Minecraft Creator: Piracy Isn’t Theft

Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson told attendees of the GDC Indie Games Summit that the notion of piracy as being theft is incorrect.

"Piracy is not theft," said Persson during the session. "If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world. There is no such thing as a ‘lost sale.’ Is a bad review a lost sale? What about a missed ship date?"

Persson suggested to attendees that many developers see pirates not as "inherently evil, but as potential customers." Persson also took on comments made by Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata, saying that his criticism of small and rampant mobile and social games excludes the fact that games such as Minecraft are more of a service than a one-time purchase. Persson said that games such as his creation and Angry Birds are constantly adding updates and new content and that both have incredible sales numbers.

"Treat game development as a service," he said. "Make a game last longer than a week. You can’t pirate an online account."

Source: Edge by way of C&VG

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone

160 comments

  1. Grif says:

    Low quality and support? Why bother to pirate it, then? The way I see it, if it’s not worth paying for, it’s not worth stealing, either.

    I don’t care how people justify it. Piracy is theft in my eyes. If it’s not worth paying for, make your statement by not buying it. Pirating it just says "It’s worth buying, I just don’t wanna pay for it."

    "Power means nothing without honor and pride."

    http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

  2. DoctorMikeReddy says:

    I agree. It’s not theft, but like plagiarism (another form of copying) there are still problems. Just cultural instead of legal. Think on the recent Rovio/Box 2D issue: was the latter’s creator stolen from? No, but an opportunity to benefit (not necessarily financially) was withheld by the lack of citation. Can we stop going round in circles, add something new or call it a day?

  3. hellfire7885 says:

    Warhammer online does the same thing with the free to play idea, and I hope Dark Millenium does it too.

    Hell, PSN at base is free and free online play, and lots of other free things, but they offer lots of content that is wort hpaying for. Boom ,more money in the wallets.

     

    I guess too many like the short term gains too much.


  4. greevar says:

    Unless you’re taking a copy that’s fixed to a physical medium, but that’s splitting hairs.

    -Greevar

  5. greevar says:

    That’s just it. "Theft" and "piracy" are words carefully chosen due to the emotional response it creates in the uninformed.

    -Greevar

  6. FlakAttack says:

    Andrew Eisen, your closed-end view of the subject amazes me. Then again, it’s not necessarily being a developer that leads you to understand piracy, but being a proper businessman.

    Microsoft would not be the giant it is if not for piracy. Their operating system was made a world standard by pirates. You can argue this all you want, but look at Microsoft’s recent moves and you can see they still see the merit: they released the .NET Framework to the public. That move just further cemented Microsoft’s dominance over the OS market. By giving away things for free, they have made more money.

    You can see tons of examples of this mentality every day. McDonalds giving away free coffees and biscuits to encourage later sales, restaurants having "wing nights" where people buy a lot of cheap chicken wings but also buy a lot of expensive drinks, theatres offering cheap movies on nights people normally wouldn’t go… tons of businesses have come to understand that by asking for less money they can make more. Why developers have yet to understand this practice is beyond me.

    Photoshop could offer a much cheaper base package with optional purchased add-ons. They would see far more sales. Anti-virus programs could offer dirt cheap yearly subscriptions for multiple machines. They would see far greater sales. And games could drop the price of the base game and put out a lot of cheap DLC, and they would see far more success.

    The guys getting into the F2P market are business geniuses. Just look at the success of LOTRO or DDO. I bet Champions Online will be just as successful.

    Piracy is not some god-forsaken enemy that you must spend all your free time fighting, it is a market response to high prices and generally low quality and support. Prove that your product is worth paying for and people will pay for it. Or preferably, give it away for free and sell add-ons/upgrades, and you won’t have to prove anything: free speaks for itself.

  7. brerrabbit23 says:

    Oh, fine. I’ll pretend to play along. How’s this.

    Software "piracy" isn’t piracy, either.

    But swarshbuckling skalawags sound a whole lot more dangerous and worth siding against than "copyright infringers".

  8. greevar says:

    "Piracy isn’t theft" isn’t intended to mean that it isn’t against the law, just that you can’t equate infringement (that’s what the law calls it, not "piracy") to theft casually like that. It’s no more applicable than equating infringement to murder.

    -Greevar

  9. Roh02 says:

    piracy isnt theft that statement doesnt mean it isnt a crime murder isnt theft rape isnt theft what Im saying is digital piracy needs a proper name.

    the big issue I have with piracy isnt piracy itself its the industires response they hurt their customers more than they hurt the pirates if anything they’re making piracy more attractive.

    piracy is better dealt with by making games worth the price and putting out a demo.

  10. CraigB says:

    By the way, part of the problem with this discussion is the over-use of metaphor and simile. Andrew, copying is not "taking". It’s copying. Authorized or unauthorized, moral or immoral, it’s still duplication instead of the transfer implied in the word "taking". 

    If you’re going to make a categorical, definition-based argument, then you need to write with absolute clarity.

  11. CraigB says:

    I would be a bit more impressed by the impassioned arguments about copyright if both Microsoft and Apple hadn’t (arguably) built their fortunes on it. MS, after all, is notorious for tolerating copying of its OS and productivity suites in order to create path dependency in users who would go on to buy copies at the workplace; and if you think that copyright infringement had nothing to do with the explosive success of the iPod, you’re dreaming. 

    The problem with chattering on about "theft" is that it misses what a copyright IS: a government-granted monopoly. That’s it. It’s more a privilege than a right. It’s a privilege with the full weight and force of the government behind it, mind you, but at the end of the day it’s as much the 21st century version of a Letter of Marque or a Chartered Company than anything else. It has nothing to do with any sort of natural right to property: if it did, you wouldn’t have anything that is NOT subject to copyright (like words, fashion designs, and ideas) and copyrights would never expire.

    (It’s not like you automagically get either patents or trademarks either.)

    That’s why copyright and patent researchers like Birgitte Andersen advocate that we look at them as "intellectual monopoly privileges" and avoid the "property" word entirely. To call them "property" just muddies the waters, and gives too much leeway to those who are seeking to extract economic rents. I’m sure that the East India Company, if asked, would also have vigorously defend its Crown Charter (and associated economic rents) by referring to them as its "property". But it was only ever really a government-granted monopoly. Just like "IP".

    So, yes, breaking a copyright is illegal. It’s also (in the eyes of many or most people) immoral. But Persson is right. To call it "theft" just misses the point. 

  12. greevar says:

    Quite true. The thing people don’t realize is that copyright is a protection for the right to exclude others from distributing works you create. It’s not designed to secure/protect profit, but it is there to provide incentive by creating the opportunity for profit. The thing is, you can completely ignore the protections copyright grants you and still make a living with art if you sell your time and effort like every other traditional occupation out there. Most artists/authors do this already as an employee of a studio or publisher. The difference is that they get paid by investors (publishing corporations) whereas copyright foresaken (for lack of a better term) artists get paid by the consumers directly. The trick is to learn to sell game development as a service like a web design firm. The only glaring difference is that the cost of production would be distributed among many customers rather than centralized like a publisher.

    -Greevar

  13. Non-entity says:

    Exactly.  The copyright holder’s assets are affected by piracy exactly as much as it would be if you had refused to buy the copyrighted thing… which is to say, not at all.  They don’t lose anything, because they did not have something to start with.

    As the various content companies keep trying to tell us, they aren’t selling a game/song/movie – they’re selling the rights to use a copy of it.  The problem is, they are *also* attempting to treat the copy as a real object that they are selling.  This logical contradiction is the reason why copyright is such a mess right now, and why some people keep trying to argue that piracy is theft.

    For a real-world issue with the "piracy is theft" argument: if someone were to pirate a copy of Minecraft, and then liked it so much that they bought a copy of it, would they still owe Mojang for the pirated copy?  It would be nonsensical for the law to attempt to distinguish between two absolutely identical digital files, and it would get even more insane if you were to then create several copies of those files (something which *must* be allowed for a game, because otherwise it’s impossible to use it on a computer).

    I know of at least one situation where a single pirated copy of Minecraft led to at least three purchases of the game that would not have been made otherwise.  If piracy were really theft, that would mean Mojang would still have "lost" the price of one copy of the game, even though they’ve gained three times that amount and the "stolen" copy (which was never in Mojang’s posession to start with) may no longer exist.

     

  14. F__ked up says:

    yes your exactly right, Just look at jack thompson he used his beliefs and all the evidence he conjured to fight against the laws of freedom of speech, consumer rights & so forth to prove once and for all that video games cause violence and are a danger to society. It doesnt matter what other people believe because jack thompson believes that jack thompson is RIGHT.

    After all Illnois still declares Pluto a planet and has passed laws to declare pluto a planet no matter what science says. Because Illnois believes pluto and illnois believes they are right.

  15. brerrabbit23 says:

    Nobody listens to Gabe Newell. That steam idea of his will never work. Retailers are essential. </sarcasm>

    Also, Scott Steinberg.

    Also, CNN’s tech desk.

    Also (stepping outside games, but staying with physically distributed entertainment), Neil Gaiman.

    Also, Radiohead.

    Also, Alanis Morrissette…

    The list goes on.

    My point isn’t and wouldn’t be that the debate over piracy’s criminality is anything other than flailing for justification for breaking the law. Photographing the Mona Lisa without permission is criminal under same constraints. It’s also boring.

    My point is this. Debating over how horrible pirates are or aren’t is f’ing BORING. Nagging after venn diagrams of piracy vs. theft might be interesting to teams of lawyers somewhere, but the last I checked legal teams don’t generate much in the way of revenue for anyone other than themselves. It doesn’t serve me to spend angling on this situation in that way.

    Suing each individual pirate is impractical. The ESA’s efforts to shut down PirateBay are wonderful, but do not serve to line my pockets or to provide much in the way of a deterrent for whatever the next Napster/Limewire/etc becomes. I’m not suggesting these efforts shouldn’t be undertaken. I’m not suggesting piracy isn’t a potentially crippling issue. I’m suggesting I have Better Ways to Apply Myself.

    What DOES serve me is to learn how to pull what levers I Can Control As A Developer to corner more revenue for my efforts. One of the ways to do so is to make my front end easy to "steal" and my back end very very hard to steal, and very much worth paying for.

    Aren’t WOW discs free now?

  16. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    It’s a shame that such a good comment was spoiled at the last minute by showing that you think it’s pedantic to make sure that people don’t use misleading words.

  17. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    Sorry, I’m not saying you used any word wrong.  I’m saying a lot of people use the word ‘theft’ wrongly to provoke an emotional response rather than letting their arguments stand based on the facts alone.  Just because both acts are illegal does NOT make it pointless to make sure that people actually mean the words they say.

  18. greevar says:

    Nothing. You don’t steal anything. What you’re doing is violating the distributions rights of a copyright holder. It’s still not legal, but it isn’t theft/stealing.

