20 to 1 Pirate to Sale Ratio?

Jayhawker wrote:
Stengah wrote:
kuddles wrote:
nsmike wrote:

If this is true, it would be an important distinction, as it would show that there are plenty of pirates out there who wouldn't have paid for it anyway.

That's not what's being said at all. It shows that there are plenty of people who would pay if they didn't feel like they could get away with it.

I think that there are plenty of both types. There's probably more people than you think who simply wouldn't play games if pirate copies weren't available. Not everyone can afford to drop $50 on a game, especially in poorer parts of the world. I'm not saying that they're the majority, but they most likely account for a decent chunk of the piracy problem.

But would they drop $20-$30 later? Not if they already played it for free.

I think this is a really important point that most people don't consider. In most discussions on why people pirate, they say that the price of the product is too high, or higher than they are willing to pay...so they pirate the game and feel no guilt because they wouldn't have purchased it anyway.

However, if one were to ask what they would pay for the product they will often supply a price - say $30 instead of $60. But since they pirated the game, they'll never purchase even when it gets to a reduced price.

If they had waited though, a couple good things would have happened:
- the developer earns some money
- the publisher receives feedback from the market -- this is important since the feedback allows business to adjust to the market based on information they understand. If the majority of folks won't purchase until a product is $40, they'll try to target products for that price point, which benefits us all in the long term. Unfortunately the execs don't understand that piracy is market feedback that the cost is too high, they just see it as steeling.

For those not bothered by anecdotal evidence:

I took a security course at a local university recently and we had a few discussions regarding ethics. The class was comprised of Seniors (and a couple grad students) majoring in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Based on the group, I anticipated some reservations regarding piracy since these are folks who will probably be developing software in the near future. What astounded me was that they had absolutely no reservations on the topic. There were only a couple students who admitted to thinking it was wrong in any way. After a long discussion to isolate the justification for piracy, it boiled down to their evaluation of a products worth. Since they didn't feel the products were worth the price asked, and since there is almost never a penalty for pirating, they would do so.

If you think about it, that's our attitude towards all products, only most people don't steel physical items because they are concerned by the repercussions. The piracy issue seems to have a parallel to forum behavior in that anonymity and lack of repercussions results in people behaving as they never would in person.

I'm 29, so I tend to feel that college kids are of another generation (though I know that's not quite true), but what bothered me is how much the attitude has changed for younger folks. Those of us who are around my age might not have a reliable grasp on the attitude and behaviors of college students (who are probably the majority of pirates) because things have changed in just a few years...

One last point - for those arguing that the majority of pirates are poor folk in third world countries. I agree that there are probably quite a few of them pirating, and many pirates are likely folks in countries with no access to US games. I disagree that they are the majority -- if you think about it, a poor 3rd world pirate is somewhat unlikely -- first they must have enough money to own a computer, which means they have money for electric. Second, if they're pirating then they must have internet access, which also costs money...and if they're really are poor, it would only be dialup, which would be prohibitively slow for pirating modern games.

Put another way, if they can afford a computer, electric, and broadband it would seem they must be upper-middle middle class citizens of their country.

For the record, I don't have a problem with anecdotal evidence, I have a problem with presenting anecdotal evidence as though because it is something you've experienced, it MUST be the rule, and everyone else's ideas are invalid.

garuda wrote:

One last point - for those arguing that the majority of pirates are poor folk in third world countries. I agree that there are probably quite a few of them pirating, and many pirates are likely folks in countries with no access to US games. I disagree that they are the majority -- if you think about it, a poor 3rd world pirate is somewhat unlikely -- first they must have enough money to own a computer, which means they have money for electric. Second, if they're pirating then they must have internet access, which also costs money...and if they're really are poor, it would only be dialup, which would be prohibitively slow for pirating modern games.

Put another way, if they can afford a computer, electric, and broadband it would seem they must be upper-middle middle class citizens of their country.

