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In defence of piracy

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Hello there good people of VGC, I'm here to... whoa, wait a sec− yikes! *takes cover*


(unfortunately, I'm actually alone here)

...ahem. Hello. Yeah, I know this is a touchy subject. 'Me defending actual crime' levels of touchy, and all. But as much as this might sound like nonsense, I ask you to take a step back, get off your high horses, and try to look at things in a different way.

First, let's be honest: you have already pirated something. A game? Possibly. A movie? Likely. A song? Most certainly.

We've all been there, and if you actually are that person who's never pirated a single thing, I'm inclined to believe you are very... privileged. Because ultimately, that's the point of piracy, isn't it? To experience content without paying for it, so you don't risk wasting your limited money on something you don't want, or sometimes, money you don't have in the first place.

I understand why piracy is seen so negatively, as a crime even, and how it's seen as detrimental to artists in general. Any form of art requires an amount of time, effort, and especially money, to be created - and like everyone else, these people need money to survive and keep doing what they love doing. It's how capitalism works, and when you pirate something, you're undoing the work of everyone behind a project... or are you?

Let's start with a little story here. The year is 2011. Little 15-year-old mZuzek had just gotten over his early teen days of rejecting Nintendo games, and was being brought back into them having recently beat his first Zelda game, A Link to the Past, on an emulator - he had the game on the SNES as a kid but never got to finish it before his brother exchanged the console for someone's GBC. Young mZuzek was then intrigued by the upcoming release of Pokémon Black & White, despite having heavily disliked what little time he had with Diamond & Pearl. He thought Black & White were going to suck even harder, but despite that, he was inexplicably hyped and, on the very day the games released in North America, he found a rom online to play it on an emulator. And while the game ran at 70% speed on his computer most of the time, mZuzek loved it! A few months later, having mostly gotten back into Pokémon full-time, he was getting into his second Zelda game, Ocarina of Time, and found out about a 3DS remake of it - on this day, he understood that the 3DS was a new console and not another iteration of the DS. Wanting to play the remade version of the game, as well as being able to enjoy Pokémon games at full speed and with all their features, young mZuzek decided he wanted to buy a 3DS (his first Nintendo console in over a decade!), and so he did.

Young mZuzek bought his 3DS in early 2012, and fully enjoyed his first year with the thing. He played many Zelda games in this time, all of them through illegal emulation, but more than anything he was really into Pokémon, and in early 2013, he was hyped over the moon with the announcement of Pokémon X & Y. This hype caused him to watch an E3 presentation for the first time, and as a result, he became very interested on the Wii U, a console he didn't give a flying fuck about previously. By the end of that year, he had gotten a Wii U as well.

The rest is history, really. Modern day mZuzek legally owns most Zelda games, including those he had previously played for free. He has three Nintendo consoles full of games obtained legally, and is constantly buying new software. He's probably spent thousands of dollars on these consoles! And he got into all of his favorite gaming franchises for free: Zelda, Pokémon and Star Fox through emulation; Metroid, through a Club Nintendo offer. He didn't spend money on these games at first, but once he became a fan, he started throwing money around everywhere.

Of course, that doesn't mean I would've never gotten back into Nintendo games if it weren't for piracy. Maybe it would've happened either way. But as they say, history isn't made of ifs, and history here is that piracy did bring me back into Nintendo and caused me to give them loads of money. Also of course, this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone out there. There are people who will pirate games all their life and never spend a penny on things. For these people, well... can you really do anything? Big companies these days go well out of their way to ensure insanely strong anti-piracy methods (that are usually more detrimental to legitimate users than they are to pirates, even), but the reality is that most pirates will simply not bother buying a game, and if they can't play it because of anti-piracy measures, then they're likely to just not bother in the first place.

And even then... they can be helpful. Because while pirates aren't giving money to the creators of that game, they are more than likely spreading word of mouth around, and bringing the knowledge of that game to more people. And if they're not, well, each of them still is one more person that's appreciating that game.

As an aspiring musician myself, I dream of a day when I'll be able to make a living out of my music alone, of course. Every artist dreams of that. But beyond the money, the one thing I truly want most, is for people to listen to my music and appreciate my work, and then it doesn't matter how much money they paid for it. I'm happy as long as they're enjoying something I've created. That's the true goal of an artist. Given this, I think it's no coincidence that so many indie developers out there don't bother with anti-piracy at all, or when they do, it's usually in the form of an explicit message to pirates that tells them like it is without stopping them from enjoying the game. It's because, as much as they need the money, ultimately, they just want their game to be played by as many people as possible.

There are many reasons why someone would pirate a work of art. It could be because they just don't have the money to buy it. It could be because they don't know whether they'll enjoy said content, and want to try it out first. It could be because, although they want to experience something, they don't think it's worth the asking price, or that the company behind it doesn't deserve their money. It could simply be because they're filthy pirates. But at the end of the day, one person pirating a product, for whatever reason it may be, is still one more person enjoying that product. And there's a lot of value in that.

...oof. Well, that's my take on it. I haven't read VGC rules in a long time, so if this is off-limits, then goodbye for a few days, I guess and I suppose that'd get this thread locked, too. But if that's not the case, I'd like to read more on this from you guys. We all know you've pirated something, some day, somewhere - let's be honest about it, and think about how it might have actually been a positive thing. This is in no way me trying to encourage people to pirate stuff - you really shouldn't be doing that if you can avoid it. I'm just saying that piracy, well, it's not always as bad as they say. There's always a positive side to everything, and all that stuff.