    -Greevar

  19. WaitWhat says:

    I don’t believe I used the word semantics incorrectly, though I do apologize if I misled or inflamed anyone.  What I was trying to say is arguing the semantics of piracy is pointless.  Whether or not it is theft, copyright infringement, violation of intellectual property or some combination of those three, it’s still illegal.  It being labeled as theft makes in no less crime as labeling it copyright infringment.

     

  20. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    I am allowed to have a different point from the person I reply to, you know.  He can be concerned about revenue all he wants, but when he uses words wrongly that could mislead or inflame, I see it as a good thing to pick up on it, even though I might not disagree with his right to generate revenue from his work. 

  21. brerrabbit23 says:

    I’ve made it through about a hundred and fifty comments, and im struck by whats been missed. We could spend a spectacular amount of time debating a game developers understanding of legal semantics or ardently defending our knowledge of same but that misses the best of his statements *and* behaviors in response to the thing that is piracy. If you want to ensure a contuning revenue stream from your efforts at making games, make the portal to your wares freely and easily distributed. Behind that portal, feed a continuing and dynamic stream of content. Reward loyalty as demonstrated both by payment and continued interest. Give achievements and bonus points and continued adventures. Continue your interactions with your players, and revel in them. It’s 2011. Stop selling boxed goods and start selling services. Stop wasting energy and intellect on defending publishers. Take a page from musicians. If you want to make real money, stand up and perform directly to your audience, and don’t stop performing post launch. Doing so both answers the developers legitimate desire to be compensated for work and sidesteps the retailing upcharge, resale market, pirates, and ALL this pedantry about copyright and gets us back to making a good living being what we were born to be: entertainers.

  22. brerrabbit23 says:

    Because it misses the point?

    If your objective is to feed yourself, spending energy debating the merits of GMO crops does not fill your belly.

    If your objective is to make money selling your work, arguing about the semantics copyright law or morality of “temporary piracy” does nothing to generate revenue.

    Craft works that people will pay for in a way that best provokes payment. Focus there.

    Not on the jerk that bought your game from a used shop, not on the guy who stole it outright, not on what might have been, not on percieved or actual threat. This world has pirates (and a dozen other things to sap your sales) in it. That is a part of your ecosystem. Move over, under, around and through. Dislike them if it serves you, but do not stoop to waste much time engaging them except to learn your way past them.

  23. Zebetite says:

    Piracy is piracy. People dance around the subject and come up with rhetoric and excuses and theories and so forth, but piracy is a bad thing no matter how you look at it. I think you would be quite challenged to find someone in the game industry that outright says piracy is beneficial.

  24. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    Hmm.  I’m not convinced that works are in the public domain by default, but you certainly raise some interesting points.  You cant steal the copyright, which is the intellectual property… and there is no physical property… so what exactly has been ‘stolen’?

     

  25. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    Yes, it’s semantics. Semantics is the study of meaning, not necessarily "meaningless bickering over stuff nobody in their right mind cares about", as a lot of people seem to assume.  If people are using words as if they mean something they don’t, it can be a Very Bad Thing.  What’s wrong with pointing it out when that is the case?

  26. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    Calling out corporate shills for misleading teminology isnt the same thing as defending criminals. 

     

  27. WaitWhat says:

    While the piracy vs theft debate that is going on is intresting ill get to it in a minute.

    "Piracy is not theft," said Persson during the session. "If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world…"

    Maybe im reading to much into this statement, but the point I think he is trying to get accross is that you can’t look piracy the same way you look at theft.  In general the way you stop theft is to lock things down.  With digital goods locking things down (yay DRM) is ineffective.

    "… There is no such thing as a ‘lost sale.’ Is a bad review a lost sale? What about a missed ship date?"

    I think what he’s trying to say is there are things that can affect sales, however unlyss your are %100 positive that someone was going to buy your game didn’t it’s not a lost sale because you didn’t have the sale to begin with.  I don’t believe that every downloaded copy of a game is a lost sale.  You really have to take into account cost and the value of the game to the consumer.

    I think that developers and publishers really need to do is not see pirates as an evil threat, but as competition.  Pirating can often offer better service (open 24/7, wide varity of goods, quick shiping, DRM ripped out and well it’s hard to beat free) and your not going to beat that hitting your paying customers (ya know, the ones that actually gave you money) with limitations (number of computers you have it installed on, can only play if your online, ect).  One example of this working well is Steam.  Ill be the first to admit that Steam is far from perfict but it has taken a lot of the aspects that make pirating so appealing and seem to be making money off it.

    As for the piracy vs theft argument, really your just arguing semantics.  The fact is if you are pirating, you are breaking the law.  I do think the fair use, copyright and IP laws do need updating for the times, but breaking the law because you don’t agree with it is still breaking the law.

  28. Duffy says:

    Your point is what? That people’s beliefs don’t dictate law? They aren’t used to fight laws, create laws, overturn laws, or point out flaws in laws? Laws spring forth from nothingness to tell us what we can and can’t do? Your very attempt at humor mimics the ideas your mocking. Either it’s brilliant satire or your trolling.

    You seem to be under the strange impression that laws don’t come from opinionated people. At some point a stance must be adopted, someone’s viewpoint will be enforced over others. Sometimes facts and science can create scenarios that our consciences simply aren’t comfortable with or cannot provide sufficiently concise answers and thus we are left with our opinions.

    Hopefully those opinions are skewed for the good of all, even those who disagree with said opinion. But does that make a law any less of a specific idealogical belief? I think not.

  29. vellocet says:

    I find it interesting that people here speak very negatively about crunch and how hard people work to make games (I’m currently in crunch right now, it’s hell).  But then turn around and defend people who simply up and take their work for free.

    I guess my point is that we work incredibly hard to make these games.  In putting that effort, we should have the RIGHT to dictate who gets to experience the fruits of our labor… even if it’s our decision to give it away.

    If someone takes it without our consent, then they have violated our rights to our product that we have earned through hard (often torturous) work.  You may want to argue the semantics of whether it can be labelled "theft" or not but you cannot deny that it is simply WRONG.

    ——-

    Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  30. greevar says:

    Here’s the distinction you’re looking for. The copyright in itself is the property. When granted a copyright, you own the distribution rights of a work. That is a fact of the law, but people conflate that to meaning that they own the works protected by that copyright. That is entirely false. You don’t own your works, but you do own the right to determine who gets a copy. Thus, copyright is your property, as the law states, but what it protects is not. Creative works belong to the public domain, but are excluded from it until the author’s copyright expires. So when you copy something against an author’s copyright, you are not stealing anything because the creative work belongs to the public, but you are violating the author’s rights.

    -Greevar

  31. SimonBob says:

    Every single one of you is in breach of my patent on "a method for arguing all willy-nilly about the semantic value of words, specifically in allusion to piracy, copyright, and theft, while absolutely ignoring one another in favour of your own supposedly superior ethics, and displaying flagrant signs of hypocricy and situationally dependent opportunism besides."

    You all owe me something in the neighborhood of forty-eight billion dollars.  I’ll call my bank and get them started on writing up a payment schedule.

    (For the record, I find that Andrew is correct in his assesment of the letter of the law, whereas the rest of you have a point about disobedience regarding the spirit.)


    Fangamer

  32. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    As soon as I saw the title of this article I thought "Andrew Eisen will be ALL OVER THIS."  πŸ™‚

     

    Theft is stealing property, of course you’re right.  But we dont call copyright just ‘property’, we call it ‘intellectual property’.  Are intellectual properties still property? Of course they are, it’s in the name.  But it’s different enough that we feel compelled to qualify it with the word ‘intellectual’.  To call copyright ‘intellectual property’ and then NOT do equal justice by calling copyright infringement ‘intellectual theft’ is lazy at best, and disingenuous propaganda at worst.  Do not accept it in any discussion other than informal colloquial dialog.  And CERTAINLY do not accept it when discussing legal status – which, when a web post discusses copyright infringement, you’re kinda locked in to from the start.

    Talk to ten different lawyers in depth about just about anything, and you’ll get ten different answers.

    As to the ‘lost sale’, lets not beat about the bush – Markus is using hyperbole here.  Or at least I hope he is, because to say piracy does not incur any lost sales at all is an exaggeration.  I mean, FAST and the like use vastly inflated baloney figures for losses to piracy, but two wrongs don’t make a right, so we shouldn’t counter their misleading rubbish with some more misleading rubbish.

     

     

  33. F__ked up says:

    After reading all the comments

    COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS THEFT BECAUSE I SAID SO.

    I dont care what the law says is actual theft or stealing because I believe what I want to believe and I will condem those that go against. If I believe GOD kills Solider because of FAGS then so be it because I AM RIGHT. If I believe that video games cause violent & agressive behavior then I will do everything in my power to have them blocked and banned because I AM RIGHT.

    The Law is WRONG and needs to be changed to SUIT MY VIEWS. Precedent and actual legal mumbo jumbo is ALL WRONG. Also lets change the law to no long allow GAYS in America and to BAN violent video games. By the way the Majority agrees with me, I dont care what FACTS and SCIENCE say is the truth. The majority also believes that SUN revolves around the EARTH and the Moon is made of green cheese so this MUST BE TRUE.

     

  34. F__ked up says:

    Hmm thats great and all, But anyone actually look at this from a technical perspective?

    How can you treat software as a service if you dont have quick distribution service or the architecture to do so?

    For instance Minecraft and Angry birds are on Computer Systems where they can be updated and patched. However game consoles are NOT necessarily connected to the internet and are readily available to download updates and patches. Also the game systems may not have the architecture to update the games.

    Being as someone who travels overseas a lot & rarely at home I dont have my game system always connected to internet to get the lastest version.

  35. Grif says:

    There’s also another element to the justification that you’re missing. "Without permission".

    If you take something that isn’t yours without paying, but you have permission to take it, that’s the same as it being given away at no charge. But if you take something that isn’t yours without paying, without permission, that IS, by definition, theft.

    Example: Divinity 2: Ego Draconis came out for the Xbox 360. It tanked. So now Atlus is re-tooling the game to hopefully make it better. If Atlus didn’t have permission, they would have faced all kinds of lawsuits. But Atlus is making the same game because they have permission by cdv Software.

    "Power means nothing without honor and pride."

    http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

  36. tallimar says:

    in all technicality as far as AAA games go, the creators have already been paid (and in some cases moved on to new projects or vacation), it’s the publishers that have invested millions (and therefore the actual owners of the IP) into the project that are getting ‘screwed with’.  other than that, you’re on the money by current U.S. copyright laws.

  37. Thad says:

    Good Lord, this again?

    Well, I’ve already gone into the subject at some length and don’t intend to do so again, but here’s a quick summary:

    1. Legally, copyright infringement is not theft.
    2. That doesn’t mean it’s legal or ethical.
    3. Colloquially, copyright infringement IS theft — in the sense of "You stole my idea", "You stole my bit," etc.
    4. What is "stolen" in an act of copyright infringement is not a physical object or something of monetary value, it’s an owner’s control of a work.

