Friday, February 6, 2009

Piracy - Nag Your Friends!

On a personal note, I'd just like to say that I had a great night last night. Yesterday I handed in my undergraduate thesis - "The Foreign Policy of a Rational Iran," - I went on my first date in 9 months, and had a fantastic evening watching Cirque du Soleil and Pinky and the Brain with a pretty girl. Life, friends, is very good.

But let us now focus upon grimmer topics. Satisfied smiles are lame.

There's recently been quite a lot of contention over the subject of DRM. Folks are quite rightly getting angry by the fact that companies like Microsoft, EA, and Steam are limiting their use of games that they have legitimately purchased. Steam, for example, requires that a player be online in order to run some software. EA made retail-purchased Spore games very difficult to install on multiple machines. These and other instances illustrate a gaming environment that is increasingly limiting to the honest consumer. The honest consumer deserves to be upset.

Here's the caveat, though - we should be pissed off at our peers, not the companies. Let's not forget the purpose of DRM is not to screw over the consumers, but to defend against from piracy. It's a source of shame for me that my generation is so casual with theft - most of my friends pirate music, television programs, and games whenever they find a product that they want but don't wish to pay for. The old chestnut that piracy a "victimless crime" is as false as it is trite; according to Gamespot news, EA sold 700,000 copies of Spore while nearly 2 million copies of the game were torrented online. Every game pirated is quite literally taking money out of the pockets of the people who worked to create our entertainment.

I can't say that I'm entirely innocent of wrongdoing - I'll accept a music CD from a friend and watch the occasional episode of Scrubbs online. But I've recently made a conscious effort not to download expensive products to which I don't own the rights. I sleep better knowing that my dollars are going towards the inustries I want to support.

Voice your concerns to the game businesses. Urge them to create a copy protection system that doesn't harm the people actually supporting their industry. But then, please turn around and tell your friends to shut down the torrent client. Apart from being illegal, it hurts every one of us who are actually playing by the rules.

*end rant.

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