log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 4E Piracy and 4e

Status
Not open for further replies.

baberg

First Post
interwyrm said:
Obviously I (and a few others) don't see things the same way as you do. To me, "piracy" is vastly different from stealing because a copyright violator does not diminish the possessions of another when he acquires for himself. If he would have otherwise bought the material, then a sale is lost. If he wasn't going to buy the material, absolutely nothing is lost.
Intellectual Property was lost, and you gained it. You are acquiring the thoughts, efforts, and hard work of the people who made the item without compensating them for it. Thus you are a thief.

I use a simple test:
- Did I get something (including knowledge or enjoyment)?
- Did I get it for free (and do not bicker about "I pay for internet access")?
- Is the only normal way to get it paying for it?

If you answer "yes" to all three questions, you stole it.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Lord Nat

First Post
baberg said:
Intellectual Property was lost, and you gained it. You are acquiring the thoughts, efforts, and hard work of the people who made the item without compensating them for it. Thus you are a thief.

I use a simple test:
- Did I get something (including knowledge or enjoyment)?
- Did I get it for free (and do not bicker about "I pay for internet access")?
- Is the only normal way to get it paying for it?

If you answer "yes" to all three questions, you stole it.

He was not saying it is not stealing, he was asking if it is wrong.
If you never planed to pay for it anyway then they are not losing anything and you are gaining.
Ya it is stealing, but the over all point of this argument is if it is wrong or not.
 

xechnao

First Post
baberg said:
Intellectual Property was lost, and you gained it. You are acquiring the thoughts, efforts, and hard work of the people who made the item without compensating them for it. Thus you are a thief.

I use a simple test:
- Did I get something (including knowledge or enjoyment)?
- Did I get it for free (and do not bicker about "I pay for internet access")?
- Is the only normal way to get it paying for it?

If you answer "yes" to all three questions, you stole it.

Intellectual property should have nothing to do with the consumer. The consumer does not benefit commercially from any IP. Knowledge should be free you know. If you say no, then your ethics are questioned, not his.
 

Will

First Post
interwyrm said:
In my case, I'd say something was even gained. You mentioned other RPGs. Yeah, they are out there. Since I pirated D&D, I'm interested in the system, and now that I can afford it, have bought the products. If I had only played free RPGs, then the sale of 4e to me would have been lost.

Oh cool! Can I borrow your magical 'what if' machine and see what life would be like if I had married Angelina Jolie??
 


interwyrm

First Post
Will said:
Oh cool! Can I borrow your magical 'what if' machine and see what life would be like if I had married Angelina Jolie??

Look, I'm trying to be respectful of other people here, and I've put myself out on a limb by disagreeing with the widely accepted viewpoint.

My point was that regardless of whether or not it was ethical to pirate the material, the piracy acted as advertising that later paid off, and thus, in the end, financially benefited wizards of the coast.
 

Makaze

First Post
Intellectual Property was lost, and you gained it.

You can't lose something immaterial that can be infinitely copied.

Explain to me how if someone was never ever going to buy a product how that person pirating a product in any way shape or form harms the producer?

If you steal something physical then you actively cause a loss as that physical object had at minimum a manufacturing cost associated with it. However the only thing lost when information is stolen is a potential sale. If the potential was 0% then nothing at all has been lost. Every downloaded copy is not a lost sale, at worst it's tiny fraction of a percent of a lost sale. And the argument can and has been made that for certain mediums and products it can actually mean increased sales.

Not that I'm one of those hippy dippy types that thinks all information wants be free and it's the man just trying to keep us down blah blah blah...

But from a realistic perspective DRM doesn't work since the client is in the hands of the enemy be it video game, PDF, or hardbound book. Enforcement of copyright laws on individuals doesn't work due to difficulties in detection, prosecution, and sheer scale. You and the RIAA et al. can stand in front of the train if you want but the reality of the situation isn't going to change. It's far better to find ways to be profitable given the world we live in than be run over.
 

baberg

First Post
Lord Nat said:
He was not saying it is not stealing, he was asking if it is wrong.
So it is stealing, but stealing isn't wrong?

There sure are a lot of people in this thread who can justify stealing intellectual property though, so maybe I should just pack it in before this becomes a flamewar.
 

baberg

First Post
xechnao said:
Intellectual property should have nothing to do with the consumer. The consumer does not benefit commercially from any IP. Knowledge should be free you know. If you say no, then your ethics are questioned, not his.
You're playing a game that by all rights you should have paid for. Thus you got something for nothing. I'd say that benefits you commercially.

Knowledge should be free, yes. But a set of rules for an RPG is not knowledge, it is intellectual property. And you, by downloading and reading said rules, are gaining that intellectual property. The only other way you could have acquired that IP legally is to buy the product. You didn't buy it.

You're a thief, period.

(And before anybody takes the "library defense" on me, tax dollars have paid for that IP).
 

Makaze

First Post
So it is stealing, but stealing isn't wrong?

If you define stealing as taking something without legal right then yes it's stealing.

If you define stealing as taking something away from another without right then no it's not stealing.

As for wrong? It's a moral judgment call and everyone makes those based on their own subjective opinions.
 