    #4 is important.  I really hate the justification that "If you take something that isn’t yours without paying for it, it’s stealing", because it implies it would be okay to do it if the work in question were given away at no charge.  This is not the case — free software is covered by copyright too.  Releasing VLC on the App Store is a copyright violation just as surely as torrenting Crysis 2.

  38. gellymatos says:

    While you haven’t defined "limited", I do believe I owe you my own definition of "undermine". Allow me to phrase it like this. Creators made the game so as to be sold and make a profit. As a principle, this is screwing with them when you decide to not give them the money that they earn for the work. And right and wrong aren’t defined in a sense as to how much of a "wrong" makes it "really wrong". You add a few drops of lemon juice when you shouldn’t have? You still wrongfully did so. You still made it sour. How sour it really ends up being doesn’t change right and wrong.

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  39. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Define undermine? how can a few drops of lemon juice make a bucket of water sour?

    Considering the current size of file sharing if its halved by going after the monetary flow around file shearing and general distribution it becomes insignificant because people can only share so much before their ISP says tilt or they have to shell out more for more bandwidth , free file sharing is heavily limited by the fact it has to be free.



    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  40. gellymatos says:

    That depends on how you define "limited". For one, work goes into creating the games. A copy taken without the permission of the creators undermines that work.

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  41. ZippyDSMlee says:

    That’s the problem with IP its not a limited item that can be clearly seen as being moved from one place to another.  Copies are nothing more than an insignificant attempted at free over the air broadcasting, the numbers of people downloading are minuscule to the numbers that are buying. All the more so information should never be restricted to buying consumers only not with our broken IP system that shoes away starving peasants from the Nobles forests. Rather make the process of distribution insignificant as long as there is no monetary flow around it.


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  42. cpu64 says:

    This guy is an idiot!

    The stolen car analogy is stupid. When it comes to games, no one is buying the original. You buy a copy, and everyone should be able to process that concept.

    If a game, even being a copy of an original, has a price tag attached to it, and you decide that you much rather skip paying to get it free, is the same as going to the dealership and driving the car away without paying. You weren’t a "potential" customer for that car, and surely you don’t plan on paying for it if you like or think its worth it.

    Like Minecraft. I don’t care for it, but I didn’t go and download/play it just because its free. 

     

  43. Yammo says:

    A note to anyone arguing: "PIRACY IS THEFT"

    …bear in mind that you will instantly be associated with the kind people who
    would even consider suing a store-owner humming while she is working…
    (Note: It took nothing short of a public outrage and a lot of bad-will before
    the "copyright-holder" finally dropped their charges.)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/tayside_and_central/8317952.stm

    …which is rather sad, because the point isn’t that copying is theft, but that
    it is immoral from many perspectives. By acknowledging this, you may even
    start a discussion which may lead somewhere productive, instead of getting
    bogged down in the semantical travesty of whether Jesus was stealing when
    he made copies of the fish & wine that fed a thousand people. Because the
    "market" lost revenue for a thousand fish and a thousand bottles of wine…

     

     

  44. Shahab says:

    "That doesn’t mean piracy isn’t theft"

    Actually, yes, it does. I don’t get what you don’t understand about the fact that digital piracy does not fall under the definition of theft. It is like there is some hole in your brain that does not allow you to retain this fact. The legal definition of theft does not apply here. You are not stealing when you make a copy. You are violating a very specific and artificial type of law, copyright, namely the enforced right to be the only entity allowed to copy and distribute a given work. It is VERY different from theft. Why can’t you understand that?

    I’m not saying that there is not a moral argument to make against violating copyright but it is not even like theft. I know you want to pretend that copyright is some sort of natural right of man, some god given right like the right to freedom but the truth is that copyright has only existed as a legal concept for a relatively short period in human history and many believe it shouldn’t exist at all. Whether or not I agree with that viewpoint (I don’t) it is definitely a valid viewpoint to take. The sad thing about what you are doing when you perpetuate this lie is that by seemingly making the piracy argument simple, ie. piracy=theft, theft=wrong, ergo piracy=wrong, you are actually serving to obfuscate the matter.

  45. narcogen says:

     Theft is physical property, and an integral part of theft is depriving the owner of that property. When you make a copy of intellectual property, you have committed infringement, not theft. 

    The definition of theft DOES require that a physical object be permanently removed from the owner’s possession:

    "In criminal lawtheft is the illegal taking of another person’s property without that person’s freely-given consent. "

    "The actus reus of theft is usually defined as an unauthorized taking, keeping or using of another’s property which must be accompanied by a mens rea ofdishonesty and/or the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theft

    Please note the use of the words "taking", "property", "keeping", and "intent to permanently deprive". The infringement of intellectual property rights meets none of these requirements, which is why it is called infringement (a civil matter) and not theft (a criminal one). The industry and its lobbyists continue to use the word "theft" to attempt to criminalize unauthorized copying and conflate infringement of copyright with theft of property, but the two are absolutely distinct and separate.

    Regarding the lost sale: these do not necessarily exist 1:1 with infringed copies, because while a person who makes an unauthorized copy now no longer needs to purchase the game in order to consume it, preventing that person from making an unauthorized copy does not guarantee or necessitate that the attempted infringer make a legitimate purchase. However, this is how the companies report "lost sales", by assuming that every illegal downloader would have purchased a legitimate copy, if only ISPs would help them prosecute their own clients, or if only DRM methods were perfect.

     

  46. Neeneko says:

    Well, that is part of the question… is a copy theft or not?  The answer is not clear since theft is a word that predates the concept of intellectual property and we, as a society, have not decided if it applies to situations where you are not depriving the original owner of use.

    And technically, it is not theft, at least from a legal perspective.

  47. Andrew Eisen says:

    "Piracy is not theft," said Persson during the session. "If you steal a car, the original is lost. If you copy a game, there are simply more of them in the world.

    That doesn’t mean piracy isn’t theft.  If you take something that doesn’t belong to you without its owner’s permission, it’s stealing.  Theft is very simply: the act of stealing.  The definition does not require the stolen item be a physical object permanently removed from its owner’s possesion.

    There is no such thing as a ‘lost sale.’

    Uh, yes there is.  "I was going to buy that game but now I’m not."  There you go, lost sale.

    Snark aside, I’m sure he means "pirated game doesn’t equal lost sale."  And from a certain point of view, that’s true.  But so what?  Whether there was ever an intent to buy has no bearing on the fact that there is now money owed.

    "Is a bad review a lost sale?"

    No but it certainly could lead to a lost sale.  Same thing with a missed ship date.  Not sure what the point behind that one was.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  48. greevar says:

    The fact still remains that it isn’t property. The copyright is the property. The work in itself belongs to the public. You just have a temporary right to exclude others from receiving a copy. When I take a copy without your permission, I violate your right to exclude me, but I haven’t taken your property.

    -Greevar

  49. Monte says:

     Actually, using the same dictionary website… one of the definitions for property is:

    "something of value, either tangible, such as land, or intangible, such as patents, copyrights, etc"

    And as i just pointed out, no not every definition of theft specifies that the owner be deprived of the property stolen. the legal definition i quoted above states the item was taken without permission but does not specify that the owner is deprived of said item. Which makes sense since property can include non-physical intangible items. 

  50. greevar says:

    You can’t claim loss of what you might have had as a defense against calling infringement theft. No property was lost and, therefore, no theft has occurred. Potential sales do not count as property. You can’t claim loss of possession of something you never had.

    -Greevar

  51. vellocet says:

    You bring up an interesting point.  If you sit down and paint a canvas that’s exactly the mona lisa, you have stolen the design of the mona lisa.  Which in many ways is just fine.  People do derivative works all the time.  But the important distinction is that you’ve put in the time and energy to repaint the mona lisa.  Which requires you to have the skill to do it and also to put in the effort.

    The effort of building a boat is the same.  You have put in the effort to build that boat even if the design of the boat is not yours.  Not everyone has the skill to build a boat, even given all the materials and plans to build it.

    If you were a boat manufacturer and I gave you all the materials to build a boat.  Should I expect you to build the boat for free?  If you have built a boat and are going to sell it, can I just take it and the give you the materials?  Why not? You haven’t really "lost" anything, you still have the materials of the boat.

    The big problem is that software requires little to no materials to use and very little to copy but few people have the skill to create it even given the materials.

    If you feel like getting all the software to create from scratch Call of Duty… I say… absolutely, you are welcome to copy it that way (and many people do – arguably better or worse).  

    If you pull it off in less than 20 years (by yourself), I would like to offer you a job πŸ˜‰

     

    ——- Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  52. greevar says:

    I still don’t see a definition that supports that copyright infringement is theft. All of those definitions mention property which, as I said before, copyrighted works are not property. The rights are property of the holder, but the works they apply to are not. Even still, all of the definitions refer to the owner being without something they previously had. That is not the case here.

    -Greevar

  53. Monte says:

    Maybe you should try scrolling down the page…

    Legal Dictionary

    Main Entry: theft 
    Function: noun 
    Etymology: Old English thiefth 
    LARCENYbroadly  

    a criminal taking of the property 

    or services of another 

    without consent 

     

    and there YOU go… The site you quote has several definitions for the term theft only one of which specifically mentions depriving the owner of its possession. This is why i wanted a quote from something like the US legal code that you were talking about as opposed to just google internet definitions. The internet seems to go both ways; though when you specify legal or law definitions they tend to exclude the part about depriving the owner of the property stolen.  

  54. captain_cthulhu says:

    nah, the Stationers’ Register was created to make sure someone else could not take credit for or republish a work already ‘registered’ with them:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stationers%27_Register

    "The Stationers’ Register was a record book maintained by the Stationers’ Company of London. The company is a trade guild given a royal charter in 1557 to regulate the various professions associated with the publishing industry, including printers, bookbinders, booksellers, and publishers in England. The Register itself allowed publishers to document their right to produce a particular printed work, and constituted an early form of copyright law."

    you’re talking about the Licensing of the Press Act of 1662, 100+ years after the Stationers’ Register:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licensing_of_the_Press_Act_1662

    "An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses."

  55. greevar says:

    "criminal law  the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession"

    dictionary.reference.com/browse/theft

    There you go. Furthermore, creative works are also not considered property either. The copyright is property, the thing that copyright covers is not. It says as much in the copyright law text. You could sue my ass off in court for violating your copyright, but the court will not prosecute me for theft because I copied a copyrighted work.

    -Greevar

  56. Monte says:

    And Eisen has been saying he consulted legal experts and law dictionaries… so you may want to provide a source instead of just calling his claims "unsubstantiated bullshit".

    Personally, i’ve been trying to find the legal definition of theft and have found several sources that do not include "denying the owner of their property"… Or have several definitions, one of which does include that element and one that does not; as in both are correct. But then again, these are internet sources i’m looking up

  57. vellocet says:

    For me, it ultimately comes to this:

    Did you get something you didn’t earn and have no right to?

    It’s easy for Notch to say that piracy is not theft.  He has an incredibly successful (and good) game.  But his business model for it is a service… and yes, you can’t steal a service.  But there are others out who’s business models are to provide a product and in that piracy CAN equal theft. 

