etc.

Who: Brujah Zealot, the pimp of babylons bitch. / Location: Scorched heart of Europe. // Sorry for my moldavian sort of english, i have 2 possibilities, to be silent or try to say something +look like idiot..

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
I would like to think

I would like to think everyone on this forum was aware of satire and humor, but apparently it's not always so obvious. I actually consider that a compliment; a good satirist (Colbert comes to mind) is often so convincing that many folks think he's a sincere conservative.

At any rate, I personally find it very amusing all the excuses pirates come up with. It's obviously something that bothers us, or we wouldn't care--screw it, I'm just going to pirate because I enjoy getting something for nothing. Or I'm pirating because I feel a sense of entitlement; that I'm special in some way that makes it perfectly acceptable for me to get this for free.

I've known shoplifters who had the exact same excuses. "I'm not stealing from people; it's just a giant corporation." Wal-Mart is an easy target, since they can also say they're fighting unfair labor practices or screwing it to "the man." They try to make themselves feel better by saying, Well, I'd *never* shoplift from a privately owned store, or a family business, etc.

Our society obviously has some flexibility and ability to cope with those who want to cheat the system. Arguably any system that was too rigid would quickly disintegrate into outright rioting and looting. I remember reading that in any workplace, about 10% of the employees do 90% of the actual work. I'm sure something like that is true for mp3s; about 10% of gamers are responsible for 90% of the sales. The RIAA and MPAA or whoever might wish they could get a better percentage, but 10% is still a lot of money in these situations. It's kind of hard for regular folks to feel sorry for a media mogul that "only" made 100 million instead of 500 million, for instance. 100 million is still a lot more money than most of us will ever see in our lifetimes.

DRM is the equivalent of store security. At some point, the costs of all the cameras, detectors, RFIDs, surveillance, and so on, rises far above the actual losses from the shoplifting. You could probably eliminate shoplifting by strip searching everyone who comes in and goes out, doing full body cavity searches, etc., but then nobody would shop at your store. As stupid as this sounds, it's basically the approach that many publishers have taken, not caring if legit customers are subjected to harassment just to catch a few pirates.

Joined: 01/21/2009
yes matt does seem a bit

yes matt does seem a bit whackier then normal :) sometime we all need to vent in our own ways.. or stir the pot with so much gusto it flies into everyones face.. so they all join in.

I have said it before.. a law is a law.. if i like it or not. property physical or Idea, has alwasy been protected with patents and such. So taking a game, even if there is no pysical theft is still theft. THERE IS NO EXCUSE that doesnt make it so. I dont belive anybody who ratonilizes it really beleives the bunk they are saying (delusion is not a good thing).. its a way to feel better, to make your little contrubition to thieviery seem a little more noble.. "I'm fighting the good fight", they charge to much, they are Evil corp, game sucks and no demo, I cany by it in my location, the sun came up today (yes the last one makes as much sence as the first four in my mind).

So you gotta decide if you want ot risk it, reap what you sow. HERE is where the system fails. A bunch of us had a HUGE discussion on this the other day. The NET really is a modern day WILD WEST.. no way to police it, and the ways they are planing are not "policing" but are actualy controling. The net is free, the bandwidth isnt. Unfortantly the only way to get some RULES is to start making it cost.. And not in the traditional sence. There has to be more then 12 people the RIAA sues a year.. they have to sue 10,000, or 100,000 (and that will never happne cuz that would cost them money, and we would all say BAD RIAA, picking on hte little guy.. even if they are right, PR nightmare).. face it, nobody would download MP3's illigaly if they thouhgt there was a 50% chance they would be caught and have to pay a BIG fine.. right now the chance of you getting caught unless you are beyond stupid is about hte same as winning the lotto.. so in cold hard terms.. zero chance.. for commiting a crime where you get away scot free. Pirateing games is the same..

slot machine, 75% chance to win $100 for every $100 you put in.. odds are great many of us would play.. but lest make the 25% a $10,000 loss if you hit it.. most of us wouldnt do it even with a 3of evey 4 win.. the downside is unexceptible. And that is the only way to combat this.

I really think the software companies like it it some small degree.. free word of mouth, and if it was actually all gone. what would they blame poor sales on?

I didnt vote.. nothing matched me really..

But I'm thinking here.. on a "evertyhing" type scale.. MP3's? who has one they didnt pay for ? Movies or TV shows? have you downloaded any? Do you ALWAYS stay under the speed limit when driving? took a pen home from the office? Watched a paid fireworks show from a road without paying? paid for a salad bar and had other people at your table eat something off it? rwead a magazine at a stand and put it back? Found something usefull and didnt attempt to figure out who's it was as it would be to much work?

if you can say none of the above, you are a lawfull person.

Tuco40's picture
Joined: 09/30/2010
Matt needs help

Hey guys, I think Matt might seriously be going crazy.

I've always thought there was a thin line between insanity and sarcasm, and Mr. Barton just bolted past that line with his comments.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
I don't mind at all.To me,

I don't mind at all.

To me, this situation is like life in general. There's a Right way, and the Smart way.

The future of our civilization depends on people who are willing to play by the rules:

1. Get a good education
2. Get a good job and work hard to earn a living
3. Contribute positively to the public good

I salute these schmucks.

However, there are also people like us.

1. Learn how to get what we want for nothing!
2. Just get by. Work sucks!
3. When you pirate, include a message like, "If you like this game, please buy it! Support software!" That way you're totally covered.

Ubulunikum (not verified)
Don't jugde a book by it's first chapter

I have read many books that have grown progressively better throughout, and therefore don't believe that one can really deem a book good or bad based on it's first chapter or so; such was actually the case with this book too, I actually found the early parts of it unintresting, but having read some of Matts articles over at Gamasutra, I figured I should try some more; I was not dissapointed.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Just a question
Ubulunikum wrote:

The way that it does so is by letting many more people access a game, not solely the poor, however, but those mildly curious, those who want an unrestricted sneak peak at the game; and if they like it they might very well drop a few pennies in the coffers of the developers by buying their game. I myself *Checks if the proxy system is working* did so with your first book, Dungeons & Desktops, which just to contemplate rests firmly in my hand now. (the fourth letter, word 6, page 21 is: i ; BTW) I can also assure you that I would most likely not have purchased your book if I hadn't obtained a sneak peak first (Just so you know, your book is fantastic!).

Out of curiosity, why isn't Amazon's "look inside" or "send the first chapter to your Kindle or PC" a sufficient way to determine if you'll like a book or not?


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