Generation Free: Piracy, distribution, and entertainment

By Cliff Bleszinski on March 11, 2013, 1:48 AM

Editor’s Note:
This is a guest post by Cliff Bleszinski, former game designer at Epic Games. During his 20-year tenure at Epic he was deeply involved in the development of Unreal and Gears of War game franchises.

There have been lots of terms that have been tossed around in regards to the current generation of youth. “Millenials” is one that comes to mind. Pop psych books and articles attempt to dissect this generation, as every older generation does every so often. I remember Generation X. Generation Y/Y2K. (The Greatest Generation, who saved us from the Nazi Empire, still wins.)

I was in my 20’s when the Napster revolution came along. Even before that I remember piracy on newsgroups. During the crafting of the first Unreal I remember watching one of my peers downloading Hollywood movies in the background and then watching them on his giant, fat monitor. I remember at the time thinking “Hollywood’s going to shit when they see this.”

The music industry, as broken as it was, was torn to shreds like a family electronics store in the Los Angeles Riots. Only over the last few years has Apple manage to create hardware and an ecosystem that actually gets people to pay for music once again. Even then, have you noticed how much your favorite artist is actually on tour these days? And the high cost of tickets? That’s because they’re not selling anywhere near as much actual music as they used to in the past.

As someone who worked in software for 20+ years (and maybe I’ll return someday) I have often had a lot to say about piracy. There are many different arguments that have been bandied about over the years. The suits claim that it’s straight up theft. The users say it doesn’t impact sales, and, in fact, can help increase mindshare for a product. Then there’s those folks in the middle who, for some reason, buy the product AND pirate it. (F*cking weird, that one.)

There’s an old image that went around a few years back, you might have seen it.

It points out the sheer amount of bullshit that the legitimate, paying user has to go through when he acquires a DVD/Blu-ray. It’s gotten better since then, but there are still plenty of instances of this lunacy. (This is why I just stream movies and TV on my Xbox, even though it’s pricier.)

I had dinner with a certain gaming executive a few months ago and one of the topics we discussed were sales and piracy. He told me he had the numbers of their recent release – a great game that got very good reviews and was enjoyed by many. He said they had stats on the PC version sales versus piracy and the numbers were staggering. It was something around 4-1 in regards to purchased copies versus torrented ones. And we wonder why Blizzard, who often can Do No Wrong, forced us to be online for Diablo 3.

Obviously no one liked what Blizzard pulled, but do you actually blame them for that? Do you think they would have gone through the headache and cost of having those servers up (usually, heh) along with the bad PR and the backlash from their biggest fans if they didn’t see piracy as a major problem with their products?! The results wind up hurting all of us; a group of people who illegally acquire something cause the rest of us, the legitimate customers, to suffer. This isn’t a new concept. If you have a few rule breakers at your office then everyone has to then adhere to whatever new red tape appears. (A few people not pulling their hours? Everyone has to have punch cards now!) Thanks for treating your loyal customers like thieves because of those other assholes!

The thing that I’m not sure Hollywood has even caught on to is how carefree the Millenials are about torrenting content. I’ve been around 20-something friends many times when they just wait and watch for the new episode of Game of Thrones to pop up on their feed, download it, and just fire away. (Yes, I’m that guy who somehow still has young friends, like the guy who hangs out in the High School parking lot with his Camaro after he’s graduated.)

A few years back another young friend posted on Facebook:

“Wow, The Lovely Bones was amazing, brought me to tears. Movie was outstanding.”

I replied “Whoa, it’s not even out yet, you get a screener?”

Her “No I torrented that shit!”

In addition, the entertainment industry cannot expect to fully educate or bully when it comes to this problem. Whenever they have, it comes across as laughable or, well, comedy gold.

But let’s face it. If you’re a broke college guy and you want to be a part of the cultural zeitgeist you will torrent about as often as you fap, and not feel a single tinge of guilt about it because, hey, it’s HBO, a big, evil corporation, so fuck them! (Remember, fap in your room, not in the shared shower, you drain clogging frat boys.)

I enjoy quality entertainment. The few reality TV shows I actually enjoy are usually the ones about people with careers, like Restaurant Impossible or any Real Estate Porn. (Joe Schmo is amazing also, check that one out.) Similar to my post about the gaming business is the fact that TV executives LOVE pumping out reality TV because:

It’s cheap to shoot.

People eat that garbage up.

Everyone thinks they’re a f*cking celebrity, and are willing to do anything to be on TV and to be paid dirt for it in the process.

Yes, my wife will be on Say Yes to The Dress. Show me a girl who wouldn’t kill to be on that show and I’ll show you someone who has given up.

I remember walking the Red Carpet a few years ago at the Spike Awards and Felicia Day was next to us and we got shoved out of the way by the cast of Jersey Shore. This was right when the show was hitting, mind you. Felicia turns to me and goes “What the heck just happened?” I turn to her and say “Don’t worry, Felicia, in a few years when you’re en route to be the next Tina Fey they’ll be in rehab.” I later heard stories about when The Situation had come to Raleigh he was paid to come to a club and that he was just doing rails of coke, right in the open, as girls lined up to make out with him. We all know what happened to The Situation.

Anyway, back on topic. We’re in a golden era of scripted television.

I mean, the fact that Breaking Bad is even allowed to exist now blows my mind. The Walking Dead can be uneven but is enjoying a spectacular success. (I liked zombies before it was cool, dammit.)

Let’s get back to Game of Thrones.

(I always hear Tim Schafer singing that song with Jack Black in my head for some reason. You can’t unhear it.)

No, I haven’t read the books. I hear they’re spectacular, but this blog is about piracy and entertainment.

Season 3 is returning at the end of the month, and to be frank, my wife and I are BEYOND F*CKING STOKED.

Ever have a show that’s that good that even on demand or recorded on your DVR you still watch the opening credits as a way of getting hyped up for what’s coming? I used to do this with The Sopranos. I felt like I had to get eased into Tony’s Jersey underworld with the smooth sounds of A3.

