This is something I need to have cleared up, becuase the subject is confusing.

petethepug

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I probably asked this question a long time ago and probably gotten comfortable doing it already but, what is the true definition of "piracy"

Every time I look online all I see is "Yes its illegal to do it by yourself, giving it to other people, redistributing, etc..."
To clear something up:
- Is piracy is the act of downloading content to make money off of it (marketing said game as yours and selling, making copies, redistributing, etc...)
- I know people use piracy to say "The act of downloading" but really, in what way downloading? Downloading (or backing up) games online or doing it for yourself? Or to make a game and selling that? (Bootlegs.)

I feel like these two definitions are the same but its never cleared up (exactly.) What is "legal" to do as a consumer, could I backup my own game if I wanted to and play it digitally and just never sell it or is downloading online just fine???

Reason I'm asking is because (once again) I can never find a clear answer on this.
 

Tom Bombadildo

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This depends upon location, though most laws are pretty similar. I'll mainly focus on the US side of this (since I'm from the US, and so are you judging by your flag).

Distributing copyrighted content you don't own the license to is piracy, the key word there being distributing. Doesn't matter if it's for free, doesn't matter if you're selling it, if you're distributing copyrighted content you don't own, that's considered "piracy". Could be burning a DVD and giving it to your friend, uploading the latest release of GBATemp Gone Wild to torrents/file sharing sites, dumping your copy of Mario Potato Edition and giving the ROM to your friend etc etc.

The actual act of downloading is also technically a crime, but it's not usually pursued by law enforcement as it's mainly a waste of resources and time. The copyright owner is entitled to pursue legal action against someone downloading copyrighted items, but it's usually very rare this happens and only ever occurs if you're consistently caught for downloading massive amounts of pirated content (think thousands and thousands of items). The usual consequences of this are massive fines for people who just download, but people who distribute or who might own a warez site can also receive jail time. The worst that will realistically happen these days for downloaders is your ISP will cancel your contract if you receive too many DMCA notices.

Backing up your games yourself is technically legal, you have the right to make backups of the copyrighted content you purchase for your personal archival purposes. You cannot, however, distribute that content to others, as that would be piracy and that's illegal. You also cannot download a copy of a game someone else dumped online, even if you own one or multiple copies of the game, as you do not technically own the license to that particular copy.
 
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FAST6191

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Piracy technically involves a ship, or a guess plane or spacecraft. But let us not go there beyond saying it is not a legal term for copyright infringement, just a term used in common parlance.

Selling copyrighted works is a type of piracy (probably referred to as paid piracy or bootlegging). Distribution would be one of the legal terms to crop up here. They will come after you for this.

Downloading, or possibly otherwise knowingly obtaining, copyrighted works would also fall under the umbrella of piracy. Equally using copyrighted works outside the scope of their user agreement could also fall under that, you tend not to get this in consumer products though and it is more where you have business software and it is used improperly (if you have ever tried to read such a thing it gets insane -- they may care about the number of users, number of active users, cores in your CPU, number of CPUs, active sessions, size of database, number of files, size of company....).

Some argue there might be a difference between downloading a copy and making one of your own. Equally if you torrent something and upload it back as part of it all you engaged in distribution which is what most people get done for.
Part 4 of https://w2.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php covers some stuff here.
Other companies, including Nintendo, argue that their replacement policies render personal backups pointless and thus potentially unlawful.
 

petethepug

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No idea what to say, but thanks pretty much.

Is there a way to come out (legally.) Of matters like these without having a bullet firing off (or multiple)?
 

Sonic Angel Knight

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Remember when you used to buy games, and in the manual at the very end, it had those disclaimer? That was a thing. Also funny how i remembered a tv show where this guy got a "pirated" video game from a pirate. (Yes it is what happen and it is funny) Anyway, there is tons of legal differences between countries on the matter, but as long you are not obtaining duplicates or giving duplicates of things, especially if you don't have proper permission, it isn't piracy. For example, don't download a DRM free game like retro city rampage from humble bundle, and then host the drm install on a website for people to download. Don't go to that website and download it simply cause is there. The reason why is DRM free is so you don't have to use a program like steam to run it, it just works, after installing. Having to use steam is like renting a game, what if steam service ends? Can't play the game anymore. But with DRM free, you own the game you bought and can play it with no problems in future.

The thing I don't get is if people keep saying piracy doesn't make impact on sales or that is not the reason for any of the problems, why do people keep making efforts to prevent it? Just cause is a law? I dunno, either way that is probably what interest me.
 

Tom Bombadildo

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No idea what to say, but thanks pretty much.

Is there a way to come out (legally.) Of matters like these without having a bullet firing off (or multiple)?
If you want to be 100% legal about it, just don't pirate stuff. Don't download anything, don't stream anything unless it's from an official stream source, don't buy cheap DVDs from street vendors, etc etc.

If you don't want to give up pirating, there are multiple ways to stay "safe". Using VPNs, Usenet, avoiding public torrent trackers, using a seedbox for torrents etc etc can generally keep you "safe enough" to avoid legal action. But again, it's actually extremely rare a copyright owner (or their lawyers) will pursue you for pirating the occasional movie or game. Just don't go downloading and uploading terabytes of copyrighted material in a short period of time and you'll be fine.
 

Taleweaver

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Pirating is basically the act of stealing. As such, the term is vastly different than what those doors were doing, as in software, you don't really STEAL an object (the vendor doesn't have less stock) but more the potential purchase of you by said vendor (if i pirate a game by Nintendo, they can rightfully say that a purchase between us is lost).
The act of obtaining paid goods without paying to the proper owner is what piracy is. The'downloading' pay is just hope it's referred to (and pretty weird at that, as you can't use the internet without downloading anything).

Making a backup of paid games is usually legitimate in most countries, but vendors sort of have the right to make that hard on you, as nobody can really prevent you from giving or selling that backup to someone else afterwards. Or 'backing up' something that isn't rightfully yours to start with.

Edit: about the money part: legally, that part is kind of irrelevant. In practice, i feel it rather the opposite. In order to blame someone of pirating, you have to prove that they're doing it. And that isn't so easy. At least in my country, the police isn't allowed to put out torrents or sure people on that (yet... i have read stories of warnings). However, when money is involved, things become easier to prove. If i make x money on selling Nintendo stuff, it IS money that would otherwise go to Nintendo. You can't play the'personal backup' card in that situation, and it's harder to hide in anonymity too (money leaves a trail). As such, asking money for warez is more likely to get prosecuted in practice.
 
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