I'll certainly give you that poor folk from third world countries most likely aren't responsible for the majority of piracy. However, when I did the majority of my pirating, my girlfriend and I were living on a combined income of approximately $20k a year. Not exactly upper-middle middle class.

garuda wrote:

I took a security course at a local university recently and we had a few discussions regarding ethics. The class was comprised of Seniors (and a couple grad students) majoring in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Based on the group, I anticipated some reservations regarding piracy since these are folks who will probably be developing software in the near future. What astounded me was that they had absolutely no reservations on the topic.

I'm not surprised by that, disturbing as it is. I wonder if their views would be different if you started the discussion with "you have developed some software and you discover it's being torrented. What do you do?"

I think it's really an example of "back-justification". They decide the end result they want - to be able to get games without paying for them - and then work backwards from there to find a flimsy justification that allows them not to feel bad about it. Very childish, IMHO.

Zelos wrote:
garuda wrote:

I took a security course at a local university recently and we had a few discussions regarding ethics. The class was comprised of Seniors (and a couple grad students) majoring in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Based on the group, I anticipated some reservations regarding piracy since these are folks who will probably be developing software in the near future. What astounded me was that they had absolutely no reservations on the topic.

I'm not surprised by that, disturbing as it is. I wonder if their views would be different if you started the discussion with "you have developed some software and you discover it's being torrented. What do you do?"

I think it's really an example of "back-justification". They decide the end result they want - to be able to get games without paying for them - and then work backwards from there to find a flimsy justification that allows them not to feel bad about it. Very childish, IMHO.

I think it's more salient that they're college students than that they're Computer Science majors. The value of 60 dollars when you don't have a steady stream of income is MUCH higher than when you do. I'm already a couple of years out of college, and I barely blink when I go to the store and buy a game. Back in college, it was a gut-wrenching decision, which is why i think it becomes easier to justify piracy.
I think an interesting study would be to see how many people pirate who don't have full-time jobs - it might give a better idea of how many people would actually buy the game if piracy wasn't available.

Dysplastic wrote:

I think an interesting study would be to see how many people pirate who don't have full-time jobs - it might give a better idea of how many people would actually buy the game if piracy wasn't available.

I've posted this somewhere else in this long thread, but it's not like it's a $60 game or nothing. There are plenty of cheap older/second hand options for games if you can't afford full price. I'm sure the game industry would rather have $10 for a download of Starcraft than nothing at all.

I think they're just lying to themselves if they're saying "I pirate because I can't afford $60", really.

Zelos wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

I think an interesting study would be to see how many people pirate who don't have full-time jobs - it might give a better idea of how many people would actually buy the game if piracy wasn't available.

I've posted this somewhere else in this long thread, but it's not like it's a $60 game or nothing. There are plenty of cheap older/second hand options for games if you can't afford full price. I'm sure the game industry would rather have $10 for a download of Starcraft than nothing at all.

I think they're just lying to themselves if they're saying "I pirate because I can't afford $60", really.

Well, remember, it's not just one game we're talking about here. They might buy one a year (the best one) and pirate the rest, since they can't afford them all. The part where they are lying to themselves is that it's ok to download it when they aren't paying for it.

Aetius wrote:
Zelos wrote:
Dysplastic wrote:

I think an interesting study would be to see how many people pirate who don't have full-time jobs - it might give a better idea of how many people would actually buy the game if piracy wasn't available.

I've posted this somewhere else in this long thread, but it's not like it's a $60 game or nothing. There are plenty of cheap older/second hand options for games if you can't afford full price. I'm sure the game industry would rather have $10 for a download of Starcraft than nothing at all.

I think they're just lying to themselves if they're saying "I pirate because I can't afford $60", really.

Well, remember, it's not just one game we're talking about here. They might buy one a year (the best one) and pirate the rest, since they can't afford them all. The part where they are lying to themselves is that it's ok to download it when they aren't paying for it.

Not just that, but this is college students we're talking about - way more interested in the latest and greatest and what their friends are playing than they are in clearing out their pile of shame.
They're absolutely lying to themselves in their justification of it, but it's not surprising that they are - my point is simply that I doubt they would be purchasing the game would piracy not be available.

Since we brought up used games.

