In Defense of CD Project

#1 Posted by salad10203 (654 posts) -

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

#2 Posted by CornBREDX (6255 posts) -

I didn't know they were doing that but I think you raise a valid point.

Where this becomes a problem is if a hacker piggy backs off someone elses IP (which they often do)

A lot of what hackers do (legit hackers not really so much pirates although these days pirates are getting pretty legit in some ways) proving it was not you who used an IP can be a difficult task. It snot impossible but definitely difficult and would require a computer specialist and would probably be expensive.

So I don't know if that really justifies it but it makes me more conflicted on the issue.

I can see how it can help, but at the same time if they even accuse one innocent person who had no idea that's one person to many. Its a pretty difficult question to me but at the same time I don't find fault with them trying something to stop pirating which is a real problem even if some people pretend its not. Mainly because its affect regular consumers and indie developers which is who i feel bad for.

#3 Posted by MonetaryDread (2201 posts) -

I am not sure about the laws in Germany, but here in Canada if I purchased that game I am allowed to download a backup. The supreme court said that there is no difference between putting the physical disk in the drive vs. downloading, so just having an IP address attached to a torrent downloading does not equal an illegal activity.

#4 Posted by Panpipe (477 posts) -

@MonetaryDread: Trouble with that is - when you're downloading a torrent you're often also uploading the torrent. I don't think companies sue you for downloading a copy of their game, they sue you for uploading the game to others, free of charge.

#5 Posted by salad10203 (654 posts) -

@Burglarize: Thats a good point, but even in the Case he mentioned. CD Project has already said that if someone can show proof that they own a legitimate copy than they canceled their suit (which they have done once, so far).

#6 Edited by tourgen (4542 posts) -

The people pirating CD Project games disgust me.  They are shitty people.  CD Project tries to do the right thing by stripping out the DRM and giving paying customers an awesome product and the best RPG of the year for their money.  Everyone knows it's a great game.  There is no "try before you by" necessary.  These people pirating CD Project games are filthy scumbags.
 
But, IP addresses are not positive identification of a human.  More evidence should be necessary.  Yeah maybe that's inconvenient but hey, semi-randomly suing people shouldn't be O.K.

#7 Posted by Animasta (14746 posts) -

@tourgen: what about people who don't know if they can run it? they don't have a demo out, as far as I know. I bought the game, preordered, but still

#8 Posted by salad10203 (654 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@tourgen: what about people who don't know if they can run it? they don't have a demo out, as far as I know. I bought the game, preordered, but still

Thats a good point, but illegally obtaining it is crossing the line, imo. As in most other industries, either boycotting or petitioning for features (demos) is really all you can do.

#9 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -
@salad10203 said:

@Animasta said:

@tourgen: what about people who don't know if they can run it? they don't have a demo out, as far as I know. I bought the game, preordered, but still

Thats a good point, but illegally obtaining it is crossing the line, imo. As in most other industries, either boycotting or petitioning for features (demos) is really all you can do.

I was gonna grab A torrent of Wticher 2 to see if it could run on my laptop. If it could I was gonna buy it right away. Remove the torret copy and play. However I never got around to even doing that. 
 
Its annoying because my laptop is starting to show its age. And there are next to no PC games that have demos you can try out. 
#10 Posted by WilliamHenry (1231 posts) -

@salad10203 said:

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

So if someone sits outside my house and uses my wifi to pirate something without my knowledge, I should be the one who is sued? What if someone used Starbuck's free wifi to pirate something, should Starbuck's be sued? If someone else uses my car without my knowledge and kills someone, then I should go to jail? An IP address does not equal a person and it shouldn't.

#11 Posted by shinboy630 (1229 posts) -

@WilliamHenry said:

@salad10203 said:

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

So if someone sits outside my house and uses my wifi to pirate something without my knowledge, I should be the one who is sued? What if someone used Starbuck's free wifi to pirate something, should Starbuck's be sued? If someone else uses my car without my knowledge and kills someone, then I should go to jail? An IP address does not equal a person and it shouldn't.

I agree that this is not the way that they should go about going after these pirates, but you also cannot deny that they have to do something. If I recall correctly I read somewhere that CD Projekt reported that for every copy of The Witcher 2 that was sold, 5 were pirated, and this was considered to be a good ratio. That is just outrageous.

#12 Posted by Branthog (5611 posts) -

Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it?

