Under what circumstances is it morally acceptable to pirate games?

Mike_Hunt

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Most of us here would say piracy is wrong but I do it anyway. Most of the time piracy is wrong but under certain circumstances it's ok. I've listed the ones I've thought of below.

- You have already paid for the game and are waiting for it to arrive
- You don't want to lower the resale value of a game you bought by opening it.
- You are genuinely too poor to afford to buy games
- The game is out of print and only available at an inflated price online
- You have to mess with VPNs and foreign credit cards because the game is unavailable in your country
- You want to try the game but no demo is available
 

DinohScene

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What about when a game is no longer commercially available through official channels? Surely pirating it isn't affecting anyone. If anything its helping to preserve said content.

Still can't be justified, I didn't make the rules in society.

As much as I agree with preservation, the bobbies will still get you on it if they want to.
 
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KleinesSinchen

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- You are genuinely too poor to afford to buy games
Sure… why should anyone do without a specific luxury good just because they can't pay for it? Don't be fussy!
If I can't pay for […] then I can't have […]! – The only exception would theft of food in order to survive.

- The game is out of print and only available at an inflated price online
I really think current copyright laws are one-sided and sometimes outright wrong. For example the overly long term of copyright. In the eyes of the law it is still illegal to get some copy of content that is not for sale anymore (or just on the used market bringing the rightsholder $0). The rightsholder earns no money with it in any way → Still: Copying = illegal

- You have already paid for the game and are waiting for it to arrive
What? Chomping at the bit to start playing a game? Maybe if the person in question is 10 years or younger.



You cannot justify piracy, it's never morally acceptable.
Hmmhm. First of all: No, I'm not a hypocrite – I have paid for all games/movies/music in my collection!
I still have my problems with your statement because of the thing above: Some copyright laws are plain ridiculous. There are cases that count as piracy due to current laws where I would say it should not be called piracy and the laws need to be changed.

How about this one: I payed for a game and copy protection stops me from playing it. I may not return it… box is opened… I could have copied it. My money is gone and I got nothing in return. According to the law downloading a cracked version of the main executable is piracy. I don't get a bad feeling for playing a game I'm legally allowed to play. Same thing: The law is nonsense in my eyes. I paid for the thing, so should be allowed to use it – no matter what the publisher says.


Still can't be justified, I didn't make the rules in society.
That's a bold statement. "There are rules in society. Anything deviating from the rules can't be justified."
So questioning the rules/laws is not allowed?
 

DBlaze

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You cannot justify piracy, it's never morally acceptable.
Neither is excessive micro-transactions and loot boxes up the wazoo, but here we are

As for when I think it's "morally" acceptable:
* when you bought a game and denuvo forgets to renew it's f*cking domain so you can't play your single player game
* when you bought a game and there's obvious proof the DRM gimps performance, in which the cracked version does not, but only for offline play
* when your physical copy you bought is broken and it's not your own fault (physical degradation)
* when, for whatever reason, a game gets pulled completely from stores and never gets released again
 
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For self preservation. If I spend £70 + on a game which is contained on Optical Media (thats CD/DVD/BRD for the idiots or young). I want that game to stand the test of time. In other words I want that game to work and read just as well 5 years from now. I don't want to be putting it in my PC/PS/XB etc and getting read errors at a pivotal moment. Optical disks unfortunately do not offer longevity in terms of this (just about anything can damage an optical disk beyond repair). So yes I agree with being able to backup your own physical games (not with copying and pirating games for a profit). But I also believe that once you have paid for a game you should never have to pay for the same game again (retro releases such as virtual console games, if you bought the original you supported the game industry and the games creators why should you buy EXACTLY the same game again). As soon as removable storage media is gone and everything is DRM'd pirates will struggle.
 
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duwen

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Still can't be justified, I didn't make the rules in society.

As much as I agree with preservation, the bobbies will still get you on it if they want to.
Unfortunately, there are no societal rules regarding morals - morality is subjective based on the individual.
Legally unacceptable? Yes, usually. Morally? That's entirely dependent on ones own morals.
 

KleinesSinchen

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always morally acceptable from a big corporation. who cares even. just don't act like you're morally superior for doing so (you're not)

on the other hand, don't pirate indie/small dev games unless you really really absolutely cannot afford them
An attitude like this is grist for the mills of big corporations tightening the screws even further.


Neither is excessive micro-transactions and loot boxes up the wazoo, but here we are

As for when I think it's "morally" acceptable:
* when you bought a game and denuvo forgets to renew it's f*cking domain so you can't play your single player game
* when you bought a game and there's obvious proof the DRM gimps performance, in which the cracked version does not, but only for offline play
* when your physical copy you bought is broken and it's not your own fault (physical degradation)
* when, for whatever reason, a game gets pulled completely from stores and never gets released again
Copy protection stopping the paying customer from playing. I was referring more to physical PC games – a thing of the past. Back then it was way harder to find out if the DRM on a specific game is known to cause trouble (I couldn't have done this in the 1990s up to 2003 when I stopped buying PC games altogether because of DRM). Fast internet connection wasn't as common. People might have bought a game in box just to find out their €/$ 60 went down the drain because protection wouldn't start the game.