    ——-

    Morality has always been in decline. As you get older, you notice it. When you were younger, you enjoyed it.

  58. jedidethfreak says:

    In essence, it’s still a "lost sale," since that person now has access to two copies – the one s/he stole and the one s/he bought.

    Your argument doesn’t hold water, because of the fact that the person had to steal the game to try it out.  There are demos for pretty much everything out there, so there’s no reason to steal it to try it.

    With the first link, the chain is forged.

  59. greevar says:

    "copyright started as a way to defend against plagarism, which is the real enemy, not copying."

    Actually, copyright started as a response to the printing press which offered easy reproduction of seditious books. It was a censorship law and still is.

    -Greevar

  60. djnforce9 says:

    Well, how about if someone downloaded your game originally to try it in its fully glory and then later bought of a copy in order to support you? That’s not a lost sale at all. What if your game wasn’t available in a certain country? There’s no way you could possibly get a sale from anyone there either unless they end up paying a ton more money to import it overseas. Similarly, what if your game wasn’t coming out in that country until months later? When digital distribution is so easy, nobody is going to wait any longer. You still haven’t lost a sale because that person planned on buying it when it’s available anyway.

     

    I am not saying all pirates do this. There are many with little money (or are just plain cheap) and don’t pay for ANYTHING they pirate but that doesn’t mean this is true 100% of the time and therefore you cannot associate a download as a lost sale WITHOUT knowing the context and/or reasons behind said download. To get that information, you truly would need clairvoyance.

  61. captain_cthulhu says:

    maybe that’s not what you’re trying to say but that’s literally exactly what you said – you disagreed with Groklaw that King Lear would not have been written under current copyright law saying: it would have been just fine.

    but again you’re not staying on point. focus! πŸ™‚

    WHY would King Lear not survive under copyright law? because copying, with or without permission, is essential for the birth of new creative works. Current copyright law has your mindset: copying is theft EXCEPT in X situations. that’s backwards. it should be: copying is perfectly legal EXCEPT in X situations. copyright started as a way to defend against plagarism, which is the real enemy, not copying.

    again the point here is that not all copying without permission is theft. King Lear is an example of how you can’t make that blanket statement.

    the problem with blanket statements is that it takes only one single scenario to prove the entire statement invalid. there’s just too many exceptions for "copying without permission = theft" to be a truism.

    maybe it’s just a word/definition thing but in this particular debate, if it’s going to be anywhere close to an intelligent debate, we need to be careful about the words we choose.

  62. Sporge says:

    As I see it it all comes down a definition.  Defining something can be what gives it its meaning to a large number of people, so as i see it it matters not what the definition in the dictionary is in this context, Notch in a way is arguing that it is not the same thing. 

    Basiclly to me I see an attempt to break the words appart as after all a word only means what cultures agree on.  The difference between global warming and climate change is all in the connotations each bring up, and when I think of stealing and theft it is normally taking something from someone causing them to be worse off.  I see it as worse than a digital copy without permission, which has popularly been called piracy nowadays, that merely creates more.

    As it is I think to him piracy just isn’t that bad, it is still bad, just not THAT bad.  And beyond that I think he understands that rather than prosecute pirates, which takes time and money of the state, offer something the pirates can’t.  If you provide the best way to your content and community, more people will use it than not.

  63. Shahab says:

    It is NOT silly and pointless. This is the level of discourse you are capable of?! I am shocked. There is great room for debate about the whole copyright system and right now some things can be copyrighted and some things cannot. Where is the discussion on the current system, why some categories are ok, like a one click, online shopping "business method” and others are not ok, like a Gucci dress? How long should copyright protect a given work? Surely do you not think that copyright should exist forever? If so then why is it stealing during the first 70 years after the author’s death but not afterwards? 

    Remember copyright only exists (well, besides lobbying politicians) to try and extend human knowledge and creative works. It is believed that without copyright less people will create and publish works as they would not profit from them. Hence we as a society offer a contract, publish your work and its details and be given legal right to be sole distributor of said work.

    There is a lot of complexity and a lot to discuss. You do us all a great disservice when you wrong-headedly simplify the issue the way you do.

  64. Shahab says:

    "Yes and no"

    You cop out when it comes down to brass tacks Eisen. You’ve taken a reactionary moral position and when faced with just some of the complexities of copyright law in real life you cop out. Lame.

     

  65. greevar says:

    This ties in to your whole "copying without permission is theft" soap box. This actually points out that if we all took your standpoint to heart, some great works would never had been made.

    "You are aware that I’ve been talking about downloading entire video games without paying for them and not sampling a song’s bass riff or making a movie based on a property you own the rights to, right?"

    And that makes it different? What does it matter the amount and nature of the work being copied? According to you, taking the works of others without permission is theft. By your own opinion, these people are all thieves.

    -Greevar

  66. greevar says:

    I ignored it because it’s unsubstantiated bullshit based on mere assumptions. I’ve explained this to him in other posts. US legal code defines theft as the taking of property with the intent to deny the owner of it. Copyright infringement doesn’t even come close to satisfying the critera of theft in the eyes of the law. That’s why it’s tried in court as infringement.

    -Greevar

  67. greevar says:

    "He didn’t say all copies were theft. He said copies that were done without permission."

    That’s an interesting interpretation. Copying without permission is theft. That would mean any copy made, regardless of intent, is an act of theft. Therefore, he is claiming that all copying is theft. Who is going to bother asking for permission for each and every copy they make of your works?

    "Same thing there."

    Yeah.

    "Here, the copy was theft if it was taken without payment."

    Here, we have circular reasoning. It’s theft because he thinks it’s theft.

    I can tell that neither of you have actually read the laws pertaining to this issue. I have and you’re both completely wrong. The definitions are quite clear and specific.

    -Greevar

  68. Andrew Eisen says:

    You are aware that I’ve been talking about downloading entire video games without paying for them and not sampling a song’s bass riff or making a movie based on a property you own the rights to, right?

    That said, very cool little video series.  I’ll definitely watch the last two parts when they come out.

    Andrew Eisen

  69. gellymatos says:

    I wonder if highlighting words that support your argument while not doing so to parts that destroy your point counts as quote mining. He said that copying isn’t always stealing, giving reasons in those examples that show the condition that make that instance of copying a form of theft. Intead, you bolded only the parts that, when read alone, imply that he meant all forms of copys. Here are the conditions you missed of which I’ll put in bold text with what you bolded.

    2:53pm (gmt-5) "Yes, making a copy of something that you don’t have the owner’s permission to make a copy of is theft.  A form of theft to be specific.  There are more specific terms that describe such an act but "theft" is not incorrect."

    He didn’t say all copies were theft. He said copies that were done without permission.

     

    3:34pm (gmt-5) "If you don’t have the rights to make a copy, and you do it anyway, then yes, it’s theft, or stealing, or copyright infringement or whatever you want to call it."

    Same thing there.

    4:04pm (gmt-5) (in reply to bill)"Of course it’s theft.  A publisher is selling a game for $20.  You take a copy without paying for it.  You’ve stolen it, therefore, you’ve committed theft."

     

    Here, the copy was theft if it was taken without payment.

    And the rest of it has nothing to do with all copies being theft.

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  70. tallimar says:

    "Copying is not automatically stealing."

    aside from the fact that it’s what you’ve been trying to say all day. 

    2:53pm (gmt-5) "Yes, making a copy of something that you don’t have the owner’s permission to make a copy of is theft.  A form of theft to be specific.  There are more specific terms that describe such an act but "theft" is not incorrect."

    3:34pm (gmt-5) "If you don’t have the rights to make a copy, and you do it anyway, then yes, it’s theft, or stealing, or copyright infringement or whatever you want to call it."

    4:04pm (gmt-5) (in reply to bill)"Of course it’s theft.  A publisher is selling a game for $20.  You take a copy without paying for it.  You’ve stolen it, therefore, you’ve committed theft."

    "Now, if you saw a game you wanted to play and instead of buying a copy decided to make your own, that’s fine as long as it’s just for your personal use (in other words, you can’t sell or distribute it).  Is it stealing?  Yes and no.  You made the game yourself but you did steal the idea, characters, story, and whatnot."

    5:31pm (gmt-5) "Which can be considered a form of theft according to the lawyers I’ve spoken with and the legal dictionaries I’ve consulted.  Additionally, I don’t know where you’re getting your definition but the law dictionaries I’ve looked at don’t include the line "thereby depriving the owner/creator of said property.""

    6:09pm (gmt-5) "Removing a physical object from someone’s possession is a form of theft, no argument there.  But "theft," in its most general sense, is simply the act of stealing.  Stealing does not require that a physical object be removed from someone’s possession."

    "As far as the US Courts go, I don’t recall a decision claiming with finality that piracy is not a form of theft but honestly, I don’t really care.  After all, it’s not like the courts have never been wrong.  I do however recall a decision on some case where the judge said it couldn’t easily be equated with theft but I flatout disagree."

    7:33pm (gmt-5) "’ll say it again: piracy is a form of theftIt’s theft because the act of piracy fits the definition of theft both coloquially and legally.  I have consulted regular as well as legal dictionaries and I have spoken to several people in the know.  I have listened to many other opinions but haven’t come across anything that has changed my mind.  "No coherant reasoning" indeed."

    "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."  ~The king and I (movie)

  71. gellymatos says:

    This isn’t a "clairvoyance" issue. Here’s the point. For every copy pirated, that’s a copy of which money could have gone to. If it was good enough to play, it’s good enough to buy. If you intend to play it, buy it. Intent isn’t the point.

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  72. gellymatos says:

    Amazing. You’ve managed not only ignore his explaination of how infringement is theft, but attempted to imply some sort of alterior motive. It wouldn’t even be an issue if you had attempted a counter argument to his points. But no. Ignore points. Imply alterior motive.

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  73. greevar says:

    "if someone takes my game without compensating me for it, I’ve lost that sale."

    You’re making the grand assumption that you know that person would have bought that game had it not been available through infringement. You must possess some clairvoyance that we all lack. Can you read minds too? To claim that every copy is a lost sale is as foolish as it is ignorant. You can’t know the intentions of the person who copies your work. Maybe they would have bought it instead, but the fact that they want it doesn’t equate to them willing to part with money to get it and it doesn’t prove that you lost a sale.

    -Greevar

  74. greevar says:

    I agree. Piracy is theft. The violent act of boarding a ship by force and taking property that is not yours is a form of theft. In addition to DorthLous’s comment, you continually assert that infringment (aka piracy) is theft. Why is that I wonder? I’m sure it’s because you’re afraid that if you give up that ground, you’ll have nothing much else left to stand on. Your claim that such behavior is equitable to theft has been based on merely your assertion that is it so.

    -Greevar

  75. Andrew Eisen says:

    "Therefore thought is a crime, by your argument."

    Again, no.  That doesn’t even begin to make sense.

    "Aside from that, if copying is stealing…"

    Copying is not automatically stealing.

    "Persson is correct…"

    I’ll have to read Persson (or reread it if my memory’s simply failing me) and see if I agree.

