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Ok, I realize this is a very controversial topic and I might be raising a shitstorm, but it's something I was just discussing with a friend and I felt like sharing my thoughts here as well. Mainly because it appears I'll be staying for a while, and I'd rather get it over with in one go rather than tip toeing around the issue all the time. It all sumarizes to a single sentence: Yes, I'm a pirate.

And like most (if not all) pirates, I have my own set of excuses for acting this way. I'll now try to explain those in some detail, but the TL:DR version of it is: I pay for games what I feel they are worth for me. And to kinda prove I do pay for games, I've made my steam profile public and will leave it so for a while so you guys can check I do. You'll have to take my word regarding GOG, as I can't display my shelf, but I own exactly 300 games here. I do pay for games, when I feel like it. You can compare it to my list of pirate stuff.

In my zeal for getting things well explained, things got about as long as I feared this to get, so I'm pushing the area with my life story and several examples of games to another post below, go read them if you're bored. Also, feel free to cross check my pirate game directory versus the steam library, you'll find quite a lot of matches. And the ones not matched, I'll often either own on retail (and aren't available on steam/GOG) or I haven't really played them. The amount of games I actually played and not bought is rather small, I believe, and have a reason behind them (examples below). Once again, the TL:DR version is: I pirate, then pay what I feel the game is worth to me.

In any case, this all was sparked by the launch of the new Devil May Cry tomorrow. I've enjoyed most of the games on the franchise till now, but the story was getting rather stupid and I really wanted to see how they came out of there. Well, turns out they didn't bother, and just abandoned the old storyline to "revamp" a franchise which was actually doing good (as far as I know), swap the good old Dante for a drug addict and most probably retell the story from 1-3, which I already know. That's not cool, Capcom, as much as I like the franchise I can't support that move.

I was talking to a friend about it, and the matter of purchasing it came up. And that got me thinking: I can't support that move, but that's all marketing based. Should I make the decision based only on marketing? I'm sure there's going to be a pirate version available by Saturday morning. If I download and play it, I'm actually giving Capcom the chance of impressing me and make me change my mind. However, that's honestly hard to do, because they'll need to make me care enough for the new plotline to forgive them from abandoning the last. Merely killing things like before, with a few new enemies and weapons, won't cut it. Specially when I just got the steam versions of 3 and 4, and I could be using pandora. I'm pretty sure they can't come up with anything better than Pandora.

So I'm currently thinking about it. Should I pirate and beat the game, and so give it a chance for me to buy it (unlikely as it may be), or should I just ignore it? Does playing through the game and deciding not pay for it turn me into a monster pirate person, a hypocrite, or what? It's not like ignoring it isn't an attractive option, I have a big enough backlog of great games I want to play as well. Or I could just work, get my project finished early and spend next week visiting northern Ireland.

On either case, I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter. Also, while I realize I'm somewhat of an oddball for paying for games I already completed and I may not ever play again (i.e. The darkness II), I was curious as if I was the only one around who did that.

PS: I'll post the examples and the rest later, as if I double post both posts get tied and it seems to crash if it's too long.
Post edited January 24, 2013 by P1na
Well technically in the UK (and NI I believe too) piracy is when you distribute without copyright consent or licence for profit.
File sharing has been declared legal (though mass uploaders are still prosecutable).
Therefore you are not a pirate and can take that silly stuffed parrot off your shoulder - it won't stop the del monte man from spotting you!
Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
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tinyE:
Technically no - unless you profiteer from the distibution or something, its filesharing. The legality of which changes based on your location - as I said above its legal in the UK.

A better question would be whether its moral - if youve owned the console and games before I see no real evil in it.
Post edited January 24, 2013 by Sachys
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Sachys: Well technically in the UK (and NI I believe too) piracy is when you distribute without copyright consent or licence for profit.
File sharing has been declared legal (though mass uploaders are still prosecutable).
Therefore you are not a pirate and can take that silly stuffed parrot off your shoulder - it won't stop the del monte man from spotting you!
Pirate is used quite liberally around my area. Plus don't have a parrot, you should get your lents. It's a hummingbird! While it won't stop that horrible man from spotting me, it will warn me of that, giving me time to flee. And that's terribly important, so my hummingbird stays. (also for more personal reasons)
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
I think there are legal issues if you don't own the exact console, I remember that popping up when I tried to emulate a PS2. You were supposed to use some file or whatever from your console.


_______

Taking the chance to post pretty much the story of my life:

During my university years, my main source of games were friends who would get copies/buy the game new and then copy it to the rest, as the internet wasn't what we have today. Then I would go to the store/rental place and check the used games section, where I would get what I could find. Because let's face it, I was too poor to buy a game new save for a bunch of exceptional cases where I really felt the game was worth it (FF VII, LoK: Defiance and Commandos III come to mind; each for a different reason). When I felt rich, I would get a game I hadn't played but that some friend highly recommended, but that was a high risk thing. I'll specifically mention Second Sight here, which I bought and never got to work on my PC.

