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Test Subject
Original Poster
#1 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 12:46 AM
Default Downloading online for free vs. stealing from a store?
Ok we all know the sims and many other things are free to download online. But this is against the law. So what is your oppinion on this. Someone who just does'nt want to buy the sims downloads it for free, and someone else steals it from a store, do you think they are the same thing? Or is one worse than the other.
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Lab Assistant
#2 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 1:35 AM
Someone shoots me with a gun or someone stabs me with a knife, same results.
Stealing is stealing.
Banned
#3 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 3:32 AM
I myself would consider downloading online to be a lesser offense than actually stealing it from a store, in fact I would consider it more of something like this:

Person A buy a game, installs it and shows it off to Person B and C. Person A then lets Person B and Person C borrow it to install and play.

I'm actually surprised that people didn't freak out about "sharing" 10-15 years ago when making mix tapes, copying tapes was the big thing, it really isn't much different just it is available to more people.
Lab Assistant
#4 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 6:43 AM
If you download The Sims 3 illegally on the Internet, you have stolen from EA. If you go to Best Buy or Walmart and steal a copy of The Sims 3, you have not only stolen from EA, but also you have stolen from the retail establishment, thus committing two crimes.
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
staff: retired moderator
#5 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 7:59 AM
If you download a copy from the internet, you are possibly depriving the publisher of the software the amount of money you might have paid for the game - though it could be argued that many people who would pirate something illegally would've never paid for it anyway if the pirated version wasn't available, so it's basically the same either way for the company. Additionally, some pirates may use the download as a free trial and pay for the game later once they've decided it's worth the money, so it may actually result in more money for the publisher in the long run.

Stealing from a store, you're actually taking a physical copy of the thing. It deprives someone else of that copy who might've wanted to purchase and play it - in the case of a popular new game that sells out quickly, this might mean that you, the thief, gets to play the game and someone who would've purchased it does not (at least until the store gets in more copies). The store has to account for the loss in inventory - they've paid for that copy already. They'll usually have some kind of loss prevention insurance, but they still have to pay for their insurance. That, along with maybe having to hire additional security personnel, all factors into their overhead costs and eventually, the prices of their merchandise. Steal a game today and you're working to make games there more expensive next month.

So... yeah. Online piracy > In-person theft. Plus there's less chance of them having to call your mom for bail when you get spotted stuffing the game into your coat. And your mom cries over your failures enough.
Banned
#6 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 8:42 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBot411
If you download The Sims 3 illegally on the Internet, you have stolen from EA.


I don't know, maybe I'm just old fashioned but I don't see how anyone downloading a game from any type of file sharing site/etc is committing the crime of theft as there isn't really anything that is being stolen. I figure that most if not all the games that are put up for download are bought and then posted online by whomever bought it in the first place so others can download it. There isn't any stealing or theft happening because whomever uploaded it is giving it to others not the others taking it from anyone that bought it.
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
staff: retired moderator
#7 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 8:50 AM
It's the difference between intellectual property theft and just regular old property theft, Saf. It doesn't deprive someone of their copy, but it is still taking something you have no right to without properly compensating the person who owns it.
Scholar
#8 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 10:40 AM
Time for an good old analogy-if you wrote a book, printed it, and then released it in both digital and hard copy form, would you get mad that people were just taking the book without paying for it?
Would you like your hard work stolen? Of course not. That's why publishers and game manufacturers are upset about piracy-and I don't blame them.
But I don't like the way they address the issue of game theft-by making it harder on their customers to enjoy their games legally by requiring them to jump through hoops in order to play it.
That still does not justify theft, in any form. You're still a thief.
Inventor
#9 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 11:32 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Safyre420
I myself would consider downloading online to be a lesser offense than actually stealing it from a store, in fact I would consider it more of something like this:

Person A buy a game, installs it and shows it off to Person B and C. Person A then lets Person B and Person C borrow it to install and play.

