A legality/ethics question and discussion about disc/download games

Discussion in 'Wii U - Hacking & Homebrew' started by aarzee, Jan 1, 2013.

Jan 1, 2013
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    aarzee New Member

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    The question is this:
    If I can use a hack to download a game which I have on disc without paying for it a second time, and if I don't sell the disc or otherwise let others use it, is it still piracy?
    I'm hoping we can have an interesting discussion about this. A few notes:
    • Ethics: Are we hurting the developer?
    • Legality: Is this considered piracy in North America? Asia? Europe?
    • Should we just rip the games instead? What are the differences between ripped games and downloaded ones?
    • This is completely hypothetical at this point. Base your discussion on what if there was such a hack, what if people used it, etc.


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    mike333 New Member

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    You don't need hacks to download a game. No matter if You own it already or not.
    Like flamewar?
    There are tampered copies on the net released by the publishers so always check Your source.
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    Scuba156 New Member

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    This will just turn to a flame war. it's generally considered illegal to download a digital copy of software, even if you own the said software on a disc, you would require a separate licence to own a digital copy from another source.

    If you have the software on a disc, then there is no need to download another copy either.
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    Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    Yes, it's illegal and considered piracy, even if you have the game already.

    If you rip a game properly that's you making a backup copy of your disc, and you can know it's done properly.
    On the other hand, downloading one from the internet is transferring a copy, which is not allowed, and anyways you don't know if it's been modified or not without hash checks.
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    officialjunk New Member

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    this is piracy, period. end of discussion.
    Last edited by officialjunk, Jan 1, 2013
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    winmaster Weird Kid Who Still Plays Pokemon

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    Ethics: If you own a copy of the game, then obtaining a downloaded ISO with the intent of USB loading while not selling your disc copy and using only one copy at a time would not hurt the developer at all. You bought the game, you're playing one copy of the game. However...

    Legality: In the US, it is illegal to do what you are saying, because only the copyright holder has the right to distribute copies of the game. If you download a torrent and your torrent client shares the file while you are downloading, then you are violating copyright law and are subject to be sued by the copyright holder.

    Download vs Rip: I don't see any reason why one would want to download when they can rip. Unless you have wicked fast Internet, ripping is faster. In addition, when you rip your own game, you can be sure that you are obtaining the correct version (sometimes devs release updated games, downloading an ISO of a version you do not own is illegal) and that it is a valid dump.
    damysteryman likes this.
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    osaka35 Sleepy

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    Most people tend to conflate Ethics and Legality and treat them as the same thing.

    my attempt at summing up the current state of affairs:
    WARNING! Spoilers inside!
    TL;DR If you're trying to change how you interact with a product (cd->backup cd; book->scanned pdf; dvd->backup DVD; etc), then it's illegal, UNLESS a specific law or court case has made a tiny exception to the copyright law in the consumer's favour. Backing up CDs is probably the safest, ripping mp3s from CDs the 2nd safest, and backing up DVDs has been kind of looked at but still not technically legal. Video games, being perceived as a fringe thing by lawmakers, probably won't be looked at for a loooooong time. This means that due to the intensely pro-owner copyright laws, it is currently illegal to make any sort of backup of a game, or to convert it to a different format. It also means it's illegal to download a copy of a game from a source other than the copyright holder (yes, this applies to roms as well).

    This is a legal matter, which means it's less about ethics and more about they just haven't bothered to get around to addressing it yet. People tend to wrongfully conflate Ethics with Legality and think that because it's illegal, it must therefore be immoral to do so and you're a horrible and stupid person for doing so. But really, it can easily be just the whim of the lawmakers and judges that decides what's legal and not legal (in other words, using current laws to justify an ethical standpoint isn't the way to go, as laws should come from ethical standpoints, not the other way around).

    Also, conversely, people who conflate Ethics with Legality can also tend to think that backup copies are perfectly legal because it's THEIR stuff and they have a right to do with it what they will. Copyright law doesn't work like that, unfortunately, and only specific exceptions, which have been hard fought for, are legal.

    As far as Ethics go, I find it very useful to imagine the same scenario, but with something a bit more tangible. Just replace "game" with "book", and "download" with "given a photocopy by a friend". So, rephrase the question, "Is receiving a photocopy of a book from a friend wrong if I already own the book?" Which would be helpful if you want to take notes in the margins of the books and don't want to mess up your copy. Yes, people do that. And while that may not make the ethics much clearer, it may help some understand the dilemma better.
    Last edited by osaka35, Jan 2, 2013. Reason: grammar
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    kp_centi New Member

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    Since when did they do this? I've never heard of devs or publishers doing such thing. Source?
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    Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    I think he's referring to traps. I haven't seen it done in the gaming industry, but as far as videos and stuff it's known that some of the torrents you may find don't actually have the files and are just traps to grab IP addresses they can then extort for money.
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    Deltaechoe The Dopefish

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    As rydian said, it's considered piracy and is illegal at least in NA unless you make the backup yourself from your own disc and even then it's in a gray area
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    osaka35 Sleepy

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    It's only a grey area if you consider having no cases on the matter somehow makes it a grey area. If you go by what copyright law says, however, it is clearly illegal to backup anything in the United States, except for the very small and very precise exceptions that have been made (music CDs and mp3s). Movies are also illegal to backup, but that's also probably because of a lack of court cases on the matter.