Nowadays it is easy to find out. Game has Denuvo? So… don't buy it, don't pirate it but send a mail to the publisher telling them Denuvo was successful at stopping you from being interested in the game.


Unfortunately, there are no societal rules regarding morals - morality is subjective based on the individual.
Legally unacceptable? Yes, usually. Morally? That's entirely dependent on ones own morals.
Perfect answer! Personal moral standards depend on many things. Personal moral standards/feelings may bring people to fight against – what they feel – unjust laws. That can be – off-topic – generalized and is not limited to copyright questions.
 

HRudyPlayZ

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Legally, it almost never can be justified. (Only for the preservation of very old software).

Morally, i would consider those scenarios to justify it:
  • The normal game is worse than the cracked version, it could be caused by shitty DRMs such as Denuvo which degrades the legitimate experience by impacting performance, requiring online connectivity or affect game preservation. In that scenario it is definitely moral to want a better experience by pirating the game
  • The game isn't available anymore, only sold by ebay scalpers or the devs don't profit from it anymore. Piracy would then be essential for game preservation.
  • The game isn't accessible in your country, it may even be censured there.
  • You already bought the game and want to play it earlier or on another platform.
  • The game is expensive, but still has a shitload of microtransactions. It means you're treated like a pigeon and never get access to the complete game.
  • The company behind it did some scummy moves and illegally took down a community project for their own profit. (Hey TakeTwo, how is it going?)
  • Use it as a full demo when it's lacking.
  • The game is just the same game as last year, but priced higher. That or if you don't have any money to buy your games, yeah it's a luxury but why would you prevent yourself from enjoying your hobby because you're too poor for it?
 
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Today I understand more and more,when People "pirate" Games (includes me for PC Games).

First: the biiiig amount of "Games" (Indie and that kind)
Short,maybe funny and entertaining but many times too expensive,so "pirating" a Game to look at it is a good Way to "save" Money.
8,99 Euros here,12,99 Euros there and so on makes also a lot of Money for Games that you maybe play 1 Time and not more.If a Game is good and makes Fun after a few Minutes of "Testing" - buyed.😉👌

Second: the "Mainstream" and Big Shot Games like "Far Cry 6" or that Kind.
60 Euros for the "Standard Editions" sounds maybe not so much.....
But for not really "new Ideas/Gameplays" ?
Same here,I want to try the Game first.And not a "optimized" Demo,that tells only half the Truth....

Most of the Games I have "tried" where deleted after 5 Minutes includes the downloaded ISO
A Game should catch me from the first Moment....so,maybe today.....😢

My Game SSD is maybe near empty actual.....but can be filled everytime with Games buyed on Steam/GOG/UBI Connect.
 

DinohScene

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Hmmhm. First of all: No, I'm not a hypocrite – I have paid for all games/movies/music in my collection!
I still have my problems with your statement because of the thing above: Some copyright laws are plain ridiculous. There are cases that count as piracy due to current laws where I would say it should not be called piracy and the laws need to be changed.

How about this one: I payed for a game and copy protection stops me from playing it. I may not return it… box is opened… I could have copied it. My money is gone and I got nothing in return. According to the law downloading a cracked version of the main executable is piracy. I don't get a bad feeling for playing a game I'm legally allowed to play. Same thing: The law is nonsense in my eyes. I paid for the thing, so should be allowed to use it – no matter what the publisher says.



That's a bold statement. "There are rules in society. Anything deviating from the rules can't be justified."
So questioning the rules/laws is not allowed?

So paying for a game, making copies of it and redistributing it is fine cus you paid for the game?
I mean you just said you should be allowed to use it no matter what the publisher says.
I agree, copyright laws are dumb but one can't justify piracy.


Doing drugs isn't allowed yet people do it.
I'm not going to discuss that.

Neither is excessive micro-transactions and loot boxes up the wazoo, but here we are

As for when I think it's "morally" acceptable:
* when you bought a game and denuvo forgets to renew it's f*cking domain so you can't play your single player game
* when you bought a game and there's obvious proof the DRM gimps performance, in which the cracked version does not, but only for offline play
* when your physical copy you bought is broken and it's not your own fault (physical degradation)
* when, for whatever reason, a game gets pulled completely from stores and never gets released again

I honestly don't get the whole drama around it, I mean one can just simply choose not to commit any micro-transactions but it's probably just me.