Because it's fairly trivial to spoof IP address. Meaning that if someone really wanted to incriminate a random stranger (or a specific target, for that matter), they could just supply a false IP address.

There are plenty of problems, here and this is all old news (the MPAA and RIAA have been doing this bullshit for ages):

An IP address means fucking nothing. For one thing, most people do not have a static IP address. Some may change every time someone connects. Additionally, many (and perhaps most) wifi points are not encrypted or use default and guessable credentials. In other words, it is not unreasonable to assume that the person who pays the bill is not the only person using the connection - whether they know it or not. Also, plenty of people share their wifi point. Either directly or by providing a channel on their router that is open to the public. Some ISPs even encourage this (I can't recall the name of the ones I'm thinking of, but Slashdot had a bit about some of them a couple years ago). Providing a bid of bandwidth to the public on your own dime is something a lot of geeks do just to be kind in their neighborhood and it comes in handy often for people. And, finally, the only way they can absolutely determine who even pays the bill (not who was using it at the time) is by subpoena to the ISP who can then check their logs as to what account the IP was assigned at the specified time.

You then also have things like trojans and zombies. Machines that have been compromised and are being used for nefarious purposes. Committing crimes, participating in denial of service attacks, sending spam, relaying questionable requests, etc. This is common and huge blocks of zombie systems are sold on the black market for various purposes.

So, in short, while it is always possible that the person who pays for the internet account is responsible for everything being done on that account, there are plenty of reasonable alternative explanations which make it hard to prove that an individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is more than just hypothetical. Courts have ruled in favor of defendants who claimed that not only weren't they uploading content through file sharing networks, but that they didn't even know the first thing about file sharing (grandmothers, etc). Turns out they installed an application that slipped in something that shared content from their machine without their knowledge. Therefore, it happened from their machine, from their IP, from their home. But they were victims; not criminals.

The other huge problem with this is that it's extortion. If you are so certain that you have a case against someone, take them to court. Don't try to extort money out of them without due process. The RIAA and MPAA has pulled this "we're accusing you of this and you can either pay court expenses and spend time going through the motions and prove your innocence or you can pay us a lot of money (but less than court costs and a judgement, perhaps) and we'll just go away". That's bullshit. That's an abuse of the legal system and is practically (if not actually, perhaps) racketeering.

The key is, they aren't going to take people to court. Or if they do, it'll just be one or two people. Enough to set an example so that the threat of doing it will scare everyone else (especially those who are not technically savvy and may just be freaked out into saying "I don't know what's been done on my network, but I don't want to be sued!" and opening their bank account. What they are actually counting on is that the targets of these communications will just pay up at the mere threat. Sadly, a lot of people do. Enough to keep the firms that facilitate this kind of behavior in business.

In a lot of these cases, it's not even an issue of "well, it could have been any number of people beyond my control or knowledge doing this". It's an issue of nothing having happened at all. There are plenty of cases where cease and desists have been issued or even DMCA takedown notices have been filed over content that is none of their fucking business. For example, do you have a file on your computer or website or torrent service with "matrix" in the title? Even if it's public domain, your own content, or anything else - the fact that it says "matrix" in it will cause a lot of these bullshit automated tools that these firms (which places like CDP hire) to falsely flag you for copyright content. This happens a lot on Youtube, also. If a youtube video even has a word in its title that might be part of someone else's trademark or copyrighted content (though entirely unrelated and non-infringing), they can automatically issue a DMCA notice to youtube and the content is pulled (and, eventually, your youtube account banned).

So, these utilities, without doing any verification, send DMCA notices to carriers (ISPs, youtube, etc) and extortion threats to people -- not only over incidents where there is no way to confirm the identity of the actual perpetrator other than "from this IP address" -- but over content that they have no claim over. Essentially, nuisance suits (or what would be nuisance suits in the cases where the threats are responded to with scared people shelling out cash to make the bad man go away). Even worse is when these assholes further claim a copyright to the letters they send issuing the demands/threats. That's right. Copyright. So, if you go public with their bullshit threats to sue you unless you pay an extortion fee, they will additionally threaten a lawsuit over you infringing the copyright they claim to hold over their letter/email to you. Scammy fucking twats.

#13 Posted by Doctorchimp (4058 posts) -

@salad10203 said:

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

You have just shown how far you are removed from reality. IP addresses are so off from being accurate it's not even funny.