I'm actually surprised that people didn't freak out about "sharing" 10-15 years ago when making mix tapes, copying tapes was the big thing, it really isn't much different just it is available to more people.


I too have often wondered why 'mixed tapes' whether music cassettes or VHS was never too much of an issue in the past.

I do not think downloading a shared file is theft in the same sense as walking into a store and stealing.

While I can see why Corporations would want it stopped. I do not agree with the severity of the penalties imposed for these 'crimes'. You get penalised on a much smaller scale for actual physical harm to a human. It speaks volumes on how much money talks and how the justice system works.

*♥.¸Here we go again .♥*
Lab Assistant
DELETED POST
3rd Mar 2010 at 1:34 PM
This message has been deleted by Wojtek. Reason: No pain no gain
Instructor
#10 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 5:05 PM
I don't consider downloading anything to be actual theft, sorry. You may be taking away potential money that some company might have earned had you decided to buy their product instead (in many cases it would not have happened anyway), but that does not equal theft. If it were, then going online and criticizing a movie you've just seen at the theatre is also theft, because you will be driving away potential customers who might have paid to see the movie but decided not to because of your negative review.
The other thing is - there is no way to prevent pirating from happening, no matter how hard people try. No Securom or any other software or techniques will stop a game/movie/music album/whatever from being pirated. Therefore, companies have to adapt to this fact and in order to earn money they will have to offer EXTRA incentives to buy their product. Many people, for example, went and saw Avatar in theatres so they could see it on a huge screen in 3D, this is something they could never have experienced on their computer scenes so they went out and paid for it.
Moderator of Extreme Limericks
staff: senior moderator
#11 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 8:28 PM
I think things like mix CDs are a bit of a gray area, but... downloading games and movies without paying for them? Definitely theft. I don't think there's a valid argument against it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
I don't consider downloading anything to be actual theft, sorry. You may be taking away potential money that some company might have earned had you decided to buy their product instead (in many cases it would not have happened anyway), but that does not equal theft.


Saying that you haven't physically stolen anything when you download a game is... misleading. You may not have the actual game disk or the box that the game came in, but you've got the game itself on your computer and you didn't pay for it. You have the product, but at no point did the company that produced the product receive any money for it. That's theft.

And saying "But it's not something I ever would have paid for anyway, so it's not like they're losing a customer!" isn't a valid argument either. Let's say, for instance, that there was a furniture store that sold ugly sofas. I would NEVER pay for an ugly sofa... so that means it's not theft if I just slip one of the ugly sofas into my car while no one's looking, right? Of course not. And if that argument isn't valid for physical objects, I don't see why it should be for things you can download, either. Someone still has to CREATE those downloadable things, which means that you're taking something from those people without asking for their permission. Which is stealing.

Quote:
If it were, then going online and criticizing a movie you've just seen at the theatre is also theft, because you will be driving away potential customers who might have paid to see the movie but decided not to because of your negative review.


No, that's not quite correct... because the people who decide not to watch the film aren't getting anything from this transaction. Sure, you're depriving the film studio of the money they might have made from those people buying movie tickets, but no theft occurred because those people never actually SAW the movie.

There's always money in the banana stand.
Lab Assistant
#12 Old 3rd Mar 2010 at 8:51 PM
Illegally downloading things is not the same as theft. It is piracy. You do not steal the actual work, you get a copy of it.

Still, illegal downloading is wrong and anyone who implies otherwise or tries to justify their actions is just wrong.
Instructor
#13 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 11:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhd1189
Saying that you haven't physically stolen anything when you download a game is... misleading. You may not have the actual game disk or the box that the game came in, but you've got the game itself on your computer and you didn't pay for it. You have the product, but at no point did the company that produced the product receive any money for it. That's theft.

And saying "But it's not something I ever would have paid for anyway, so it's not like they're losing a customer!" isn't a valid argument either. Let's say, for instance, that there was a furniture store that sold ugly sofas. I would NEVER pay for an ugly sofa... so that means it's not theft if I just slip one of the ugly sofas into my car while no one's looking, right? Of course not. And if that argument isn't valid for physical objects, I don't see why it should be for things you can download, either. Someone still has to CREATE those downloadable things, which means that you're taking something from those people without asking for their permission. Which is stealing.


