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Witcher 2 Torrents Could Net You a Fine

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the dodging-legal-threats-now-a-valid-gameplay-mechanic dept.

PC Games (Games) 724

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Eurogamer: "Gamers who download upcoming PC exclusive The Witcher 2 illegally could receive a letter demanding they pay a fine or face legal action. If gamers refuse to pay the fine, which will be more than the cost of the game, they could end up in court, developer CD Projekt told Eurogamer. 'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,' CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiski said. 'In quite a few big countries, when people are downloading it illegally they can expect a letter from a legal firm saying, "Hey, you downloaded it illegally and right now you have to pay a fine." We are totally fair, but if you decide you will not buy it legally there is a chance you'll get a letter. We are talking about it right now.' Interestingly, The Witcher 2 will be released free of digital rights management – but only through the CD Projekt-owned digital download shop GOG.com. That means owners will be able to install it as many times as they like on any number of computers – and it will not requite an internet connection to run."

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Intended Reaction? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34313954)

A DRM-free game released by a publisher that intends to hunt down pirates. Am I supposed to cheer them on or cry foul? I'm so confused :(

Re:Intended Reaction? (4, Insightful)

black6host (469985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314028)

Games should be released DRM free, publishers should be free to utilize what means have been approved to protect their work. At least that's how it would work in my perfect world....

Re:Intended Reaction? (-1, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314094)

A perfect world where people are hunted down for doing something that hurts no one so that someone else may profit off of them instead of fixing the broken system? That doesn't seem so perfect.

Re:Intended Reaction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314166)

You sound like you have at least some ideas on how it can be fixed. Got them explained somewhere?

Re:Intended Reaction? (0, Offtopic)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314228)

I do? I never claimed that I did. It is no easy task to come up with such a thing, but my inability to think of a viable alternative does not change the fact that the current system is terrible and some effort should at least be going into coming up with another way (some people already have suggested alternatives, but the people in power would never accept them). Even if there were no viable alternatives, it's illogical to blame people who do something that harms no one for the shortcomings of a broken system.

Re:Intended Reaction? (4, Insightful)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314350)

Isn't releasing the game DRM free already an effort in the right made by CD Projekt? They make sure that paying customers are not suffering from any piracy/overzealous protection schemes related problems. The people who wants to play the game should do the logical thing and make a step in the right way too, namely buy the game instead of using the "free unlimited evaluation versions" available through torrents (can't call it cracked without DRM, can you?)

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314422)

Yes, it is. I applaud them for doing that, but that doesn't mean that pirates are doing any harm in the first place. I don't blame them for trying to make more money, however. This is mainly a problem with how the system is designed.

Re:Intended Reaction? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314230)

doing something that hurts no one

It does hurt someone. It hurts the creators, who would otherwise get some of the money. I know, I know--I'm well aware of the MAFIAA and believe me, I don't support them either. The fact of the matter is, however, that the creators nevertheless do gain revenue from their works (even though the MAFIAA does divest them of a large slice of the aforesaid monies), and illegally obtaining said works deprives them of money.

I'm not saying the system isn't broken--it is. Its brokenness, however, should not predicate the suffering of content creators from revenue lost due to illegal copying/downloading.

Re:Intended Reaction? (3, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314316)

It does hurt someone. It hurts the creators, who would otherwise get some of the money.

"Potential profit," then? For one thing, in order for it to explicitly hurt them, something that they previously owned must be taken from them.

Suppose someone decides not to buy a product from a store. Would the store have had more money if they did? Yes. Using the logic of those who utilize the potential profit argument, this would mean that they have 'stolen' potential profit from the store, and have therefore 'harmed' a legitimate business.

Suppose that someone tells all of their friends who were originally going to buy a product not to buy it. They ultimately decide not to buy it. Would the store have had more money if the person hadn't told their friends not to buy the product (or if the friends had given them their money anyway)? Yes. Using the same logic above, it can be concluded, then, that the business was 'hurt'. This is an example similar to piracy because many argue that piracy affects sales, but so does this.

Whether the pirate has the product or not is irrelevant. Merely obtaining the product deprived no one of anything (because they copied the data and didn't take anything from anyone).

Its brokenness, however, should not predicate the suffering of content creators from revenue lost due to illegal copying/downloading.

Likewise, the blame also shouldn't be put on people who do things that harm no one (as explained above).

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314396)

In the market of competitive monopoly, which is what sale of games is. A competitive monopoly being, in this case, a firm that produces a differentiated good with legal barrier to entry(copyright). This makes the creators price makers, which means there is a large amount of sales that never happen, because there are people who won't buy at the demand price because their utility from a game is not as great as their utility from their next two weeks worth of food. Now if they implemented price discrimination via a student discount for say, poor college students, it would likely encourage me to buy a copy of your game instead of pirating it. Also it would help if you released a finished product, that wasn't broken.

TL;DR Every pirated copy is not a lost sale. Wish for student discount. Don't release buggy games.

Re:Intended Reaction? (5, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314306)

Free riders are a problem. Learn some economics before you start with the "hurts no one" crap.

Re:Intended Reaction? (0, Troll)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314364)

why?

property is thief.

Ambiguous reaction (3, Funny)

gringer (252588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314406)

property is thief.