And if they are going to go after one person they better find out who it is. If it's a house with 5 people living inside you'll allow CD Projekt to just send that 1000 dollars to whoever is footing the bill for the internet?

That's not even accounting for people getting on their wi-fi or simply copying their IP address.

How about due process of law rather than just cry about it and bully people into buying these ridiculous fines.

Give me a break dude.

#14 Posted by Doctorchimp (4058 posts) -

@shinboy630 said:

@WilliamHenry said:

@salad10203 said:

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

So if someone sits outside my house and uses my wifi to pirate something without my knowledge, I should be the one who is sued? What if someone used Starbuck's free wifi to pirate something, should Starbuck's be sued? If someone else uses my car without my knowledge and kills someone, then I should go to jail? An IP address does not equal a person and it shouldn't.

I agree that this is not the way that they should go about going after these pirates, but you also cannot deny that they have to do something. If I recall correctly I read somewhere that CD Projekt reported that for every copy of The Witcher 2 that was sold, 5 were pirated, and this was considered to be a good ratio. That is just outrageous.

You're absolutely right, lets go kick some babies to make sure they'll never pirate anything. The probability is pretty good that these newborns are going to be pirates right?

#15 Posted by shinboy630 (1229 posts) -

@Doctorchimp said:

@shinboy630 said:

@WilliamHenry said:

@salad10203 said:

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

So if someone sits outside my house and uses my wifi to pirate something without my knowledge, I should be the one who is sued? What if someone used Starbuck's free wifi to pirate something, should Starbuck's be sued? If someone else uses my car without my knowledge and kills someone, then I should go to jail? An IP address does not equal a person and it shouldn't.

I agree that this is not the way that they should go about going after these pirates, but you also cannot deny that they have to do something. If I recall correctly I read somewhere that CD Projekt reported that for every copy of The Witcher 2 that was sold, 5 were pirated, and this was considered to be a good ratio. That is just outrageous.

You're absolutely right, lets go kick some babies to make sure they'll never pirate anything. The probability is pretty good that these newborns are going to be pirates right?

Baby pirates, oh God I can see it now...

On a related note, as someone of Polish descent I find it amusing that a Polish dev has announced that they are going after German pirates.

#16 Posted by Hugh_Jazz (371 posts) -

As a lot of people have said, IP addresses really don't mean much, but IP addresses combined with time-stamps do more, as you can get information about a specific client from the ISP. If you can access a router's routing table(for example at the ISP) with that time-stamp and obtain the MAC address for the Network Interface Card used to connect to the router, that's even better. Then you just need to get a serial number and from that, I'm assuming, a place of purchase and so on.

#17 Edited by Branthog (5611 posts) -
@Doctorchimp said:

@shinboy630 said:

@WilliamHenry said:

@salad10203 said:

CD Project has been getting alot of flak lately for going after pirates in Germany and demanding around $1000 or a court date. They haven't revealed their means but say that it is 100% accurate but they did say it obviously involves IP tracking. Alot of people say IP does not equal person but why shouldn't it? If I own a house and then someone breaks their neck in my house I am in trouble for negligence. Shouldn't an IP be the same thing? Whoever is paying for the IP should be responsible for its users' illegal activity. Other than maybe showing proof that a hacker had stolen their IP, I don't see why this isn't accepted. Huh?

So if someone sits outside my house and uses my wifi to pirate something without my knowledge, I should be the one who is sued? What if someone used Starbuck's free wifi to pirate something, should Starbuck's be sued? If someone else uses my car without my knowledge and kills someone, then I should go to jail? An IP address does not equal a person and it shouldn't.

I agree that this is not the way that they should go about going after these pirates, but you also cannot deny that they have to do something. If I recall correctly I read somewhere that CD Projekt reported that for every copy of The Witcher 2 that was sold, 5 were pirated, and this was considered to be a good ratio. That is just outrageous.

You're absolutely right, lets go kick some babies to make sure they'll never pirate anything. The probability is pretty good that these newborns are going to be pirates right?

People often make the mistake of equating every illegitimate copy of a piece of software as a lost sale. Remember that we're talking about bits and bytes here. It costs nothing do duplicate them so an illegitimate copy (people need to stop misusing the word "piracy") in and of itself is not imparting an expense on the creator of the content. What is being lost is the money that they would have earned if the person had paid for the copy. So, if those five people were not going to buy it under any circumstances whatsoever, then while they did acquire the game without paying for it, that is not exactly CDP losing money on five copies.
 