    "Persson is also right about the "lost sale" excuse."

    Don’t know exactly what the excuse is or how exactly a "lost sale" is defined but to my thinking, if someone takes my game without compensating me for it, I’ve lost that sale.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  76. greevar says:

    The information in your brain is just as much a copy as the text in a book. Computers are artificial constructs of the same concept. Therefore thought is a crime, by your argument. Aside from that, if copying is stealing, then every time you make yourself a mix tape, backup your software/games, or move your music/movies to another device, you’re "stealing". There’s a reason the law doesn’t deal with copyright infringement as theft, because it’s far too abstract to apply when you realize infringing uses are far too similar to non-infringing uses.

    Persson is correct, downloading works that are protected by copyright law is an act of infringement, which is a violation of one’s right to choose whom may receive a copy. It is not a title of property to the works you create. It is a right of exclusion, nothing more. It may be illegal to violate this right, but it is not theft according to the law. Just be satisfied that it’s illegal at all.

    Persson is also right about the "lost sale" excuse. You can’t prove that a sale was lost. No one can prove what might have been. So claiming lost sales as harm against your business is just a slant to engender sympathy for your cause. Treating game development as a service is the salvation of the industry, for those that figure that out. I don’t see landscapers trying to sell copies of their work. Why? Because they get paid for their labor, which is what the entertainment industry should do. Some of them already are.

    -Greevar

  77. Andrew Eisen says:

    No, that’s not at all what I’m saying.  I totally could be wrong.  I haven’t read Lear in well over a decade, I haven’t read any of the other works it’s supposedly based on/ripping off, and I only gave the article a passing read.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  78. captain_cthulhu says:

    >> I think King Lear would have been just fine

    wait, you’re saying that Groklaw is wrong and that you’re right? that’s some good lulz.

    i know Groklaw’s credentials, what are yours?

    did I just waste my time writing on here? ;P

  79. Andrew Eisen says:

    I’ll say it again: piracy is a form of theft.  It’s theft because the act of piracy fits the definition of theft both coloquially and legally.  I have consulted regular as well as legal dictionaries and I have spoken to several people in the know.  I have listened to many other opinions but haven’t come across anything that has changed my mind.  "No coherant reasoning" indeed.

    That said, saying I don’t care what the courts say was definitely going too far.  Truth be told, I’d be most interested to read another court decision on the subject but I still might not agree with it just as I don’t agree with the conclusion of the one I read, which didn’t even say that piracy isn’t theft, only that it can’t be easily equated as such.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  80. Andrew Eisen says:

    "copying does not imply theft"

    It does if you had no right to copy it.  It does if you distribute it or sell it.

    "could shakespeare have written King Lear in today’s copyright environment?"

    If he stole it from someone else, who cares?

    "copyright law is broken if it deprives us of great works."

    If the great works are just stolen from someone else, then we’re not being deprived.

    Besides, after giving the article you posted a quick read, I think King Lear would have been just fine.

     

    Andrew Eisen

     

  81. DorthLous says:

    And with those words, you finished flooding your boat. The line that you crossed entirely was the distinction between "It is theft" and "I think it is theft". You bash your lines over and over as if they hold proof just by themselves yet you refuse both legal argument as well as mass consideration. Aka, any arguments that won’t fit your view, you discard. As such, the only line you can rightfully wield is the "I think it is theft", not the "It is theft" as you have established no proof nor coherent reasoning to establish it.

     

    While as a game studio owner I have my own opinion on copyright infringment and "piracy" (man I hate that word, so wrongly chosen) and as an individual pay each and everyone of my hundreds of games and softwares, that still doesn’t mean I’m willing to forego integrity, facts or discussion to satisfy my views. I feel you are doing a great disservice to this community with your numerous posts on the subject, biasing the apparent tone of the conversation on this site and forcing your agenda on others. Please reflect further on what you really are contributing before doing so further. Thank you.

  82. captain_cthulhu says:

    you’re missing the main point:

    copying does not imply theft and therefore cannot be equivalent in all cases. in fact, the shakespeare example shows us that copying and theft are actually rarely the same thing. inspiration and copying are not the same thing either and like I said, in terms of creativity, there’s nothing wrong with either one. plagarism is bad because you’re taking credit for the creation which is an entirely different issue.

    in case you’re curious, here’s another article that lists all of the previous works shakespeare ‘borrowed’ from just for King Lear:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090621/1753275301.shtml

    the question being: could shakespeare have written King Lear in today’s copyright environment? the answer is almost definitely no. copyright law is broken if it deprives us of great works. to use that broken law to make blanket statements makes those statements broken as well.

  83. -Jes- says:

    But the fact remains that US Courts have have already established that Piracy IS NOT Theft. Argue it with all the lawyers you want (paragons of law!!), but this is legal precedent. Equating piracy to theft has not, and will not, hold up in court!

    Ergo, my post stands.

    Oh, and in the first ten results from a google search re: theft, colorful variants to my ‘depriving’ are "removing" and "carrying away". Those any better for you?

  84. Andrew Eisen says:

    Yes, there’s a legal distinction.  I’ve already said that.  And no, your google results don’t mean much to me.

    Removing a physical object from someone’s possession is a form of theft, no argument there.  But "theft," in its most general sense, is simply the act of stealing.  Stealing does not require that a physical object be removed from someone’s possession.

    As far as the US Courts go, I don’t recall a decision claiming with finality that piracy is not a form of theft but honestly, I don’t really care.  After all, it’s not like the courts have never been wrong.  I do however recall a decision on some case where the judge said it couldn’t easily be equated with theft but I flatout disagree.

    Eh, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you call it.  The debate is really silly and pointless but it sure is fun sometimes.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  85. Andrew Eisen says:

    Huh, news to me if true but my point still remains.  Inspiration is fine, stealing is not.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  86. Andrew Eisen says:

    Which can be considered a form of theft according to the lawyers I’ve spoken with and the legal dictionaries I’ve consulted.  Additionally, I don’t know where you’re getting your definition but the law dictionaries I’ve looked at don’t include the line "thereby depriving the owner/creator of said property."

    That’s not to say misappropriation of copyright isn’t legally distinct.  It is and I said as much earlier. 

     

    Andrew Eisen

  87. Andrew Eisen says:

    Again, nothing we’ve discussed in any way leads to some form of thought police.  No one is saying you can’t think whatever the heck you want or distribute it on a world wide scale.  In fact, that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.  Some more coherently than others.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  88. -Jes- says:

    No. ‘Theft’, as defined by law, is the unlawful taking of another’s property, thereby depriving the owner/creator of said property.

    (Digital) Piracy does not remove the property from it’s owner/creator. It is duplication of media without consent. Thus it is not theft, but misappropriation of copyright. (see Dowling Vs. United States)

  89. ZippyDSMlee says:

    And thus thought police, why? Everything and anything can be copy righted and will be. You have to much trust in the process as it is and thus you want and need thought police to protect a few from the many. There is no way around it because that how big government and big biz works. You protect the rights and freedoms of the individuals and you protect everyone, I have said it any times go after profit (making any money period) and not distribution as distribution has become far too common to police without trouncing public freedoms.

    I consider current IP law as legal slavery, and thus will have to change and be forced into the modern age where everyone can distribute an idea on a world wide scale.    

     


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  90. captain_cthulhu says:

    that’s actually not true, shakespeare copied many previous works as all content creators do. a great op-ed article about this exact topic:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110215/11165113112/would-shakespeare-have-survived-todays-copyright-laws.shtml

    there is a distinction between plagarism, copying and inspiration. in the realm of creativity, only plagarisim is considered an offense. in fact, artists have a saying: imitation is the highest form of flattery.

    we don’t re-invent the wheel everytime something is created. it is how creativity evolves. the current copyright law paradigm is broken because it doesn’t take this into account and why it is ultimately pointless to try and assign any empirical truth to either side of the debate.

  91. Andrew Eisen says:

    Well sure but Shakespeare was inspired by others and created his own works.  He didn’t copy it.

    Your concert example is the same thing.  If you’re inspired by the band and create your own song (even if you use similar chord progressions) then that’s totally fine.  But, if you go home and write the same song and sell it, that’s stealing.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  92. captain_cthulhu says:

    but everything created is in some way copied from something prior – it’s the crux of innovation and creation as we currently know it. Shakespear copied from many others before him, for example, but no one is calling him a thief.

    the problem is that you’re talking about something that is inherently copyable. if a band is playing an outdoor concert and I don’t pay to get in but rather sit outside the fence, I can still hear what they are doing for free. you can’t charge for vibrations through the air – it is inherently copyable or steal-able… would you support a band charging you for air vibrations? of course not. then I go home to my own band and use the same chord progressions as the ‘free’ music I just heard and make money from it. sorry, not stealing even if you could copyright a chord progression, that’s how all content is created, not just music.

    I don’t disagree that some piracy is indeed theft but again, you’re steamrolling over the nuanced points that actually do matter. there’s no single answer for this problem, it must be considered on a case-by-case basis and even then it can quickly become vague.

  93. Andrew Eisen says:

    And thus nothing.  Absolutely nothing, not a single solitary thing I’ve said even approaches the idea of "thought is a crime."

     

    Andrew Eisen

  94. Andrew Eisen says:

    I did.  I thought my hypothetical video game example summed it up rather nicely.

    "Is it stealing?  Yes and no.  You made the game yourself but you did steal the idea, characters, story, and whatnot."

     

    Andrew Eisen

  95. Bill says:

    Wow what a letdown.  I hoped you would have at least considered my example questions.  Ah well.  Will someone else take a stab?

  96. Andrew Eisen says:

    "Ya because you refuse to see the slippery slope you are going down."

    Even if that were true, that still wouldn’t make thoughts and actions the same.

    "We do not need corporate restricting the public’s free expression and rights via antiquated and vague copy right rules and laws."

    Stealing other people’s stuff is not a public right.

    "…the problem is a copy is unlimited and not in any way the same as moving a limited item."

    That’s not a problem.  The fact that copies are unlimited doesn’t negate the fact that taking one without the owner’s permission is stealing.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  97. Andrew Eisen says:

    "While I could see copying something and selling it as genuine being fraud, I can’t quite say that copying something for personal use is theft necessarily."

    Of course it’s theft.  A publisher is selling a game for $20.  You take a copy without paying for it.  You’ve stolen it, therefore, you’ve committed theft.

    Now, if you saw a game you wanted to play and instead of buying a copy decided to make your own, that’s fine as long as it’s just for your personal use (in other words, you can’t sell or distribute it).  Is it stealing?  Yes and no.  You made the game yourself but you did steal the idea, characters, story, and whatnot.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  98. ZippyDSMlee says:

    "No, nothing I said would make thinking about a crime the same as doing a crime."

    Ya because you refuse to see the slippery slope you are going down. We do not need corporate restricting the public’s free expression and rights via antiquated and vague copy right rules and laws.