The ability to buy used games has led to new game purchases in the future. If I like the game I may be willing to pick up the sequel brand new. This has happened many times over the many years I've been gaming. Used games has led to me buying MORE games new.

Is this always true? I'm not sure. I'm just one person and I do tend to be a little more retail savvy than the average bear. Still, there are many games I would just not touch if I had not had a chance to try its predecessor at reduced cost.

When used wasn't an option, I typically waited. I'll play anything with a minor interest to me if the cost is $10 or less. However, at that point it's too late for the publisher. Sure, they might make something on that sale, but the market for the game is clearly gone by that point.

Honestly though, I think they just price games too high. Console games, moreso than PC, are fixed cost for development once they're done and packaging and distribution are not THAT much. If you've got a good title it's going to make money. Halo could have been profitable at $30 a pop. I feel like we're paying so much for games to support all the titles that tank. What's really frustrating are the games that everyone knows are going to bomb but they continue to be released.

Botswana wrote:

Sure, they might make something on that sale, but the market for the game is clearly gone by that point.

I don't think that's the case. The publishers seem to segment their market very effectively to maximise profit.

For the "gotta-have-it-now" pre-ordering hardcore gamer crowd they charge $60+. Then they gradually drop the price over time. They've maximised profit by segmenting the market by how desperately the customer wants the latest game.

With the long tail effect, the sales at $10 might make a major contribution to profits. Especially now that a 10 year old game means Starcraft or Half Life 1, not Space Invaders or Manic Miner.

(Warning - long, rambling post)

On the subject of general piracy...

...after having been a gamer since the late 70s and being in the software business for a number of years, I've come to conclude that software companies - especially gaming producers/publishers - share some of the moral responsibility for piracy. Note I said moral, not legal; and only share in the responsibility. I'll provide a few examples as to why I think, in many ways, they've helped create this problem. Before I continue, note that I haven't illegally copied software since the early 90s. My heyday of being a software pirate was during the mid 80s - before "don't copy that floppy" even really existed.

A lot of the issue that I have is with DRM malware. I don't call it software because most of it is poorly written, invasive and a pain in the ass to deal with. Some years ago, copy protection was a slip of paper, or a book, or a code wheel (my personal favorite). But as copiers became more popular, they shifted to the DRM. I wonder how many gamers get exposed to the real piracy websites just trying to find a crack to play a game they legally purchased.

For instance, I purchased the Sims 2. Anyone who is familiar with that title knows the copy protection scheme on it was horrendous. And I was one of many folks impacted - simply put, the game wouldn't run because it didn't like my CD ROM drive (which was a mainstream brand name drive). My alternative to this situation used to be simple. I could go back to the store and return the game. But gaming publishers started preventing returns. As such, I was down to three choices. Purchase a new CD ROM drive for $100 to replace a perfectly good CD ROM drive, get screwed out of $50 and have a shiny new coaster or crack the game I already purchased. Well, that decision was quite easy. So I went looking for cracks and, since I hadn't pirated software in many years, I was amazed at what was available. I could have gotten almost anything I wanted for free, if I wanted to risk viruses and other problems. I didn't, but I could have. Driving customers to piracy sites simply to play a legitimately purchased game is like driving a patient with a prescription to a crack house. As such, I think Maxis (for example) has to take some responsibility for exacerbating the problem.

Another such example was Starforce. Probably the worst DRM malware to ever come down the pipe, it actively screwed up computers. I know this for a fact - I tested it myself. Put Daemon Tools on a machine with older versions Starforce and start running tests - you'll find the machine slows down to a crawl on certain CD ROM/CD-R functions. I wonder how many people felt justified copying a game with Starforce since legitimately purchasing it could actually damage your machine? I wonder how many people had issues with Starforce and were driven to piracy sites just to bypass such protection? Most people are only a justification away from piracy or many other non-violent criminal activities. That justification is really another name for having a moral code - and when people feel "injured" by something like Starforce, they may have that mental justification to start illegally downloading software.

I'll provide a couple of personal examples on mental justification...

