Author Topic: About Piracy  (Read 5120 times)

Offline Heretic86

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About Piracy
« on: October 04, 2013, 12:44:24 AM »
What I dont get is why so many people think that companies wont make a dime unless their DRM is very difficult to break.  It is almost as if the public in general is demanding stronger DRM then turn right back around and oppose DRM.  DRM is not the and all and be all as a prevention measure of piracy.  Nor is it to say that without DRM only pirates will benefit.

The best way to combat Piracy is with Honesty.  You want it and like it, pay for it and support the company.  You dont like it, dont buy it.  Pretty simple.  DRM is no substitute for Honesty. 

If we like Enterbrain, if we like certain products, then buy them.  I bought XP.  I did not buy VX or Ace because I do not like them.  I would buy an XP Ace if they ever created a product.  As I dont own VX or Ace, many of my scripts are intended only for XP and I need support of others in the community to validate a scripts functionality with VX or Ace.  But intending to write a Script in XP doesnt entitle me to steal Enterbrains Products just in order to write scripts in those products to share with the rest of the community.  If we ever do want to see XP Ace, anyone that has pirated XP would do well to flat out buy it.  Once its paid for, I could really care less if the DRM is broken by the person who legitimately paid for the product.  Many people use Game Cracks to avoid having to put a CD/DVD/Blu Ray in their drives although they've paid for the product.  Unfortunately, that opened the door to piracy because now people have a way of using software without having paid for it.  It just creates incentives and there isnt really any easy solution except for people to behave Honestly.  That goes for End Users, Developers, and Publishers.  A good example would be Good Old Games / GOG.  DRM Free and they are still in business.

I believe that the Real Pirates are the ones who stand to benefit the most.  This would mean that the Publishers who deprive the Developers as the Real Pirates, of course, that is debatable as Publishers have become one of those semi-necessary evils.
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About Piracy
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 08:33:19 AM »
I split this into a new topic. I believe it will make a good discussion.

The issue is actually somewhat more complicated. Most people who pirate wouldn't buy the product anyway so technically the companies are losing a lot less than they claim. On the other hand there are companies that make overpriced products and expect people to buy them without even trying. Piracy becomes useful in a sense that you can try something before you buy. It's bad for the companies, because they can't sell the cat in a sack anymore and have to put more effort into making a better product which is beneficial for customers, but obviously bad for companies. e.g. In the game industry, somebody can pirate a game, play it through completely and at the end they decide that it wasn't worth the money, so they don't pay. In today's world there is often an X-day return guarantee or something like "pay only if you like it", but practices like this aren't exercised by many companies so piracy offers this possibility without the companies' consents.

There is also the factor that it's actually in the interest of big companies for certain software to get pirated. Why did Microsoft allow massive pirating of Windows in China? Because if everybody uses Windows and gets used to it, they won't switch. Microsoft doesn't actually ever have to be "Yeah, guys, you should pay.", because just leaving things as it is, they have a hold of a big market share and even though they aren't making money, they still prevent other OSes from taking hold in that market. So in a way, they are wiping out the competition, but the price is that they aren't making any money, at least for now.

Similar companies and products are 3D Studio Max or Photoshop. If Adobe can get a bunch of people to learn their software in their free time, when start working for some company, that company will have to buy a proper license for that person to be able to work. Same reason why small companies usually aren't bothered by inspections for software licenses, but as they get bigger, they are pressured to buy them. Basically they are allowing piracy in order to create new customers.

So it's a bunch of bullshit that companies claim that they are losing so much money. They aren't. Sure, they are losing money, but not even closely as much as they claim, maybe 10%-20% of their claims.
Plus, they ignore the free marketing and exposure they get. If there is an unknown new actor in a movie and it gets pirated 5 times more than the movie gets watched in the theaters, it obviously means that this actor got 5 times more exposure.

There will always be people who will download and use stuff without any intention of ever paying for it. This is obviously wrong. If you like something, you should pay for it.

Currently movie and music publishers are the worst. They are the ones who try to push stuff like PIPA, SOPA and ACTA. They feel that people are massively stealing from them by downloading pirates movies and music. But they don't realize that these people really wouldn't pay for it if they couldn't pirate it. e.g. If somebody tells me a movie is bad, I'm not even gonna pirate it.