Last edited:

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
baberg said:
So it is stealing, but stealing isn't wrong?
I'm curious what definition of "steal" you are using. Because to steal requires you deprive someone of an item or article which they owned. But with regards to electronic copying this doesn't seem to match. I'm not going to run around saying it should or shouldn't be a crime. But the nature of the electronic media tends to indicate if it's going to be considered a crime then it should go into a new category specifically dealing with this issue. Because once you hit the electronic media definitions of what comprises a thing get strange. For example a pdf that is copied without permission. At no time is the pdf removed from the possession of anyone entitled to its possession. there are simply now more of them, the infinitely duplicative nature basically eliminates the scarcity of resources issue at the heart of the concept of theft. No one was deprived of possession the possession itself multiplied into previously nonexistent entities. So maybe rather than trying to shoe horn these things in a framework specific to the medium needs to be created to properly address the issue?
 

Cor Azer

First Post
baberg said:
You're playing a game that by all rights you should have paid for. Thus you got something for nothing. I'd say that benefits you commercially.

Uh... you do realize that "commercially" refers to selling/reselling a product/service for profit, etc.? Unless he's charging his players to play in his game (or for an audience to watch), he is not benefitting commercially. He might be benefitting... but strictly in a private/non-commercial sense.

And to be fair, you don't technically have to pay for D&D in order to play. Many of my players have no interest in paying for their books... for any books. They borrow another player's copy when needed. So you can certainly play that game without paying for it. Sure, someone in the group likely needs to have paid for the books, but not everyone.

I'm not weighing in on either side of the piracy issue though, mostly because I completely understand both sides.
 

baberg

First Post
HeavenShallBurn said:
I'm curious what definition of "steal" you are using.
I posted my three-step method of determining theft above. It boils down to "Did I get something I should have paid for, but didn't? Then I stole." Whether that's getting a new car by breaking the window, listening to an MP3 that I do not have the rights to listen to, or reading a PDF of a splat book. In all cases I'm getting something (a new car, enjoyment from music, information) and I didn't pay for it. I'm a thief. Theft does not include depriving a previous owner of their property when we're talking intellectual property.

HeavenShallBurn said:
So maybe rather than trying to shoe horn these things in a framework specific to the medium needs to be created to properly address the issue?
We already have it. US Code Title 17 Section 506(a), Criminal infringement of copyright, subparagraph (1)(c): Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.
 

Spatula

Explorer
HeavenShallBurn said:
I'm curious what definition of "steal" you are using. Because to steal requires you deprive someone of an item or article which they owned. But with regards to electronic copying this doesn't seem to match. I'm not going to run around saying it should or shouldn't be a crime. But the nature of the electronic media tends to indicate if it's going to be considered a crime then it should go into a new category specifically dealing with this issue. Because once you hit the electronic media definitions of what comprises a thing get strange. For example a pdf that is copied without permission. At no time is the pdf removed from the possession of anyone entitled to its possession. there are simply now more of them, the infinitely duplicative nature basically eliminates the scarcity of resources issue at the heart of the concept of theft. No one was deprived of possession the possession itself multiplied into previously nonexistent entities. So maybe rather than trying to shoe horn these things in a framework specific to the medium needs to be created to properly address the issue?
Uhm, this isn't a new crime. Copyright (literally, the right to copy - not take, but copy - a work) violation is an old crime, it's just one that isn't easy to enforce. Ever notice the FBI warning at the start of movies that you watch at home on DVD or VHS?
 

Makaze

First Post
Uhm, this isn't a new crime. Copyright (literally, the right to copy - not take, but copy - a work) violation is an old crime
But the desire and ability to do it for free is fairly new. In previous years the copyrighted work was a style/design that was copied by competitors products for their monetary gain. Or something like a book or music required physical media that attached a material cost to the act of copying thus leading once again to monetary gain on behalf of the copier.

Both of those actions harm the copyright holder by depriving them of sales. Not always so with digitaly stored information.
 

MaelStorm

First Post
Moniker said:
WotC can help curb a segment of online piracy by offering digital "servings" of their books upfront (watermarked), so users can browse the books as they can in bookstores and decide for themselves if they want to buy it or not. Digital bookstores are the wave of the future.

There are staggering statistics that support the theory that prereleasing albums online for free before live sales actually boosts sales of the album. Perhaps it's time that publishers take a note from the music industry (no pun intended). :6: :6: :6:
Amen!

Digital bookstores is the wave of the future. Frankly I don't understand why WotC do not have a digital bookstore. Look at Steve Jackson Games, they have e23, you can buy a PDF of practically every game system you can think of, except Dungeons and Dragons! I await the day WotC do the same thing. Come on Wizards! I know you can do it. With the digital initiative underway, why not take this opportunity to create a new digital bookstore too? You could also make a deal with 3PP who create stuff for the GSL to sell their stuff too.

Plus, most games offer a small PDF to preview the work online, but not stuff for D&D why? If you want to know what's inside you have to go to your FLGS, and then go back home and decide if you want to order it online. I like to shop with the internet because it saves time. I really don't dig WotC marketing philosophy. Dump analog and go digital all the way, stop flirting around with the idea.
 