I was one of the early litigants against the record companies for price fixing CDs some years ago. I had over 500 CDs - most purchased for $15-$17. Then it came out that the record companies were illegally price-fixing their products. Well, that's illegal, so I joined the lawsuit. I wasn't looking for huge money, but the $2-$3 back for price fixing for each of my CDs - essentially, I was looking for what was legitimately mine. Just as a note, the amount of money the record companies took in due to price fixing was neighborhood of $500,000,000. A number of trade groups got the Government to step in and they "settled" the case. You know what I got? $40 in worthless coupons for future CD purchases in the amount of $2 per coupon. Prior to that time, I had never visited Napster or Kazaa or anything else. Do you really think I gave a rat's ass about downloading music anymore after that "settlement"? I've probably purchased 4 CDs (Aimee Mann and Bruce Springsteen) since then and anything else has been downloaded for free (or via AllofMP3). Did I make the conscious decision to start pirating music? You betcha, and I never once blinked an eye. An eye for an eye - I'm much more a believer in the Old Testament than the New. That's the essence of mental justification.

Another example is with Matrix Games. Wargamers know Matrix as one of the top strategy game publishers around. I hate 'em. I'd pirate a game before I'd purchase one from them. Why? Well, they don't publish demos and they don't stand by their products - no refunds, no help. I've had a couple of very bad experiences and they've been of no help. There were at least 2 games I purchased from them that were horrendously buggy or outright didn't work. Matrix wouldn't do a damn thing, leaving me out of my cold, hard cash. There aren't many reviews available for these games and most are written by fanboys associated with the products themselves, so it's difficult to make an informed buying decision. I didn't buy this game, but here's an example: David Winters' Maximum Football. This was released over 3 years ago and was in awful shape. It was so buggy that it was unusable. In fact, it was so bad that it went back into beta AFTER release and was in "beta" for another 2 years after people had purchased the product. Matrix wouldn't offer refunds to anyone for a product that had to go back into beta. I think Matrix would sh*t in a box, seal it up and sell it as software (with no refund) to make a buck. Therefore, if I wanted a Matrix game, I'd either buy it used, steal it or go without. They'll never get my money again. Now I haven't pirated any Matrix games because, frankly, most of them suck...but I'd consider purchasing Grigsby's War Between the States if it was published by someone other than a bunch of crooks.

Contrast that with Stardock. I didn't much like Stardock's Gal Civ II - I thought it was dull. Stardock has a generous return policy and I returned it - no fuss, no muss. Well, you can bet that with the expansions to Gal Civ, I ended up buying it again along with the expansions. I'll buy anything from them that looks decent because I know they stand by their products. Hell, I WANT to give them my money. That's customer loyalty that companies die for and it's because they're an outstanding firm that stands by what they sell.

Another thing that bothers me are these fake statistics put out to try to justify harsh DRM methods. You have the RIAA claiming for two years that more than 40 percent of illegal movie downloads came from college students. Then after proof was shown that they were artificially increasing the estimate, the estimate was reduced to 15% for college-aged students, and only 3% occurring on campus networks. You get Crytek claiming that their product was pirated 20x more than it was sold. I don't believe that for a second - at least not in the Western world. There aren't that many computers that could run that hog. Quit the bullsh*t and get the facts straight.

If gaming companies want to confront piracy, they need to do it honestly and openly. That means adopting a set of standard business practices that give the consumers rights to refunds for legitimate problems (this is the only industry I can think of outside medical implants that don't allow returns). That means adopting a set of standard business practices that don't allow DRM malware to hurt their consumers. That means talking honestly and openly about the problem with real facts, not made up fantasy-land statistics. That means calling off the RIAA assholes and allowing "fair use" and owners' rights of their products. Until they do that, I think they're partially responsible for for piracy as any other party and I can't muster any moral outrage against the pirates, even if I'm not one of them.

"Bioware to defeat piracy with customer satisfaction"

This gives me hope for Dragon Age. Come on Bioware you can do it!

after having been a gamer since the late 70s and being in the software business for a number of years, I've come to conclude that software companies - especially gaming producers/publishers - share some of the moral responsibility for piracy.

