These Guys Think Piracy Is OK, Because It Leads To Sales

These Guys Think Piracy Is OK, Because It Leads To Sales

A study commissioned by the Swiss government has found that the country’s current piracy laws, which allow downloading of stuff for “personal use”, should stay. Because they actually encourage people to buy more stuff.

The study, based on both its own research and extrapolating data from a similar Dutch study from 2009, is based on two key findings (and covers games as well as music and movies). The first was that most pirated content did not decrease sales of the content in question, because people’s budgets were remaining constant for entertainment regardless of whether they pirated or not, or how much they pirated. This made pirating “complementary” to their regular spend on entertainment.

The second, and this is an age-old argument, is that pirating content actually led in many instances to people spending more money on stuff. Those downloading music were led to buy more music, and those downloading games were also found to actually be the biggest purchasers of games, etc.

Now, these reports speak for the people of The Netherlands and Switzerland, not Planet Earth. So their findings aren’t going to be representative of everyone. Still, they do show a refreshing degree of practicality and understanding of the digital landscape (they go so far as to question the legality of other state’s “three strikes” rules), one that puts the more KILL EM ALL attitudes of other Western states to shame.

Urheberrechtsverletzungen im Internet: Der bestehende rechtliche Rahmen genügt [Swiss Government, via TorrentFreak]


    • Beyond being able to try before you buy, this has been a big issue for me, especially with my last machine, which was unreliable. I want to support PC gaming, so I pay for all my games, but occasionally I’ll torrent them first to see if they’ll work. For instance, I thought Crysis 2 might be a bit much for my processor, it was, so I didn’t buy it (I know they had a multiplayer demo, but I correctly guessed that it did not indicate how the single-player would run). Now I have a new machine I intend to pick up a copy. Technically when EA does their sums, I’ll be counted as both a sale and a lost sale, which is stupid. I wish when I bought games through their service they just asked me if I was one of the leechers.

    • It would be nice to see how a pirated game compares to one with a demo and one without. It would be really hard to pick two different games to do this though :\

    • Logically. Yes, so people are still buying entertainment products just like a robber will still pay for things.

      But what if your the developer that lost his sales to piracy while another developer was making money because customers have the way to ‘own’ both games? It’s still not fair.

      • The points not really about whether it’s fair. Has the ‘missing out’ publisher lost money if the person’s entertainment budget wouldn’t have allowed the purchase of both titles anyway?

        Not supporting piracy, don’t do it myself, but people’s budget not plausibly being capable of supporting the levels that they pirate has been the crux of the issue I’ve always had with the degree to which publishers state they’ve lost sales. People don’t have the kind of money their reports claim they’ve lost.

        • Maybe at that point of time I couldn’t buy the game, but what about the future? if I pirated a game to steal. Then i wouldn’t consider buying the pirated product down the track. Instead, I would just buy another newer game.

          I’m not saying that pirating of a game is a 1:1 loss in sale but the still lead to loss.

          • Your argument would have more merit if publishers actually valued purchases after the debut month.

            But there is still absolutely no way to estimate loss due to piracy. That guy might have bought game A, ignored game B, and then later got really excited for game C and bought that. Looks like in this case it wouldn’t have mattered if the guy pirated game B or not, since the developers got no share. Of course the good thing here about piracy (woop woop don’t say that!) is that the guy is exposed to all these games, which will effect his future purchasing decisions.

            The problem with publishers arguments that pirates would have bought it if they didn’t pirate it, is that it gives pirates a lot of buying power. When really they have the same buying power as anybody else

          • I agree as I previously said that piracy doesn’t lead to a 1:1 loss in sales but there is undeniably still a loss even if there is no /absolute/ way to estimate loss.

            The problem with your scenario is that it assumes people ONLY pirate games they don’t care about and thus assuming the correct game is lossing it’s well deserved loss of profits.

            I find it kinda funny when people say things like “is that the guy is exposed to all these games, which will effect his future purchasing decisions” as away to justify piracy with greed. I didn’t know a game developer was suppose to offer his game for free just so that the consumer will buy their next one?

  • I’m going to derail this topic: given that most of our media is imported, surely its better for the Australian economy if we pirate the hell out of all foreign media and spend the money on local produce or something. I’m not saying its moral, just asking if its better for the local economy. Are their any economists in the room?

    • Importing games probably does less damage to our economy than buying them here. If I buy from OGS I spend just over half price of what it would generally cost me at EB. Considering EB is an internationally owned company I dare say more money would leave Australia from that purchase than from a purchase from OGS. I’m not a 100% sure on this it’s just a theory I have, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

      • Yeah. Essentially assuming we aren’t pirating enough to piss off trade partners, not giving another country $100 means that country can’t turn around and demand 4 hours of work out of one of our citizens.

        There would be certainly less people working at EB, but its not like those people can’t just be shipped off to be productive in a mine instead (unless they are too fat).

  • I can say this is true for me, in regards to music at least.

    there is no way I could afford all the music I have, absolutely no way. however, I do buy a fair amount of stuff, mostly compilations.

    I remember buying an album nearly 6 years ago, paid $25 (which was a lot for a 13 year old) and only liking two or three songs and feeling ridiculously ripped off; I also couldn’t afford another album for another month.

    I have a bit more cash these days, but the same principle still applies. I download (generally promotional/watermarked tracks), buy the stuff I like, then go pay for their shows when they’re on tour.

  • I would say I disagree. Going by personal experience, I know someone who pirates or buys pirated games/movies would have bought them otherwise.
    I used to buy pirated games years ago (which I regret) not because I couldn’t afford to buy a proper copy, but because I could get them very cheap. I never bought ANY games, even ones I loved, as I had no need to.
    And if I didn’t have access to those pirated games, I can tell you now that I would of absolutely had bought from stores.

    I also know 2 people who currently pirate for the same reason.

    Also, just because a person never had the intention of buying the game doesn’t mean it’s any less wrong. Whether it has a financial impact or not. I completely understand why a developer would be pissed about that. Basically saying “your product isn’t worth paying for, but I’ll take it for free”

    Bugs me too.

  • “your product isn’t worth paying for, but I’ll take it for free”

    There are many people who would say they don’t think a Big-Mac is worth the money, but would gladly accept a free one. Once something actually is free its value changes. The problem is that somebody decides to not buy it in the first place, not whether or not somebody receives it for free. Unfortunately, piracy always offers that free version… and so now they must make a Big-Mac tasty enough that you will buy it.

    What did you spend your money on when you were being so cheap? Were you just saving it and not contributing at all to the economy? What do pirates spend their money on if not their software? Just an interesting thought. Everybody must make constant decisions of what is worth buying over some other component in life. That doesn’t means some people should just get those things for free, it’s just, that there’s a finite amount of money to go around; you can’t complain about not getting you half of a cookie being split 4 ways.

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