“Games company lawyer” Jas Purewal wrote an open letter to those who oppose developers taking legal action against pirates. And, in typical style, the man completely missed the point, as lawyers in such a situation often do.
I mean, the man kicks things off with “this is a letter to those folks who oppose developers taking legal action against people who download and play their games without paying” – which is utter balls of the highest nature. And then goes on to give five reasons why people think it is acceptable – again, not true.
For a start, it’s not the legal action people are against, it’s the nature of how companies are going about that legal action.
For a start, Mr. Purewal made the automatic assumption that a majority of gamers are or support pirates and piracy. Congratulations sir. You have continued to perpetuate a myth that the games industry wants to keep recycling to justify many of its draconian DRM measures. This is the deal – the MAJORITY of customers in the industry are legitimate, paying ones.
Poorly implemented DRM by the likes of UbiSoft and Capcom has only served to put off those legitimate users from buying and no, they don’t pirate it – so even though the numbers of illegally obtained copies aren’t any higher than usual, the illusion is more piracy happens. When what is REALLY going on is simply, legitimate consumers are just not buying the game. They’re turned off by DRM. The games make less money as a result.
The industry has spent many, many years trying to avoid this harsh truth. Screw over your paying customers and they won’t buy from you any more. They want to believe there is a blame that isn’t their own – when, sorry to say, it is their own fault, and the first step in sorting it out is to accept that such measures are the reason for paying customers going AWOL.
Then of course there is the faint whiff of the SOPA thing. Now, I for one am very appreciative of the idea of finding ways of punishing those who break the law – as a writer, IP and Copyright Theft is something I understand all too well. I would be heartbroken if my stuff was to be reprinted without my permission, and take legal action to the best of my ability. There is no excuse for piracy of modern games – old SNES/Genesis stuff is a morally grey area as for some reason the games industry managed to circumvent the usual decaying process of copyrights, which should be addressed, because it won’t be long before the industry is over 50 years old – and companies will want to draw from yesteryear in the vain hopes of finding new ideas.
That said, the problem with the likes of SOPA is that it simply goes too far again, and like DRM, brands EVERYONE a criminal. The assumption with the likes of SOPA and other changes to international/criminal law is that we’re all criminals, guilty before being proven innocent, and it is this that I and many others find objectionable. Not as gamers, but as law-abiding citizens of this planet.
And the hilarious and darker side to things like SOPA is simply, with this data, companies and corporations have very tailored, specialised information to target you with advertisements, promotions and other things. It’s a commercial dream come true for them really – not only do they get to squash piracy, but they get all this information about gamers and it’d be perfectly legal.
I come back to the same point because it’s important that lawyers get this message, that companies like Capcom and UbiSoft get it, that the US Senate get it.
You cannot tackle a problem by assuming everyone does it. The United States has already tried this before in the early 20th Century with Prohibition, and we all know where that ended up. You may indeed force it off the internet – but you then force it back into seedy shops and car boot sales, which is actually worse as you can’t protect yourself from dodgy crap on the discs in those scenarios, and money changes hands into the pockets of higher-based criminals for use in other criminal activities.
I admit, the current system is flawed. But that’s not to say that it should be the case all suffer for the minority – sue them for what they have, what they’re worth and yes, tackle the international laws that seem to allow sites to link to torrents and downloads of said illegal content. There are other options out there to fight piracy – by tackling the source feeder, not just those that consume.
But I object to being classed as someone who sympathises with pirates. I object to being branded a pirate before I’ve even bought a game. I object to being made pout to be guilty for merely being on the internet.
And I object to games companies and their overpaid lawyers spouting the same old crap in the vain hopes it will somehow make it true. It won’t, it won’t, it just won’t. Want to tackle piracy? Add more value to the game, or just drop the DRM and treat customers as customers, and just tackle pirates as the thieves that they are, not as some sort of objectified lost sales target.
You know, like companies used to do before they got all greedy and deluded themselves that we owe them, rather than them owing us for being loyal customers.