It seems counter-intuitive and a lot of people mistake it as a justification for not paying for things. That isn't the case. It's just an accurate and objective assessment of what is occurring. Of course you should pay for something if you intend to use it. Assuming it requires payment (again, free open source software is an alternative in many cases).
 
Two quotes from Notch. Creator of Minecraft. An actual developer who puts food on his table from selling games: 


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

There is no such thing as a 'lost sale'... Is a bad review a lost sale? What about a missed ship date? 


 

Perhaps a more prevalent example is Adobe Photoshop. If a ten year old kid down the street acquires a copy without paying the licensing fee for it, has Adobe lost a sale? Have they lost money? Of course not. What are the odds that a ten year old kid is going to shell out $1,200 for a piece of software that lets him draw a crappy logo for his MMO guild? That doesn't make his actions right, but it doesn't make it a lost sale nor does it cost Adobe anything (because it's freely duplicate bits and bytes - not a physical good).
 
The biggest example of all is probably Windows. It likely may not be so dominant today, if it weren't for piracy. Despite Gates' original rant against people "stealing" his software back in the day, it helped spread the software all over the world at a quick pace that he could then leverage into the world's most pervasive operating system. In fact, Bill Gates has said that "if they're going to steal software, we want them to steal ours". For various reasons. One of which is that having a user base familiar with your software and platform is valuable. Having them familiar with your name is valuable. And when/if they eventually "go legitimate", they're going to be buying your software.
 
Of course, someone is bound to mistake my comments here as some sort of weird defense of the activities. People have this really messed up 1910 comprehension of "property". They're a lot like the elderly Jack Valenti before he died. A dinosaur from another era who didn't understand things and wanted to clamp down on everything (remember, if he had his way and if content creators had their way, you'd have no DVR, no recordable CDs, no cassette tapes, no video recorders, no camcorders, no mp3 players, etc). It is strangely difficult for some people to wrap their heads around the entire idea that -- in a medium where there is no distribution/production/duplication cost in creating the thousandth copy of something -- that one more copy which goes unpaid for does not necessarily equate a lost sale or lost revenue.
 
This isn't just a crazy claim of cheap skates looking to justify their behavior. Here's a quote from a decision by a Spanish judge. Also, note that he is appropriately speaking about actual piracy. Piracy is not your little brother downloading a game from bit torrent. Piracy is an organized criminal activity where they make illegitimate copies of content and sell it. These are the guys on the corner of NYC selling DVDs of block buster films for $5.
 

It is not possible to determine the damage and corresponding compensation due to loss of benefits to the rightsholder, for the simple reason that customers of pirated copies of music and movies, when making the purchase of pirated copies, externalize their decision not to be customers of music and movies as originals, so there is no profit that could have been gained. In other words, those customers either buy a pirated copy at a low price or they don't buy an original at a price between 15 and 20 Euros.

In any case, reversing the legal argument, it is conceivable that a customer, after hearing or viewing the pirated copy, may decide to purchase the original, finding it to their taste, so that the sale of pirated copies, far from harming, benefits the market for original items. 


In fact, you should of course pay for your software (or, ideally, use free open source software without all the limitations and constraints of closed source commercial software). However, you also see plenty of people every day proving Bill Gates' statement right. People who might have made copies of games from their friends as kids. You know, because they were kids and had no money. And as soon as they are adults and have an income, they buy everything. They pay for everything they use. They become customers - often of the same companies that they were patronizing (but not paying for) earlier on in their lives.
 
The most important statistic is, anyway, not "what percentage of those using our software are paying for it". It's "how many people are paying for it - period". The most "pirated" movies also tend to be the biggest block busters. You know, the ones who still make over a billion dollars, despite being "pirated". And the same is true of videogames. Skyrim will have set all time sales records this year. It will also have been the most "pirated" game. Because not every un-paid-for copy was a lost sale. 
 
There are plenty of publishers who understand this and have embraced it. Hell, even plenty of musicians. Look at the musicians in the past few years (including Trent Reznor and Radiohead) who have put out their music for free or ridiculously cheap. Get it into the hands of as many people as possible. Then charge for special stuff (Reznor gave away the first How to Destroy Angels album for free and then charged $2 if you wanted the high quality FLAC or AAC lossless versions and offered a special $300 edition with all sorts of goodies and the physical media).
 