This idea completely breaks down when you add that you're under no obligation to buy anything from a company you find morally repugnant. Your entire post _presumes_ that you have some sort of right to the content you want under your conditions. It's as though you are saying "they were asking for it, just look at what they were wearing and how they were flirting with me."

The answer remains painfully obvious. Don't support companies you don't like, but don't use those products either. The onus remains on you.

Elysium wrote:
after having been a gamer since the late 70s and being in the software business for a number of years, I've come to conclude that software companies - especially gaming producers/publishers - share some of the moral responsibility for piracy.

This idea completely breaks down when you add that you're under no obligation to buy anything from a company you find morally repugnant. Your entire post _presumes_ that you have some sort of right to the content you want under your conditions. It's as though you are saying "they were asking for it, just look at what they were wearing and how they were flirting with me."

The answer remains painfully obvious. Don't support companies you don't like, but don't use those products either. The onus remains on you.

I love that people will claim that they don't respect the record companies, so they don't mind stealing their product. And then claim that their theft actually benefits those same companies by exposing more people to the music. The real fact is, people like free stuff, and will go through amazing lengths to justify it.

Jayhawker wrote:

I love that people will claim that they don't respect the record companies, so they don't mind stealing their product. And then claim that their theft actually benefits those same companies by exposing more people to the music. The real fact is, people like free stuff, and will go through amazing lengths to justify it.

I may be dense, but whom here claimed this? That seems like quite a bastardization of quite a few different arguments proposed.

MoonDragon wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

I love that people will claim that they don't respect the record companies, so they don't mind stealing their product. And then claim that their theft actually benefits those same companies by exposing more people to the music. The real fact is, people like free stuff, and will go through amazing lengths to justify it.

I may be dense, but whom here claimed this? That seems like quite a bastardization of quite a few different arguments proposed.

I think he is speaking of the general public. I know I have heard many people make the very same arguments. (None of which were on these forums)

If you ever want an argument of that nature demonstrated, go to Blue's News any time a story about piracy comes up. It's hilarious to see people try to steer arguments in the direction that rationalizes stealing software they don't believe they should pay for but should still get to play. And when they get pinned into a corner on a certain point, they just refuse to address that particular point anymore. It's quite funny to watch sometimes.

Elysium wrote:

This idea completely breaks down when you add that you're under no obligation to buy anything from a company you find morally repugnant. Your entire post _presumes_ that you have some sort of right to the content you want under your conditions. It's as though you are saying "they were asking for it, just look at what they were wearing and how they were flirting with me."

The answer remains painfully obvious. Don't support companies you don't like, but don't use those products either. The onus remains on you.

Actually, the analogy I'd use is that driving someone to crack a legally purchased game is akin to buying the beer and giving it to a sober alcoholic along with the keys to the car. They may not have to drink it or drive afterwards, but you sure didn't help the situation. That's why I said I believe the gaming industry is part of the problem from a moral standpoint. Some of their business practices exacerbate the rampant copyright infringement.

Now here's the rub - morals are different for everyone. As such, you don't have to agree with me. However, that doesn't mean I'm wrong, or you're wrong or that either one of us is somehow morally superior to the other. Some people believe using an illegal crack to play a purchased game is somehow morally and legally wrong (something the software industry would have us believe). Some people believe illegally downloading a game is stealing (though it's copyright infringement, not theft) and therefore immoral. I tend to lean that way, though as I mentioned I tend to lean on more of the Old Testament for a moral structure rather than the new. As such, an "eye for an eye" tends to outweigh "turn the other cheek".

My view is that while I may not have any right to the content, I feel that I have a right to some minimum standard for my money. And if you rip me off (and going back into beta for two years after collecting payment is certainly ripping someone off) I'll ensure that I'll get my money back one way or another. If that means illegally infringing the copyright of the next game you publish, so be it. I suppose my alignment in D&D would be lawful chaotic.

Of course, remember that I haven't done so (in software) in 20 years. Hell, you couldn't pay me to download Farcry...I'd puke within 5 minutes of loading it.