There is a recent game about game development which was pirated heavily. There was a whole controversy about it. Basically, the pirated version wasn't pirated, but the developers put it up themselves and integrated a "bug" that would cause you to lose all game progress at one point because people start pirating your games within the game and you just keep losing money until you lose the game. It's pretty ironic, lol! In any case, in a statement the developers said something like "If you pirate from EA, they don't lose that much and they will survive. But those $7 that you take from US, a SMALL DEVELOPER, that hurts us a lot." Not to mention the price gap between $60 and $7. $7 are 2 coffees in the US if I'm not wrong and I doubt that most people can't afford 2 coffees.
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Offline ForeverZer0

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 03:18:58 PM »
You can't argue that piracy is an "honest" thing to do, or the right thing, but I also agree with Blizzard on how it does not have the effect that the companies claim. I am guilty of downloading movies and software on a daily basis, I NEVER go buy it at the store to "support" the company who developed it, and I will continue to do so.  I know this is "wrong", but I don't honestly feel bad about it. I program using Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate, a $11,304.15 piece of software. Did Microsoft just lose that much money because I do that?  No, I would never pay that much money for software, that price is aimed towards software development companies, and if I couldn't pirate it, I would simply use the free version, and put up with missing some features that by and large I don't use anyways.

Almost the same can be said of movies. I watch lots of movies when I get the free time, but only a fraction of which I would ever actually purchase. I will go to the cinema and watch movies there, just for the experience and the social aspect of it, but realistically I would only ever actually buy maybe 1/15 of the movies that I download. Is it taking away from the companies profits?  Yes, slightly, but not in the way that the companies claim it does. According to them, they would count that they lost profit on the purchase of 15 movies, just because I downloaded 15 movies, when in reality, it would only be the one that I would actually purchase, not just the ones I watched.

All in all, yes, I agree that piracy is "wrong", but it is an over-exaggerated issue. 
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2013, 04:13:15 PM »
This is actually a really good topic, and I agree with Blizzard, that it should be pretty interesting.

I'll use the game Diablo 2 as an example. I have bought it (and it's expansion) three different times, and once as part of a battle chest. So, I spent $20x3 and $40x1 on it; In total, I spent roughly $100 on the game. Yep, seems like a lot. That also means I had/have four separate license key sets. I have also downloaded it before without purchasing it, twice, for two different reasons. The first time was before I ever purchased a single copy; I wanted to try it out, and played it in single player mode. Thought it was awesome, so I purchased it, and got to play it online without the fear that I was running an illegal copy. Most recently, I downloaded a copy because after contacting support, and explaining I had bought 3 copies previously, and, that I was able to tell them all three accounts and the e-mail addresses I had used, they still wouldn't give me a replacement key or re-activate my old keys, so I decided they could go screw off, and I got my "black" copy of it. About a year ago, I found the game+expansion on sale, so I bought it and installed with a legitimate key, and, it's a digital download version that will allow me to come back and re-download whenever I need to, even on different computers.

That's just one example, and it's specific to me, but, my point is that yes, I pirated a game, but I ended up buying it because I liked it. The kicker to it is that most people I know that pirate things, do the same thing as well, try it, then buy it if they like it. Although I can not argue that piracy is good or bad, I will definitely point out that one reason people pirate is that they can't afford the price of the software they want. Perfect example, I have Dreamweaver 6, and I would gladly pay for it, if I had the money; chances are good that when I get the money, I will buy an "official" copy of it, but until then, that's not possible.
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2013, 08:36:42 PM »
I program using Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate, a $11,304.15 piece of software. Did Microsoft just lose that much money because I do that?  No, I would never pay that much money for software
[...]
but realistically I would only ever actually buy maybe 1/15 of the movies that I download.
See this is what I don't get about people who pirate (including myself lol). What makes us think that we are entitled to use professional software and watch any movie we want, when we clearly cannot afford it and don't feel we have to pay for it?
Software and media are products just like anything else, and we can't just walk in to Wal-Mart and try out the toilet paper before we buy it, can we? (unless samples)

Personally, I don't pirate anything that is currently on the market. I only pirate old games eg. PS1, N64, GBA, and even NDS/GC. I don't even attempt to pirate anything from PS2 and above because (I don't like many ps2 games) I feel wrong not paying for games that are still on the shelves. I wanted to pirate kh games, but instead I just ripped them from all my cds and I actually did buy the gba/ds/3ds/psp versions of them.

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 09:05:24 PM »
See this is what I don't get about people who pirate (including myself lol). What makes us think that we are entitled to use professional software and watch any movie we want, when we clearly cannot afford it and don't feel we have to pay for it?

