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Surprise! You Condone Piracy!

Posted on Saturday, March 17 @ 20:16:05 Eastern by Heath_Hindman
I don't always commit crimes, but when I do, I flee the scene by moonwalking.


You may have heard that on Vita launch day, the PSN's demo of The Michael Jackson Experience turned out to be the full game, completely unlocked and downloadable by any user with no problem.  I don't care about people doing that.  What I care about is people acting like that's cool while simultaneously being all uppity about piracy on a moral level.  If your only beef with piracy is the laws of the land, OK, this doesn't apply to you, because your story checks out.  But if you have a moral issue with piracy, yet not with this, you're a hypocrite. I think that's funny.

When the news broke on various forums like NeoGAF (I don't have the tab open anymore and their search sucks so, screw it, sorry) and CheapAssGamer had members on top of the action, with members hurrying to download Ubisoft's other demos and see if they were also
full games with the same glitch.  2012 was the new 1849, and the gold rush was on as gamers tried and dig free digital copies of Rayman, Lumines, and Ass Fault Injection from mistaken demos.  At least one of these forums will ban you for sharing info on how to pirate games, or even condoning piracy out loud.  Pointing out a slip like this, however, in which gamers could take advantage of a mistake and get free items earns only praise and virtual high-fives.

If you condone this, you condone piracy, the only out being if your sole beef with piracy is its illegal nature. Again, I don't care what your feeling is or what you do, I simply care -- as a fan of honesty -- about you realizing the inconsistency. For all intents and purposes, the two are the same. Let's take a closer look at the defenses and why so many of them fall short.

But Ubisoft didn't LOSE anything tangible!  I didn't TAKE anything that they had and now do not have!
Kind of like piracy? A developer doesn't lose anything tangible when someone pirates a game either. A new digital copy is created, the same thing that happened with this whole demo glitch.

But pirates can share! I can't share my PSN games with anyone!
By this definition, you should also be alright with pirating games as long as you don't go on to share with others. Just pointing that out.

But they deserve it!  This game is overpriced, just like their Gameloft games!
Hey I'm right there with ya. Asphalt Injection and Dungeon Hunter on Vita are $8 games being sold for five times their actual value, and it's a crime against gaming. Really, I feel the most the Michael Jackson should go for is $20, given its short playlist, tricky multiplayer, and the fact that there are other versions nearly a year old. But does money hatting justify taking advantage of someone's honest mistake? Does it justify receiving free goods that normally cost money?  If you want to protest the price of something, you send your message by not buying it.  You wait for a price drop, buy it from the eventual bargain bin, or some such method.  It doesn't justify walking in and taking it for free due to someone's honest mistake -- at least not if you have moral beef with piracy. If you condone piracy, oh, well then yeah, this is perfectly acceptable.

But I wasn't gonna buy Michael Jackson Experience anyway, so it's cool!
The same can be said of a lot of pirated copies of games.  While certainly some people pirate to avoid buying, not every pirated copy represents a lost sale, either.  You've surely heard this all before in endless piracy debates that have popped up periodically for well over a decade now. If you condone downloading this on the grounds that the gamer didn't intend to buy the game, then you also approve of all piracy by people not set on purchasing the product they are pirating.

But this game wouldn't even exist if Michael were alive!  Ubisoft is just cashing in on his death!
You are correct.  But like the jury told me right before I was sent to prison, someone being an asshole doesn't justify blurring the lines of legality or morality all over their face/car/walls/desk/pets. To say that it does is also to say that it's acceptable to pirate any game you feel is made to make money. And when games are made by businesses, that describes 99% of all games ever made. If downloading this for free was your personal stab at Ubisoft for exploiting Michael Jackson's death, cool, good for you; but you now officially have no reason to complain at people who pirate other games for whatever justification they come up with.

But Maybe Sony or Ubisoft Can Remotely Disable the Copies!
This one makes me laugh out loud. Oh, so because something can -- maybe, possibly, perhaps -- happen to take away the free item, that makes it OK when piracy isn't? This kind of thinking ruins Earth and makes me hate people.

But I didn't do anything illegal!
That's true, and for that reason, no one who did this should be punished. You did take advantage of someone's mistake, exploit it, and gain from it. You downloaded a game, knowing that it was not supposed to be free; you were fully aware that the publisher did not intend to do what had been done, yet you willingly exploited the mistake. That's the simple fact of the situation.

If you are ethically against piracy because that's just what your moral compass is set to, then this does not apply to you, and you are off the hook. In fact, I congratulate you for staying consistent. Cheers!

Stay consistent, my friends.

Heath Hindman writes his column "The Most Interesting Gamer in the World" (almost) every weekend on Game Revolution. View the two previous columns here and here, and check back on the weekends.

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