Piracy is theft under US law, this is the stance you are taking and that is right. But it really is more than a bit of a stretch to call piracy "theft" in its true sense.
Theft involves depriving someone of something that is rightfully theirs without their expressed consent - depriving them of that very property you are taking. Once you download a movie, absolutely nothing has changed in the pockets of the people who created that movie. You must have something in order to lose it. Copying files/reproducing "products" do not deprive their creator of anything that they possess (no matter how much imagination you try to pack into your argument).

If I took a sneak peek into an ongoing football game or concert that I didn't pay an entrance for - am I really committing "theft" simply by viewing something I didn't pay to view? Seriously... theft? Come on. And in what way is this negatively affecting the game organizers or concert performer? Maybe you could say it's "not fair" because other people had to pay for it, but you are still not committing theft simply by viewing something you didn't pay to view.

If you see a beautiful dress design worn by some celebrity and then you create the exact same dress for yourself to wear - you have reproduced someone else's "work" for your own personal use but in no way have you stolen something that belonged to them. It would be wrong if you tried to make money off of someone else's design, but that of course is different.

When you see an original painting on sale that you absolutely love - would it be wrong to replicate it in your art studio by yourself for the purpose of hanging it in your own bedroom? To say that that is theft is just stupid. Copyright infringement and theft are not the same thing.

Your ugly sofa example does not work in this discussion as we have all pretty much agreed that stealing physical property is theft. To make your example, you already took the assumption that stealing physical property and copying a file is the same thing - but that is the argument here.

Quote:
No, that's not quite correct... because the people who decide not to watch the film aren't getting anything from this transaction. Sure, you're depriving the film studio of the money they might have made from those people buying movie tickets, but no theft occurred because those people never actually SAW the movie.


The point I was making is that they didn't end up paying money for a product that they would have otherwise. However, this is not the core issue here, so you can disregard this. [Besides, they'll end up seeing it anyway when it's free on TV next year, so they WILL have seen the movie.]

By the way, I actually do pay to see movies (especially at festivals, I love the whole atmosphere) and actually buy games (if they're available where I live). About 90% of the music CDs I own (and I own thousands of dollars worth) I have downloaded previously to see whether they're any good. On the other hand, I have downloaded albums which I've deleted upon listening thinking "Thank God I didn't spend money on this crap".
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
staff: retired moderator
#14 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 11:37 AM Last edited by HystericalParoxysm : 4th Mar 2010 at 12:03 PM. Reason: Typos, clarification
Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
If you see a beautiful dress design worn by some celebrity and then you create the exact same dress for yourself to wear - you have reproduced someone else's "work" for your own personal use but in no way have you stolen something that belonged to them. It would be wrong if you tried to make money off of someone else's design, but that of course is different.


Actually, in the US, fashion knock-offs are perfectly legal as long as you don't try to pass it off as an original. It's considered a utilitarian item and thus the design is not subject to copyright. You can copyright the pattern used to make the dress, the graphic design of the fabric, or a picture printed onto the front of it (if any of those apply) but not the dress itself. Leave out the designer label and you can sell your knock-off dress all you want.

This is why knockoff Louis Vuitton purses are not okay (ones with the LV print and label) but if you did a different print and no LV label, it'd be perfectly legal to sell purses that look pretty much identical except for the copyrightable/trademarkable aspects changed.

It's the same as recipes - make a cookie that tastes just like a famous brand and you can sell it all ya like if you don't claim it's that brand (or supposed to be just like that brand). You can even sell a recipe that results in an identical product to another recipe as long as your written expression of the recipe is substantially different. This also applies to knit/crochet patterns too, btw - end product, not copyrightable/trademarkable, pattern is copyrightable but you can rewrite it in different wording to create the same result and it's fine.