I'm not quite sure where you're going on this one. Did you mean one of the following?

  • Anyone who possesses property is a thief
  • Some/All properties are themselves thieves
  • Posession of property is theft
  • Pirates are thieves
  • The property of interest is a game called 'thief'
  • You currently have a thief in your posession
  • It's a somewhat cloudy, but otherwise fine day in Wellington, New Zealand

Re:Intended Reaction? (0)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314398)

Learn some economics before you start with the "hurts no one" crap.

Since pirates aren't actually taking the product itself and are merely copying data, how are the artists being hurt, exactly? They (or anyone else) aren't being deprived of the product itself.

Is it "potential profit" that you think the pirates are depriving the artists of? If so, not only is it logically impossible to deprive someone of objects that do not exist (potential profit doesn't exist), but by claiming that pirates 'steal' potential profit, you are also either directly or indirectly blaming nearly everyone in existence for this as well.

You 'steal' potential profit by not giving someone money or by interfering with their flow of profit. That means that if you decide not to buy a product from a store, for example, you'd be 'stealing' potential profit (you've 'harmed' the store because the store would have had more money if you would have given it to them). That means that you're 'stealing' potential profit whenever you decide to tell people who are about to buy a product not to buy it (and they decide not to) as the artists would have had more money if you hadn't done that.

Don't you think the system is broken when people who logically do no harm to anyone are blamed simply because they decided not to give someone their money (an action which doesn't really harm anyone)? Don't you think the system is broken when artists are encouraged to introduce artificial scarcity on products that would otherwise be in an unlimited quantity just to make a profit so that they can continue participating in said system? That's what needs to be fixed, not piracy.

Re:Intended Reaction? (2, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314038)

Honest question: why would you cry foul? I would be interested in knowing precisely the rationale behind condemning their plans.

Re:Intended Reaction? (0, Flamebait)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314116)

They're going after people who in no way, shape, or form inflicted any damages on them or even interacted with them. They merely copied their product. Instead of acknowledging the fact that the system is broken due to its insistence on utilizing artificial scarcity, they blame people who have nothing to do with said systems shortcomings.

Re:Intended Reaction? (5, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314194)

Even if you assume 100% of pirates wouldn't have bought the game if they couldn't get it for free, what gives them the right to play the game without paying for it? I used to think as you did, but now I'm not so sure. I don't think exorbitant fines (such as the *AA enjoy) are the answer (in fact, I find them reprehensible), but neither can I condone piracy.

Or how about a different example. Are you in favor of people sneaking in to movie theaters? Assuming a non-full showing, it doesn't "hurt" the theater one bit, but it's obviously the wrong thing to do.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1, Insightful)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314274)

Even if you assume 100% of pirates wouldn't have bought the game if they couldn't get it for free

I don't assume that. I don't even care if 100% of the pirates would have bought the media. That's like saying that it should be illegal to tell your friends who were originally going to buy a product not to buy it because that could 'hurt' sales.

what gives them the right to play the game without paying for it?

Answer this: if it doesn't hurt anyone, then why does it matter? You know that no one is being deprived of anything that they previously owned.

You can say that they're 'stealing' potential profit, but not only is it impossible to steal objects that don't even exist, but you'd be blaming just about everyone in existence by doing so. You 'steal' potential profit merely by choosing not to give someone money or by interfering with their flow of profit. That effectively means that not buying a product from a store would mean that you have 'stole' potential profit from the store (and have therefore 'harmed' them because they would have been better off if you had given them your money).

Are you in favor of people sneaking in to movie theaters? Assuming a non-full showing, it doesn't "hurt" the theater one bit, but it's obviously the wrong thing to do.

If you admit that it doesn't hurt them, then why is it the 'wrong' (subjective) thing to do? I think it's fine if it's not inflicting any harm upon them.

Re:Intended Reaction? (5, Insightful)

seibai (1805884) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314380)

Answer this: if it doesn't hurt anyone, then why does it matter? You know that no one is being deprived of anything that they previously owned.

You can say that they're 'stealing' potential profit, but not only is it impossible to steal objects that don't even exist, but you'd be blaming just about everyone in existence by doing so. You 'steal' potential profit merely by choosing not to give someone money or by interfering with their flow of profit. That effectively means that not buying a product from a store would mean that you have 'stole' potential profit from the store (and have therefore 'harmed' them because they would have been better off if you had given them your money).

Rather than hurting "anyone" is actually hurts "everyone". This is just another case of what's called the "tragedy of the commons [wikipedia.org] ". Each person who pirates a game benefits himself or herself, but if enough people do this it's no longer tenable to make games and no one has a game to play, for free or otherwise.

You can talk about people making things "for art's sake", and some people will, but a lot of them won't who would. I used to make games, and I still do in my spare time, but I work for Microsoft as my day job, so my productivity in making games isn't nearly as high as it would be if I could do it full time. Other people, people who might be fantastic artists but have a family to feed are going to be in similar spots because people pirate games. Piracy has a direct impact in reducing the profitability of the art, meaning there are fewer people who can practice it.

Re:Intended Reaction? (0, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314430)

Each person who pirates a game benefits himself or herself, but if enough people do this it's no longer tenable to make games and no one has a game to play, for free or otherwise.