When Season 1 of “Thrones” hit all of my awesome nerdy friends were gushing about it. “You HAVE to watch this. It’s amazing. Blah blah blah.” I tuned it out. I was down on any sort of sword fantasy epic at the time; it really wasn’t my cup of tea right then. Eventually after hearing all of the buzz about what happens at the end of Season 1 (I somehow managed to avoid that spoiler) Lauren and I sat down to watch the pilot.

20 minutes in our jaws were on the floor and we were hooked. Never mind the sounds we made at the end of the episode when the tower scene went down.

This was quality, epic television. It was layered, well written, and complex. It was violent, unpredictable, and filled with surprisingly human moments. Characters you rooted for and bad guys you hissed at. Darned near Shakespearean it was. Keeping up with all of the characters, the mythology, and the plotlines was work in and of itself. (We’re rooting for Daenerys, by the way.) In this digital, crowded world you actually want your show to be dense and layered and discussed, as it drives tweets, forum posts, and overall hype.

Those of you who know me know my cable conundrum. We have Time Warner cable and their horrible DVR box along with HBO/Shotime on demand. And, as much as I hate it, I’m not ready to cut the cord. I don’t torrent, so finding every show that I enjoy watching is a comedic shuffle between inputs. Sometimes we’ll use our Apple TV, or Amazon Video, or cable, or Xbox. (We’d use Netflix, but there’s seldom anything actually streaming on it.) My cable box likes to randomly not record shows, or misses them, or just stutters, or cut off the ends of the shows…it’s a nonstop fight that’s probably going to end with us going Office Space on the f*cking thing one of these days. (I swear the thing is like TiVo’s retarded little brother from 2003.)

So we then tried alternate ways to get “Thrones” and had this experience.

Since I’m such a name dropping fool on this particular blog, I’d like to introduce one of the folks in business that I’ve gotten to know: Kevin Tsujihara.

Kevin was previously responsible for Warner Brother’s home entertainment and now is running the whole place. (I sent him that Oatmeal article, he got a chuckle out of it.) He’s one of those Hollywood guys who really isn’t at all what you’d think a Hollywood guy would be. He’s genuine, funny, and affable. He’s a guy you’d like to have a beer with. The first time I met him the first thing out of my mouth was “Why isn’t ‘Thrones’ on iTunes?” He told me to check out HBO GO, which we now use on our Xbox. It’s actually an enjoyable setup, but the process of configuring it was a gong show. (I’m the kind of person that, after 4-5 annoying steps for signing up for something will often just walk away.)

A peer of mine and I got into a heated argument in his office about this very subject. I told him that HBO should sell their shows A La Carte. I told him my suspicion that every day goes by from when the show airs to when the DVDs/Blu-rays come out is a day where thousands of folks who might have bought them to watch the show have just torrented the damned thing. His response was that it’s HBO’s freedom to sell their products however they see fit, and that they’ve chosen the subscription model. There have been news stories that have said that that model is what allows for this quality, more expensive to produce television to see the light of day.

It’s no secret that people pirate the hell out of “Thrones.”

And this news hit the other day.

Ultimately what gets me about all of this, and the point that I’m getting at, is that while I know we can’t educate people about piracy, I can’t help but think that, as a paying HBO subscriber, I’m paying for the show that other people are illegally acquiring.

It feels like some sort of…”Entertainment Welfare” to me.

And then I start thinking about the cast. I think about the harsh filming locations that they have to endure for months. I think about the CG house that’s been contracted to bring this world to life. I think about the cameramen who are uprooted from their families to film in other countries, the writers, hell, finally George R Martin himself who busted his ass to bring us this incredible world.

And I can’t help but think… if you pirate my favorite TV show of all time…

You’re kind of a dick.

Just like with used games, if everyone torrented all quality entertainment then it would, in fact, go away.

Then we’d have to just sit at home watching f*cking Harlem Shake videos.

(Edit: Some have mentioned the issues with region limiting. That, just like waiting to ship the DVD/Blu-ray set, they’re just baiting people to torrent. I’m sure they do it for a reason…it doesn’t make it suck any less.)

Republished with permission.




User Comments: 70

Got something to say? Post a comment
mrcavooter mrcavooter said:

Poses in picture with an amazing author...

Hasn't read the books.

misor misor said:

What is "game of thrones"?

on gaming: personally, I detested the inability of blizzard servers to handle d3 online players.

I always get connection errors nowadays.

in February 2013 alone, I must have experienced more than 15 disconnections compared to zero disconnection from November to December 2012.

1 person liked this | TessaH TessaH said:

Ya know .. its about time someone said this and its about time. As a digital artist and smal business person, sure I want everything for free too :P But I've also seen great projects come to a screaching halt, due to lack of revenue from their "loyal" user base.

For example - People rave about Open Source and I'm a contributor to some big ones myself. But ... the reality is a ton of software development gets thrown into the Open Source digital bin because they just simply couldn't protect it well enough to get a financial traction trhough even small subscription base program. So, instead of us getting really great software that can elevate our work and play to a whole new level, we get some halfbaked crap that no one wants to work on anymore - especially for free for 3 or 4 more years. After all, the coders, artists, producers have to pay rent and their heating, cooling, food, healthcare doesn't come at them for free ... yadayadayada. You know the drill.

You call it Entertainment Welfare here. I call it the TechnoHippy Generation

>> Free Love >> Free Sex >> Free Content

Everybody wants everything for free, but are so numb brained they they don't think to stop and ask - At what cost? They KNOW there is a cost they are avoiding and that's probably part of the thrill, but int heir moment of heheheing and calling those who pay slaves to "da man" they refuse to even contemplate the long term reprecussion of thier choices on the very things they say they hold dear.