HeavenShallBurn

First Post
baberg said:
In all cases I'm getting something (a new car, enjoyment from music, information) and I didn't pay for it. I'm a thief. Theft does not include depriving a previous owner of their property when we're talking intellectual property.
West's Encyclopedia of American Law said:
theft n. the generic term for all crimes in which a person intentionally and fraudulently takes personal property of another without permission or consent and with the intent to convert it to the taker's use (including potential sale). In many states, if the value of the property taken is low (for example, less than $500) the crime is "petty theft," but it is "grand theft" for larger amounts, designated misdemeanor, or felony, respectively. Theft is synonymous with "larceny." Although robbery (taking by force), burglary (taken by entering unlawfully), and embezzlement (stealing from an employer) are all commonly thought of as theft, they are distinguished by the means and methods used, and are separately designated as those types of crimes in criminal charges and statutory punishments. (See: larceny, robbery, burglary, embezzlement)
The legal definition of theft explicitly categorizes it as the removal of personal property from the possession of the rightful owner. Not to say it's not legally a crime to infringe copyright but it's not theft under the legal definition as the owner never lost personal property. I'm not saying it's not a crime I'm saying that the crime itself does not fit the category of theft. In fact it is called out as such, notice that a separate legal code handles the issue and deals with a different legal phenomenon called "Criminal infringement of copyright." As such it's not accurate to call it theft, it doesn't meet the definition of theft.
 

pawsplay

Banned
Banned
Emirikol said:
Let's hear some thoughts on the piracy issue for 4e. Will it be as big of a problem as it was/is for 3.5?

Jh

What piracy issue? Last I heard, 3e sold lots of books.
 

Torchlyte

First Post
The problem here is a confusion of economics and ethics.

With regards to economics the goal is always to maximize utility, regardless of ethics. That means that there is nothing economically wrong with piracy[1], because no utility is lost and some utility is gained.

[1] = So long as this does not change business expectations, because if it did then piracy would discourage hard work.

This is not an ethical philosophy, and anyone confusing it for that is doing so erroneously.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Because to steal requires you deprive someone of an item or article which they owned.


From Black's Law Dictionary:
Stolen: Acquired, or possessed, as a result of some wrongful or dishonest act or taking, whereby a person willfully obtains or retains possession of property which belongs to another, without or beyond any permission given, and with the intent to deprive the owner of the benefit of ownership (or possession) permanently.

So, by infringing on someone's copyright, you are stealing because:

1) One of the fundamental powers of owning a copyright is the right to distribute or to choose not to distribute by any legal means. If you obtain copyrighted material without compensating the IP holder, you've done so by not honoring the terms by which he has offered to distribute the IP. IOW, you have deprived the owner with at least one benefit of ownership- the right to sell (or not sell) it to you.

2) You have intentionally obtained & retained possession of the property without/beyond the permission of the owner.

Theft does not include depriving a previous owner of their property when we're talking intellectual property.

and

Not to say it's not legally a crime to infringe copyright but it's not theft under the legal definition as the owner never lost personal property.

In the broadest sense, it does qualify as theft:

From Black's Law Dictionary:
Theft: The taking of property without the owner's consent...

The fraudulent taking of personal property belonging to another, from his possession or from the possession of some person holding the same for him, without his consent, with intent to deprive the owner of the value of the same, and to appropriate it to the use or benefit of the person taking...

...it includes swindling and embezzlement and that generally, one who obtains possession fo property by lawful means and thereafter appropriates the property to the taker's own use is guilty of a "theft"...

...any of the following acts done with intent to deprive the owner permanently of the possession, use, or benefit of his property: (a) Obtaining or exerting unauthorized control over property; or (b) Obtaining by deception control over the property; or (c) Obtaining by threat control over property; or (d) obtaining control over stolen property knowing the property to be stolen by another

Copyright infringement satisfies several clauses above, (a) at the very least (especially that "exerting unauthorized control over" language), and quite often in the age of file sharing, (d).

Knowledge should be free you know. If you say no, then your ethics are questioned, not his.

Innovation flourishes most when those who invest their time, resources, money and efforts into creating IP have the right and ability to defend controlling that IP. Not only that, laws that protect IP create jobs by making it possible to make R&D pay off, and that makes more products available to the consumer...not less.* If Coke couldn't protect their recipe, they never would have been able to manufacture & market it on a mass scale- ditto any company with proprietary IP.

It is not an accident that the USA, Japan and other 1st world capitalist societies have succeeded in tech and various IP dominated fields. It is also not an accident that places where enforcement is lax- like China- are having difficulty in actually producing innovation of their own. Just last year, it was reported that Chinese tech firms are having their own discoveries stolen by homegrown pirates who learned how do do so by stealing from the West, leading to a declining investment in R&D. You don't invest in R&D if you can't reap the rewards, and as a result, your company stagnates...unless you do a little theft yourself.

* It is actually the failure or non-enforcement of other aspects of the law, like Anti-trust, that removes products from consumer's grasp, not enforcement of IP laws.
 
Last edited:

Status
Not open for further replies.

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top