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Report: Pirate Bay Founders Sentenced to a Year in Jail
Report: Pirate Bay Founders Sentenced to a Year in Jail
April 17, 2009 | By Kris Graft

April 17, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

A court has found the creators of Swedish torrent site The Pirate Bay guilty of "assisting in making copyright content available," sentencing four men to one year in prison each, with millions to be paid in damages, reports TorrentFreak.

Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm, ages 23-30, received jail sentences of one year each. A court ordered each to pay $905,000 in damages. Also convicted was 49-year-old Carl Lundstrom, who received the same sentence. The four are expected to appeal.

The court said the four worked as a "team," a notion that Sunde denied in an informal video "press conference" on The Pirate Bay website.

He said he hasn't talked to Svartholm about the verdict. "We don't really have a connection," Sunde claimed. "That's the thing." Sunde said he "doesn't understand how" the court views the four as a "team."

"[Anybody] could be a team," he added. "If they're part of that team knowingly -- that is the question."

Sunde also said the other three defendants no longer live in Sweden.

The court found total damages to amount to 30 million SEK ($3,620,000 USD), which the court split between the four defendants.

The judge reportedly said that users of The Pirate Bay committed the first offense by sharing files, and the four defendants assisted in that illegal activity.

Sunde claimed that the court "didn't listen" to the defendants' case, favoring the prosecutor. "The prosecutor tried to make everything we do into something mystical, something very scary, something super-criminal."

He continued, "These people, they're like a small elite [class] of people. They sit in a room and just talk to each other," "accelerating" stories until they begin to believe that The Pirate Bay founders "are killing small innocent kids and eating their remains. It's so far out."

Sunde will continue to fight against the ruling. "This case is still not actually judged. This is just the first level ... The final verdict is not out before the last appeal is denied, or if there are no more appeal possibilities. So it will take another four or five years before actual judgment comes."

The Pirate Bay's website seemingly made light of the court's ruling, saying "It was 'lol' to read and hear [the] crazy verdict."

"But as in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end anyhow. That's the only thing Hollywood ever taught us," the site added.

Sunde said The Pirate Bay will continue to operate.

UPDATE: The Entertainment Software Association has applauded the decision:

"Piracy is the single greatest threat to the development and release of innovative and creative entertainment software that consumers demand and enjoy," said ESA CEO Michael Gallagher. "It’s a job killer in an economy that needs millions more jobs, not less."

"This decision confirms that the harm being inflicted on creators of digital works by BitTorrent sites like The Pirate Bay will not be tolerated, and that such actions are subject to criminal sanctions."

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Christopher Myburgh
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Well I hope at the end of those "four or five years" these scumbags do indeed see the inside of a jail cell. It's a pity it's only 1 year and it's a pity the users of the torrent site can't be thrown in there with them.

Dan Kantola
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This is a sad day, the beginning maybe of higher powers trying to break down democracy and make internet into some cable tv :P

Its sad the court got bought by corporate interests, it was dead obvious...

But its dead obvious any of the parties would apeal :)

I pay for the good stuff but I also don't want to support any kind of rehashed crap the A1 factory spits out...

Worst case is killers and other bad people get off with much lighter sentences than those guys got.

This day just spews out hate and many people will vote for more radical parties in the elections to ensure that Democracy will live on and not be pissed on like this...

Peter Dwyer
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The reality is that the people using these sites are the people who would never have bought the music or games in the first place. I used to think eliminating these pirate sites would be the answer but, it plainly isn't. Whether it's adding DRM to games or making them download only etc. etc. The actual end sales figures don't seem to change. The download pick-up rate is still around the 2 - 5% mark etc. etc.

When there were not these download sites. Music was pirated from one CD to another. Records were simply taped and videos were simply tape to tape or CD to CD copied. The constant factor in all this is that sales didn't benefit one iota. The people who copied stuff only seemed to do so because otherwise they simply wouldn't have bothered at all with the products.

Nick Bernal
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So what you're saying is you would gladly pay the exorbitant amounts of taxes required in order to provide the governments with the means to expand their current prison systems as a means to take an entire working populace (that likely numbers in the thousands) and stick them in a hole with murderers, rapists, etc.? You'd effectively destroy a larger part of the world-economy than you'd be restoring with your self-righteous arrogance.