    You ensure that profit or the attempt to make a profit off indexing and linking to  copy righted files/items(online or offline) in whole or part may only be done by licensee’s you allow enough wiggle room as so the public and the IP rights holders rights do not entangle and damage the other.
     

    "I know.  That’s my point.  Theft is the act of stealing.  If you’re stealing, then what you’re doing can accurately be described as theft."

    ……. the problem is a copy is unlimited and not in any way the same as moving a limited item.

     


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  99. Bill says:

      Wait now.  I’m not saying I will not agree with you but you have made me think about it in a way I haven’t before.

      You say that copying something that does not belong to you is theft.

      While I could see copying something and selling it as genuine being fraud, I can’t quite say that copying something for personal use is theft necessarily.

      Example.

      I see my neighbor’s brand new boat he has designed over the fence.  He allows me to see it in intimate detail and even take it out on the water and tells me I can buy it for $20,000.00.  When I get home I build my own boat with all the materials I have and it is an exact duplicate of his boat that I use only for private use and not for sale.  While admittedly a copy, did I steal? 

      If I sit down with paints and a wood canvas and paint an exact replica (if it were possible) of the Mona Lisa and hang it on my wall, did I steal the Mona Lisa?

    If I see a style of decoration in a magazine and copy it completely in my house without paying the decorator, is it theft?  Where is the moral line?  If I am capable of recreating something I see out of materials I already own am I stealing?

    Also the thought that ideas can be stolen.  When I draw pictures of Superman out of my imagination (not looking at a specific drawing of him) for my sketchbook, have I stolen the Superman idea?  While I have not copied a specific rendering I have copied the idea of who and what Superman is for my drawing.

     

    I’m not saying one way or the other I’m just doing a philosophical exercise here.

  100. ZippyDSMlee says:

    AE:If that were true thinking about a crime is the same as doing the crime and no you can not separate these mindsets so don’t even try.  Sorry but just making a copy is not theft on any level, it is copy right infringement but so are copy rights lasting 2 or 3 times longer than a persons life.

     

    Looking at the how and why copy right was created in the first place its all about limiting profit to the IP owner(not creator, as owner trumps creator). Looking at IP distribution 100 years ago and today you see that distribution and profit were inseparable but once digital media and the internet came into being distribution and profit are easily separated.

    PS:Nice try, embezzlement is the same as stealing as what you are moving from one place to another is not data but actual limited funds.


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  101. Andrew Eisen says:

    "If that were true thinking about a crime is the same as doing the crime"

    No, nothing I said would make thinking about a crime the same as doing a crime.

    "Sorry but just making a copy is not theft on any level…"

    If you don’t have the rights to make a copy, and you do it anyway, then yes, it’s theft, or stealing, or copyright infringement or whatever you want to call it.

    "Nice try, embezzlement is the same as stealing…"

    I know.  That’s my point.  Theft is the act of stealing.  If you’re stealing, then what you’re doing can accurately be described as theft.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  102. Andrew Eisen says:

    Yes, making a copy of something that you don’t have the owner’s permission to make a copy of is theft.  A form of theft to be specific.  There are more specific terms that describe such an act but "theft" is not incorrect.

    "And technically, it is not theft, at least from a legal perspective."

    Eh, yes and no.  It depends on exactly what you mean.  It’s certainly legally distinct in the application of criminal charges and statutory punishments but theft, even legally, is just a generic term for taking someone else’s stuff without their permission.

    It’s kind of like embezzlement.  It’s legally distinct by its means and methods but still falls under the general umbrella of "theft."

     

    Andrew Eisen

  103. greevar says:

    True enough, but no right of property is applied to protected works. The copyright is the property, not the thing it protects.

    -Greevar

  104. Monte says:

     Also from wikipedia:

    "Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people."

    "property" does not have to be a physical object… and an intangible entity that is stolen is not necessarily deprived from the owner’s possession; That is probably why the first line you quoted excludes the element of "depriving the owner"… and note how the second quote uses the term "Usually" as in "not always". As far as i see, the first definition you quoted is the rawest definition of theft (one that excludes depriving property) where as the second is more of a common interpretation that may not always be true. 

     

  105. captain_cthulhu says:

    the seats are the product of the venue owner.
    the music is the product of the band.
    so it depends on who you ask.

    the venue owner probably won’t consider it stealing but the band will since music is their only product. of course not all bands will consider it stealing but that’s another discussion.

    but the point is that the person who didn’t buy a ticket but still heard the concert is just like a downloader who listens to and deletes the file, the analogy being that the person only has memories of the music afterward. believe me, if someone figures out how to charge us all for breathing air (outside of space travel, scuba and an iron lung), they will.

     

  106. GoodRobotUs says:

    Problem is that word ‘proveable’

    Whilst I do agree that Piracy is a crime, I suspect there are very few cases where it can be proved that the player had both the money and the will to buy the game but simply chose not to. It may be true, it may not, but it’s a question of evidence.

    I’m not supporting Piracy, don’t get me wrong, but when a problem gets so big and so un-manageable that you face the possibility that those who aren’t breaking this law could be closing in on a minority, then maybe the way the law is managed needs to be re-evaluated?

  107. Monte says:

     >>"exactly, the point being that this scenario is no different than me listening to a song i downloaded, listened to and then deleted. as soon as a file is involved, it is stealing? but when it is air vibrations involved, it is not? hmmm"

    I don’t think its the same… with the concert your not paying to listen to the music so much as you are paying for a seat in the concert hall. 

  108. captain_cthulhu says:

    >> I’m leaving myself some wiggle room

    umm, you’re the one making blanket statements. it only takes one untrue scenario to render any blanket statement invalid. you say: "copying without permission is theft". the DVD example above disproves that statement. if I own a DVD, it is not considered theft if I download an avi of that DVD without permission (say using bittorrent as example). period. blanket statement invalidated. do I disagree with your statement in a very general sense? no but that was never the point of my post. do i agree with the spirit of your statement? no because of the King Lear example. current copyright law is broken, that is my opinion. your opinion is that the law is not broken. good for you. good for me. however…

    your dodging and thoughtless one-sentence dismissals are indicative of a lack of respect and trolling, I don’t have time to feed trolls, sorry. but it seems there’s lots of others on here with enough energy to throw you some scraps.

    I would only suggest that you lower your level of pretentiousness – I’m sorry but I don’t think you’re more of an authority/expert than Groklaw. yes, you most certainly have disagreed directly with Groklaw regarding King Lear at least twice on this page despite your strange claim that you didn’t – which you tried to prove by saying you haven’t read the King Lear sources… huh? non-sequitur much?

    good luck and kind regards! πŸ™‚

     

  109. Andrew Eisen says:

    "So i should just throw my money away on cds on the off chance ill like it?"

    Not necessarily.  Find free samples (Borders for example).  Read reviews.  Borrow a friend’s.  Buy a single for a buck on iTunes.  Plenty of ways legitimate ways to sample stuff.

    "Like i said i download to see if i like it."

    Doesn’t mean you’re not stealing it.

    "No one lost money."

    The people you didn’t pay for the music you stole lost money.

    "No harm was done…"

    Wouldn’t matter even if that was true.  It’s still stealing.

    "So how is it a shame?"

    Because the sellers were gypped the money they’re owed.  I’m not saying I’m going to lose sleep over it or the Earth is going to spin out of orbit and crash into the Sun but it’s still a shame.

    "All you have done is dismissed all i said."

    I read what you said and responded in kind.  I could have gone point by point but I thought I summed it up rather nicely.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  110. Dark_Mellow says:

    So i should just throw my money away on cds on the off chance ill like it.

    Like i said i download to see if i like it.

    You just have no real reply do you? No one lost money. No harm was done but i guess you cant see that. So how is it a shame? That i don’t support crap.

    All you have done is dismissed all i said.

  111. Andrew Eisen says:

    Well, good for Tommy James!  Darn shame about all those people you stole from and didn’t like enough to support though.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  112. Andrew Eisen says:

    The DVD thing.  I’m leaving myself some wiggle room with a few extenuating circumstances but basically, yes, making a personal copy of something you legitimately own is within a consumer’s rights.

    “so you’re saying the theft is dependant on the existence of a file?”

    No, I’m saying theft is dependent on stealing something.  Just hearing something doesn’t constitute theft (at least not in the example you’ve provided).

    “and listening to a concert from outside the fence is still stealing "something", no?”

    No.

    by your reasoning, listening to that concert from outside should be considered theft along with all other cases.  can’t have it both ways.

    Exactly how many times do I have to say that’s not an example of stealing?

    “the only point here being that it’s not simple. I mean if you can’t even make a blanket statement like ‘being a thief is bad’, then how can you possibly say that ‘all copying is theft’?”

    Did I say all copying is theft?  No. I said piracy (in the sense of illegally downloading a video game) is theft.

    “like my other response to you above, shakespeare would not have been allowed to write King Lear under current copyright law.”

    From what I’ve seen, I very much disagree.

    “that means the law is broken because it is depriving us of great works.”

    No, it isn’t for the same reason I listed earlier.

    “this is my only point, not that piracy isn’t theft, it just isn’t theft in all cases.”

    I’m open to that.  Can you provide an example (and let’s stick to the illegal download of video games)?

     

    Andrew Eisen

  113. Dark_Mellow says:

    That’s fine.  What do you think I’m wrong about and why?

    Well maybe your not wrong but the real question is did anyone get hurt. Even if something was downloaded without paying no money was lost as well. No harm was really done. But what it might do is make a potential customer. Piracy might be stealing but it might do more good then harm in the long run.

    Take me, I download music all the time without paying. I do that to see if i like the music. For example, I downloaded a song from limewire called Crystal Blue Persuasion, I loved the song but never heard of the the signer before, So i looked him up and downloaded more of his music to see if i liked more of his songs or if that was just the only one. Turns out i love all his music, I am now a fan and i am going to see him live in June AND July. I have bought his CD’s and his book. But i would never have known about him if it was not for piracy. I use torrents and P2P to download tons of music so i can find a lot more music i like that i never knew about. Cant use the radio anymore with the crap they play nowadays. By the way this was not just a one time thing, I have found many i support because of this.

    Did i steal ok maybe but should i go to jail or be sued for all i have? I say no, What go would that do?

    piracy has done more good then harm, Every uploader i know tells those downloading if they like the Music/Book/Movie/Etc, Then go and buy it to support the owner. But if you hate it save your money to buy from someone who you support and things they make that you enjoy.

    If you make a good product then you don’t have to worry, If people enjoy it they will buy it, If its crap or you screw over your customers, Well no money for you, And that’s how you learn.

     

    This is how i really see it. Yes not all will pay it back but many like me do.

    Oh and the signer is called Tommy James check him out. SEE i even spread the word and tell others to listen to his music, So more potential customers for him thanks to me having downloaded his music. Also Tommy James would support this to. Just the kinda guy he is.