There's plenty of money to be made and plenty of people willing to spend it. You just have to embrace the new world and stop acting like the lumbering media giants of old who are floundering around before they finally fall on their own swords of ignorance, stubbornness, and stupidity (television, music, movies, and print news - I'm looking at you). It doesn't make it right that someone plays your game without paying you for it. But whining about it doesn't earn you revenue. You can whine about those big bad evil 0-day warez kiddiez or you can put on your big boy pants and find a way to make money and still be "the good guy" (that is, without turning into UBI).
 
#18 Posted by ajamafalous (12233 posts) -

Branthog knows what's up.

#19 Posted by haffy (674 posts) -

@Branthog: Cool posts, nice reads.

#20 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

Instead, they need to be fixing the fucking steam overlay.

#21 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@tourgen said:

The people pirating CD Project games disgust me. They are shitty people. CD Project tries to do the right thing by stripping out the DRM and giving paying customers an awesome product and the best RPG of the year for their money. Everyone knows it's a great game. There is no "try before you by" necessary. These people pirating CD Project games are filthy scumbags. But, IP addresses are not positive identification of a human. More evidence should be necessary. Yeah maybe that's inconvenient but hey, semi-randomly suing people shouldn't be O.K.

Yeah yeah yeah, and your judgmental, self-righteous ways disgust me. Regardless of your or my opinions on piracy. Get the fuck off your high horse.

#22 Posted by TwoLines (2862 posts) -

@Branthog: I've read your post, but damn. This is an internet forum dog, not an essay contest. Anyway, yeah I agree with you. I've met people who have said that "piracy is theft, there's no excuse," and I think it ain't as black and white as that.

However. I've pirated some games in the past when I was younger, and without any source of income. I didn't even have an allowence. But when Muckyfoot (company that created Startopia, a game I've pirated) went under because of the low number of sales, I felt like shit. The game was pretty good, and I think non-existent DRM killed them. Same thing with the Dreamcast, really. So I don't think it's fair to say that the most pirated games are the biggest blockbusters, and they're safe. That is not always the case.

#23 Posted by shinboy630 (1229 posts) -

@Branthog: A surprisingly interesting read. I feel a few of your points are very valid, as I have a few times pirated games that I was on the fence about and then went on to purchase them, thus creating a sale that might not have been there otherwise. My personal stance is, if the developer did a good enough job in my eyes to deserve my money, they will get it. My point about the companies having to do something still stands though, as I'm sure a large percentage of pirates intend to play through the entire game, and simply pirate them as a way to get around paying. Those are the people that I think CD Projekt are targeting in this case.

#24 Posted by Branthog (5611 posts) -
@shinboy630 said:

@Branthog: A surprisingly interesting read. I feel a few of your points are very valid, as I have a few times pirated games that I was on the fence about and then went on to purchase them, thus creating a sale that might not have been there otherwise. My personal stance is, if the developer did a good enough job in my eyes to deserve my money, they will get it. My point about the companies having to do something still stands though, as I'm sure a large percentage of pirates intend to play through the entire game, and simply pirate them as a way to get around paying. Those are the people that I think CD Projekt are targeting in this case.

The correct thing for CDP to do is sue people they are certain of infringing on their copyright. If they're particularly creative, they could offer a sort of "or, if you pay us the $60 for the game, we'll dismiss any claim against you" deal. That's fair.

Instead, this is just a desperate developer hiring a scummy firm that is using intimidation and fear to scare people into what they really want -- for them to pay up. If you take the bait and pay them, they get $978 (for a $60 game that they haven't even proven you've stolen!) for almost no work. If you stand up for yourself and demand that they sue you and it went to court, they'd lose money. Chances are, they wouldn't even take you to court, since it wouldn't be profitable. Especially since proving that people are guilty would be incredibly difficult and they'd probably lose more lawsuits than they won.
 