Daniel Camozzato
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I buy a lot of games - but in my country it isn't very common. Piracy is rampant. Of course, if you earn "600 credits" a month and your son asks for something that costs, say, "100 credits"... Well, it's pretty clear that those people just wouldn't buy the game. Now, I'm *not* defending piracy, but it is indeed as they say: "the need makes the thief". Lower price = more people buying.

John Hahn
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The business answer isn't to start throwing people in prison. The answer is to come up with more inventive ways to distribute your media. Piracy is rampant in gaming as well, particularly in the PC gaming world (consoles games are pirated but it's much more tedious). Instead of pursuing legal action, which will ultimately not SOLVE anything, many companies have changed business models. Free-to-play games (with advertising or micro-transactions) like Quake Live and Battlefield Heroes, subscription based MMOs like WoW, and (potentially) streaming services like OnLive basically stop piracy in its tracks.

So the answer is to come up with innovative business models, IMHO.

Dan Kantola
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Good games will sell themselves really :)

Ben Hopper
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I agree the answer isn't throwing people in prison, just like the answer isn't fining college students thousands of dollars for illegally downloading music.

When Napster was shut down, I couldn't believe the solution was to get rid of an insanely convenient technology that had loads of potential. The same applies here. We need more progressive thinking people working on the problem. There's a reason sites like the Pirate Bay exist.

Jeremy Hayes
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I agree with Peter. I don't believe that decreased piracy will result in significantly increased sales. I think most pirates just won't play your game at all. This isn't necessarily good either due to less visibility and possible word-of-mouth sales.

I do wish pirates would man up and pay for things, but in-the-end I really don't care. If it means not playing my game versus stealing my game, then I guess I just prefer them to steal my game.

Bryson Whiteman
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Sucky news but I hope they keep fighting the good fight. These guys have put in a lot of work to keep the site going. I don't think it's right to be thrown in jail for a torrent search engine, that's stretching the law too far in my opinion. Especially when you can find the same stuff all over Google.

Potential loss of sales is unfortunate but without mainstream piracy these archaic media companies would keep dragging their feet.

Roberto Alfonso
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They may have not hosted the items, but they did help point where to get it. You cannot compare The Piratey Bay with Google, because Google actually remove copyrighted material from their search results when contacted by copyright owner lawyers, while TPB used to mock them instead (

Had they accepted to remove the items in questions, it would have been different. They kept saying Sweden wasn't USA, and now they must accept the result of their actions. While they may successfully appeal, this can already be used as precedent for similar cases.

By the way, there are statistics mentioning Sweden lowered their internet usage as soon as the new antipiracy law was implemented (
ternet-traffic-090402/) and legal downloads incremented because of the same (

Andrew Young
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Well if your from canada go on Hulu or NBC, ABC Fox or any other website in which they have their line up of great shows all readily available for everyone and their streaming pleasure. Loading..Loading.. aww not available in your area. Sorry.

Thank you TPB for allowing content, thats available to everyone, actually be available to EVERYONE.

Wasn't Kingdom of the crystal skull amazing to watch in theatres? Spend 15 bucks each on a ticket and than mortgage a house to pay for some pop corn. One of cinema greats eh? I'm being sarcastic of course. Name 3 people that actually think that, and two of them cannot have the names Lucas or Spielberg. If hollywood stops putting out absolute shite and games start being worth the $75 dollar price tag that I still doe out in this recession. THAN, just maybe.... i might actually feel bad for these multi-billion dollar money launderers. TPB Keep fighting. You have millions backing you.

Mickey Mullasan
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It's amazing that this exists as an offense that can warrant jail time. The computer is in a constant state of change, the bits magnetized are no more permanent than air. Yet we can persecute people with imprisonment for turning on there own array of switches in a way we don't agree with and even have the hubris to call it stealing. The divine powers must be watching us laughing.

Luke Icenhower
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Perhaps if bigwigs in suits decided to cut their annual salaries from "ludicrous" to a bit more normalized level of "insanely high", there'd be a bit more $$$ floating around to develop, invest, and seek ROIs.

Adam Bishop
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I think one of the main problems is that it's virtually impossible to prove what degree of damage is done to these companies by downloading. For example, an Industry Canada study found (much to the chagrin of Industry Canada) that there was actually a *positive* correlation between P2P downloading and purchasing music ( I think most people can agree that the "1 download = 1 lost sale" metric is a huge overstatement. Or what about my download of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."? I've already bought the CD, but I misplaced it, so I downloaded a torrented MP3 version to replace it. Does it even make sense for that to be illegal? If we go by the logic that a CD purchase is actually a license to listen to the music, and not ownership of a physical product, then there should be nothing illegal about downloading something you've alread paid for.