  114. captain_cthulhu says:

    the "DVD thing" depends only on whether you own a legitimate copy. if I have an mp3 or avi file of a DVD or CD that I own (whether I ripped it or not), I am not considered as having stolen anything by current copyright law, it doesn’t matter how I got them. this has been brought up before regarding software like when software comes with a hardware dongle to activate/use – downloading and using cracks to circumvent DRM for software that you legitimately own is considered fair use because too many legitimate users were having trouble. Fair use also allows me to have copies of CDs and DVDs that I legitimately own. this point is actually black&white: it’s not theft to own a DVD you paid for and an avi of that DVD that you didn’t pay for.

    >> Yes, as soon as you actually steal something, it’s stealing.

    so you’re saying the theft is dependant on the existence of a file? so if tech evolves to do away with files then it’s not stealing anymore? you need something more solid than that. and listening to a concert from outside the fence is still stealing "something", no? by your reasoning, listening to that concert from outside should be considered theft along with all other cases. can’t have it both ways. but don’t misunderstand me here, I think an argument exists that the outsider listener stole the concert but I was trying to point out that no one actually considers that, even you.

    >> Not having the money to pay for something doesn’t make it okay to take it.

    i didn’t say that it’s ok, that wasn’t my point but now that you bring it up, Robin Hood is considered a thief AND a hero (a hero because of his thieving, no less) because we all collectively consider that his actions were justified enough to not only overshadow the crime but to make everyone reconsider if a crime even took place and is therefore absolved and even celebrated. similar scenario here.

    the only point here being that it’s not simple. I mean if you can’t even make a blanket statement like ‘being a thief is bad’, then how can you possibly say that ‘all copying is theft’?

    like my other response to you above, shakespeare would not have been allowed to write King Lear under current copyright law. that means the law is broken because it is depriving us of great works. to base your opinion on this broken law is like building a house on a bad foundation. and this IS opinion, which is always anything but simple, cut-n-dry, black&white…. this is my only point, not that piracy isn’t theft, it just isn’t theft in all cases.

    >> That’s fine.  What do you think I’m wrong about and why?

    no, no, I specifically said that i don’t think you’re wrong. I said that your opinion that piracy is always theft is just not always true. big difference.

  115. Andrew Eisen says:

    As I said, the DVD thing depends on a few different things.

    "as soon as a file is involved, it is stealing?"

    Yes, as soon as you actually steal something, it’s stealing.  Hearing it on the radio, outside a concert, or on someone else’s music player is not stealing.  Stealing the music file is stealing.  Doesn’t matter if you delete it after you listen to it.

    "he did ‘steal’ it but no one was deprived money because there was no money to spend to begin with."

    Yes, the owner of the software was deprived of the money he/she was rightfully owed for the use of the software.  Not having the money to pay for something doesn’t make it okay to take it.  Becoming a boon to the industry as a direct result of stealing a piece of software does not change the fact that he stole a piece of software or make it okay.

    "please understand that I am not saying you’re wrong in all cases, I’m saying you’re not right in all cases."

    That’s fine.  What do you think I’m wrong about and why?

     

    Andrew Eisen

  116. DorthLous says:

    Seriously, such a monochromatic view must be hard to keep from time to time… Don’t you see the grayscales from time to time? Dream in colors, perhaps?

    –EDIT–

    Wow, nice. This was in reply to one of AE’s post. Either I replied badly or the post was removed…

  117. DorthLous says:

    Ah yes. Law as punishment rather than deterrent or rehabilitation. We saw how successful that was, throughout history as well as in studies. So why change the behavior if it feel so good, no matter what the facts say.

  118. captain_cthulhu says:

    ok now you’re stretching πŸ˜‰

    >> You could be depriving the owner of the cost of the download.

    huh? why would i pay for a download when I already own it? the example implied that I downloaded a pirate copy of the movie, not circumvented some legitimate place to download but that’s beside the point anyway. in this case, it was downloaded out of pure convenience – no intent to steal and no theft took place. I guess you could say that I deprived the movie owner of a 2nd purchase but then I’d encode my DVD copy because it is unrealistic to expect everyone to re-buy everything for every device they own. currently, you are not considered as stealing when you rip a CD you own to mp3s.

    >> "if I go to an outdoor concert and rather than pay the ticket price, sit outside the fence and listen, I’ve not deprived anyone of any money and not broken any laws but yet I’ve ‘stolen’ the music I heard?"
    >> No, you haven’t.

    exactly, the point being that this scenario is no different than me listening to a song i downloaded, listened to and then deleted. as soon as a file is involved, it is stealing? but when it is air vibrations involved, it is not? hmmm

    >> Doesn’t matter.  He stole it.  Sure is nice of him to buy a bunch of copies later to make up for it though.

    he did ‘steal’ it but no one was deprived money because there was no money to spend to begin with. buying copies later in life was not meant as a repentant move but rather he became a professional that puts much more money into the industry than if he grew up to be a janitor. there is a net gain here, not deprivation.

    please understand that I am not saying you’re wrong in all cases, I’m saying you’re not right in all cases.

  119. Andrew Eisen says:

    "if i download a movie that I already own, no one has been deprived of anything."

    That one depends on a few different things.  You could be depriving the owner of the cost of the download.  It might not matter if you already own a copy of the movie.

    "if I go to an outdoor concert and rather than pay the ticket price, sit outside the fence and listen, I’ve not deprived anyone of any money and not broken any laws but yet I’ve ‘stolen’ the music I heard?"

    No, you haven’t.

    "what about a financially poor kid who downloads photoshop (because he would otherwise never use it) and gains enough skills to become a great artist or purchases many more copies later in life when he’s able?"

    Doesn’t matter.  He stole it.  Sure is nice of him to buy a bunch of copies later to make up for it though.

    "who’s been deprived in these scenarios?"

    As I said before, the people you’re supposed to be paying (except the concert example).

    "you can’t look at this issue and say everything is black&white, it is simply too complex of an issue for that approach."

    If something costs money and you take it without paying for it, you stole it.  It’s that simple.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  120. captain_cthulhu says:

    again though, you’re making a blanket statement that can’t be true in all cases.

    if i download a movie that I already own, no one has been deprived of anything. if I go to an outdoor concert and rather than pay the ticket price, sit outside the fence and listen, I’ve not deprived anyone of any money and not broken any laws but yet I’ve ‘stolen’ the music I heard? no. what about a financially poor kid who downloads photoshop (because he would otherwise never use it) and gains enough skills to become a great artist or purchases many more copies later in life when he’s able? who’s been deprived in these scenarios? there’s plenty of other scenarios where theft was the obvious intent but as soon as you can invalidate one, it can’t be empirical.

    you can’t look at this issue and say everything is black&white, it is simply too complex of an issue for that approach.

  121. greevar says:

    Seats at a concert or seminar are a scarce good and have a real impact on demand. There is a finite amount of space. There can be as many copies of a game as there are people willing to copy it. Your comparison doesn’t apply.

    -Greevar

  122. nightwng2000 says:

    Actually, the tickets represent the limited number of seats, and, in some cases, the limited number of SRO area, available.  The value of the ticket may represent the value of the artists performing, but there are still a limited number of seats/SRO area available.  Much in the same way a publisher orders a limited number of hard copy (DVD/CD, books, Video tape, etc) produced in the first printing (ie first show of the concert).  If the sales of the initial product are strong, a potential second printing (ie second show or held over for another night) occurs with yet another limited number made available.

    Nightwng2000

    NW2K Software

    http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

  123. Austin from Oregon says:

    I equate game piracy with sneaking into a band concert without paying for a ticket, the product is still out there, and you didn’t take anything, but you can’t deny the fact that if everyone who attended the concert snuck in, then it wouldn’t be possible for that band to be successful.

    If I made a game, I’d like to sell it if I’m trying to run a business not a charity. Not every company turning a profit has to be "the man."

  124. greevar says:

    "If he was like the 99% of indie developers who struggle to put food on their table while seeing thousands of entitled idiots playing their content for free because they feel they don’t have to buy things (as long as they can steal them anonymously from behind a screen of course), I think his tune might possibly be different."

    This is why you get nowhere. You refuse to ignore your moral objections and actually look into the real reasons this system has failed to meet your expectations. You’ll get nowhere fast copping the attitude that they’re thieving assholes that deserve to be abused and insulted publicly. All that accomplishes is to further entrench them on their position and shuts them off from taking you seriously. When was the last time someone who was being an ass to your face actually convinced you to consider their opinion?

    -Greevar

  125. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Then get a real job, piracy is a non sequencer. You are a small unheard of fish in a planet sized ocean. Hard work is one part of the equation luck is another, if the public dose not take to your IP you are sht out of luck no matter what. You can pretend that its a lost sale but that’s just being dumb and disingenuous.

    Again follow the money and act on it close down the current file sharing industry be making rules and laws that DO NOT INFRINGE ON THE RIGHTS OF AND FREEDOMS OF THE PUBLIC. You do this by making profit or the attempts there of the crime not mere distrobusion which in and of itself to vague and too difficult to enforce. You follow the profit links and end bootleging from links and indexing and you drastically change things so as the public and IP owners are protected evenly.



    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  126. captain_cthulhu says:

    but wasn’t that his point? he was telling games devs that his model and approach effectively defeats piracy since those who pirate it will not be able to get the copious updates he’s pushing out – your pirate copy doesn’t ‘evolve’ like a paid version. same with MMO’s or any of the online verification/phone-home/hosted models.

    he’s providing a solution to all the whining and belly-aching – he seems to be as sick of it as the rest of us.

  127. Parallax Abstraction says:

    Piracy may not legally be theft but it’s certain akin to it.

    Notch is certainly entitled to his opinion but I would hope even he would admit that his circumstances are a fluke. He’s made a zillion dollars from a game that’s nowhere near done and won’t be for quite some time (and many wonder if he’ll even fulfill his promises for Minecraft since he’s already announced his next game.) If he was like the 99% of indie developers who struggle to put food on their table while seeing thousands of entitled idiots playing their content for free because they feel they don’t have to buy things (as long as they can steal them anonymously from behind a screen of course), I think his tune might possibly be different.

    Parallax Abstraction
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

  128. gellymatos says:

    Ah, the rights. First, remember that what customers purchase is only that disc and what’s on it. So, he isn’t a "pseudo owner". He owns what he bought. He doesn’t own the CP/IP. He didn’t by those rights. Not sure what you mean by "play in public". Is the owner not allowed to play it in the street? And the customer can sell the disc because it’s the disc he owns. And as for sueing dead people, something of which I’m skeptical of, is irrelevant in this case anyway. We’re talking about live people taking what wasn’t paid for.

    As for rights to day, if I remember correctly mods are legal, copying the disc isn’t legal, and sharing/loaning the specific piece of product is legal as well. As for Japan, we’re not talking about Japan, though that is something I must look into. And if IP owners have right to money from their product, they aren’t getting money when their product is copyed without their permission.

    And if distribution is the IP being moved, the only person who has the right to give it away is whoever owns the IP at the time.

     

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  129. Grif says:

    So your solution is to make everything involving zeroes and ones free? No charge for anything digital? Maybe I’m just not getting your point, but that’s how I’m interpreting it.