And let's talk about the hypocrasy of it all. When it comes to thier projects they get totally bent outta shape if their "loyal users" don't only pay up, but also nark on anyone ripping them off! Its the craziest nutterbuddy ***** hyprocracy from a generation that's supposed to be against "evil, unethical, irresponsible, ruthless" corporations. I've seen them troll their competition in forums demanding they give code base back to BSD license Open Source projects even if it cost those folsk 10-150K to pay to get coded. In the meantime, they just keep ragging out their competition, pointing fingers at anyone and everyone else when they are doing exactly what they are accusing them of with their precious digital gold code. *sigh* Its like they think the these 'rules' should apply to everyone else but them. What's up with that?

I think the piracy act ... meaning the "ACT" of piracy to get a freakin free 60 mintues of numb braining entertainment is jsut another form of this TechnoHippy mentality, whcih I think you put out there really well. What we need to do is troll back at them the facts - That, without funding via revenues there is no free anything.

NOTHING is for free.

Everything comes at a cost and those evil corporate bastards they go on and on about will simply find sneakier ways to get their money from us. Like passive advertising via product placement and other subliminal marking techniques that go on right now under our nose and we just shrug off as no big deal. Aren't we then inviting the unrestrained commericialism of the very mediums we hold dear as art, such as through subliminal messages via tv and radio, product placement and other forms of passive and prolifice influencers? Do we really want to have a freakin' knee-jerk buying impluse everytime we drive by MickD's or WallyWorld? That's jsut one of many ways we are paying for our FREE stuff. Its our very minds are being sold to the highest bidder through the "art" we so stupidly insisted should be free because its an inconvenience to wade through the start up crap. At least when we pay for it we have a valid right to demand such things be examined and taken out of the stream of our consciousness through media. If we just shrug it off then no court is going to take our cries of foul over commercialism seriously, which is pretty evident since they've ignored and actually coddled big business even in the face of the worlds worst economy in almost 100 years. Wanna see that end? Then stop sucking on the nipple of commercialism in the name of Free-Dumb-ism.

GROW UP. Stop being passive patsies to commercialism and pay the freakin' buck to watch the money or $7.99 a month Hulu subscription, or if you're just so addicted, then $150 cable bill and demand these companies get ethical or you stop paying AND WATCHING. If we didn't buy into their trap then how would they succeed?

Ok - I'm off my soap box ... did you notice the ad for Dove while I was there? *WINKS*

TheBigFatClown said:

Day-um,

This article is about software piracy? I would never have guessed that except for the fact that he stated it upfront. How many unrelated points do you have to make about the subject of piracy before actually making a point? Half way through reading I had to stop reading it. Let me see if I can summarize this article for people who don't have the time to wade through all the *******.

"I like cheeseburgers with pickles and mustard on top but without onions. Therefore, please do not engage in software piracy. It's wrong."

Yeah, okay. Thanks for the solid arguments CliffyB.

1 person liked this | Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

He doesn't understand Middle people who buy stuff and pirate it?

I did just that if a product is so crippled by DRM.

Assassins creed was one of them I did that with, Bought the game, realized how slow my fps was and then I started getting disconnected so downloaded a pirated copy.

Same with older music I downloaded from iTunes that had DRM, I bought some music from iTunes but pirated it so I could play it on other devices.

I don't understand the problem with this, The company is still getting my purchase, they're still getting my money, and I get a less crippled product?

TheBigFatClown said:

College course refresher for CliffyB.

1. Tell the people what you are going to tell them.

2. Then tell them.

3. Then tell them what you told them.

That's it. Next time get yourself a piece of notebook paper and write it down on paper. Free styling articles just isn't your strong suit.

TessaH TessaH said:

And yes ... I know there are a lot of misspells. Please forgive and don't let it distract you too much from the message of my rant. This site doesn't have spell check and I'm terribly dyslexic - just be glad I didnt' spell tit instead of it LOL - so try and restrain yourself from beating me up on the crazy reversals. I simply can't see them whilst I am writing. The bane of my existance. :P

1 person liked this | yRaz yRaz said:

These companies create this problem them selves. They treat paying customers like criminals. the pirated version is often times easier to use than legitimate version. Then they impose these rules on us and can't even support their product. How many Diablo 3s and SimCity launches have there been? How many times has this always online DRM proven itself to be a failure? Every game gets cracked and usually its within the first 24 hours. How many times does this need to fail before we stop doing it? Make a quality product for a decent price and people will buy it. We have DRM ridden software with day one dlc. They are asking too much for their product and giving us too little. The end result is going to be piracy. We must vote with our wallets and that's exactly what pirates are doing.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This site doesn't have spell check and I'm terribly dyslexic
I can't imagine which browser you must be using, not to have a spell check option. Firefox, Opera, and even IE10 has spell check built in. I'm almost certain Chrome has spell check built in as well. IE7, IE8, and IE9 has an add-on that can be installed for spell checking, its called IESpell.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Really that article was mostly waffle and fluff.

Your conclusion:

Just like with used games, if everyone torrented all quality entertainment then it would, in fact, go away.

while an oft repeated mantra of people who can't think outside the box, is demonstably false.

2 people like this | TheBigFatClown said:

Good point by poster above. I think programmers who are used to living like movie stars get upset when there salaries drop from ludicrously high to a paltry ridiculously high. As a society, we have more software available to choose from than we did in the old days. Which allows smart people, like myself, to lag behind the technology curve a bit, and buy games at prices I believe they are worth. I used to pay $60 a game sometimes when the $60 game enjoyed a market unto itself. This is no longer the case.

I love to make this point every time programmers whine about piracy so I will again. I paid $2.49 a piece for triple AAA quality games from BioWare when I caught them on sale. A whopping $7.47 cents for Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2 and Jade Empire. I haven't even finished playing the first one yet. So when you whiny rich programmers realize that not every game that fails to make billions is related to software piracy, maybe you can do something to find real solutions to increase profits. Call of Duty and Battlefield seem to be selling well enough to continue pumping out sequel after sequel.

I think Al Yankovic said it best a few years ago. Paraphrasing here but something along the lines of:

"My last record only went gold instead of platinum so I had to get the small jacuzzi". Pool Al. Makes me wanna cry.

Guest said:

They are not pirates they are thieves and the only question they ask themselves is "can I steal this for free?"