In this way, they are exactly like spammers. Even with a very low sucker-rate, you just need to troll enough people for it to be profitable. Some, perhaps, people who actually did download the game and not pay for it. Many, perhaps, not even sure what is going on but scared by the words "lawsuit" and "crime" and ready to hand over a thousand bucks for something they aren't certain their kids couldn't have done, or someone else using their internet connection couldn't have done.
#25 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7617 posts) -

@Branthog: But there's more to it than that. For one thing, they've said they aren't finding people solely by IP tracing, there's more to it than that, and they're only prosecuting people when they're 100% sure. Also, it isn't just over $60, because if somebody uploads/downloads from a torrent, they're providing it to potentially thousands of other people.

I completely side with CD Projekt on this one, they tried to treat gamers fairly and they lost an insane amount of money. DRM may not be the best alternative, but this only serves as reinforcement for companies like Ubisoft to continue including it in their games.

#26 Posted by Arabes (353 posts) -

Come on lads, this is a fucking shake down. This isn't about piracy, this about saying "Give me some money or I'm gonna take you to court or some shit... Honest." Their proof would never stand up as there is no way they can 100% certain. Get a fuckin grip. This is some dodgy shit right here, if they were serious they would be bringing people to court, not asking for a grand. I mean where they fuck did they even get that figure from? I'm surprised they didn't send around some meat head called Tony who starts knocking over shit in your sitting room and talking about how flammable everything looks.

#27 Edited by Branthog (5611 posts) -
@WinterSnowblind said:

@Branthog: But there's more to it than that. For one thing, they've said they aren't finding people solely by IP tracing, there's more to it than that, and they're only prosecuting people when they're 100% sure.  Also, it isn't just over $60, because if somebody uploads/downloads from a torrent, they're providing it to potentially thousands of other people.

A press release is not gospel. I don't care if they claim to be 148% sure, there is absolutely no way to prove the guilt of a particular individual, in this case. As has already been explained, an IP address does nothing to identify the actual culprit for many reasons - including there being many people who can access an internet connection form an IP to an IP address being easy to spoof, itself. 
 
Further, they are not only prosecuting people when they're "100% sure". They are threatening people. I'm pretty sure that CDP is not The Law, in Germany. I'm fairly certain that they have a court system and for these people to be found guilty of anything, CDP would have to take them to court, introduce evidence, and convince a judge and possibly a jury that the named individual is actually guilty. Then, the court/jurty would assign a fair judgement to be awarded to CDP - if their claim was found true.
 
Threatening to prosecute people if they don't pay you a thousand dollars is extortion. It is the behavior that defines the word, itself. Demanding the price of the game or we'll sue you could be seen as reasonable (then again, it could be seen as even worse, because even the most innocent person would rather pay an extortionist $60 to make them go away than spend more money and time in court proving their innocence against a bullshit accusation).
 
Saying that it's a thousand dollars, because "they might not only have played the game, but disseminated it to other people" is also ridiculous. For two reasons: 
 
The first is, why settle at $1,000? Why not assume they uploaded it to a thousand people and demand $60,000? Or why not assume they uploaded it to a million people and demand $60,000,000? I mean, while they're just pulling magical numbers out of the air, why stop at $1,000? I'll tell you why -- because it is high enough to make the copyright troll law firm they hired a profitable investment, but low enough that a huge number of people would rather bite - innocent or guilty - and just make it go away.
 
The second reason it is ridiculous, is because even judges have issued statements that there is no way to determine how much - if any - loss of sales (and therefore, financial damages) were done in an incident of "piracy". See one of my previous posts in this thread for the exact quote and a link to the articles relevant to it. In fact, there have been many studies over the years which indicate that "piracy" leads to more sales (a statement that many often mock, as an excuse -- as if the studies and data don't actually exist). Especially in the case of music and software. This does not excuse someone who doesn't pay for a game they're playing, but it does essentially mitigate the claim that it results in calculable lost sales which damages should be assessed for.
 

 

I completely side with CD Projekt on this one, they tried to treat gamers fairly and they lost an insane amount of money. DRM may not be the best alternative, but this only serves as reinforcement for companies like Ubisoft to continue including it in their games.

No, CDP is in the wrong here. Extortion is wrong. The right thing is to sue these people. Prove their guilt. Due process. Nothing is reinforced by extorting people out of money. If your purpose is to dissuade people from "piracy", then you want publicly visible judgements against infringers in a court of law. 
 