One of the biggest advantages of torrent sites is that people are able to find virtually anything almost immediately. It's similar to the fact that so many people have downloaded SNES and Genesis ROMS. What if, instead of spending what I would imagine is millions of dollars in legal fees, these companies were to set up simple, easy ways for consumers to access this media at a minimal cost? What if, instead of charging $30-$40 for remakes of old SNES games, Square made ROMS available for download for a minimal cost, something under $5? What if these companies tried to find solutions that actually had value for consumers? Looking at the considerable goodwill that gamers have towards services like Good Old Games or Steam, I don't think that's an unreasonable proposition.

Maurício Gomes
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This is a sad day...

The day that the only people that give culture to us got bashed.

You are asking, WHAT???

Yes, you heard it right, here we have a branch of Eletronic Arts that refuse to sell Ultima Online (I know one of its boss personally, or former boss, he quit some time ago), we play free shards using pirated copies.

Here, there are no closer battlenet servers, we use Garena, much less lag.

Here valve games are not sold properly, I downloaded portal on pirate bay, played it, liked it, finished it, bought Orange Box on steam when Valve made the promotional end-year sales.

Here console games are awfully expensive, WHEN they are sold, and not localized, thus we have game fansubs, also we have manga fansubs and whatever fansubs, since noone ever localize anything here.

In fact, our Winning Eleven pirated localization kick-ass of many games (WE = PES for those wondering), where here local teams are added, local dubbing, total translation, local stadiums, local championships... We do not want to play PES or WE as they are sold (not here btw... you need to import them if you want a copy), with japanese teams, or english teams, or whatever...

Pirate Bay is the best thing on the places ignored by the media.

This does not mean that we do not buy games or that we never go to cinema, in fact I already spent a lot of money on steam for example, but I am one of the few people with a international card, people without international card has only two choices: get pirated, do not get at all.

Tom Krausse
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Let's see how much sympathy I have for them. Give me a second...

Nope, no sympathy. None what-so-ever. Let's look at what they were doing. Okay, fine, they *technically* didn't break any laws in their home country. That's because they navigated through a legal loophole, not because they weren't doing anything wrong. What they did is the same as telling a cop "I didn't rob the bank; I just told the guy the best time and way to do it, and loaned him the gun" Even if they didn't directly allow the downloads, they are, by any definition, an accessory to the crime. And, while I may not be up on Swedish law, I have a feeling they would still be culpable.

Now, let's look at how they responded to previous disputes. Instead of providing even a modicum of cooperation (not even attempting to argue for their side), they instead chose to insult, taunt, and ridicule the copyright owners. In fact, they all but appeared to state that they did not feel that the copyright owners had any right to profit from their work. And on the topic of cooperation, I've seen emulation sites that were mostly able to avoid legal trouble by cooperating with the owners of the property. Sure, they might not have had a full library with some of the juiciest titles, but they stayed out of trouble. There apparently is room for compromise even in this field. But the owners of this site weren't willing to consider it. Instead, they brought this onto themselves.

And as for the argument that some regions don't get games, piracy doesn't help that. After all, why would I bring a game into an area if it's just going to get pirated? That doesn't sound like a profitable course of action. In the long term, it reduces the number of games in total, as piracy costs the company its operating funds. So, pirating games ends up hurting everyone, and most especially the people in the region where it occurs. That's one big reason most of the major companies don't really release in China.

Roberto Alfonso
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Anything wrong with "not getting it at all"?

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Adam Bishop
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Do you know with any certainty that they would have bought that media if they hadn't downloaded it, though? I don't know anyone who thinks that downloading has *zero* effect on sales, but it's far from clear what the effect is. For example, I posted a link above to a study put out by the Canadian government that showed a *positive* correlation between downloading music and purchasing it. And even if we accept that downloading does, in the end, hurt sales, we still don't know how much. Is it really enough to justify spending millions of dollars on PR campaigns and litigation to try and stop it? Is it worth the bad will the industry gains from legitimate customers who don't like being treated like criminals? Is it worth the time and money the criminal and civil justice systems have to spend dealing with it? Wouldn't the industry make more money by finding ways to make people *want* to pay for their products?

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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Jon Boon
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You know, Smith and Wesson makes something called a handgun. This handgun can kill people more efficiently than anything else I've seen. Many murdereds have been caught using these weapons. I say that we should let those people go and prosecute the true culprits.