Don't you think that it's a shortcoming of a broken system if people can no longer do what they enjoy without attempting to harm people who have done nothing to them or harmed them in any way? Piracy isn't what needs to be fixed. The current system, however, does.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314390)

You're really overthinking this. I pay $60,000/year for 50 developers/artists/writers for 3 years to create a game. That's $9,000,000 out of my pocket to put out a piece of entertainment for others to enjoy. Let's say I need to pay that big loan back at some point and it would just take too long waiting tables. So I sell my game at $60 per copy. I need to sell 150,000 copies of that game to break even. I'm not Electronic Arts or Blizzard so I'm not famous nor do I have a large marketing budget. The only thing I have going for me is that the first game I put out got noticed because a lot of long hours put in by talented people was noticed.

Now I have people playing the game, but not giving me any credit in a form that allows me to pay my debtors: money. Sure people love the game and I'm proud of that. But I also have about $10,000 in loan payments every month. It's never hopeless -- I wouldn't have attempted this whole project if I thought it was sink or swim. But I put a lot of money into this and I'm selling it for a financial return. It's fair. It's how it works. Food and rent cost money. I don't have to make this game. But I do, and if you like it, pay me for it. Pay the developers and the artists.

If you don't, then they are out of their homes because I didn't really have $9,000,000. I had $6,000,000. This was their big break. I made the promise. But really, I'd rather that you throw bricks at plate glass windows than use my software without paying. Those windows don't have DRM and I bet it would be entertaining as well.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314460)

Now I have people playing the game, but not giving me any credit in a form that allows me to pay my debtors: money.

But, see, this is where it gets interesting. You're mainly upset with these people because they haven't given you money, not because they're playing your game (as copying data doesn't hurt anyone as no one is deprived of anything). This is a category that also includes everyone who merely didn't buy the product. Not to mention that not giving someone money doesn't harm them (as that is an action that deprives them of nothing).

If artists need to introduce artificial scarcity to continue doing what they love and participating in society, then that is a fault of a broken system, not people who do no harm to others.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314404)

One could argue that they are increasing the supply, and thus for a more or less fixed demand they are reducing the market value. The reasoning behind copyright law in general runs along the same lines: supply of digital 'items' is essentially infinite, meaning that cost will drop to more or less zero. Since artistic works are considered a benefit to society, the artist is granted a period in which they can artificially limit the supply in order to keep the value up, thus giving them a chance to recoup their expenses and potentially make a profit. It's based not only on the tangible value but the perception of value, as I mentioned in my post just below. Whether you consider that reasonable is another matter, I admit, but I'd say denying the effect is illogical.

At this point, however, I'm still not taking sides. I agree with copyright in principle, but not its current insane implementation. I'm of the general opinion that suing for minor infringements is a bad idea, but that's within the framework of life-altering fines and court cases, rather than a more reasonable (IMO) parking ticket style system. I despise the things that the *AA have forced through the courts in the name of copyright protection, but I see no evidence linking this company to them. Basically, I think this is an unusual case but we (quite rightly) can't help seeing it through the filter of those we've read about previously.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314410)

Sorry for the AC post, but I don't have a slashdot account. I just wanted to let you know that I'm a game developer (a programmer, to be precise), and to thank you profusely for doing your part to support us in making awesome games for you to play.

Re:Intended Reaction? (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314278)

I more or less agree with you, but I'll add that calling something "wrong" without further qualification severely undermines your argument.

A more convincing point to make would be that the ability to enter a movie for free works to degrade the perceived value of the paid tickets. Basically, consider all the customers who did pay turning around and questioning why they parted with $x while those guys in the front didn't, and subsequently concluding that they shouldn't have to pay either next time. Perception of value drops like a stone.

Sure, it's all based on a more or less imaginary value to start with, but that's how a lot of our economy works - those who want to argue about the validity of that have a much longer debate on their hands.

Re:Intended Reaction? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314386)

I used to enjoy sneaking into free movies when I was young. You're quite correct, it doesn't hurt the theatre.

The only thing morally wrong is the exorbitant price that the cinemas charge for a movie!

I'd encourage people to never ever pay for movie content if you can avoid it. In these times of economic crises, why should we give money to multimillionaires in Hollywood who lecture us about carbon-credits while they fly all over the world.

Re:Intended Reaction? (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314212)

Two major reasons: firstly, IP addresses don't map directly to people and (depending on the gathering method used by the companies) can be trivial to spoof, secondly (and more importantly) defending a civil suit can easily bankrupt even an innocent person - offering a pre-set 'settlement' in this situation is very close to blackmail.

As I mentioned [slashdot.org] further down, though, I'm withholding judgement here until I see a bit more information. I still feel it to be a poor choice, mainly for the reasons above, but I can see why they're doing it and I don't feel any real sympathy for a person getting something akin to a parking ticket if they have in fact been illegally downloading games.

This sympathy for the copyright holder is normally somewhat tempered by the fact that I would like to see the bunch of mindless jerks in charge of the companies under the *AA umbrella first against the wall when the revolution comes[1] as penance for the harm they've done us all in infinitely extending copyright, attacking net neutrality, pushing fines and penalties far beyond the reasonable, attacking fair use, attempting to mandate pervasive network surveillance, and kicking puppies[2].