1 person liked this | Guest said:

They are not pirates they are thieves and the only question they ask themselves is "can I steal this for free?"

Oh dear, here we go again.

Copyright infringement is not theft. It is not stealing. It never was, and it never will be.

If someone does not dispossess you of something you have in your possession it is not theft, of any sort, in any way.

When people use the word theft to describe copyright infringement it serves only to highlight the fact that they have not thought about, or are unwilling to think about, what they are saying.

Duskfall said:

These companies create this problem them selves. They treat paying customers like criminals. the pirated version is often times easier to use than legitimate version. Then they impose these rules on us and can't even support their product. How many Diablo 3s and SimCity launches have there been? How many times has this always online DRM proven itself to be a failure? Every game gets cracked and usually its within the first 24 hours. How many times does this need to fail before we stop doing it? Make a quality product for a decent price and people will buy it. We have DRM ridden software with day one dlc. They are asking too much for their product and giving us too little. The end result is going to be piracy. We must vote with our wallets and that's exactly what pirates are doing.

Best answer ever.Dont be the sheep,be the shepherd.You make those companies exist in the first place,make them treat you accordingly.

PS

I miss the old times where I bought a game with these goodies

[link]

and now it has come to this:

[link]

for the SAME price...

Meh

fimbles fimbles said:

Quote "Then we?d have to just sit at home watching f*cking Harlem Shake videos."

Actually there are plenty of full length and short amateur films on you tube, Some of which are pretty good. HD camera equipment is so cheap nowadays anyone with an idea for a cool movie can go out with a few talented actor friends and make one.

Most of them do it for the love of their trade and a little bit of you tube advertising money thrown in.

Guest said:

You know, it's funny how people come to take an artificial, government granted monopoly as if it is some kind of birthright. As if it is natural law, as old as the hills. It isn't you know.

Theft has been well defined for millenia. Copyright has only existed for a few hundred years at most, and only in certain parts of the world at that.

Just because our economy has been built around it doesn't mean it is right. Just because many business models would falter if it was no longer given the force of law doesn't mean it is the best solution for the world we live in.

There is little doubt that the digital age has thrown new light on the ideas of 'intellectual property', the challenge is to have the courage to ask ourselves if we got it right when we came up with these philosophies or if, perhaps, we made a mistake that we now have an opportunity to correct.

TheBigFatClown said:

Quote "Then we?d have to just sit at home watching f*cking Harlem Shake videos."

Actually there are plenty of full length and short amateur films on you tube, Some of which are pretty good. HD camera equipment is so cheap nowadays anyone with an idea for a cool movie can go out with a few talented actor friends and make one.

Most of them do it for the love of their trade and a little bit of you tube advertising money thrown in.

I have nothing against choices. Choices equal freedom in my life. But my choice is to pay $2.49 for a triple AAA title on Steam when caught on sale versus paying $60.00 for a box and some colorful CDs. Just my preference but I support choices and freedom over anything else. That's why I refuse to purchase or even try Windows 8. I can't resist knocking Windows 8 every chance I get. It's like the red headed step child that everybody is always picking on. LOL. Poor windows 8.

TheBigFatClown said:

They are not pirates they are thieves and the only question they ask themselves is "can I steal this for free?"

Oh dear, here we go again.

Copyright infringement is not theft. It is not stealing. It never was, and it never will be.

If someone does not dispossess you of something you have in your possession it is not theft, of any sort, in any way.

When people use the word theft to describe copyright infringement it serves only to highlight the fact that they have not thought about, or are unwilling to think about, what they are saying.

I think you are onto something here...but...you must admit that games, books, music, and movies couldn't be produced without financial incentives. George Lucas would not have be able to produce 6 different Star Wars films if nobody ever paid to see his movies. So, even if I grant you the possibility that your premises are true, that theft only occurs if you dispossess somebody of something, we still have to deal with the reality that 'consumption of intellectual properties without payment' cannot be sustained indefinitely.

And of course you could argue the last point a bit. George Lucas is so filthy rich now that he probably could produce a few more Star Wars films for free without going bankrupt but that's another argument I guess.

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

But what about the unauthorized reproduction or dfistribution of such copyrighted work being illegal? Not thieves, but criminals instead?

fimbles fimbles said:

[link]

Stop crying poverty because you can only afford one ferrari for your car house this year....

1 person liked this | Guest said:

This kind of comment makes me want to 'infringe' your identity...

That would not make you a thief. It would make you a liar.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Yes, my wife will be on Say Yes to The Dress. Show me a girl who wouldn't kill to be on that show and I'll show you someone who has given up.

I'm sorry you've given up on women and now think that every one of them is a bimbo. I'm sorry that you try to defend your wife's decision, which you don't seem very happy about, by insulting all women that have outgrown such shallow and materialistic pursuits. I'm so happy that my hot wife, who also is a gamer, belongs to the latter group. I would post a photo of her like you did, but then again I don't post photos of her to make my point on copyright issues, because it's kind of ... totally unrelated.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to write something related to copyright - hah! I buy lots of music/movies/games _and_ I pirate. Why I pirate? Read below. Would I buy more if I couldn't pirate? No, read below. I also run a successful website for the Linux community, for free.

I stopped going to cinemas a few years ago, due to the unreasonably high ticket prices - only saw 2 movies in the past 3-4 years. I now have a nice big TV/surround sound setup at home. I stopped buying movies and music that come from members of RIAA/MPAA because I can't support the absolutely ridiculous way that they treat ('bully' might be a more appropriate term) their customers, while at the same time they enjoy welfare status from the government that acts like their pimp - on a global scale.

What I do is donate to & support music and movie projects that I like, go to live concerts, and buy merchandise. All that sums up to an amount higher that just buying DVDs/CDs or MP3s, so I'm not a cheap-o. I'm basically cutting down on the greedy middle-man, hoping that he'll eventually die out and let us enjoy the arts like we should.