Additionally, DRM doesn't solve anything. Some of the most successful content out there is successful precisely because it doesn't use DRM, doesn't restrict rightful consumers, and provides as many options to the buyer with the least hassle and the cheapest prices. Examples of this are Minecraft, iTunes, Amazon MP3 store, and games on GoG. All very successful, because they give people what they want, when they want it, how they want it, at a price they can accept. As many in the software and music world have come to realize and state recently, the way you compete with free is by offering a better service. For the price, Netflix beats out bit torrent. It is cheap and very convenient and accessible on just about everything. Same with non-DRM'd music from iTunes and Amazon.
 
Once you've provided those services (services the RIAA, MPAA, and many software publishers don't want to bother providing, because they have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age against their will, just like television and news print) the only people left who are "pirating" are those who are never ever going to buy content for any reason under any circumstances - and I think those are far fewer in number than we tend to suspect.
 
Anyway, I'll say it again - CDP is right to take infringers to court and seek a fair judgement. They are not right to use some shady legal firm (ahem - copyright troll) to threaten, intimidate, and extort people who have not been found guilty in a court of law.
 
 Lawyers will tell you to consider what you stand to gain from going through the ordeal of taking someone to court or going to court yourself. The expenses are your time, your time off work, your energy, possibly legal filing fees, possible fees for counsel (even if you're just dealing with small claims court, you may need legal assistance in preparation). It can add up to being a lot. Enough that if you are suing someone, it'd be better to just forget about all of it and take the loss. Or, if being sued, to just say "here's your cash, now go the fuck away".

And that is what CDP is counting on. Or the scuzzy assholes they're hiring. They're banking on people (even entirely innocent ones) being intimidated into paying up either because of fear or because of the hassle that would be involved in proving their innocence.
 
Even US Judges acknowledge that this is a shakedown scam.
 
#28 Posted by Jimbo (10065 posts) -
@Branthog said:
Demanding the price of the game or we'll sue you could be seen as reasonable (then again, it could be seen as even worse, because even the most innocent person would rather pay an extortionist $60 to make them go away than spend more money and time in court proving their innocence against a bullshit accusation)...
It would also be tantamount to them giving everybody permission to pirate their game.  Why choose to pay upfront when you know the very worst that can ever happen to you as a result of pirating is that you might be asked to pay the retail price?
#29 Edited by Branthog (5611 posts) -
@Jimbo said:

@Branthog said:

Demanding the price of the game or we'll sue you could be seen as reasonable (then again, it could be seen as even worse, because even the most innocent person would rather pay an extortionist $60 to make them go away than spend more money and time in court proving their innocence against a bullshit accusation)...
It would also be tantamount to them giving everybody permission to pirate their game.  Why choose to pay upfront when you know the very worst that can ever happen to you as a result of pirating is that you might be asked to pay the retail price?
So they need to stop playing these bullshit copyright troll games and just take people to court, which is what they should be doing in the first place. That's the system that is already in place and doesn't require extortion.
#30 Posted by Jimbo (10065 posts) -
@Branthog said:
@Jimbo said:

@Branthog said:

Demanding the price of the game or we'll sue you could be seen as reasonable (then again, it could be seen as even worse, because even the most innocent person would rather pay an extortionist $60 to make them go away than spend more money and time in court proving their innocence against a bullshit accusation)...
It would also be tantamount to them giving everybody permission to pirate their game.  Why choose to pay upfront when you know the very worst that can ever happen to you as a result of pirating is that you might be asked to pay the retail price?
So they need to stop playing these bullshit copyright troll games and just take people to court, which is what they should be doing in the first place. That's the system that is already in place and doesn't require extortion.
I agree they should be taking people to court. I don't agree that they are really circumventing the existing system though - one party giving another the opportunity to settle rather than go through the courts is pretty well established as a part of the system. It's not really extortion if the 'threat' at the end of it is that they will pursue their rights through the legal system - they aren't threatening to break kneecaps here.  People who know they are innocent shouldn't cave under the threat of having to go to court, and people who know full well they have been caught bang to rights (which will be most of the people receiving these letters) are probably glad of the option to get out of it for a (comparatively) low sum of money. 
 
I do think that if they are shown to be threatening legal proceedings and then never making good on that threat -ie. not offering the settlement option in good faith- then it is effectively no more than a shakedown, and that is something which they should be stopped from doing.
#31 Posted by AndrewB (7692 posts) -

As someone who has received a cease and decist letter without having downloaded the game in question, it's tough for me to argue in the favor for punishment based on IP. You may have the right to defend yourself in court and you may even win, but court fees are so freaking insane it could ruin you.