In this case, though, the copyright holder seems to be more or less reasonable, so I'll be interested to see how it plays out.

[1]This is exaggeration for humorous effect, alluding to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [wikipedia.org] . Sometimes also known as a joke [wikipedia.org] . Not to be construed as a threat [guardian.co.uk] under the Communications Act.

[2]See above disclaimer.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314448)

"Honest question: why would you cry foul?"

I cry foul as well and I am perfectly willing to tell you why.

Remember when game releases were preceded by a demo release? What ever happened to that? I'll tell you. People didn't buy games that were obvious pieces of shit, but SOME would if you didn't give them a chance to test it first. So, gone are the demos of yore.

Unless there is a playable demo available to test the game, I have zero way of knowing if the game is actually finished (in terms of development), has more then a few hours of gameplay, has replay value and, most importantly, actually runs on my system. I have a dozen or so games in my garage that never ran on my machine (although my machine was well within specs) but could not be returned for a refund.

In short, I want to know what I am paying for before I do so. Reviews are all manipulated to one extent or another and I quite simply do not trust them anymore nor do I expect anyone but me to know what runs on my machine, or not.

I suspect that the producers of The Witcher 2 are more afraid of people finding out the game wasn't ready for release BEFORE they pay for it.

 

Re:Intended Reaction? (4, Interesting)

RsG (809189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314086)

I'm cheering, tentatively.

My "Ideal Future" is no DRM whatsoever, with the game companies selling their product through digital downloads, and possibly brick-and-mortar/snail-mail retailers for those who want physical media.

I want this future specifically so that I can be sure the games I buy today are still good to go fifteen years from now. Not as unreasonable as it sounds, when you consider that my own collection includes titles like X-Com (1993), Fallout 1&2 (97/98) and the Infinity engine series (late 90's), all of which work, or can be made to work, on a modern PC.

The biggest resistance to the "DRM free" approach comes from the fear of piracy. I don't think this is a particularly rational response to the problem on the part of the devs, as only a single game copy needs to be cracked and torrented to make the DRM irrelevant - you can't reasonably stop that without complete control of the box that runs the game, something you can only partially achieve with consoles, and arguably not even then.

Is suing the pirates in lieu of DRM any more rational? Debatable. But I've no doubt it's an improvement. After all, DRMing the games causes problems for me, the legit user, while anti-piracy suits do not.

You cheer because you don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314464)

You cheer because you don't understand.

These firms will go after people armed only with an IP address, which most trackers have been adding randomly to torrents for a while now. Also you can be counted as being in the swarm for simply clicking on an a link containing the announce URL for the torrent tracker with the torrent hash in the url. This is probably doable by loading an invisible frame with the announce url as the target. So you wouldn't even know that anything funny was going on and continue playing the free flash games or whatever got you on that site in the first place.

I wonder if you still cheer when they come on your footsteps with silly threats and very flimsy evidence based on something that is not at all reliable.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

hughperkins (705005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314104)

I think it sounds reasonable, given the laws today.

I think better would be if pirating games would be prosecuted like speeding, and you paid a small, but not outlandish, fine.

However, the games companies don't have this option today, and they have to live in the real world today, and try to make money somehow.

DRM-free, and if the fines^h^h^h^h^h^h settlements are reasonable - let's say 100-200 dollars I guess, 4-5 times the cost of the game? Then I think that sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Re:Intended Reaction? (1, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314192)

The problem isn't the 'reasonableness' of the penalty; but the dubiousness of the process. A private party pulling a standard of evidence and a due process of proof out of their ass and then sending monetary demands to those they deem guilty is vigilantism at best and shades pretty quickly into extortion. The size of the amount being extorted isn't the issue, the extortion is....

Re:Intended Reaction? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314276)

A DRM-free game released by a publisher that intends to hunt down pirates. Am I supposed to cheer them on or cry foul? I'm so confused :(

Cheer. DRM punishes non-pirates more than it prevents piracy. The pirates are in some ways on our side with the DRM vs no DRM argument, but that doesn't mean pirates have a peg-leg to stand on with all arguments.

I don't expect someone to make a good game and then be happy people are playing it without paying them, no developer is claiming to be a charity, and good revenue for good games means more good games. If devs want to specifically punish pirates, that's a good thing in my book.

Cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34313958)

I'm buying the game and torrenting the ISO(s).
Its easier to mount an ISO than mess about with physical media.

Re:Cool... (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34313988)

The game is sold digitally, drm free.

that's not how copyright law works (0)

drDugan (219551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34313962)

as much as people would like to believe they are entitled to a given business, they are not. making a business work and making money are hard.

breaking the law is a crime, and if one proves that another has broken the law, there are extremely stiff penalties, especially for breaking the laws around copyright.

the law does not entitle the owners of copyright to a fine. that's just threats, and threatening your customers and the consumers of your product is bad business.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (4, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314004)

Going after people who bootleg the thing isnt going after customers; its going after freeloaders, and generally thats substantially less bad for business.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (0, Troll)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314344)

Going after people that would never buy your game in the first place is pointless. They want to go after people, so they will be scared, and then buy their game because they are afraid to download it illegally. So yes, they are going after what they consider potential customers. If they didn't consider them potential customers, there would be no logical business case for doing so and they'd never be able to talk their board into providing the funding needed to pay the lawyers.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314388)

Going after people who bootleg the thing isnt going after customers; its going after freeloaders, and generally thats substantially less bad for business.