In regards to games, I spend about 300-400 euros on PC games, annually, for me and my wife. However, I almost never buy them at full price. 30-40? is my upper limit for Skyrim-quality games, while I usually buy at ~10-20?. I have a special rule for DRM ridden games, in that I don't buy them for more than 10-15?. Thankfully, there is a plethora of great games out there, so I can keep my self entertained while I wait for the price to go down. I'm not really into subsidizing executives' sport cars.

Thanks for the UT series Cliffy, I bought and played all of them for years. Stick to games, not writing.

Guest said:

But what about the unauthorized reproduction or dfistribution of such copyrighted work being illegal? Not thieves, but criminals instead?

Criminals to be sure; but the question is, if the law upholds oppression, is it wrong to break it, or is it wrong to follow it?

We live in a democracy, a prerequisite of which is freedom of information. Knowledge is power. When information becomes the province of the rich and is unaffordable to the poor there can only be sham democracy. Information must be free to all, no ifs, no buts.

2 people like this | Guest said:

"we still have to deal with the reality that 'consumption of intellectual properties without payment' cannot be sustained indefinitely"

You probably didn't think about this too much, otherwise you wouldn't just repeat something you heard or read somewhere as a valid argument, because it isn't by any stretch of the imagination.

Have you ever heard of this thing called "civilization" which includes art and science?

Have you got any idea how much everyone has benefited from discoveries other people have made in the past, things they mostly did without any payment at all and sometimes even without recognition?

Have you ever thought what you would be or where you would be without those people who gave up their whole lives to make just a small contribution to society? Do you and can you ever repay them for what they did?

Have you ever thought that the most amazing and greatest discoveries were made by people who only really loved what they did? Have you ever heard of really poor writers, philosophers and painters? People who are long gone and instead of humanity having the chance to see their work, we leave amazing pieces of work to some rich ****** who trade them as a commodity?

And are these priceless pieces of work that made civilization possible in the same category even as games or movies or pop music? What is intellectual property, if not the works of those who advanced our whole species for nothing?

Your "reality" is a reality only in your thoughts, not in reality. Intellectual property without payment is the only means to advance humanity and civilization and not only it can be sustained indefinitely this way, but it is, in fact, the only way to do it.

1 person liked this | treetops treetops said:

"Obviously no one liked what Blizzard pulled, but do you actually blame them for that? Do you think they would have gone through the headache and cost of having those servers up (usually, heh) along with the bad PR and the backlash from their biggest fans if they didn?t see piracy as a major problem with their products?!"

I have no clue why ****** keep trying to argue drm in any way stops piracy. Drm games are cracked just as soon as none drm games. It simply prevents you from going to your friends house and installing the single player game.

1 person liked this | tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

The fall of CATV and the new dawn of DTV will prevail! Cut the cord on Cable TV and you'll feel better!

treetops treetops said:

Whats next will some bands only allow their music to be played on satellite radio? payperview songs? no cable companies arent greedy just because they broke from the standard free tv with commercial platform(sarcasm), yes stealing entertainment is wrong if the artist doesnt want you too, steal bread to feed your family that is another story(edited), if I had a star trek replicator would snickers sue me for making myself a candy bar?

can I make a computer produce every possible combination of sounds\text\pixels one day and copy right it? probably, its already been done with domain names, want to buy property on the moon someone already "owns it". how about a star? someone sells those too, want to buy a star?

Yes you can literally buy a star.

Mapping out the stars and putting them up for sale cost money, don't you know if you falsely claim a star to be yours it raises the cost of stars?

Oh only people that would not have bought a star anyways claim to own stars they don't own!

No no the star seller loses sales because of false star ownership claims, if those false claims did not exist the false claimers would buy stars. That lost revenue is passed down to hard working star buyers!

Wait wait people claiming to own stars they don't own spreads the idea of buying stars boosting sales!

The owner of the star most falsely claimed said he doesn't care(game of thrones most torrented and they dont care)

You know nowadays the star selling industry lobbies washington to pass laws to make false star claims criminal and laws to enforce penalties on these false star claimers. Who pays for all this enforcement? The tax payer! They even pass laws for government funded agencies to function around the clock to weed out these false star claiming s.o.b.s. Who pays for it? Again the working man. Does majority of the people want to pay for these agencies and enforcement? Who knows no one asked them and the star selling industry and politicians dont give a flying f what they think. No they aren't greedy just because they charge a nation of people to enforce laws they probably never wanted to pay for(sarcasm).

Yeah I think I'm crazy too.

p.s. I hear they are working on a reverse flashlight to block out the sky to anyone that doesn't pay a monthly fee.

p.s.s. Don't worry you can see some of the sky in between commercials.

p.s.s.s I actually had a dream before the sky was covered with commercials and I was in the future.

p.s.s.s.s You read all this?

p.s.s.s.s.s. I pirate some content I get on netflix because I like using vlc player, I can easily browse the web and watch. I get consistent HD torrenting. I pirate stuff I don't have on netflix. I don't pirate potential great movies I watch them in the theater. I feel sorry for single payer games that get pirated. Sometimes if I start watching a pirated movie and it looks like a winner I turn it off and go to the theater to watch it.

@Guest I liked yeah those people still exist. Money also motivates though. Do we have more or less innovators because of money motivation, idk. The money scheme drives people so I will say more.

p.z. btw I can't remember if you can buy a star or name one after yourself for a price either way. blah

2 people like this | avioza said:

A poorly constructed, rambling article. Please save the expletives for crass commenters and maintain Techspots dignified image.

2 people like this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It is amazing the "everything is free" culture of the Millenials and even more amazing the excuses they come up with to justify "everything is free." All a part of their entitlement fixation too. Thank their helicopter parents for empowering them with that little dysfunction.

My younger brother has 5 kids. They are a devoutly religious family with a big painting of the Ten Commandments on their living room wall. Including the "Thou Shalt Not Steal" one.

One day I was visiting and they mentioned they were having computer problems. I'm an IT professional so volunteered to take a look. When I started glancing through their files I found an insane amount of torrented material. Games, movies, music and software. Close to a terabyte's worth. I pointed this out to my brother and said, "you know all of these downloads are illegal." And he acted mildly surprised. His response was, "the kids told me they got it off the internet and you know the internet - everything is free." I told him, "when you guys go to WalMart on your weekly shopping spree and you see these items on the shelves, are they free?" He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away - obviously, it wasn't important to him.