These Smith and Wesson guys have been getting away with murder for years, saying the guns are for "protection" and "self-defense" when in reality, their only use is to inflict deadly harm upon another human being.

After them, we should probably go after Anheuser-Busch as they make some sort of mind-altering drug known as "alcohol". Not only that, but this shit is regularly advertised on T.V., during football games of all things! They want you to drink it, yet if you do, we know that you will just run someone down in your car after leaving the bar. Or beat someone senseless in a fight. Or decide that you can do something odd like walk the railing on a ten story building. And this crap is legal! I say we get them and good, as clearly they are corrupting our society.

Maybe we should really go after IBM, as without these computer boxes and internets, there would be no illegal downloading. These guys are providing the means to illegally access information that no one could get to before! Obviously they are criminals!

Or maybe, just maybe this sentance is a little out of wack with reality, and we should look at changing a few laws to work with society instead of against it...

JJ Lehmann
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@Roberto Alfonso

"Anything wrong with "not getting it at all"?"

You took the words straight out of my mouth. I just don't understand the mentality of "I don't want to pay and therefore it is my right to get it for free." If you think it's too expensive, don't buy it. Prices will drop as soon as people stop buying. Using pirated software is not the solution. It is not anybody's right to steal. Never.

I couldn't care less whether some people think that it ultimately increases sales. Stealing is stealing. No matter whether you call yourself a put-em-up bank robber or a "freedom fighter" (snort), it just isn't right. Some people, unlike pirates, actually work on these things. I'd like to see them work on a multimillion dollar project with countless lines of code and 50-60 weekly hours of work, and then just watch people steal it without paying.

The punishments for pirating should be far more harsh. If you rob a bank and stole a million dollars, a million dollars are gone. If you pirate software and let anybody use it, there's no knowing how much damage was caused.

Joe Elliott
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"A day that will be remembered by future generations as RIDICULE."

Tom Krausse
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The problem is they still need to make a profit. Same reason that stores raise prices in response to shoplifting - they can't profit off the stolen stuff, so they need an even larger profit off the stuff that they actually sell to stay afloat. It would be much easier for companies to justify lowering prices if the pirates bought stuff instead. You can only make money off of paying customers, not thieves. If a company knows they need X million dollars to stay afloat, they'll charge X/Y dollars per unit, where Y is the number of paying customers. Double Y, and the price can safely be halved. In essence, piracy drives prices up for us legitimate customers.

Jon Boon
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When a store has a theft problem, they are out the product they purchased. When a game is downloaded, the product is not lost. It is still there, waiting to be purchased. Lower the price of the games and more people will buy them.

Can I get my money back when a game company sells me a shitty product that they say is good? Like Kane and Lynch for example? Or Transformers? or Stormrise? How come all of these games are priced the same? Are all Pintos and Ferraris worth the same amount of money? Would these games have been better if I as the consumer didn't feel so ripped off for having purchased them?

Until there is some reason for trust given to the consumer, the consumer will not trust a developer, and because of this, there is no reason to not "test before you buy".

Adam Bishop
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There is no right to steal, JJ, but many people believe that downloading is not stealing. It all depends on how you define stealing. Personally, I find it absurd that people are expected to pay for a license to utilise someone else's ideas. Ideas! The reason that I pay for media is not because I think it would be stealing if I didn't, but because I want to support people who are doing things that enrich my life. Personally, I'd like to see copyright as it currently exists eliminated and replaced with something resembling the Creative Commons. Do citizens have a right to steal? No. But neither do artists have a "right" to be paid every time someone uses their ideas.

Tom Krausse
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The problem is, that definition doesn't make sense. Sure, a lot of people are in the games industry because they like games. They're also there because they get paid. The big reason that most games exist is because people pay for them. You're saying that they should make them without the expectation of getting paid. The result of that - almost no one making games.

There's also the huge gap between idea and product. Let's just say you don't have to pay to use someone's ideas. Good luck trying to find a free game that way, as it takes a lot of work to get those ideas into reality. Ideas are cheap, everyone has a ton of them. Make something out of them, and then we'll talk.

Christopher Wragg
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@ Jon Boon

You have the right of it, a service provider or a manufacturer should not be punished for the things they sell or the service they provide, if people abuse the service then it is those people who should be punished if anyone is to be at all. Mind you they punish arms traficers?? It's all quite subjective really. You also raise a good point about physical loss, anyone who suffers electronic piracy doesn't actually "lose" anything, they suffer a loss in "potential" sales. Only problem is that this "potential" is a widely fluctuating figure. Unfortunately various industries seem to consider "everyone who has my product, whether pirated or purchased" as potential, which is inaccurate and doesn't show a very good understanding of consumer forces.