    DMCA also makes it illegal to circumvent any sort of protection/encryption put in place by the copyright holder (though you have to go through their exceptions to double check. Don't think video games are part of any exceptions)

    Again, once it goes to court, it could easily be ruled as "there should be an exception for video games and movies", but there has been no such ruling or law. Meaning it's currently Illegal, if you want to be legally accurate. Just no one has bothered to make a case about it, so it's a "legal grey area" for those who feel it's morally fine to create backups. I personally think it's perfectly fine to make backup copies, but you shouldn't be confused as to what the laws says and what it actually means.
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    twiddler New Member

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    If your concerned about ethics, I doubt you would be here looking for ways to hack your Wii. Honestly, most people here have violated those ethics, even if they say they haven't.
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    winmaster Weird Kid Who Still Plays Pokemon

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    An example is Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green versions 1 and 2. They are listed separately on codejunkies.com and have different AR codes. AFAIK, you can't tell the difference while playing.


    Fair use says I get one backup copy of my software. That means I get to dump my ISO's if I want to. I can't distribute them though.


    Last I checked, when I plunked down $250 for my Wii (way back when...), it became my hardware. That means I can jailbreak it (as long as I'm not pirating software), brick it, burn it, dropkick it, or, god forbid, play it all I want. There's nothing unethical about manipulating the things you own.
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    gundalf New Member

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    GBATemp has an very international Community, legality Discussions makes no sense in my humble opinion.
    So scratch the legality part and move the Thread to the Off-Topic Section.
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    Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    http://tcrf.net/Pokémon_FireRed_and_LeafGreen#Build_Dates
    There was an actual bug fix, it seems.

    Agreed here. I think it's ridiculous that companies think they can control what we do with something we bought, and I think it's even more ridiculous that people go along with it and pretend it's okay.

    Is it alright for Microsoft or Dell to tell you what OS you can and cannot install on your machine?

    But no, this is gaming, where people let the companies walk all over them.
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    rednekcowboy New Member

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    It honestly depends where you live. Here in Canada it is perfectly legal for me to download a digital copy of something I legally purchased. It is also legal in Switzerland, regardless of whether you own a physical copy or not as long as it's for personal use. Portugal went one step further and declared torrenting legal, again for personal use.
    Last edited by rednekcowboy, Jan 3, 2013
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    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Assuming they can find out what you do with said machine. What are they going to do, trace your every move? How will Nintendo know if I hack my Wii or Wii U? They won't; I bought it, I can do whatever I want with it.
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    osaka35 Sleepy

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    Section 117 of fair use is where your "one backup copy" comes from, by the way.



    Section 117 was enacted with the purpose of ensuring that when a program duplicates its files (i.e., copies data from a cd onto the harddrive), that you were not breaking copyright laws. It also adds that you have a right to duplicate the original program, in case your computer crashes or if something happens to the original. This is so if a disc or computer is destroyed, your business is not destroyed with it.

    This fair use can conceivably be extended to duplication of video games, as it's accepted that these are "computer software". It's not as clear cut as most people seem to think though. It could easily be ruled that archival copies of video games do not constitute fair use, if brought to court. I highly doubt it, but it is quite possible.

    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#117 is Section 117, if you wish to read it in its entirety.

    Though it's not exactly on the most firm ground, there is probably enough legal ground to not call it strictly "illegal" as I had said before. I was being a bit too eager :P Though it's not nearly on as solid a legal foothold as most people seem to think.

    Ah well. legal mumbo-jumbo aside, I have zero problems with such things. I can see why it would cut into a companies profits, and why they don't like that. I prefer, however, to think of purchased items as me having rights to do what I will with them, not just the right to use the item in a particular fashion.
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    Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    People who hack their 360s tend to be found out pretty easily because they like to try to use Live against all the cautions that they're going to get banned.

    And people have even been banned from Wii games (the online server for that game, not a nintendo-run network) like Monster Hunter for hacking stuff online.
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    Plunt New Member

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    ^
    i agree completely, despite the whole 'i bought this hardware i can do what i want with it'. it is in fact illegal to modify said hardware, and if you want to use online features you are taking a risk.

    totally off topic, anyone else using the wii u browser on this forum? is there a way to do an easy quote w/o using copy & paste and using the quote code? hitting reply doesn't seem to quote the post like on a computer

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