Blackadar wrote:
Elysium wrote:

This idea completely breaks down when you add that you're under no obligation to buy anything from a company you find morally repugnant. Your entire post _presumes_ that you have some sort of right to the content you want under your conditions. It's as though you are saying "they were asking for it, just look at what they were wearing and how they were flirting with me."

The answer remains painfully obvious. Don't support companies you don't like, but don't use those products either. The onus remains on you.

Actually, the analogy I'd use is that driving someone to crack a legally purchased game is akin to buying the beer and giving it to a sober alcoholic along with the keys to the car. They may not have to drink it or drive afterwards, but you sure didn't help the situation. That's why I said I believe the gaming industry is part of the problem from a moral standpoint. Some of their business practices exacerbate the rampant copyright infringement.

That is the weakest attempt at justifying software theft I have ever read. Seriously. the gaming industry is luring you in like giving beer to an alcoholic. You are claiming that gamers are so sick in the head, that the mere creation of videogames is a morally questionable activity?

Now here's the rub - morals are different for everyone. As such, you don't have to agree with me. However, that doesn't mean I'm wrong, or you're wrong or that either one of us is somehow morally superior to the other. Some people believe using an illegal crack to play a purchased game is somehow morally and legally wrong (something the software industry would have us believe). Some people believe illegally downloading a game is stealing (though it's copyright infringement, not theft) and therefore immoral. I tend to lean that way, though as I mentioned I tend to lean on more of the Old Testament for a moral structure rather than the new. As such, an "eye for an eye" tends to outweigh "turn the other cheek". I suppose my alignment in D&D would be lawful chaotic. :)

Downloading software is not copyright infringement. I'm not sure how you can make that argument. We are not talking about using someone else's code in a published work.

A game is for sale. You know you have to pay for it in order to play it. You can play whatever word games you want in order to feel "moral", but you are lying to yourself if you really think downloading a game for free is not stealing.

Jayhawker wrote:

Downloading software is not copyright infringement. I'm not sure how you can make that argument. We are not talking about using someone else's code in a published work.

I think this comes down to looking at what people have been charged with who HAVE been charged with anything in P2P lawsuits.

Most (if not all) of the people who have been sued by the RIAA or MPAA are people who have been "making files available" on services like Limewire or Kazaa or whatever. Those people tend to get slapped with penalties for distributing material that belongs to others... they CERTAINLY have not been charged with "theft."

lethial wrote:

"Bioware to defeat piracy with customer satisfaction"

This gives me hope for Dragon Age. Come on Bioware you can do it! :)

The many comments under it, saying "I agree with BioWare! That's why I pirate all my games, because they actually aren't very good!" doesn't give me much hope.

SommerMatt wrote:
Jayhawker wrote:

Downloading software is not copyright infringement. I'm not sure how you can make that argument. We are not talking about using someone else's code in a published work.

I think this comes down to looking at what people have been charged with who HAVE been charged with anything in P2P lawsuits.

Most (if not all) of the people who have been sued by the RIAA or MPAA are people who have been "making files available" on services like Limewire or Kazaa or whatever. Those people tend to get slapped with penalties for distributing material that belongs to others... they CERTAINLY have not been charged with "theft."

I really don't care what you call it. I would have loves to see the reaction on my parents face when I told them I was just downloading "material that belongs to others." Like that would make it seem okay.

But, at this point, I'm falling into the damn semantics trap. It's such a dumb way to argue this issue.

Jayhawker wrote:

I really don't care what you call it. I would have loves to see the reaction on my parents face when I told them I was just downloading "material that belongs to others." Like that would make it seem okay.

But, at this point, I'm falling into the damn semantics trap. It's such a dumb way to argue this issue.

You can call it what you want... I'm just talking about what the LAW calls it. And right now, "theft" involves physical property. That's a fact that I'm sure the lobby groups would love to change if they could.

My statement has nothing to do with justification, however... there IS no justification other than the material is available and you can get it without paying if you so choose. I can't stand reading people talk about how "teh music bizness is evil" and so they are justified in downloading music. No, you're not. Either download or DON'T download, but don't try and justify it.

