“Game Laywer” Jas Purewal has written an open letter to Edge, addressed to “those who defend game pirates”. You’d hope it’s a considered, practical approach to one of the muddiest topics this industry faces today. It is not.
Instead, Purewal begins like this:
In case you hadn’t guessed, this is a letter to those folks who oppose developers taking legal action against people who download and play their games without paying. Hello.
And right off the bat he’s got it wrong. It is not the principle of legal action itself that people oppose. After all, the issue at hand is one of illegally obtaining a product (or service, depending on how you view games these days), something I’d hope most people still believe is the wrong thing to do.
What people oppose is the disproportionate punishment they’re receiving, and the controversial means via which those punished are being identified.
The meat of Purewal’s letter is him looking at five reasons or excuses people pirate and grading them out of 10, based on how credible he believes them to be.
Some gems include:
In reality, I suspect fairly few pirates actually go to the trouble of disguising themselves. Besides which, just because the method is not perfect, doesn’t mean we should throw our hands up in the air and do nothing, does it?
Piracy might result in an eventual purchase of a game, but in the meantime it means a financial loss for the developer. Sadly developers are not gamer banks, willing to effectively loan gamers money until we decide we like them enough to pay them.
While he does slightly redeem himself towards the end, saying “market solutions rather than legal action is my preferred response to piracy” (ie, use Steam because Steam has inbuilt DRM), the fact a “games lawyer” is sounding like a record company executive from the turn of millennium is worrying.
Does anyone else get the feeling this whole piracy business, at least on PC, is coming to a head? There’s only so much more DRM and rhetoric the industry can take before something has to give.