Laws may vary elsewhere - I know the UK is different and designs are more protected there.

Of course, the letter of the law and the morality/artistic karma factor of stealing someone else's design exactly for profit is a whole 'nother debate.

(I know I digress a bit but hey, you brought it up and FWIW I do agree that piracy/theft are a little different since you're not depriving anyone of their original copy and they're not out any money for it like they would be if you'd stolen the real thing. There is the argument that either way they had to produce it, but it's not quite the same as stealing a real disk that had to be made, packaged, and shipped, and was paid for by a store. I'm not saying that either one is right, just... one is a little worse than the other.)
Moderator of Extreme Limericks
staff: senior moderator
#15 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 7:04 PM Last edited by jhd1189 : 4th Mar 2010 at 7:33 PM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
But it really is more than a bit of a stretch to call piracy "theft" in its true sense. Theft involves depriving someone of something that is rightfully theirs without their expressed consent - depriving them of that very property you are taking. Once you download a movie, absolutely nothing has changed in the pockets of the people who created that movie. You must have something in order to lose it. Copying files/reproducing "products" do not deprive their creator of anything that they possess (no matter how much imagination you try to pack into your argument).


Fair enough. You raise a valid point: there certainly is a difference between stuffing an unpurchased DVD into your purse and downloading the movie illegally. But... I still have to insist that piracy is, in fact, a form of theft. If it isn't, then that begs the question of why ANYONE should have to pay for movies or video games in the first place if they can simply download them for free.

I still stand by my statement that stealing occurs when you take something from the creator without asking for permission or providing any kind of compensation, REGARDLESS of whether or not a physical product is taken. Your analogy about copying a dress design doesn't quite fit into the context of this argument. It's the equivalent of making a fantasy video game that's essentially like Final Fantasy but with slightly different worlds and characters (which actually happens all the time). The important difference, though, is that nothing is actually being taken from the creator. Sure, the creator's work is being imitated, but that's not the same thing (as both you and HP pointed out).

Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
If I took a sneak peek into an ongoing football game or concert that I didn't pay an entrance for - am I really committing "theft" simply by viewing something I didn't pay to view? Seriously... theft? Come on. And in what way is this negatively affecting the game organizers or concert performer? Maybe you could say it's "not fair" because other people had to pay for it, but you are still not committing theft simply by viewing something you didn't pay to view.


I agree. I'd argue that in this case what you're paying for is a seat in the stadium to watch the game or concert... so unless you sneak in and take someone else's seat, no theft has occurred.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
Your ugly sofa example does not work in this discussion as we have all pretty much agreed that stealing physical property is theft. To make your example, you already took the assumption that stealing physical property and copying a file is the same thing - but that is the argument here.


The point I was trying to make is that I think it's silly that people will vehemently defend the rights of someone who is creating a physical product, but are more than happy to trample all over the rights of someone who has created something digital. I understand that there's a fundamental difference between stealing a couch and downloading a movie, but I still think that they are both forms of theft.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
The point I was making is that they didn't end up paying money for a product that they would have otherwise. However, this is not the core issue here, so you can disregard this. [Besides, they'll end up seeing it anyway when it's free on TV next year, so they WILL have seen the movie.]


Right, but they'll be watching it on TV with commercials, so everybody still gets paid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jooxis
By the way, I actually do pay to see movies (especially at festivals, I love the whole atmosphere) and actually buy games (if they're available where I live). About 90% of the music CDs I own (and I own thousands of dollars worth) I have downloaded previously to see whether they're any good. On the other hand, I have downloaded albums which I've deleted upon listening thinking "Thank God I didn't spend money on this crap".


I'm not doubting that you legitimately pay for things, I promise! And I'm not trying to paint myself as some kind of I-pay-for-everything saint, either. I'm just convinced that downloading something without permission is usually theft, that's all... but there are also so many questionable gray areas, which is what makes this topic so interesting.

As far as listening to music goes, I like Grooveshark, personally. I'm shocked that there hasn't been more of an angry backlash from record companies, but apparently they've somehow managed to make it work.