The larger question involving SOPA and similar courses to stop piracy is something I haven't completely formed an opinion on. There was a great debate about it on This Week in Tech just the other day. Some way, something has to be done to curb the idea that taking copied bits of information isn't stealing or hurting anyone, but I agree with Leo Laporte: that there's no solution currently. You simply cannot secure content once it's just bits of data. All proposed ideas to do so would break the freedom of the internet. That freedom cannot be broken.

#32 Edited by shinboy630 (1229 posts) -

@Branthog said:

@Jimbo said:

@Branthog said:

Demanding the price of the game or we'll sue you could be seen as reasonable (then again, it could be seen as even worse, because even the most innocent person would rather pay an extortionist $60 to make them go away than spend more money and time in court proving their innocence against a bullshit accusation)...
It would also be tantamount to them giving everybody permission to pirate their game. Why choose to pay upfront when you know the very worst that can ever happen to you as a result of pirating is that you might be asked to pay the retail price?
So they need to stop playing these bullshit copyright troll games and just take people to court, which is what they should be doing in the first place. That's the system that is already in place and doesn't require extortion.

It seems we are stuck between a rock and a hard place here. CDP taking people to court, although the "right" thing to do, would not be worth their time or money, and simply forcing people to pay retail price is not nearly a big enough issue to deter most pirates.

#33 Posted by NickLott (793 posts) -

You can be in favor of the punishment for pirates or not but there is no dispute, CD Projekt gave warning well ahead of release.

Nov 22, 2010 - Witcher 2 torrents could net you a fine [eurogamer]

They gave people fair warning what they were going to do and they followed through on exactly what they said they would do. You were warned, pirates.

#34 Posted by salad10203 (654 posts) -

@AndrewB: @shinboy630: @Jimbo: @NickLott: @Branthog:

I think people (Branthog) are sort of missing my point. I am not arguing the legal or moral justification for what CD Project is doing, I am saying that an IP should have more defined legal ramifications. Mainly that the argument that an IP address doesn't equal a person is bollacks. I think if you have an IP you should be held accountable for what happens on that IP. I don't see how that is unfair. On a lot of public IP's (Not all) you must agree to their "Terms and Conditions" that almost always forbid illegal activity.

TL;DR People should be liable for what happens on their IP addresses, just like someone would be for their house.

#35 Posted by Jimbo (10065 posts) -
@salad10203 said:

@AndrewB: @shinboy630: @Jimbo: @NickLott: @Branthog:

I think people (Branthog) are sort of missing my point. I am not arguing the legal or moral justification for what CD Project is doing, I am saying that an IP should have more defined legal ramifications. Mainly that the argument that an IP address doesn't equal a person is bollacks. I think if you have an IP you should be held accountable for what happens on that IP. I don't see how that is unfair. On a lot of public IP's (Not all) you must agree to their "Terms and Conditions" that almost always forbid illegal activity.

TL;DR People should be liable for what happens on their IP addresses, just like someone would be for their house.

Your house analogy is ultra bollocks though. I would agree about you being responsible for what happens on your IP, but it isn't exactly the hardest thing in the world for an IP to be misappropriated without your knowledge, plus you have dynamic IPs confusing the issue further.  Your suggestion would be like (or could very easily be like) a car's registered owner being held liable for speeding committed by a car thief.
#36 Posted by Brians (1465 posts) -

So what would a reasonable alternative to this have been?

Online
#37 Posted by Kidavenger (3642 posts) -

@Brians said:

So what would a reasonable alternative to this have been?

Public shaming.

All of the copyright holders for games/books/movies/music should pool their notes on which IP addresses are repeatedly infringing, send letters to these possible problems informing them of the situation, offer them help to secure their internet; if they are still a problem in the future, out them publicly, facebook, google+, whatever the next big thing is; make sure that their parents/friends/neighbors know what kind of trash they are if they don't correct their behavior.

It's not going to stop the hardcore, but it will stop the casual user/kids still living at home.

While I admit it would be expensive to do this with little immediate return, I think it's less expensive than hiring lawyers to sue and harrass people that have no money, and in the long term, less people will get into this crap in the first place.

Alternately, France has a 3 strikes and you lose your internet connection to your home for a year, again this won't stop everyone and cause some innocent people some grief in the short term; but after awhile it should be fairly effective.

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