Tony: Bart, um, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?

Bart: No.

Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?

Bart: Uh uh.

Tony: And, what if your family don't like bread? They like... cigarettes?

Bart: I guess that's okay.

Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?

Bart: Hell, no!

You could make a list like that for murder as well. But then you wouldn't get off by saying one's moral standpoint is just correct for you.

I figured that the parade of the self-righteous would arrive. Unfortunately for them, everything is relative when it comes to morality. Most people think of morality in terms of black and white, when in reality it's just many shades of gray.

For example, which of the following are immoral? Be honest and read carefully.

1...to purchase a used game?

2...to download a warez version of a game you purchased to bypass copy protection that prevents you from playing it?

3...to download the copyrighted manual because you lost it for a game you purchased but you need the manual to enter the 1st word of paragraph 3 on page 15 in order to play the game?

4...to download a warez version of a game you purchased to bypass copy protection that you deem harmful?

5...to download a warez version of a game you purchased to bypass copy protection that you deem annoying?

6...to download a warez version of a game you purchased because the disk is scratched?

7...to download the copyrighted manual because you lost it for a game you purchased used but the Ebayer didn't send the manual that you need the manual to enter the 1st word of paragraph 3 on page 15 in order to play the game?

8...to download a warez version of a game you purchased but you received an empty box and the store and publisher refused a return?

9...to download a warez version of a game you purchased and broke the disk and cannot get a replacement without repurchasing the game?

10...to download a warez version of a game you purchased and can't locate the disk and cannot get a replacement without repurchasing the game?

11...to lend a game to a family member when that game is currently installed on your PC but requires the disk in the drive to play?

12...to lend a game to a family member when that game is currently installed on your PC but does not require the disk to play?

13...to lend a game to a friend when that game is currently installed on your PC but requires the disk in the drive to play?

14...to lend a game to a friend member when that game is currently installed on your PC but does not require the disk to play?

15...to purchase a used game in violation of the EULA?

16...to download a game deemed as abandonware?

17...to download a warez version of a game deemed as abandonware?

18...to download a warez version of a game you purchased to bypass in-game advertising?

19...to download a warez version of a used game you purchased but had copy protection that prevented you from playing?

20...to download a warez version of an expansion pack in order to get a patch only offered on the expansion since the game you purchased wasn't and that expansion is the only way the game will run (ex: The Guild)?

21...to download a warez version of the next game by a developer when their last game did not work at all and they refused a refund?

22...to download a warez version of the next game by a publisher when their last game did not work at all and they refused a refund?

23...to legally purchase a game overseas in a country that does not recognize US copyright law when you're unsure whether the copy is legitimate?

24...to legally purchase a game overseas in a country that does not recognize US copyright law when you're pretty sure the copy is not legitimate?

25...to download a warez version of a game when you are 100% certain you are going to purchase it tomorrow?

26...to purchase a game in a country that does recognize US copyright law when you're pretty sure the copy is not legitimate?

27...to download a warez version of a game when you are going to purchase it next week?

28...to download a warez version of a game when you think you are going to purchase it next week?

29...to download a warez version of the next game by a developer when their last game did not work as advertised and they refused a refund?

30...to download a warez version of the next game by a publisher when their last game did not work as advertised and they refused a refund?

31...to download a warez version of a game when you want to benchmark your system?

32...to download a warez version of a game when you "just want to try it out to see if my system can run it"?

33...to download a warez version of a game when you have no money to purchase it anyway?

34...to download a warez version of a game because you found out they send all profits to Al Queda?

35...to download a warez version of a game because you don't want to spend the money?

If you answered "no" to all of them, you're being untruthful.

I've seen virtually every single scenario above in almost 30 years of gaming, so don't tell me these don't happen. Now my inherent moral bias will show just from the order of the questions, with the 2nd-to-last being facetious. You may look at these questions and think they need drastic reordering.

Note every single scenario above violates the EULA on some games and most scenarios violate the law. But which ones do you think are immoral? Which ones aren't? I'll bet that while many answers will be consistent among this group, you'll find quite a few answers aren't. The point is that where you decide to draw the line is based on your morals. That doesn't mean that where you draw that line is correct from a moral standpoint - it's just correct for you.