So there you go - you have this generation who believe that torrenting is a perfectly legitimate practice combined with parents who have no idea it's going on, nor do they care if they do know.

I'll be curious to see when these Millenials have their own kids, how they're going to handle the topic of theft in raising their own kids.

2 people like this | wcbert said:

"We live in a democracy, a prerequisite of which is freedom of information. Knowledge is power. When information becomes the province of the rich and is unaffordable to the poor there can only be sham democracy. Information must be free to all, no ifs, no buts."

Since when is entertainment consider the same as information, like news? It is entertainment pure and simple, candy for the brain. Following your logic the public should have free access to the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones to be better informed. Informed of what which character just go killed off.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

The music/movie/television industry is completely at fault here. If they want me to buy something don't offer me shit and tell me it's candy. Metallica album for 30 bucks, but it has 1 good song, Blu-ray movies for 30-60 bucks for a single movie and a ton of behind the scenes garbage.

Why do people download? Because they know damn well they are stealing from the real pirates already and you can't steal from thieves!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

You're full of it Guest - and typical of the "why it's OK for me to steal."

I routinely buy blu-ray movies for $5. In fact, bought "Airplane!" just the other day for five bucks. $30 for a Metallica album? What - did you want it gold plated? You can buy Metallica mp3 download albums for $9. And if you wait for sales on Amazon and iTunes can get it for $2-3 less.

Quit making up lame excuses because you've chosen to steal.

Guest said:

Since when is entertainment consider the same as information, like news? It is entertainment pure and simple, candy for the brain. Following your logic the public should have free access to the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones to be better informed. Informed of what which character just go killed off.

I didn't mention entertainment in my post because I wasn't talking about it. I was simply making an argument against monopolies on information, of which copyright is an example.

treetops treetops said:

It is amazing the "everything is free" culture of the Millenials and even more amazing the excuses they come up with to justify "everything is free." All a part of their entitlement fixation too. Thank their helicopter parents for empowering them with that little dysfunction.

My younger brother has 5 kids. They are a devoutly religious family with a big painting of the Ten Commandments on their living room wall. Including the "Thou Shalt Not Steal" one.

One day I was visiting and they mentioned they were having computer problems. I'm an IT professional so volunteered to take a look. When I started glancing through their files I found an insane amount of torrented material. Games, movies, music and software. Close to a terabyte's worth. I pointed this out to my brother and said, "you know all of these downloads are illegal." And he acted mildly surprised. His response was, "the kids told me they got it off the internet and you know the internet - everything is free." I told him, "when you guys go to WalMart on your weekly shopping spree and you see these items on the shelves, are they free?" He just shrugged his shoulders and walked away - obviously, it wasn't important to him.

So there you go - you have this generation who believe that torrenting is a perfectly legitimate practice combined with parents who have no idea it's going on, nor do they care if they do know.

I'll be curious to see when these Millenials have their own kids, how they're going to handle the topic of theft in raising their own kids.

thou shall not replicate, it seems to come down to philosphy of which your brothers would imply it is wrong, I agree with you, there is no reason to steal entertainment

"We live in a democracy, a prerequisite of which is freedom of information. Knowledge is power. When information becomes the province of the rich and is unaffordable to the poor there can only be sham democracy. Information must be free to all, no ifs, no buts."

Since when is entertainment consider the same as information, like news? It is entertainment pure and simple, candy for the brain. Following your logic the public should have free access to the Walking Dead or Game of Thrones to be better informed. Informed of what which character just go killed off.

yup yup, you could argue some entertainment enlightens the mind, but that is just an extremist point of view, I seem to be the minority who admits its wrong and still does it, it is odd how uncommon within the pirate community, I mean people don't like eat fast food then try to convince others its good for them, it reminds me of a heavy drug users mentality, denial. I could philosophy it up and argue for piracy but you can do that with any topic and the more unknowns you use to justify your point the more likely it is that you are wrong.

people feed their families making entertainment, you don't NEED entertainment, they need to feed their families, not everyone in the entertainment industry is rich, what about the factory worker who makes DVD's or stand in actor in the back ground waiting tables?

what I said earlier was to provoke a different perspective to a broken record set of responses we see every time any piralosphy article is written

lobbying is also wrong but that does not make stealing right and as stated not everyone making entertainment has anything to do with the wrongs of the big wigs, cliche time 2 wrongs dont make a right

p.s. this shouldn't have to be said but no one is forcing you to buy entertainment, the high priced argument is not wise. its not a necessity, it is practically the opposite

1 person liked this | Guest said:

It is amazing the "everything is free" culture of the Millenials

It is amazing that anyone would maintain that anyone believes that 'everything is free'. I doubt there is a single person in the world who believes 'everything is free' or that it should be.

There are however billions of people who believe that knowledge should be free.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Quit making up lame excuses because you've chosen to steal.

I challenge you to produce a law from any country that states in no uncertain terms that copyright infringement is theft. When you realise you can't do it maybe you will be a little less careless with your words.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Not careless with my words at all.

Simple example. Your Metallica CD is on sale at WalMart for $9. You pass on that and instead illegally download it so you can have it for free.

That's theft.

Tygerstrike said:

Im sorry I have to agree with the author. His argument is just. Despite that lack luster moral fiber of the pirates. The author is correct. 1. We built the machine that allows jr. snotnose s.o.b. to pirate. 2. We created the industry that is being stolen from. 3. We are ultimatly responsable for our actions.

All I see when someone attempts to justify their theft is ppl who could use a good ass whoopin. What?? Are they just that stupid? Did I.Q. points fall off the charts?? The only reason they are doing it is because they just dont want to pay. Period. Thats all it boils down too. Well thats too damn bad. There is a cost for everything. They get away with this because they are at home and they think they are safe in their personal fortress of stupidity. Im betting they wouldnt steal a physical item for the same reason. Try and go and steal a handful of CDs from walmart. Im 100% sure you would be caught and prosecuted. Then spend 3-5 years of their life in prison because they were just being stupid. Its just not worth it.