It's clearly not "entitlement", I personally, nor do I think most people believe that it is "owed" to them. If I couldn't get software or movies, then I just wouldn't, I am not losing anything. Furthermore, I don't understand how anyone can take a stand and say it's okay to pirate one thing, and not another. Morally, it's all the same thing, even if it's an outdated NES game that you can't purchase from the store anymore.  I bet if you look online, there are plenty of them for sale by retro shops and private sellers, and I bet they don't appreciate your piracy anymore than large companies selling modern merchandise do. It's the same argument I already made, maybe it would make no effect, maybe you would not buy an over-priced GBA game from them, and they lost nothing, or if you would have, then you just "stole" profit from them, large company or not.
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2013, 09:38:04 PM »
The thing is, when buying a NES or GB game you're not paying for the game, you are paying for the privilege of owning the cartridge. A price that is set by someone who thinks it's fair to pay $100+ for a game that was only worth $30. I also don't feel bad pirating them because said people did not make the original game. They simply own the last few copies of it, and are charging royalties for it. Also, I don't really pirate anything that I didn't already buy because there are few games that I actually care about that I did not previously own. It's still pirating because obviously just because I've owned it previously doesn't mean I'm entitled to unlimited rom downloads of it, but it does help me feel a bit better lol.

Offline Heretic86

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 01:07:49 AM »
The Generous Man Walks Barefoot.

Its a Metaphor.  It isnt for their lack of ability to pay for shoes that causes them to be in such a state, but their selflessness that causes them to be shoeless.  In this case, the Generous Man gives away all that he has to others because he feels that their needs outweigh his own.  He doesnt benefit financially for his efforts, but does feel that he is rewarded by a sense of altruism.  Its one of the reasons you see many religious figures depicted withotu shoes.  They put other peoples needs before their own.

The opposite of this is Greed.  We all know that there are some companies out there who put profits ahead of EVERYTHING else.  They put Profits ahead of Employee Wellbeing.  They put Profits ahead of the needs of the people who their products or services are designed to help.  But they want their cake and eat it too.  The thing is, they can have their cake and eat it, but the way they have to accomplish it is to shit it back out so they can still have it.  Greed devours itself.

In terms of Piracy, there is a BALANCE between being Altruistic and Greed.  There are many cases where Piracy actually HELPS the sale of a product.  But businesses wont survive by giving away everything they create for free.  Businesses that devour themselves through Greed also wont survive.  I sure as hell wouldnt pay 1,000 bucks for a Video Game.  And AAA Games are quickly reaching the same development costs as Blockbuster Movies.  Sure, they need to stay in business, but charging too much for a product pushes people into Piracy for that product.  There is a Balance.

As F0 said, $10,000+ for VS Unlimited as F0 said is completely unaffordable for the average person.  The thing is VS Unlimited can still run on the average persons computer.  A validating point for charging so much for this product is the ammt of effort it takes a company to produce such a product is very very high.  Many of the costs included are also in the Education of the Developers.  And there is a huge drawback in that mom and pop are not going to have any interest in the product what so ever.  So you have High Development Cost and very few purchases of the product.  The price has to go way up in order for the company to stay in business and develop the next version of VS.

Piracy also tremendously helps these companies because if a person understands how to use such an extremely complex product, they will have more incentive to buy.  3D Studio, Maya, Visual Studio, Etc.  High End Products.  These products have the problem of targetting to a buyer base that doesnt know how to use their products.  Its a Rock and a Hard Place.  They have to know how to use the Product before they can earn money to afford the Product.  You cant get a job without specific experience, but you cant get experience without that specific job.  The solution to this is Learning Editions.  Some features are limited, but cost to the individual that wants to learn is much lower, affordable and in their price range.  This helps to have that Balance between Filthy Rich and Barefoot Altruist.

Its a Balance.  If a person was charged 99 cents every time they listened to a song on their I-Device, they'd resort to Piracy.  Or, they'd listen to their Music by some means that doesnt cost them anything to listen.  TV shows cost loads of money to produce and distribute.  Yet, they can still stay in business even when end user gets to see the shows and movies they produce for Free.  This is offset by Advertising.  But people dont always respond that great to heavy Advertising when they have the option of changing the channel to something else that will give them what they want.  Got two Rock Stations over the Radio, one plays a commercial, flip to the other one.  But for them to have their cake and eat it, they'd have only ONE Radio station that plays X-Type of music.  Captive Audience.  Many companies are upsetting the Balance by forcing Advertising on us during observation of their Products in order to bolster their profits.  And that Forced Interrupting Advertising drives their audience to competitive ways to use the products.