And FYI, my moral line is drawn between #21 and #22, yet I wouldn't do #12 or #14.

Blackadar, you aren't Jeryyk from Blue's area you?

Blackadar wrote:

But which ones do you think are immoral? Which ones aren't? I'll bet that while many answers will be consistent among this group, you'll find quite a few answers aren't. The point is that where you decide to draw the line is based on your morals. That doesn't mean that where you draw that line is correct from a moral standpoint - it's just correct for you.

For one thing, no one said anything about GAMES/MUSIC/FILMS you have purchased.

For another thing, to download something you didn't pay for is wrong. You know it is.

Don't come up with all these reasons to justify it. If you want to download something, go for it. Just don't pretend that you have some moral right to do so.

I don't judge people for downloading stuff... that's their issue. Just admit what you're doing.

Jayhawker wrote:

You could make a list like that for murder as well. But then you wouldn't get off by saying one's moral standpoint is just correct for you.

Fail. I've been talking morality, not legality.

You're right in that we could make a list like that for murder. It would be intersting to see how many responses people would morally justify without regard to the legality.

And actually, you can get off. Self defense, temporary insanity, automatism, state-sponsored executions, assisted suicides and so forth...all involve killing another individual. Heck, just last week a Texas man got off after shooting two men in the back who burglarized his neighbors house - after he told the 9/11 operator that he was going to go kill them. However, that's really way off the point and belongs in another thread.

Again, I'd encourage you to go through the list and answer honestly. How many "yes" answers do you have?

SommerMatt wrote:

For one thing, no one said anything about GAMES/MUSIC/FILMS you have purchased.

For another thing, to download something you didn't pay for is wrong. You know it is.

Don't come up with all these reasons to justify it. If you want to download something, go for it. Just don't pretend that you have some moral right to do so.

I don't judge people for downloading stuff... that's their issue. Just admit what you're doing.

Nice try in avoiding the issue. In fact, the games/music/films I have purchased are entirely germaine to whether I download anything - illegally or otherwise.

Seriously, let's take a couple of examples of "shades of grey". When I returned Gal Civ II, I had purchased the "download now and send me a copy verison". Two weeks later, they sent me the hardcopy version by accident. I sent an email asking if they wanted it back (they didn't). Moreover, between the time I returned the game and the time I repurchased it (via download), I never once opened the box. Only when I repurchased it did I open the box - and only to retrieve the manual. I still have those disks and they've never once been loaded on any PC. Why? It wasn't mine. I didn't pay for it.

I don't load games on my laptop. Why? Because I play on my desktop. One copy per machine. In fact, we now own (sh*t, I'm embarassed to admit this) THREE copies of the Sims 2. Why? One for me, one for my eight-year old's computer and one for my wife's laptop. Again, one copy per machine. How many people do you know who do that?

You said to "admit what I'm doing". (just FYI, that's the wrong tense) I've been very direct about it - there's nothing I haven't admitted. I had no qualms about downloading music - but since I'm a Sirius radio listener now and with the $.99 MP3s via Amazon, I haven't illegally downloaded a tune in over 3 years. I'd have little heartburn in downloading one (just one) Matrix game. I had no heartburn in downloading the warez version of the expansion to The Guild some years ago because it wasn't frickin' stable without the patch that only came on the expansion. Likewise, if they tried to charge for The Witcher expansion/patch (it's announced that it's free), I'd probably warez that. Why? Because in all of these cases, the companies had my money and did not deliver what I had purchased or illegally overcharged for it and failed to make good. It's simple - take from me and I'll take it back. sh*t, I'll track someone down to the ends of the Earth for $20 if you don't pay me back.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that my PC is cleaner than 95% of all the PCs out there when it comes to such things. I think I may have about 25 MP3s I didn't pay for (well, I did...that's kinda the point), but that's it. I have no software, no pictures, no movies, nada that I can't produce the originals for. So remember you're debating the moral justification for this with someone who is pretty clean on such things.