Except that studies have shown that the people who pirate music also bought more music than their non-pirating counterparts.

I wonder if the same is true for games.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (1)

nbehary (140745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314010)

You summed up my thoughts exactly. (but you worded it better on the post I didn't make)

This may not be illegal, but it's definitely questionable. "Settle with us, or we may sue you"....

Re:that's not how copyright law works (1)

No Lucifer (1620685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314032)

Right. This sounds like blackmail. At least, by calling it a "fine" some folks may unwittingly think it's somehow "official" and it's what they legally owe.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (5, Informative)

damnbunni (1215350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314036)

If you're torrenting a game that's sold as a download without DRM, I'm pretty sure you're not a customer.

Just sayin'.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314052)

Can't they just call it a 'settlement', like the big guys do?

While I wouldn't go so far as saying I support this (too much room for abuse, poor mapping of IPs to people, very dubious reference to "torrent sneaking companies", etc.), I also won't (yet) condemn it in the same way that I do when the *AA do this. Many of my arguments revolve around DRM, the insanely disproportionate punishments, the draconian laws that are forced upon us (I'm looking at you ACTA & DMCA) and so forth - since it would appear that CD Projekt aren't complicit in any of this, I'll give them the benefit of just a smidgen of doubt for now.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (5, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314054)

You aren't a customer if you steal the product.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (0, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314124)

Luckily, pirates aren't actually stealing the product (but they're still not customers), they're merely copying it. In order for it to be considered theft, someone must be deprived of something that they previously owned. That does not happen when copying data.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314246)

I stole your sister's innocence last night. See how that works? I didn't take anything tangible - I'm not a thief, and it wasn't thievery - but I did steal something. It's an amazing revelation, I know, but stealing is not theft. Theft is stealing, however (except according to law).

Re:that's not how copyright law works (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314408)

SO you don't think the government created right to exclusive control over the copying and distribution of copyrighted works is being deprived?

Because that's what they are trying to protect.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (0, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314442)

SO you don't think the government created right to exclusive control over the copying and distribution of copyrighted works is being deprived?

They created that artificial right, yes. But not abiding by the law, as I pointed out above, deprives no one of anything. If that's your only defense, then let me just point out that again, how does it hurt them if someone pirates their work? Violating their 'right' to distribute products that are in an infinite supply whilst not taking anything from them doesn't actually harm them by itself.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314456)

Let's apply this principle to something less contentious. Say, like many people, you have a bank account with your life savings in it. You willingly gave the bank money, and they kept track of the amount of money owed via some kind of digitally stored number. Let's say I then managed to somehow reduce that number to 0 and increase my number by exactly the same amount. By your characterisation of theft, this is certainly not theft. If anything, the bank is the one guilty of theft, because, by refusing to pay you money from an empty balance, they are depriving you of something you previously owned (even though you gave it to them willingly).

Perhaps I am guilty of theft, and your characterisation is simply wrong (I have my money on this one!). Perhaps I am not guilty of theft, but in which case, the argument over whether it's theft or not is a red herring. No sensible person would dispute that I have hurt you, despite the fact I have not deprived you of anything you owned.

Not convincing enough? Let's look at another one of my favourite examples. Suppose you're doing some kind of expensive contract work, that takes months and costs thousands of dollars. At the end of it, as per your contract, your clients are supposed to pay you, but they refuse to. It's not anything that you did wrong, just that they would prefer to keep the contracted work and the money. By your characterisation of theft, this is certainly not theft. Why? Because you never owned the money they were going to pay you, so they never "deprived you of something you previously owned". All they have deprived you of "potential profit", but as we all know, "potential profit" does not imply guaranteed profit, so therefore it's always worthless, right?

Re:that's not how copyright law works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314064)

Fine is a poor choice of word. This just an out-of-court settlement, which is extremely common.

Re:that's not how copyright law works (1)

theY4Kman (1519023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314210)

I like that you included "consumers," meaning all that enjoy the product, including torrenters.

Leaking (4, Interesting)

Formalin (1945560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34313966)

'Of course we're not happy when people are pirating our games, so we are signing with legal firms and torrent sneaking companies,'

That makes it sound like they are going to seed the torrents, making it available. I can't see that being airtight - If the copyright owner is making the torrent available, a leacher should be able to assume that they were granted permission to download it, no?

Seems pretty bent to me either way.

Re:Leaking (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314018)

I wouldnt be too sure about that; intent certainly figures into things when the law is concerned, and I think youd have a tough time convincing the courts that you thought being offered a single chunk from a "torrent sneaking firm" constituted permission to download the game; nor how you would convince them that you had the foresight to see all this in advance.

Re:Leaking (5, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314108)

>>I think youd have a tough time convincing the courts that you thought being offered a single chunk from a "torrent sneaking firm" constituted permission to download the game;

How about pointing to TFA? The company itself put a version of their software up on a torrent site for people to download from freely. How can they then say said downloads were illegal?

As copyright holders, they have the right to put their software up for free download, but they can't complain when people take them up on it.