I typically do Pirate TV Shows.  I have a DVR that records two shows at the same time.  Yeah, need to upgrade that, but Im broke.  The shows I pirate, I can watch on my DVR but since there are 3 shows that come on at the same time that I watch, I dont have much choice.  So the show I pirate is the one with the most intrusive advertising.  They've been putting this crap at the bottom of the screen that many times covers as much as a full third of the screen.  Those types of Ads are covering up Subtitles and other show content to such an extent that the show is nearly unwatchable.  Some channels do it more than others, so I pirate the show that does it the worst.  Funny thing is that the Pirated version doesnt have any of that crap at the bottom of the screen.  I would have gotten that show for free anyway on my DVR so to me I dont see much of a difference.

The point of that is people respond to Incentives.  Piracy is not Good.  Piracy is not Evil.  It is not Moral or Immoral, Piracy is Competition, and Competition thrives due to Incentives.  People have an Incentive to not pay for products, as much as they do to Pay when the products are Maintained, people are provided Support, or in cases of Games, Sequels!  DRM doesnt stop Piracy.  It barely even slows it down.  DRM when extreme also drives many people to resort to Piracy for products they are willing to pay for.  I'll also admit that I had to Pirate the game Prey when it was released.  I bought it, didnt play it for a couple of weeks, but their Online DRM went offline and I was unable to use the product I paid for.  So I pirated it.  I paid for it, and I wanted to use it.  The pirates provided better support for the game I paid for than the company did.  It created an Incentive by Competing.  The support the Pirates provided was better than the support the Company provided.  With Prey, their DRM company went out of business and their servers were shut down so no one could play.  It was several months, but they finally did send me a DVD of the game, but that was months after the company folded.  Point is that the Competition created the Incentive to use a Pirated Version over the Legitimate Version. 

The ironic bit here is that Piracy probably still helped Game Sales.  If there was no other way to play the game other than to use the Online DRM version, sales would have been much lower.  There is no incentive to buy a game that you can not play because their DRM Servers are offline.  The support provided by Piracy enabled people to play the game despite the DRM company going out of business.  DRM could have destroyed years of work by the Developers, and the very Developers who feared Piracy were helped out by the Piracy of their game.  Many times the people who Pirate copyrighted material are the legitimate paying customers.

Many of the Publishers try to fear monger by creating unrealistic damages caused by Piracy.  People who pirate arent always looking for the Product for free.  Some who use pirated products have no intention of ever paying for that product to begin with.  The Publishers respond to their own fear mongering and keep trying to come up with ever more and more invasive methods of DRM protection.  They are fooling themselves into thinking that all piracy is bad, and all people who use pirated software are evil.  It isnt and they arent. 

These companies need to see Piracy for what it truly is.  Competition.  I bought a Toyota but I never get it worked on at the Toyota dealership.  Why?  Competition offers me more incentive.  Theres nothing illegal or unlawful about having another more affordable mechanic work on my car.  I love my car.  It still runs great.  But all things break down, and you have to do standard maintenance.  Replace belts and hoses, brakes, oil changes, etc.  The truly Greedy Publishers (not all are) would sell you a Toyota and do everything in their power to force you to only have Maintenance done by their Dealerships.  Trust me, there are some that would propose such ideas because one way to best your competition is to make the Competition Illegal, which many times eliminates the Competition.  With Piracy it flat out does not work.  When these companies wake up to the fact that Piracy is Competition and the best way to handle Competition is to be Competitive.  Offer Competitive Prices and Incentives.  Offer Competitive Maintenance.  Offer Competitive means to make sure that when products are paid for, that services are provided in reasonable times.  I wouldnt go to Toyota and wait a week and a half for an Oil Change when I can get it done at a local Mechanic in 30 minutes.  Or I'd just do it myself, weather permitting.

These Greedy Companies are now trying as hard as they can to Eliminate Competition and still treat Pirates as All Bad and Evil.  Evidence of this is the War on Used Game Sales.  They want to Repeal the Bill of First Sale Doctrine because it stands in the way of their Profits.  Again, Balance between Greed an Altruism.  If I cant SELL a game I purchased and paid for, I've now been given an Incentive to Pirate the game because I cant sell it.  They are missing the point in that they are the ones pushing me to resort to Piracy by creating an Incentive to use the Competition over their Services.  Its not that I dont want to support the company that created the product, but I feel as a consumer, I am now being punished for paying for their product.

The only time I feel Piracy truly hurts the content creators is when Pirates duplicate and sell the products and keep all the money from the sales for themselves.  Most people who download software do NOT do this.  And personally, I think that the application of the label of Pirate to people who Download Software is a misapplication of the term.  The only Real Pirates are the ones that Financially Harm the Creators of the Product.  This includes both the Publishers, and those who Duplicate the Product and keep all of the money from the sales for themselves.  When the term Pirate is applied to you and I, it implies that we are Criminals because we respoded to Incentives which simply does not distinguish Theft from Quality of Service.  You and I are not Pirates.  We dont intend to cause harm to the Developers or their Company.  We dont try to make money by selling stolen stuff.  Most people steal Pens from work.  We take them home and use them.  That isnt Piracy.  It barely qualifies as Theft.  Intentionally taking Pens from work and selling them to our friends at a lower rate would be Theft because there is an intention of benefitting from harming another.  We are NOT Pirates, and the more that we think of ourselves as Pirates, the more we fall into their Legal Loopholes by agreeing with their misapplication of terms, and begin to think of ourselves as Criminals.