Wouldn't disabling Denuvo with a crack solve that issue?
And hey, just make a 1:1 dump as soon as you get the data, kinda the opposite of piracy but hey : D
 

DBlaze

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And hey, just make a 1:1 dump as soon as you get the data, kinda the opposite of piracy but hey : D
That's usually not what the included agreement/license you buy says though, as that would still qualify as an unauthorized copy, but that's probably also a by country/state thing
 

KleinesSinchen

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So paying for a game, making copies of it and redistributing it is fine cus you paid for the game?
I mean you just said you should be allowed to use it no matter what the publisher says.
Huh? That is certainly not what I meant. Where did I bring in redistribution?? Maybe I phrased that poorly; I'll try again:
I paid the game → I should be allowed to use (means: play) the game – no matter if the publisher says: "Reverse engineering, modification, DRM removal is prohibited… 20 pages EULA / TOS"

Redistributing/sharing the game is not what I paid for. That is far worse than "simple" (download) piracy.
I agree, copyright laws are dumb but one can't justify piracy.
Because of stupid copyright laws certain actions (which I would say can be justified) count as piracy. If justified is used as literal synonym of "juristic" / "law" it is certainly impossible to justify anything that is against a law.

Wouldn't disabling Denuvo with a crack solve that issue?
Now you bring in the same example? A crack… like in downloading an unprotected executable. Rarely will a crack be a standalone decryptor or a patch altering some bits like the DS AP-patches. Most of the time heavy DRM requires intense reverse engineering and manually decrypting, extracting and maybe removal of checks and booby traps. The end result of cracking is a file containing the intellectual property of the publisher/developers in unprotected form. Sharing this is… yes… piracy.

To make that clear:
I've zero interest in piracy as an illegal way to safe money or even make illegal profit. Please don't get the impression that I don't respect intellectual property. The casual way the overall positive word backups is abused as euphemism for illegal copies by putting the word in quotes rises my blood pressure.
I guess our opinions on that topic aren't that different. Please keep in mind that I hit some language limitations when discussing complex topics.
================


That's usually not what the included agreement/license you buy says though, as that would still qualify as an unauthorized copy, but that's probably also a by country/state thing
That is one of the only few parts in German copyright law: Backup copies to ensure future usability of computer programs are allowed and may not be contractually forbidden (and the anti-circumvention §§§ aren't applicable on software). Any stupid EULA saying otherwise is worthless.
 
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tabzer

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One would have to define* "morality" and it is subjective to the interpretation of whoever you ask.

I think it is generally okay if you aren't hurting someone. I think laws are supposed to be forms of guidance, and you have a personal role in shaping the world into what you want to see. It's increasingly difficult to measure the positive impact of some companies, groups, and people--so it is increasingly difficult to be accountable for how you delegate your resources. If you pay taxes, you are probably funding both sides of multiple social conflicts.
 
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bodefuceta

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Whenever there's some sort of DRM or the copyright owner otherwise doesn't respect you. It's always acceptable to pirate from Blizzard, for example. I can always choose to pay or not pay for a game, it's fair to choose the latter if you don't respect me.
 

Goku1992A

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Just pirate them bro LOL people have to understand something important people with CFW systems are below 10% of the end user... so the other 90% of people are buying

You have to realize most retro games you can't even play without pirating because the physical cartridge will not be good or your equipment would be too much of a hastle and this is Nintendo/Sony fault for not giving you a way to play your older games...

If it wasn't for piracy retro would be dead. Remember that
 

godreborn

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op, lol at your name. I don't want to state my opinion here, not to step on anyone's toes or anything. I do pirate games, yes, but there's only two of them that I play, and I would've bought them if I had to (in fact, I've thought about it). generally, I just don't get that much enjoyment out of pirated games. I used to back on the wii and the ps2, in fact the two games I mentioned are on the wii. however, I don't play any pirated games anymore. I now buy lots of games (mostly for the switch) for that one reason as well as the fact that I can't have more than 2 grand in the bank. it does give me something to buy and to enjoy.
 

Goku1992A

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op, lol at your name. I don't want to state my opinion here, not to step on anyone's toes or anything. I do pirate games, yes, but there's only two of them that I play, and I would've bought them if I had to (in fact, I've thought about it). generally, I just don't get that much enjoyment out of pirated games. I used to back on the wii and the ps2, in fact the two games I mentioned are on the wii. however, I don't play any pirated games anymore. I now buy lots of games (mostly for the switch) for that one reason as well as the fact that I can't have more than 2 grand in the bank. it does give me something to buy and to enjoy.

But the flipside is in a way emulation and piracy keeps games alive... I see many people with their huge SNES collections and etc..etc.. but you can't play them on a HD TV you have to use old equipment opposing to just playing on an emulator 1080p...

You can buy games I buy games I actually own 70 switch games legally but like 20 years from now who says that your switch would still be working and can it be repaired if there is a 100% full speed emulator you can still enjoy your games years to come... that's my biggest concerns about post PS3 gen because those emulators are not up to par yet
 
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