Good afternoon.



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I defend piracy as something necessary for a healthy industry, believe it or not. It's the best way to preserve software nowadays, plus it's a great way to fight against practices such as mandatory DRM or platform exclusivity. With that said, it's important to be mindful about whose's game you're pirating, if they can take the blow well and/or if they deserve it.



You know it deserves the GOTY.

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Sadly, I bought quite a bit of pirated stuff back in my wayyy younger years (early teens). Mainly because I lived in an area where original games were practically nonexistent and the cost of the games were not something a kid my age could afford. I'm not proud of it. I buy 100% original now and don't ever touch anything pirated (be it movies, songs or games). Thinking back, I probably would have dropped the gaming hobby decades ago had I not ever been exposed to the games via piracy. Spent tens of thousands of dollars into the industry since then (consoles, rigs, gaming laptops and peripherals on top of the games themselves) now that I have a well paying job and solid income.

Not defending piracy, but in my case I believe it allowed me to get into the hobby and nurtured me into a solid consumer for the industry. I'm wondering how many ppl actually more or less have the same story as me.



Like many, I would have pirated games when I was younger. Mainly because of the lack of funds but also living in a small town, I couldn't just go buy stuff. Now that we have digital distribution, and I'm an adult with disposable income, I haven't actually pirated* a game since before I made my first purchase on Steam.

My views on piracy depend on the situation:

1. If you pirate a game that you do not own and have no intention of owning, then you are in the wrong, both legally and morally. You're using a product that you did not pay for. The artist got no money from you experiencing the product.

2. You "pirate" something that you already own. This is often in the case of emulation (I own an NES cart but have no means to dump the game, or I own a Wii U game but can't rip the disc, etc.), but is also the case for books. I often buy a hardcover book and then go find an EPUB book to upload to my Google Books account so I can continue reading in bed in the dark on my phone, or if I'm standing on the bus, or any number of situations where a giant heavy book doesn't work so well. In all these cases, I already gave the content creator my money, so while legally, I'm sure I've broken the law, but morally, I sleep well at night knowing I've paid for the content I'm consuming.



Wow, you are such a bad dude.

No wonder that you consider me a highly destructive entity on this website when a thread like this is your definition of highly controversial. If you wanted controversial, you'd have to flip this whole thing and argue 100% against piracy and emulation.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

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Frankly piracy is only done in 3rd world countries so why are we debating it



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I pirate whatever, I don't really give a rats I pay a ton of cash into the movie and games industry and if there's a game I wanna play that's either not on a format I would pay for it on or if it's easier I'll just do it.

Most recent thing was probably cuphead, was on the PC wanted to see what it's about so I picked it up for the friendly neighbourhood pirate bay and played a fair chunk of it, was announced for the Switch and bought it day 1 (well actually day -14 since I had it pre purchased from the point where you could) I buy on average about 5 games a week to add to my collection across a range of platforms, from PS4/PC/NS/GC/3DS/DS/X360/PS3/Wii and many more.... have hundreds of games legit owned (well... it would be thousands by now actually rather easily, between X360/GC and NS I own around 1,000 titles) I have literally zero problem with pirating a game for effectively any reason I want, from shitty dev practices, just wanting to demo the game or simply because I can't be bothered to password locker my CC details and go to pirate bay instead of steam because they remember my CC details there.

I'd wager that I probably pirate more games than most people on this site, I would also near certainly say I spend more on games that 95% of the people on this site per year coming in at 4figures per season at least. Piracy is great.

One thing I will say though! Support Netflix and your local cinema's as long as you have a decent one in your area, if you only have one and it shuts down you missing out on seeing some great movies in the way they're meant to be seen, I've got a home threater projector (1080p just) setup at 130" but still... you can't get things like a midnight release of Endgame at home so support your cinemas and the movie franchises you love! And netflix because they fund the creation of some amazing series (and in piracies defence.... Adam Sandler movies)



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For me, it's the matters of prices. Physical prices are always problematic, i started to buy any console pirated games from 1994 through 2010 and then i downloaded pirated Wii games and homebrew emulations for my Wii as well as DS just at leaaast 3 years later then started to buy legitimate old school games. I was really young boy back then and i couldn't ask my dad to buy me original games cause he would upset(demonically wrath) & think all electronic retailers are rip-off.

Reason? Because games were overpriced, they were like for 80~90 USD from authorized resellers any platform, don't expect N64 cartridges are more expensive than CD-Formart consoles, oh no no no... they were equally priced like this "PS1 games & N64 games = 80 USD" lmao while or compare to pirated games i used to buy were cheaper something might be between 10~25 USD depends how much they want

Note: I'm not from United States. I converted from KWD to USD.



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My old PS2 could run burnt games... there was like this disc you ran first, and then you pulled out the tray and put in the burnt disc.
When your a teen and without money, you dont really think about these things that much, you just wanted to play the games.



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You are justifying theft based on potential benefit down the road to the company. It is still...theft.

If I steal a car, I'm driving it down the road (thus advertising it), and heck, may even like it enough that I eventually buy more cars of that brand. But that doesn't mean I didn't still steal the original car.

I've heard the argument a million times, and while I personally don't report anybody who is doing this (it just isn't worth my time), stop lying to yourself that you aren't still stealing.

The same could be said about lots of rules. One could murder somebody they deem a bad person, and think they are overall helping society as a result. It is still murder.



Money can't buy happiness. Just video games, which make me happy.