As for whether such services actually harm an industry is disputable, there isn't any accurate data out there, but there are some pretty simple scenarios;

a) Person dls item to try out with every intention of buying if the game is good

a-1) Person likes item and buys, improved sales

a-2) Person dislikes item, sales reduced (person might have been suckered into buying a bad item)

b) Person dls game because their purchasing power isn't high enough to buy the game, they never would buy the game anyway, sales neutral

c) Person dls item because they don't want to pay for it;

c-1) this could be because they wouldn't buy it anyway so this is for kicks, sales neutral

c-2) could be because they want something for nothing, sales reduced this is active piracy

c-3) turns out they like item enough to buy it after all, they become an inadvertent fan, sales improve

Now this raises certain questions, because their are several unknown variables, in a-2) should the person be punished for not buying your game if it's a bad one anyway? In this instance the try b4 buying method has protected a consumer. b) is remarkably common, people buy the games they're really looking forward too, and then don't buy others because it's too expensive to experiment, c-3) ties into this as well, people might have the purchasing power but are unwilling to spend on an unknown quality, sometimes they're pleasantly surprised and will then decide to purchase. The only scenario where sales are maliciously reduced is c-2) Now the only problem is that it is an entirely unknown quality, do the people who pirate do so merely for the sake of it. Would these people purchase games if they had no alternative, what percentage of these people end up falling into c-3), and how many of these people pirate only some things while purchasing others.

Another good factor to point out is the effect b) and c-3) have on sequels. Now you may not have enough faith as a consumer to waste purchasing power on a certain item, but if you dl the first in a series, never pay for it, your trust might be restored by a decent product and so when the sequel is released you are willing to dedicate a portion of your purchasing power and won't even consider piracy as an option.

Ultimately the argument over whether privacy results in a net loss of revenue or a net gain is an unsolvable one, because the case will be different for each item pirated and because the people involved are probably one of the most varied markets on the planet. Another question is at what point does "piracy" actually protect the consumer. Should people pay such a high price for a bad product, should we all pay large amounts of cash for a game like fury that's virtually unplayable on release and then a couple of months down the track have the servers shut down so no one can play, in truth that's closer to stealing than piracy.

James Cooley
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"I might be the only one to say it, but digital piracy helps sales."

Really, then please back this up with some actual evidence. For some evidence to the contrary, I will point to the bankruptcy of the independent studio that made World of Goo. There were reportedly 10 pirated copies of their game for every one purchased. Or, let's look at the game Demigod, where there are five players with pirated games for each one person on their servers who bought it legally. I am sure the producers of the game are just tickled to not only have their game pirated by 100,000 lamers - but also to supply server space and bandwidth to the pirates.

Here in Austin we have a lot of car stereos stolen. Does anyone want to argue that all these stolen car stereos are leading to the thieves buying car stereos later? Hey, could someone jacking cars claim that this is just "try it before I buy it". Does walking off with a box of Twinkies from the store lead you to buy them later (I just wanted to taste them before I bought some).

Stop trying to justify theft. Providing excuses for piracy lets some folks who might stop due to latent guilt (maybe I really am hurting someone) continue to justify their actions.

I am mad as can be to see game studies put years into their works and see them ripped off. This is killing the PC gaming industry. Would you want to invest in developing a product that will see 90 percent theft the day it is released?

I have produced copyrighted materials and had to defend my copyrights. It is not "sharing" when you don't ask me permission. It is stealing.

Charles Forbin
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>>>"a relative of mine makes around 80k a year and has stacks of burned cd books of pirated media."

I had an interesting experience recently. I started paying for music again (iTunes), and I have started *enjoying* new music again rather than just having stuff on in the background. Dunno if there is a real cause and effect between paying for music and enjoying it. Just thought I'd toss that out there. Paying for it gives it more perceived value? *shrug*

How many of those CDs does your relative actually read/listen to/play? I remember falling into a bit of a collector attitude in my younger years (this was the 8-bit computer era). I would copy everything and anything just to have it. I hardly ever used any of it.

Adam Bishop
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When did 2D Boy (the makers of World of Goo) file for bankruptcy? My understanding, based on their blog postings, was that they're doing quite well for themselves. And they've also said quite publically that they don't believe DRM would have increased their sales.