Re:Leaking (2, Insightful)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314142)

CD Projekt is a Czech company, so it's entirely possible that the meaning of "torrent sneaking companies" got lost in the translation. I can think of a few ways you could identify the IP addresses of people downloading torrents without uploading any material yourself, so they might be using some of those.

Or, you know, they're a Czech company - copyright law doesn't mean the same thing over there as it does here*, so this may be above-board in certain countries.

*cue ACTA lobbyist saying "Yet"

Re:Leaking (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314158)

Not really. You have to download the torrent before you can start downloading the content. Being that the user was going to downloaded it without caring where it actually came from anyways, setting up a honeypot to log users is a smart move.

If I had a product that was being pirated, I would do the same thing if I could get justice in return for my effort.

Re:Leaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314224)

Considering how the first game was crap i'd be surprised if the 2nd would be worth pirating much less purchase.

Witcher 2 threats could net you publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34313968)

Has anyone heard of this game?

Re:Witcher 2 threats could net you publicity (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314008)

Yes, it's an interesting fantasy rpg. I think the first one sold decently, but I don't have any numbers on that, don't feel like looking them up. Although I agree that the statement they made is a little confusing. Maybe we're reading too much into this, or we are just too paranoid. Or maybe just me... : )

Re:Witcher 2 threats could net you publicity (3, Insightful)

dougmc (70836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314026)

I haven't heard of the Witcher 2 (until now), but The Witcher (1) was a pretty good RPG game.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Witcher_(video_game) [wikipedia.org]

If the sequel is as good as the first, it's well worth paying for. Having no DRM is a definite plus. Going after those who infringe on their copyrights ... well, it sounds like they've decided that any publicity is good publicity. And they may be right.

And really, I don't have any problems with them going after the pirates, especially if they make this "fine" a reasonable figure -- more than the cost of the game, but less than thousands of dollars.

Inevitable posts blasting this... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34313992)

And somehow I have a feeling that their ire is about the wrong thing. If it were possible to have reasonable certainty about who actually downloaded the file, this would be worthwhile, but I dont think theres really a good tie a WAN address to a LAN address from the outside yet.

That issue aside, id be interested to see the objections raised-- I suspect theyll boil down to "I cant have whatever I want? No fair!".

Re:Inevitable posts blasting this... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314152)

As someone who's had plenty of people raise objections to me (I happen to be firmly planted on the other side of the debate), I can tell you they almost always boil down to one or more of the following:

1) There's nothing wrong with sharing/copyright is bad
2) Sharing is only bad when companies do it (though I've had real trouble getting anyone to be able to justify why that is)
3) OK, sharing is bad/copyright is fine, but I still don't like companies suing people
4) I can't have whatever I want? No fair!

Although, I find with certain people arguing for points 1) and 2) that their arguments make significantly less sense if you assume they're not implicitly arguing for point 4). And by "certain people", I do not mean "all people". I can think of several people to whom this definitely did not apply.

Re:Inevitable posts blasting this... (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314458)

2) Sharing is only bad when companies do it (though I've had real trouble getting anyone to be able to justify why that is)

Sharing copyrighted material for profit is bad, how about this?

What I mean is - it is difficult to prove or disprove that somebody who downloaded the game for free would have bought it, after all, there is a huge price difference between free and $50 and I have a limited amount of money and could buy a limited amount of games, while I could download much more games (depending on the hard drive size and connection speed). However, if somebody bought the game from a pirate it is more likely that they would have bought the game legitimately if the pirated version was not available (even worse is when the pirate tricks the buyer into thinking that it is the legit version and sells it for the price of the legit version).

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314012)

Someone monitoring torrents on public trackers? Unheard of! The PirateBay is doomed!

Honestly? (1)

flintmecha (1134937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314016)

If you care at all about video games in general, why would you pirate this game in light of the amazing treatment CD Projekt is giving gamers? Absolutely no DRM, play-anywhere, and an astounding pre-release bonus package.

I'm normally opposed to devs going all vigilante and hunting down pirates, but I think in this particular situation, I think Wither 2 pirates really deserve some sort of punishment, whether legal or physical.

If you pirate this game, you are a dick, plain and simple.

Re:Honestly? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314148)

Why are the pirates always blamed for the shortcomings of a broken system? Don't you think that it's sort of odd how people who don't even take anything or harm anyone are being blamed for stealing (potential profit or otherwise)? Don't you think that it's sort of odd how artists (and others), in order to (presumably) make a living in said system, must introduce artificial scarcity through the use of scare tactics? I certainly do. It's not pirates that are the problem, it's the broken system which doesn't allow people to truly fulfill their dreams unless they have the object known as money, and instead of fixing said system, everyone in existence is blamed for its shortcomings.

Re:Honestly? (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314362)

And how would you propose fixing this system? What shortcomings are you talking about?

I like free stuff as much as anyone else, but really, what's so difficult about the concept of paying whatever arbitrary price someone asks for? If you think the price isn't worth it, then don't pay and don't play/watch/listen to whatever they created. It's hardly the end of the world.

Re:Honestly? (0, Troll)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314412)

And how would you propose fixing this system?

As I already said, I myself do not have a perfect solution to this. However, that does not change the fact that the current system is broken.

What shortcomings are you talking about?