When you steal digital material you rob inevitably everyone who actually paid for the product. You steal from so many ppl who really need that money to feed their families. You steal from future projects from the ppl who created the material being stolen. No one will put good money into a project that they are not going to make money on.

Think on this. You sit there and pirate a movie because you feel you shouldnt have to pay for it. Now lets switch this around. Someone else, with a better skill set then you, decides they dont feel like paying their rent. They decide to steal your identity. They empty your bank accounts, ruin your credit rating for the next 7 years. Right there lies the difference. To you its ok because its some nameless faceless giant corporation so screw them. To the person who has stolen your identity, its the same thing. Same computer, same results. Only difference is that those companies can eat that lose. You cant. So next time you want to pirate, ask yourself. Is it really worth it.

1 person liked this | Prosercunus said:

The piracy thing is a moot point because it is human nature to try and get things for free. Also I think a lot of people are not exactly at a ethical crossroads when clicking on that torrent or download link simply because the companies have taken the consumer on a greed ride for ages. Right or wrong, you decide. I personally will download things I have no intention of buying anyway, some people will pick apart that logic, which is fine as I could give two shits.

1 person liked this | McNasty said:

If users had a way to get a refund from gaming companies when they get robbed after buying titles like the latest Alien game or Sim City then maybe we can start of conversation about privacy. As long as the gaming industry offers no way for paying customers to get their money back after been robbed, I don't want to hear any studios crying about privacy.

Most companies stand behind their products by offering refunds for unsatisfied customers. The gaming industry has paid off our politicians so we can't be refunded. I say F you until customers can get a refund, I don't have a problem with some stealing your game in the same why your stealing customers money with releases like Aliens & Sim City.

treetops treetops said:

Im sorry I have to agree with the author. His argument is just. Despite that lack luster moral fiber of the pirates. The author is correct. 1. We built the machine that allows jr. snotnose s.o.b. to pirate. 2. We created the industry that is being stolen from. 3. We are ultimatly responsable for our actions.

All I see when someone attempts to justify their theft is ppl who could use a good *** whoopin. What?? Are they just that stupid? Did I.Q. points fall off the charts?? The only reason they are doing it is because they just dont want to pay. Period. Thats all it boils down too. Well thats too damn bad. There is a cost for everything. They get away with this because they are at home and they think they are safe in their personal fortress of stupidity. Im betting they wouldnt steal a physical item for the same reason. Try and go and steal a handful of CDs from walmart. Im 100% sure you would be caught and prosecuted. Then spend 3-5 years of their life in prison because they were just being stupid. Its just not worth it.

When you steal digital material you rob inevitably everyone who actually paid for the product. You steal from so many ppl who really need that money to feed their families. You steal from future projects from the ppl who created the material being stolen. No one will put good money into a project that they are not going to make money on.

Think on this. You sit there and pirate a movie because you feel you shouldnt have to pay for it. Now lets switch this around. Someone else, with a better skill set then you, decides they dont feel like paying their rent. They decide to steal your identity. They empty your bank accounts, ruin your credit rating for the next 7 years. Right there lies the difference. To you its ok because its some nameless faceless giant corporation so screw them. To the person who has stolen your identity, its the same thing. Same computer, same results. Only difference is that those companies can eat that lose. You cant. So next time you want to pirate, ask yourself. Is it really worth it.

Not everyone in the industry can eat the loss, people get laid off, lowly factory workers get pay cuts. You are right it is just really easy to get away with. I know it is no excuse and I am completely wrong for pirating, understanding that, I will not pirate when I get a higher income. No I am not justifying anything.

@guest you don't have to neglect whats right because of is not expressly written in the law, I don't legally have to open the door for a stranger using crutches, but you know what I do

@McNasty you know the gamble it is your choice to participate just like a casino, be glad you can resell it on ebay well if its not tied to origin\steam\battlenet. Either case you know the gamble no one forces you to buy anything. The lemon law is specific to cars for a reason.

p.s. you can always make a new account for each game, lame I know but that way you can resell it on ebay

1 person liked this | Guest said:

No. I won't pay an outrageous pile of money to sign up for cable so that I can watch 1 show.

Call Comcast. I want to watch Game of Thrones!

Ok you will need this package. Quotes price. $$$$

Is that in hd? No you will need to add this much $$$

Does this service come with a dvr or any kind of time shifting??? No you will need to add this much more $$$

All to watch 1 show.

Until I can download individual episodes the same day they air or buy a season pass to a specific show.

I will continue to torrent the **** out of content.

Piracy is currently the only alternative I have.

Do I purchase and support the shows I love when they come out on Blu-ray?

Hell yes I do.

Tv show executives please come up with a business model that suits me the paying customer.

treetops treetops said:

@McNasty

Edison money hungry sob and made the light bulb and direct current!

Tesla not money hungry, pretty much sought knowledge for knowledge sake, but definitely appreciated monies uses, refined edison's direct current, created alternate current making electricity available across the world.

Both great men, 2 different motivations. Without both you would likely be still using candles.

Who cares if money was the motivation, sure one was more noble... just because others are motivated by money does not mean people like tesla cease to exist.

Guest said:

Not careless with my words at all.

Simple example. Your Metallica CD is on sale at WalMart for $9. You pass on that and instead illegally download it so you can have it for free.

That's theft.

Nope, never was theft, never will be. It is infringement of an artificial, government-granted monopoly.

treetops treetops said:

Nope, never was theft, never will be. It is infringement of an artificial, government-granted monopoly.

How is it a monopoly? Monopolies are illegal. You mean the lobbily funded organized effort to pass bills to make priating illegal? Oil companies lobby should you steal from them? Should you keep stealing from a local oil refinery until they shut down because the people who run the company lobby? Do you care about people who lose their jobs?