There's always money in the banana stand.
Banned
#16 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 8:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhd1189
I still stand by my statement that stealing occurs when you take something from the creator without asking for permission or providing any kind of compensation, REGARDLESS of whether or not a physical product is taken.


Except that nobody is taking anything from the creator, the people who provide the downloads are GIVING the copies of the product to other people for free, nothing is being taken from the creator unless people are say hacking into a publisher's website that provides digital downloads and taking those downloads.
Site Helper
#17 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 9:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Safyre420
Except that nobody is taking anything from the creator, the people who provide the downloads are GIVING the copies of the product to other people for free, nothing is being taken from the creator unless people are say hacking into a publisher's website that provides digital downloads and taking those downloads.


They're taking potential profits, aren't they?

Imagine you're a guy named Joe working for months (or years) on a project, and one person buys it in the store for $29.95. That person turns around and puts it online to "share" with a thousand people.

So instead of the $29,950 that Joe might have made, all he's left with is the original $29.95.

Was that $29,920.05 not stolen from him? If not for the downloaders, Joe would have received that money.

That's stealing in my book.
Banned
#18 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 9:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fakepeeps7
They're taking potential profits, aren't they?

Imagine you're a guy named Joe working for months (or years) on a project, and one person buys it in the store for $29.95. That person turns around and puts it online to "share" with a thousand people.

So instead of the $29,950 that Joe might have made, all he's left with is the original $29.95.

Was that $29,920.05 not stolen from him? If not for the downloaders, Joe would have received that money.

That's stealing in my book.


Potential profits are being taken but potential profits isn't equal to actual profits. That's kinda like saying that because a food critic gave a bad review, potential customers were driven off and that the food critic did something illegal because potential profits weren't turned into actual profits.
Top Secret Researcher
#19 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 9:49 PM
How much is the complete Sims 2 in retail terms? £200?

Online piracy = theft, but indirectly
EA Prices = daylight robbery

I consider them to be almost on par TBH.

TS3 NEEDS: TENNIS COURTS > BUSES > PIGS/SHEEP
Can't find stuff in build and buy mode? http://www.nexusmods.com/thesims3/mods/1/?
Scholar
#20 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 9:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fakepeeps7
...That person turns around and puts it online to "share" with a thousand people.

So instead of the $29,950 that Joe might have made, all he's left with is the original $29.95.

Was that $29,920.05 not stolen from him? If not for the downloaders, Joe would have received that money.


This is the part that I don't support in the piracy/anti-piracy debate. You need to prove that EVERY one of those thousand would have paid for the product. Many people will take something simply because it is free, even if they never really had an interest in it before.

Back when there was all the to-do about Spore, I know a group of people who continually downloaded and re-downloaded the game, just to run the numbers up. They never would have gone out and bought over 100 copies each of a physical copy, so, did EA really loose $4000 per person? Don't think so.

With many games hitting the $50 price range (at least in the US), many people will download it to try it out before spending the money. Trial versions of many games don't exist any more, as it isn't cost effective. How do you count it when the person actually goes and purchases the game after playing with a pirated version previously?

Sarcasm is a body's natural defense against stupid.
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
staff: retired moderator
#21 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 10:03 PM
I'm pretty sure this same argument was already made though - the food critic thing. The difference is that if the food critic gives the restaurant a bad review, people don't still eat the food out of the dumpster without paying. Nobody got anything they didn't deserve out of the thing.

But with piracy the argument could be made that the people doing it would never, ever have paid for the real thing so the only profit there is imaginary potential profit, not anything the publisher ever would have seen. Doesn't change the fact that the people getting it didn't deserve it cos they hadn't paid for it, but out of the thousand that pirated the project that fakepeeps supposes, a percentage (large, small, not sure, really depends on the thing in question and the target audience I'd imagine) would never have paid for it at all if they couldn't have found it for free, so he's really out... some number under $29,950. Maybe it's $10,000... maybe he only ever would have sold a handful of copies. And maybe some of the people who pirated it actually said, "Y'know, Joe's done some good work here - I think I'll pay for a legal copy."