Don't you think it's a shortcoming with the system if artists have to introduce artificial scarcity for products that would otherwise be in an infinite supply just to make a profit so that they can continue participating in said system and continue doing what they love? Don't you think it's a shortcoming when people who logically aren't doing any harm (not giving someone money isn't doing harm) are blamed for not giving someone money (which is a category that nearly everyone in existence fits into)?

If you think the price isn't worth it, then don't pay and don't play/watch/listen to whatever they created.

You could also go another route. You could merely get the media for free whilst not harming anyone.

When will people learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314030)

...not to use public Bittorrent swarms for illegal downloading. If you must use one, then for god's sake don't connect to any public trackers - all you need is 1 peer to discover hundreds more within minutes (this is only marginally more secure, but anything counts).

Language, language... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314050)

I must object to the use of the term "fine". A "fine" is a monetary penalty imposed under color of law as punishment, or part of a punishment, for a violation of the code of laws, demonstrated in a court of law according to due process.

Calling a private party's essentially extortionate demand to pay up or face (ruinously expensive even if innocent) legal action a "fine" is acccording it far too much legitimacy.

Sure, as a matter of probability, not all the threat letters will miss their mark, and some percentage will in fact be sent to people who downloaded and/or uploaded the game in violation of applicable law in their jurisdiction; but even those cases will hew to no established standards of evidence or due process. Given the known sloppiness(and clear perverse incentives involved) of these sorts of things a fair few won't even be accidentally correct, they'll simply be pure extortion without even coincidental overlap with justice.

No matter how much you hate copyright infringement, conflating vigilante 'justice' with process of law is dangerously sloppy. I don't know whether the CD Projekt spokesweasel is simply internally sloppy, or engaged in deliberate spin; but it is unacceptable.

Re:Language, language... (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314302)

A similar discussion is currently before the courts (or will be soon) in Australia where by a "class action" (populist term, not sure if that's an applicable term for Oz law) has been taken against our banks for imposing "penalty fees" for a wide range of reasons (like overdrawing your account - which the bank could just stop you from doing, but instead they make you pay a penalty "fee"). IIRC the argument is that these amount to "Fines" which the banks have no right to impose as they aren't allowed to "fine" anyone.

Usenet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314062)

Er, I mean... nothing.

torrent sneaking? (2, Insightful)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314070)

What the hell is "torrent sneaking?"

Re:torrent sneaking? (1)

eudas (192703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314300)

something that brings up vastly different search results than expected.

Re:torrent sneaking? (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314320)

"Look behind you!"

Too late.

Maybe I'm missing the point but... (4, Insightful)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314128)

I know I'm off based but shouldn't the only person that receives the fine be the one who posted the copyrighted content on the torrent site?
The internet is about sharing content if you put your own copyrighted content out on the web I would assume you are granting the public access to it unless stated in a disclaimer attached to the link to the file.
Since most torrent sites have a disclaimer saying DO NOT UPLOAD THIS UNLESS YOU OWN THE RIGHTS TO IT. Doesn't it mean that either the person who uploaded the file is acting on behalf of the owner with their knowledge and permission or they are violating the copyright of the item? And since I cannot issue a court order to get the persons name of the ip address of the person who originally seeded the torrent how am I to determine if the file is legally there or not? And even if I did have the original seeders name how am I suppose to know he doesnt own the copyright of the file?

I've got a idea. I will make a music cd rip it and let my (friend) have it for free... but he might not be the friend i thought he was and uploaded it to the torrent servers.
Now since he is somewhat still my friend but i'm pissed at him I will take him off my friends list on facebook.
But any dumb fuck that dared download my audio cd I will find you and sue you into the ground.
Btw did I mention every month I will have my name legally changed to whatever the current best selling artist is?

DRM-free means no excuse (4, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314130)

I understand pirating games with DRM (why pay a company to screw you over), but since the game is DRM-free, there's no excuse to pirate it. I just bought a few games from GOG.com the other day and seeing as how their most expensive game is $9.99, that eliminates the "but it's expensive.." argument too.

Re:DRM-free means no excuse (2, Informative)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314144)

Update on price - I just logged into GOG.com and saw the pre-order information, it's $44.99 (I thought $9.99 seemed insanely low for a new game, but you never know).

Make better games! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314140)

the way I see it, torrenting is a way to let people play your game. If you actually make a good game that last longer than 1-2 days I feel inclined to buy it. If it sucks after that why should I spend upwards to $60 on that?

Re:Make better games! (1)

Liam Pomfret (1737150) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314244)

To me, that's not an argument for torrenting full games, it's an argument for the return of shareware as a prominent tool in the marketing of games. Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop is a perfect example. It's not full price, it's additional content and story to the actual game, and it gives you more than enough of a taste to actually make a decision on if you want it or not.

Re:Make better games! (1)

Liam Pomfret (1737150) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314258)

Whoops, wrong one. I meant Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, not Chop Till You Drop.

Farewell, gog.com (0, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314150)

I hope they get wads of ill-gotten fines from allegedly guilty thieves. They'll need it to compensate for the loss of legitimate sales they now won't be getting at gog.com from disgusted people like me. I only learned about the site recently and was moderately impressed. Now I'm disgusted. There were two games I was planning to buy from the site next month; I haven't decided if I'll simply get them somewhere else or just not buy at all. The bad taste in my mouth has made me lose my appetite.