The only morally viable argument for piracy could be that they get more sales through word of mouth but I bet that is highly unlikely and not our choice as a implementation to boost sales that is up to the company. You don't care that when you pirate a book people get lower pay that work for book printing companies or laid off or completely shut down? Its not rocket science more people would buy books if they were not available for free.

Tygerstrike said:

@treetops

No matter how hard you try you will never change their mind. Only reality will do that. They need to be stolen from before they themselves will realize that they are thieves. No ifs ands or maybes. They dont see it beacuse of two reasons. 1. Its doesnt impact them directly so they feel its ok. 2. They choose to believe that they are not thieves but some form of freedom fighter. Sitting safely in their computer room whanking it whilst they press that torrent link. Guess what "freedom fighter", the only thing your freeing is the govt to eventually come arrest you. And before the ney sayers hop in and say it will never happen. Guess what it is already happening. Eventually, despite your thefts, the MPAA/RIAA will make it illegal and every bit that you have downloaded will be used against you. You are not smarter then them. If you were, you would be working for them. You may think you have the perfect defence against this but you would be incorrect. No matter how smart you think you are there is someone smarter then you working against you. In this case it will be the money thats smarter then you. They will Lobby and they will win. Maybe not this year maybe not in the next 5 years. But it will happen. So enjoy your petty theft while you can because eventually you will end up in some nice mid max prison sharing a cell with a gentleman that thinks you have some soft hands and a "purty mouth". While being pounded rudly in your backside, you will have the great honor of knowing that you could have stopped anytime, but didnt. That you could have been an advocate and kept others from the same fate. Enjoy your preperation H ppl you will have earned it.

treetops treetops said:

@treetops

No matter how hard you try you will never change their mind. Only reality will do that. They need to be stolen from before they themselves will realize that they are thieves. No ifs ands or maybes. They dont see it beacuse of two reasons. 1. Its doesnt impact them directly so they feel its ok. 2. They choose to believe that they are not thieves but some form of freedom fighter. Sitting safely in their computer room whanking it whilst they press that torrent link. Guess what "freedom fighter", the only thing your freeing is the govt to eventually come arrest you. And before the ney sayers hop in and say it will never happen. Guess what it is already happening. Eventually, despite your thefts, the MPAA/RIAA will make it illegal and every bit that you have downloaded will be used against you. You are not smarter then them. If you were, you would be working for them. You may think you have the perfect defence against this but you would be incorrect. No matter how smart you think you are there is someone smarter then you working against you. In this case it will be the money thats smarter then you. They will Lobby and they will win. Maybe not this year maybe not in the next 5 years. But it will happen. So enjoy your petty theft while you can because eventually you will end up in some nice mid max prison sharing a cell with a gentleman that thinks you have some soft hands and a "purty mouth". While being pounded rudly in your backside, you will have the great honor of knowing that you could have stopped anytime, but didnt. That you could have been an advocate and kept others from the same fate. Enjoy your preperation H ppl you will have earned it.

Look at porn sites, the future will be streamed pirated movies, they have been trying to stop copy righted porn forever. Of course those sites will have viruses just like most free porn sites.

I hope you don't think rape is a good part of our justice system.I doubt you do but this is the quazy internetz.

idk why I am taking everything seriously this morning

Tygerstrike said:

@Tree

Unfortunatly the days of a pretty much free internet are going to quickly come to a halt. The more piracy and money lost due to piracy, the more groups like MPAA/RIAA will Lobby. Their agenda is to clamp down on all copyright protected material. Yes their MAIN goal is to protect their ppl, but once rolling, we will see more and more material being covered. All it would take is literally enough ppl to STOP pirating so the issue dies down. Thats all really. Take a break from stealing for a few months. Let it drop to a blip on the news. Unless this happends, we WILL see more and more restrictions. We will see more and more of the lawsuits against regular ppl. Who by the way really cant afford a Lawyer in todays economy.

As for the jail comment, Im sorry I would feel no pity for them. If they got tossed into prison due to their inability to basically stop thieving. Its about a choice. If they chose to pirate then they can chose to accpet the consiquences. Eventually prison will be where they end up if they continue to pirate. Information is the "new" gold. And even giant multi billions corporations enjoy their gold.

wiyosaya said:

IMHO, the easy thing is to complain about the way things are; the harder thing is to suggest something different. I don't have any solutions, and I am not going to rant about how things are. I can see both sides of the argument.

I have, however, one disk recently that has none of the usual pirate warnings on. it I forget which one it is, and it is a legitimate disk. IMHO, this is great because then I am not treated like I am a criminal because I payed for the disk. In this respect, there is an old adage about the law - "ignorance is no excuse for the law." If the warning were not present on any legitimate commercial disk, and if someone who bought that disk then pirated it and got caught, the lack of a warning on the disk would be no excuse for that person.

Guest said:

@TomSEA;

Tom, you are tech reporter, or whatever, and you should know the difference betwen steal and copy. It is not the same thing! Steal if you steal something like car or thing, while copy if you copy song, software, game, etc. And that is not the same!

You aren't some ordinary person, you are into tech and you should know about this.

Yes yes it might be wrong, but if I would copy this or that I wouldn't bought it, because I don't have enough money for every game, mp3, movie, etc. So would you rather see me try it suggest it to friend or rather I don't try it and friend who might wanna buy it would never hear of it?

I have HBO and HBOonDemand, but I still download latest Game of Thrones from TPB, and I seed untill next episode is available (just to make myself clear I have 100/50, so I get pretty insane ratio in that time). And I suggested it to all my friends and they to their friends, etc. etc. Many of them bought BluRay if they could, still many don't think it is worth one show for sub.

I bought a lot of games throught Steam, even BF3 and Premium when they were most expensive! Do I fell stupid because I could get both for like 25$? No. I had great time playing it and I would buy it all again (another 100?) if I could. But of course I pirated first.

And don't start with that DRM thing. I bought every AC for PC, but do I play it on Steam? Nope. Cracked version is a way to go.

So tell me, how is something that I stole is still at owner "house"? Steal != copy

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