During my late university years, I started attending a huge LAN party (we're talking 4000 computers or so). There I got into the habit of getting digital copies of almost anything I could get my hands on, of course including pirate games. It is there I started the list I posted above, and that's the reason why there's a "status" column on it as many of the games I got didn't work or I never actually tested. Internet still wasn't that developed, so I usually got games on the party to last me pretty much the whole coming year. And this is something I'm still doing, to some point.

Next, step of my life, I was working and I finally got some cash. However, since I was working in Belgium my options were limited: I couldn't buy retail because my French is extremely limited, I didn't want to have to carry a bunch of CDs with me to play, and I had a download cap so I couldn't really get too many games that way. It went back to archive on my HD and what I could get from partys/friends. Now that I think back, that's about the time GOG kicked off, pity I didn't hear of it at the time. Essentially, I just invested on expanding my hard disk capacity and kept buying retail games at home (still second hand most of the time).

Finally, we come to my current lifestyle: a nomadic worker, the way my boss likes to call it. Based in Ireland, but I spend long periods of time on the road. At this point I often discovered games by going to piratebay when I am bored and downloading anything I found there, even if sometimes I never got to actually playing it. I can't realistically bring my HDs with me, so the discovery of online distribution last year came in extremely handy. I still keep my hard disks in Ireland, with copies of most of my games, but I resort to DD on the road. It's so handy that I've been buying almost every game I've ever had to build up an online shelf so I can play any of my old games when I feel like it, I'm fickle like that. Of course this generated a ridiculously sized wishlist, so I've been slowly buying them on sales. I still spent a LOT of money, but the sales helped both my wallet and my pacing.
Post edited January 24, 2013 by P1na
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
If you have the game in your collection and you have the machine needed to use ROMs for a given emulator, then I don't see it being illegal, Not a lawyer here, In my personal opinion, and that's all that this statement can be, it's not the emulator that should be considered illegal but the manner of how you obtain the software you are going to emulate.

Again, just my personal take on this kind of thing.
I have a strange Moral rule set in my opinion of Piracy.

I have emulators of NES, SNES, GB, GBC, GBA, and Sega Genesis games ,but stopped only there. I don't have any emulators of N64, PS1, GameCube, and DS because they are still new, however for another reason is because the emulators are not top notch and my laptop can't handle them well.

Another rule is to not Pirate home console games made today or not too long ago like 2007.

But the biggest Moral Rule I must never brake is to never EVER Pirate a PC made game, New and Old, even though sometimes I want to atleast pirate old PC games that GOG are not selling, but I can't because of 2 reasons:

1. I don't trust Pirate Bay or anyother site made for Pirating PC only games (I fear it could give me a virus)

2. I refuse to belittle PC gaming because they are already under scrutiny by Publishers and Developers refusing to make PC only games because of Piracy and making PC only games multiplatform thus giving the PC gamers inferior ports (well most of the time)
Post edited January 24, 2013 by Elmofongo
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy?
No, using an emulator in itself is perfectly fine...

The "issue" is how you get the ROM and/or the BIOS (for emulators which requires an external bios), if you dump the rom from your own cartridge and dump the bios from your own console then you are normally fine.
Post edited January 24, 2013 by Gersen
And Mr. Blue just gave me the chance to post the last part of what I originally wanted to put, examples of what I've paid for and what I haven't.

Easy one: Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II. I played the first part (pirate) but not knowing anything about the Warhammer franchise, I wasn't very impressed by it. Still, I had the second part from a LAN party, and a friend was so persistant about it that I tried it... and holy crap was it good. I went to the store and got my full copy, which costed me 60€... only to discover the same thing was being sold on steam for 10 or so. But I don't regret it, the box looks really cool.

Once steam was involved, things changed a bit. For instance, Dishonored. On a boring weekend, I went to piratebay and I got a bunch of games which I then went to play. I played through the first mission and I loved it so much, I just went to the steam store and got it right away. I recall trying Hitman:Absolution the same weekend, but it didn't have nearly as much impact, so I waited for a sale on that one.

A harder one: Darksiders 2. I started playing and it looked alright, but the leveling and the diablo-style random gear didn't really convince me. So, I kept playing. I think I was about 10 hours into the game when I told myself: Ok, the game is actually pretty decent. I think I'm buying this one. So I stopped playing the game, got it on a sale and kept playing then.

A more interesting one: Starcraft II. I wasn't convinced by the trailers and whatever, and was kinda pessimistic for the multiplayer focus and the "trilogy" thing. I tried it, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the campaign. So I got 60€ and got to the store... only to be told they had run out and I had to wait weeks to get my game. Only that I lived in Belgium at the time and it would be at least 6 months until I was back at my parent's where the only PC that could run the game was. So I thought: Oh well, I'll just get it on a pack with the expansions. I kinda miscalculated how long it would take, as you can imagine. I was then about to buy it now, together with heart of the swarm, when through some post on this forum I came to know about the whole activision business. A good single player campaign may cover for a multiplayer focus and a weak story, but it doesn't deserve a purchase by my book when you add detestable business practices and always on DRM (which I never noticed in the pirate version, and learned about on this forum). So I'm not buying it until the whole trilogy is out there. Keep in mind, this means I won't play heart of the swarm either until then, as I feel doing so would turn me into a huge hypocrite.