We are not Pirates.  We are not criminals.  We are only NEITHER Pirates nor Criminals when we do not intend to harm by our Actions, and do not try to SELL downloaded material.  And I think people who take advantage of being able to download software that can be used in an unrestricted fashion need to STOP referring to themselves as Pirates.  We simply respond to the Incentives offered by Competition.  We are DOWNLOADERS, not Pirates.
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 09:11:07 PM »
Heretic has a strong point. In a nutshell today publishers are not only trying to sell you their product, but also to control the way you use it. While it is not illegal, because technically you are signing a binding contract, it is plain wrong. We live in an age where property of others are regarded somewhat of a sacred thing. If we own property, we should control the way we use it. Even if we pay for the privilege to use it, we should still have control over how we use it. DRM tries to enforce this. This is DRM's true purpose. I recently read an article where a few bigger companies admitted that DRM wasn't supposed to prevent piracy but to control the usage of their products. And I personally believe that this is just plain wrong. Valuing the property of others is part of our current society and if we go against this, we are downgrading. The only plausible combination is to get rid of the property system altogether, but that isn't going to happen, at least not soon.
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 10:05:33 PM »
I think one simple solution would be for companies to make quality products that they don't have to control the use of?
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Offline Heretic86

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2013, 11:55:33 PM »
London School of Economics: piracy isn't killing big content; government needs to be skeptical of entertainment industry claims
http://boingboing.net/2013/10/03/london-school-of-economics-pi.html
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Offline Heretic86

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 11:48:45 PM »
How many of you knew that BitTorrent is owned and operated by CBS?  They dont go after CBS, but they'll sure as hell go after KAT or other sites...  I'd go so far as to say the powers taht be do NOT want to solve the problem of Piracy...
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2013, 12:53:06 AM »
There's a level of piracy that honestly doesn't make any sense, seeing as how it is almost similar to a real life situation; but through technological means.

Like, for example... illegally downloading worn out games and game systems (emulators). These companies know full well that there is almost no way to get these systems, and also these companies know that they won't get money for us buying the system on Craigslist or something; and yet they still post on their website pages:

"It is illegal to download older game systems and games" (or well, that's pretty much what they're saying)

In my mind, I'm like "How the hell am I supposed to get this game or game system otherwise? Heck, you don't even make it anymore; the least you could do is say 'you know what, if you enjoy the classics; then congrats, but please... if you can, try and buy something from us'.

Oh well, nothing much you can do to change that -.-
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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2013, 09:29:06 AM »
Yeah, this is another example of how piracy helps spread the word is acts as a form of marketing. Maybe I come across an old game and like it so I check out what new stuff the company made and buy something.
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Offline EntropyUSB

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2013, 02:48:32 PM »
Yeah, this is another example of how piracy helps spread the word is acts as a form of marketing. Maybe I come across an old game and like it so I check out what new stuff the company made and buy something.

There's a level of piracy that really shouldn't even be considered piracy in the first place, if anything; it should be considered as a "retreat" or "revision" of choices.

Heck, every time I play all these retro consoles and games for nostalgia; I still get that feeling that I really would rather own a PS3 or something. But then at the same time, I am also like "damn, if I wasn't poor; I'd be playing something new, but then again... nothing beats the classics".

In my honest opinion, and not to stir up a war; but if it is no longer an "active" product, then why should it matter.
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Offline Blizzard

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2013, 03:38:55 PM »
Because if the companies decide that their product cannot be obtained this way legally, they have the right to do so and it is illegal if you do otherwise. If you don't want lend somebody your game and they take it anyway, is it theft even if they will return it later? Of course it is theft. You said no, they have no right to take it. "Piracy" is just a name for the act of taking/downloading/using software without permission.
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Offline Seltzer Cole

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Re: About Piracy
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2013, 08:55:59 PM »
The issue is actually somewhat more complicated. Most people who pirate wouldn't buy the product anyway so technically the companies are losing a lot less than they claim. On the other hand there are companies that make overpriced products and expect people to buy them without even trying. Piracy becomes useful in a sense that you can try something before you buy.

This is very true.

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