Also, if you read Brad Wardell's postings on the Demigod forums, he doesn't seem to think piracy has hurt the sales of Demigod, and he doesn't attack the "pirates". He fully acknowledges that the reason that un-purchased copies of the game were harming their servers was an oversight on the part of Stardock, and the situation was quickly rectified. Go read what he's said: he blames Stardock, not piracy.

And I really hope you can tell the difference between taking a physical object like a car stereo, which deprives its owner of the use of that object (and will likely require them to pay more money to replace it), and the downloading of code, which does not deprive anyone of anything (unless, again, you believe that people have some sort of automatic right to be given money every time someone uses their ideas).

John Hahn
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Throwing pirates in jail often makes anti-piracy people feel better in the same way that giving a serial killer the death penalty often makes the families of the victims feel better (depending on their personal beliefs).

However, neither scenario actually SOLVES the problem. Throwing pirates in jail stops those pirates from doing what they do for a period of time, but it doesn't get to the heart of actually asking, "Why do people pirate entertainment media, and what can we, as the creators of said media due to make these people want to pay for it?". (In the other scenario, giving a serial killer the death penalty doesn't get to the heart of the matter and attempt to answer the psychological question of "What causes someone to become a serial killer, and what can we do to see the warning signs and take steps to prevent this from happening again.")

The answer is that there's nothing we can do with 100% of the cases. Some people are simply cheap skates that have the money to pay for things, but simply don't.

The larger answer is that in our modern economy, the rich are getting rich and the poor are getter poorer. If the executives of the development companies, distribution companies, and retail companies would take a pay cut and lower their salaries to something more reasonable, then maybe we could lower the cost of entertainment media to a point where people wouldn't feel like they were getting ripped off by paying for it. The problem is that when non-techy people purchase software, they don't think about the development costs, they think about the physical cost of producing the media. People think, "It probably costs the distribution company $.50 per copy to produce the disc, instruction manual, and case and here they are charging $60 for this game, $20 for this music cd, or $30 for this blu-ray movie.

I think part of it is also the fact that people have been spoiled by companies that offer their products for free to the consumers, such as Google (free e-mail, free office suite, free this, free that), and open source software like open office, ubuntu, etc., even Microsoft decided to release free "express" editions of its development tools in the last couple of years.

The answer, IMHO, is to use alternative business models where piracy is pointless such as free-to-play (with advertising or micro-transactions) like Quake Live and Battlefield Heroes, subscription based MMOs like WoW, and potential future streaming services like OnLive.

Michael Mifsud
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I think we are trying to use a technological/legal solution to solve a social problem. If someone is raised to see nothing wrong with theft then stealing games, movies etc is normal. I know when I couldn't afford games on my old Amiga I use to copy them from friends etc but I privately promised I would buy games when I could afford them. And I have since then. But I also work with people who download thousands of hours of music/TV and hundreds of games, play barely any of them and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

So for people who are like me if there is a legitimate digital avenue for getting something will (another example, as soon as I got itunes I deleted my downloaded songs and replaced them all with legal ones) and there are people no matter how easy or cheap it is to get something wont ever pay a cent. So cater to the guys who are willing to pony up the money - make things easily attainable digitally. I have no interest anymore in physical CDs/dvds for movies, music and, in particular, games anymore.

Certainly we are moving towards this with steam, impulse and itunes but its not quite there yet. There are lots of strange inter-country restrictions. For example I cant buy Dark Athena on-line because I don't live in the USA. So my options are to get a warez version of it or wait (since I don't want the "hard copy" version). I'll wait which means that publisher and developer lost money from me buying it at bargain bin prices in 6 months times.

What's even worse is that the demo seems to be disappearing as well. I wont even bother with a game if it doesn't have a demo and strong reviews. If there is no demo but strong reviews and its not possible to get a legal copy what do you think average Joe will do? I also think the argument of using WAREZ games as demos/previews is a strong one. That same logic extends to movies (and music I suspect). Which goes "I'll download it, watch it and if its good buy the DVD" which is a larger cash cow for the industry than the initial movie. Don't want people to download Chuck? Make it available on iTunes (or whatever) for a nominal fee right after it airs globally... I expect they would make a lot more in sales than what these guys supposedly cost them in creating a search engine.

And to make sure my theme isn't lost in the ranting - downloading games, music or movies illegally is stealing. However there are social and corporate changes that can be made to reduce the temptation for people to steal games in the first place.