Re:Farewell, gog.com (5, Insightful)

Liam Pomfret (1737150) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314202)

You're angry at them for...what exactly? Demanding reasonable out-of-court settlements from those who downloaded illegally (as opposed to the unreasonable out-of-court settlements commonly placed on people who've torrented music by the RIAA), and releasing their game without DRM. Seems fair enough to me. The only real concern is how many "false positives" they might get from people who never downloaded a thing, or whose internet connections were used illegally and/or without their knowledge.

Re:Farewell, gog.com (4, Insightful)

Yosho (135835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314204)

I hope they get wads of ill-gotten fines from allegedly guilty thieves. They'll need it to compensate for the loss of legitimate sales they now won't be getting at gog.com from disgusted people like me. I only learned about the site recently and was moderately impressed. Now I'm disgusted.

Why are you disgusted? I fail to see what's so bad about releasing a game without DRM and then going after criminals who pirate it. That seems to me like the way companies should be doing it, rather than treating customers like potential criminals and loading their games with DRM.

And "allegedly" guilty thieves? Explain to me, how do you download from a torrent of copyrighted material without committing copyright infringement?

Re:Farewell, gog.com (1, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314288)

And "allegedly" guilty thieves? Explain to me, how do you download from a torrent of copyrighted material without committing copyright infringement?

I take it you missed the story a couple of days ago about some British lawyers apparently sending out threatening letters to 'downloaders' when they knew that some significant fraction were completely innocent?

The simple reality today is the the legal systems in the West are so corrupt and expensive that someone who's completely innocent simply cannot afford to pay the legal fees to prove their innocence.

Re:Farewell, gog.com (4, Insightful)

Yosho (135835) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314330)

I take it you missed the story a couple of days ago about some British lawyers apparently sending out threatening letters to 'downloaders' when they knew that some significant fraction were completely innocent?

Let me make sure I have your argument right. Some British guys screwed up going after some criminals, therefore the concept of some Polish guys going after criminals who committed the same type of crime is disgusting. Is that right? So what's your suggestion, that nobody bother to enforce the law at all?

Re:Farewell, gog.com (0, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314358)

Let me make sure I have your argument right. Some British guys screwed up going after some criminals, therefore the concept of some Polish guys going after criminals who committed the same type of crime is disgusting.

Again, these lawyers reportedly sent threatening letters to a group of people when they apparently knew that at least some of them were completely innocent.

Is that right? So what's your suggestion, that nobody bother to enforce the law at all?

Enforcing the law would be fine. What I have a problem with is innocent people being sent threatening letters by lawyers who have no proof that they ever broke the law, when they can't afford to pay the hundreds or thousands of pounds required to prove their innocence. In what universe can that possibly be right?

What are you going to do when one of these letters arrives on your doorstep?

Re:Farewell, gog.com (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314426)

Explain to me, how do you download from a torrent of copyrighted material without committing copyright infringement?

Well if you already bought a copy for one.

Re:Farewell, gog.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314268)

One of the few games in recent memory to be DRM-free, and you are *disgusted*?

Huh?

Don't do the crime (1)

JDmetro (1745882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314272)

If you can't do the time.
The Most illegal thing I downloaded was the dvd codec but the way I see it is that I paid for it when I bought my optical drive the it came windoze stuff and I can't use the soft ware so I think its fair.

Re:Farewell, gog.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314308)

A bad taste because you can download it from GOG anytime you want all you want and back it up how ever you want? They are going after people freely sharing their work with others.

Keep it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314196)

I still cringe remembering the HORRIBLE voiceovers.

Penitent pirates? (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314206)

What if the offender posts a video wearing a monk's robe begging forgiveness for the misunderstanding?

Oh, that's also stealing their IP? Shucks.

GOG not the only place to get The Witcher 2 (2, Informative)

Aurien (1357861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314256)

You can also get it on Steam and D2D also with the 10% pre-order discount. The big deal about GOG having it was that it's the first time they've had a brand new game available first day in their store. Although CD Projekt owning GOG helped that. http://store.steampowered.com/app/20920/ [steampowered.com] http://www.direct2drive.com/10030/product/Buy-The-Witcher-2:-Assassins-of-Kings-Digital-Premium-Download [direct2drive.com]

Send me your letters. (5, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314318)

I remember getting a letter from Direct TV years ago because I had supposedly pirated their satellite signal. Their sole evidence was that I had purchased a USB smartcard writer. Because, as everyone knows, Direct TV invented smart cards and were the only company on earth to ever use them for anything. They promised to forget about the whole thing if I coughed up the small sum of $10k. My lawyer found it very funny and sent them a letter in return asking for contact information for our counter suit. Strangely they never replied.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314382)

Are you gonna pay us, or not? My kid needs to eat.

Hey... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314328)

If I turn the chair 'round and use the neighbor's wifi (because it comes in spectacularly if I do that), who gets the letter?

Not like I'll do it (and really, i have better things to do).

--
BMO

Oh noes! Whatever will I do?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34314338)

Guess I'll just download it via Encrypted password protected rars from Megaupload

Hahaha (1, Flamebait)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34314438)

Ok, so all those people still think they can change human nature using laws and papers...

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