    "Power means nothing without honor and pride."

    http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

  130. Grif says:

    Agreed. Just because everyone believes something, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. And that one’s opinion fails to sway mine doesn’t mean I have a one-track mind or I’m a zealot.

    Most of what this conversation has been is opinions, and everyone has the right to theirs. I personally believe that piracy is theft, and unless there is hard evidence to the contrary, that’s what I will continue to believe, no matter how many "if’s", "ands", or "buts" are thrown at me.

    Your arguments may have points, but points =/= facts.

    "Power means nothing without honor and pride."

    http://grifsgamereviews.blogspot.com My video game review site.

  131. ZippyDSMlee says:

    CP/IP has this thing called a license, the end user/consumer only has the right to access what they purchased, we barely kept the right to resale used CP/IP items. The trouble with CP/IP  is it has one true owner and a psudo owner, the consumer. The psudo owner has limited rights(can’t make copies,can not play in public, can not make copies and sell those copies, may resale the physical medium if the license/EULA allows it ). The CP/IP owner has unlimited rights to the IP and may do anything with it even sue dead people and grandmaws with no computer, avoid falling to public domain like the plague just cause they can.

    IMO we are given enough rights and freedoms in the USA to make copies and even share them or loan them or modify the hardware we buy and use it as we see fit. (all of which is illegal in Japan BTW) But I belive that IP owners do have 1 unquestioable right and that is the right to have exclusive use of the monetary flow around their IPs distribution(even used items, make a org add 15% toi the price of all used media have that org devy it up after taking 2 or so percent off the top,hell we do it with blank media to a existent)

    BTW distribution means every time that IP moves from one person/group to another person/group.


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  132. gellymatos says:

    And how is distribution of a product that belongs to the owner an issue? If it belongs to someone, it is theirs to distribute.

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  133. ZippyDSMlee says:

    AE is from the position of distribution is the exclusive right of the IP owner, I say that is incompatible with today’s world and that profit derived from distribution is much more important of a thing to focus on rather than throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Right and wrong are things defined by the individual and the law, and neither are free of corruption, neglect and abuse. IMO the problem is simple look at file sharing today ad you will see that most of it is run off of for profit enterprises if setup the law to go after them it makes it easier for other countries to go after not people who distribute information but rather real pirates. AE prefers the status quo, for me I see it like the civil rights movement something that must be opened and must be changed for the betterment of us all.

     

    PS:We both are sticks in the “mud” πŸ˜›


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  134. Andrew Eisen says:

    "Boil it down AE wants to follow the law no matter how broken or dangerous or unenforceable it is."

    No.  No, that’s not at all what I’m saying.  You’re assertion is also wrong.  I don’t agree with every law.  I’m not going to go into detail but for example, the DCMA needs a rewrite.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  135. gellymatos says:

    Well, then it seems to me that extentions are irrelevant in this case, assume that this is a legit issue. In the case of pirated games today, creators are still alive. And if history suggests anything, by the time all creators are dead, the game isn’t even made anymore, and it’s not stealing to make a copy of something that isn’t made anymore or isn’t used to make money or profit.

    The fact is, what issues you do have with copyright aren’t relevant in this case. That is, that taking a copy without the permission of those who made it is taking without consent, and therefore stealing.

     

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  136. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The original copy right law is life of the creator plus 14 years before it falls into public domain so EVERYONE may use it to in order to improve us all as a society.

    Well it’s now closer to 300 years and looking to get more extensions, add to it things like the DMCA that try and override your right to make a back up (may not circumvent copy protections or traffic in copy circumvention tools )and the horrible unmanned process of take downs the system has become a place where those with the most wealth can roll over the public for nearly any reason.

     I mean look at realDVD while it was a retail application who purchased CSS decryption from its licensors like DVD player makers do and even went the extra mile of adding their own DRM to it, Hollywood went nuts and sued it out of existences. Not to mention BLEEM before that. The system is a joke and will continue to be one.

     

    The only way I can think of to fix it where money cannot usurp the system is expanding fair use, allow limited distribution under an absolute no monetary flow process. Basically no links or indexing can be done and try and make money without a license, search engines can be protected by trying to block obvious bad links and a simple clause that states that as long as they are not making anything from the process of primarily (more than 70% of traffic flow) linking to or indexing copy righted files in whole or part. You push more and more loopholes out the window creating a situation where you have less file sharing due to a practical ban that covers more than half the world of profiting off links/indexing,ect while allowing the common person or persons to band together and share in a smaller more fan/ enthusiast centric environment(like fan recording at concerts in the 70s/80s ) than one that’s ran by greedy nerds.   

    Either that or a set in stone 15 year limit on all IP with no extensions, PEROID.

     

    Copy right is founded on the ideal of distribution, so distribution is EVETYHING to the discussion of CP and IP.


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  137. gellymatos says:

    Now, be specific. How is it broken? Just work with me here for the sake of the discussion.

    Also, this isn’t about distributing an idea, since it isn’t "ideas" that we’re talking about.

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  138. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Boil it down AE wants to follow the law no matter how broken or dangerous or unenforceable it is.

    Again you can not limit distribution in a age where everyone can distribute an idea, so instead of going backwards by putting the genie back in the bottle by overly restricting  consumer rights and public freedoms you go after monetary flow surrounding the distribution MP3(information download) police we need not.


    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  139. Andrew Eisen says:

    "What do you do when a large number of people are technically breaking the law without provably depriving anyone of anything?"

    You punish them as you would anyone who breaks the law.  And they are provably depriving someone of something.  They’re depriving the owners of the money they’re owed.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  140. GoodRobotUs says:

    The problem is that ‘theft’ has always been considered the taking of a physical thing without permission or attempt to pay. After all, if you can still point to the physical object, how can you define it as stolen?

    The thing is though, would a court of law see it that way? The answer so far has been a resounding ‘No’. I think you’d have a very hard time arguing this to a judge πŸ˜‰

    Piracy is not something I could condone, but it’s not something I can see possible to control without severe erosion of personal privacy, the fact of the matter is, it truly is a world-wide problem, and we are pretty far from a world-wide solution to it, and ironically enough, the method the Industry is currently pursuing might actually be the most self-destructive.

    It’s true that there’s a certain amount of promotional advantage to be gained from piracy, but I’ve always maintained that the public has a set amount of funds it is willing to spend on games, from that point outward they will seek ‘other avenues’ for those luxuries. Removing those avenues will not magically generate more money to spend on the games themselves, people will simply learn to do without, or you’ll see a rise in Open-Source material, neither is unhealthy for anyone but the very Industry that closed those avenues in the first place. Those funds are a percentage, the more we earn, the more disposable income we have, basic economics.

    I think the problem is that the law is, and always has been, about 20 years behind technology. Thing is, 20 years is a lot more now than it was 100 years ago πŸ˜‰ What I mean by that is that the time between the Bow and Arrow being invented and the Flintlock rifle was tens of thousands of years. The time between the first ever flight and the first man on the moon was 70 years, and the time between the emergence of the Internet and it’s placement as a facet of almost every life in the developed world was around 20 years. Technology accelerates, and the Legal institution is struggling to adapt.

    So, is Piracy theft? I’m actually not sure that’s the question we should be asking, it sounds like self-justification "Well, I know it’s wrong but it’s not theft…". I think a more interesting question would be "What do you do when a large number of people are technically breaking the law without provably depriving anyone of anything?"

    Hmm, sorry, that turned into a bit of an essay :/

  141. gellymatos says:

    First, the "majority opinion" isn’t immediately the correct one or somehow given more credit due to it’s popularity. To insist as much is an appeal to majority, appeal to popularity, whatever name you prefer for the fallacy. Unwavering doesn’t equal zealot either. Are any of those who hold their opinion opposite of AE’s zealots as well, since a few of them appear to be unwavering as well. I find that AE has listen to the other side and provided counters. Right or wrong, this is not the sign of a "crusader" or "zealot".

     

    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." -Albert Einstein

  142. Andrew Eisen says:

    Silly observation and comparison if you ask me.  I’m not beating anyone over the head with anything.  I made one post.  I’ve listened to the responses of all the comments directed at me and responded in kind.  I’ve given reasons for thinking the way I do and further clarifications when asked and where I felt they were needed.

    Just because I don’t agree with a couple other commenters doesn’t mean their opinion is in the majority or that I’m not listening and evaluating what they have to say.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  143. tallimar says:

    the way you keep hammering at the topic with such a closed unwavering thought process kinda reminds me of JT and WBC and the way that they keep/kept beating everyone over the head with their opinions(-as-facts) rants.  you seem to me like a crusader or zealot on this issue, a one tracked mind that refuses to listen to majority opinion or reason.  just my observations.

  144. Andrew Eisen says:

    If you disagree with something I’ve said, you know where the reply button is.

     

    Andrew Eisen

  145. SeanB says:

    These comments from Marcus are the reason i own two copies of Minecraft. The entire mission of Mojang is pure gold.

     

    Oh and AE, stop stating your opinions as facts. It’s getting really old.

  146. Nerd42 says:

    I purchased Minecraft during Alpha. And I don’t pay for any of that DRM’d mainstream crap. I couldn’t not give the guy money – he was doing absolutely everything right.

    He said on his blog that the speech your article is referring to was "stumbled through" http://notch.tumblr.com/post/3597265965/halfway-through-gdc-heres-what-weve-done

    He did a great job on the article "How Piracy Works" http://notch.tumblr.com/post/1121596044/how-piracy-works

     

  147. captain_cthulhu says:

    lots of people don’t consider piracy as defacto theft and I’m including content creators:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI&feature=player_embedded

    in fact, you could probably say with quite a bit of certainty that there as as many sales ‘gained’ as ‘lost’ as Neil Gaiman points out that the pirated content is more effective advertisement than getting something for nothing – he says it much better than I can. theft and piracy in terms of software has a lot of nuanced points nestled within that many like to steamroll over but that doesn’t make them non-existent. piracy, in terms of software, is not defacto theft. what if I own a DVD movie but is faster for me to download a pirated copy that is already encoded to .avi (or whatever) than it is for me to encode it myself? this is in no way shape or form a lost sale or theft even though it was technically pirated – I’m only guilty of wanting to save time in this case. the industry could fix all these problems by understanding the nuances but they don’t want to because it takes creativity and vision, both of which are in short supply when it comes to these distribution companies. there’s simply too much nuance to the issue for any blanket statements from either side of the argument.

    and how much is really lost even if you can quantify piracy in terms of lost sales? the movie industry just had yet another record-breaking year despite their angry rhetoric that jobs are lost (incorrect) and that sales are plummeting (also incorrect). they can’t seem to explain the paradox so they avoid it.

    oh and before you call me out for complaining without providing a solution, here you go – very well written and well thought out solution ideas that the RIAA and MPAA and software DEVs won’t like but as soon as the money starts flowing in, will love it (look what happened with the TV Execs and DVRs, they now ‘believe’):

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/02/28/piracy-is-the-future.html

     

Comments are closed.