Let's see, which else.... Oh, Borderlands II. I saw a friend on steam playing it pretty consistently, so I thought I would check it out. And I found it an enjoyable light shooter, with some funny characters and the like. I kinda liked it, so I just went for it on the sales without going too far on the pirate version. And it was when playing the steam version when I realized I was playing Diablo with guns. I was burned by that on Hellgate: London; no way I'm going there again. So I wasted 25€ in a game I won't play, because I didn't play enough of the pirate version. You could argue I should have read some reviews on it before buying, to which I can only answer: Why read reviews when I can spend that time playing the game instead?

Another one recent one: Mark of the ninja. Someone around here whose criteria seemed to generally match mine recommended to play that game. During the christmas sale, I saw it there, so I just got it. It was cheap, and it was Christmas, so why not? Impulse buy, I suppose. And it was indeed awesome. Maybe if I had tried it before (pirate), I would have bought it full price, because it does deserve it. But I'm not nice enough to buy it again at full price just to gift it. A similar thing happens with the GOG stuff: It's generally not very expensive and even if I don't like it, I feel it's still worth checking. And I get a GOG installer to replace my pirate copy, which is cool.

Examples of games I didn't buy? Assassin's Creed 3. I'm so burned with Uplay, the game had to be fucking amazing to get me to buy it despite being on that horrible platform. And it wasn't amazing enough, so I haven't bought it. Not yet, anyway; it's not like I completely disliked the game per se, so I'll probably get it on a sale sometime. Eventually.

Another one I didn't buy, Dark Souls. I saw it for sale several times, I heard the praise around here, and around Christmas I thought it was about time I got to try it. So I got myself a copy and started it. I just got myself killed by the very first enemy, without being able to figure out how to even hit him. I now know I should have used a controler, but at the time I just abandoned it. Maybe one of these days I'll give it another try with a proper controler, but I'm not big on controller games mostly because I don't carry a controler with me on the road and so it limits my chances of playing it.

Oh, and there's Second Sight. I got the game on retail, but I never managed to get it working. Last April, a friend recommended it to me, and I told him about my copy. Talking about that and how hard it was to find, we stumbled upon GOG, a moment for posterity. I remember I bought Messiah as a test to see if all these games did actually work, which they did, so I went to wishlist frenzy mode. I couldn't possibly get them all at once, so over the year I kept buying them on sale. Which led to the expected result of Second Sight vanishing from my wishlist as it was no longer sold here. This Christmas, when XIII got removed, I was thinking about it and how now I won't be able to get it when suddenly I got the proverbial light bulb switched on: In half an hour, I had a shiny GOG installer. I would have payed for it, but I can't, and I want to play it. I was late for XIII, but I'll probably do some giveaway of the next pulled game to compensate on my conscience, even though I don't feel particularly bad since I do own the game legally.
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
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JudasIscariot: If you have the game in your collection and you have the machine needed to use ROMs for a given emulator, then I don't see it being illegal, Not a lawyer here, In my personal opinion, and that's all that this statement can be, it's not the emulator that should be considered illegal but the manner of how you obtain the software you are going to emulate.

Again, just my personal take on this kind of thing.
It's kind of complicated, at least in the US, the last time I'm aware of it being litigated was nearly 30 years ago and at that point it was found to not be fair use. However, at the time there wasn't any real need to back up the carts as you could get a new copy from the insurer if the house burned down and the machines themselves weren't hard to come by at all and probably replaceable with insurance money.

But, morally and practically, just do the dumping yourself. It's not like they're going to know what carts you're dumping to your own disk anyways, so long as you aren't uploading them.
For me the piracy issue is very simple - If I can't buy a game DRM-free(or at least with an unobtrusive DRM, no always-online connection required) then I have the right to pirate it. It's that simple.
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
As Sachys said, that depends on your country. Don't know for the US. But here using an emulator would not be piracy. Downloading Rom-Images however is unless they are explicitely in the public domain. That means: you may use any emulator as long as you don't play any non-free games with it.
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Licurg: For me the piracy issue is very simple - If I can't buy a game DRM-free(or at least with an unobtrusive DRM, no always-online connection required) then I have the right to pirate it. It's that simple.
Simple indeed. I wouldn't use the word "right" myself, but I can't come up with a better one in English to be honest.
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
I am not a lawyer either, but my understanding of the matter....

The actual emulator itself isn't piracy or breaking any laws. The "illegal" part is using a bios image from a system and using roms you haven't dumped yourself.

For my personal stance on it, I have used emulators since I first discovered them in 1998. I've bought many compilations and re-releases from companies I've liked over the years. (The main two being Capcom and SNK), and I still have decent sized collections for all my old systems of 50-100 games for most of them. I am not losing sleep at night knowing I have played those games on the go with an emulator on my PSP or Android phone.
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tinyE: Is using an emulator piracy? I have NEVER gotten a concrete answer to this!
Yup. You must have the console and extract its bios. Using other bios is illegal. Not to mention the roms, which evidently are.