I think with the way the market is, the publishers of intellectual property have to rethink the way they distribute their products and their business models. I'm not saying piracy is the right way to do it - but clutching to the same old ways when anyone can download a high quality new release movie in less than the time it takes to watch it, and enjoy it in the privacy of their own home in their underwear at their leisure... it ain't gonna work. Adapt or perish.

my simblr (sometimes nsfw)

“Dude, suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
Panquecas, panquecas e mais panquecas.
Site Helper
#22 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 10:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kattenijin
You need to prove that EVERY one of those thousand would have paid for the product. Many people will take something simply because it is free, even if they never really had an interest in it before.


It's a hypothetical situation, of course, and it probably happens on a much smaller scale than the example I gave. My point was that, if it was regarded as okay and everybody did it, the creator would get screwed.

If file-sharing were perfectly legal, how many people do you think would actually pay someone for their product? Saying that file-sharing is okay is pretty much the same as saying "everything's free!" And that kind of goes against the capitalism that our society was built on. With file-sharing, where is the compensation for the person who originally created the work? What incentive is there for them to (essentially) waste time creating products that will be stolen, when they could be doing something else that will put food on the table?

I just don't understand the mentality that views a physical DVD as somehow different than the information that's on it. After all, when we buy a DVD in the store, what are we paying for? The information that's on the disk... not the couple of cents' worth of plastic.
Banned
#23 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 10:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fakepeeps7
It's a hypothetical situation, of course, and it probably happens on a much smaller scale than the example I gave. My point was that, if it was regarded as okay and everybody did it, the creator would get screwed.


Actually, the creator doesn't get screwed in the sense that they don't get paid, they still get paid regardless if the product sells or not. The publisher is the one that gets potentially screwed because if a product doesn't sell at all they won't even break even on what they spent to purchase the product from the creator.
Banned
DELETED POST
4th Mar 2010 at 10:57 PM
This message has been deleted by HystericalParoxysm. Reason: We don't advocate piracy here, dude.
world renowned whogivesafuckologist
staff: retired moderator
#24 Old 4th Mar 2010 at 11:24 PM
I just want to thank everyone up until interpolarity for discussing this in such a reasonable and well-thought-out manner - this site does have rules against advocating theft of intellectual property, and I'm actually really impressed and pleased at how many people understand that you can discuss piracy in a general sense (and not necessarily condemn it) without going, "Woo piracy is awesome, I love to download illegally!" I'm proud of you guys.

Except interpolarity.
Top Secret Researcher
#25 Old 5th Mar 2010 at 12:08 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhd1189
And saying "But it's not something I ever would have paid for anyway, so it's not like they're losing a customer!" isn't a valid argument either. Let's say, for instance, that there was a furniture store that sold ugly sofas. I would NEVER pay for an ugly sofa... so that means it's not theft if I just slip one of the ugly sofas into my car while no one's looking, right? Of course not.


Yes it is stealing, but if five of my friends come and sit on the sofa and find out it's the most comfortable sofa ever and then decide to buy one, the company has actually received free advertising and made money due to the original theft.

I was one of those kids who taped music from the radio because I couldn't afford to buy it. After doing so I would save up and buy music by the artists I liked, and also expose other people to the music who would also buy music by those artists, so the artists made money because I taped their music.

So although I can see how the "I wasn't going to pay for it anyway" argument seems invalid when applied to physical objects, I can also see that the artists often benefit from people downloading their work for free.

I think there is a bit of a difference between stealing physical objects and downloading stuff for free as there is an actual cost involved in making each instance of a physical object, so stealing a physical object is directly stealing money, but making a copy of something without actually taking the original means that the owner isn't losing out. If I see an ugly sofa and then make an identical replica should that be considered stealing? It would be copying the design but the owner of the ugly sofa still has their ugly sofa!
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