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On Property - silver Harloe

About On Property

Previous Entry On Property Aug. 29th, 2008 @ 01:26 am Next Entry
(warning: contains some small measure of hyperbole)

(from http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=26465&page=1#258439 ):

Beef Row wrote: "... I've heard some people argue used game shops are hurting console developers at least as badly as piracy is supposed to be hurting PC developers. If the moral objection to piracy is that it fails to properly reimburse game developers, would that make buying used games as unethical as piracy? (Even more unethical perhaps, since you're supporting a company that profits off selling games without paying the developer.) ... "

Banjooie wrote: "It's fairly simple. It is a matter of duplication. If I purchase from you one apple, you are minus one apple, and plus one amount of money. If I then sell that apple, you got your money, you don't care. Maybe some other dude would not then buy an apple from you, but you have given one apple, and received one money for one apple. You are still even. That is used games.

If I purchase from you one apple, and use that to grow an apple tree. I then sell those apples to other people. You have sold one apple, but lost countless apple sales because of it. You are thus angry.

Now: You can argue 'it's his apple, he can do with it what he wants'. This is where we discover why software is different again: Intellectual Property. The apple we've been using so far is a standard, public-domain Gala apple. Now let's say it's some sort of SuperApple. Your farm has like, bred a special kind of apple, and you've paid to trademark it and all that. Now, you're selling them the apple, but the apple is coming with a piece of paper. A contract, if you will, that says, 'You agree not to grow trees from the seeds of this apple'. They agree to that contract by buying the apple. By growing a tree from that apple, they're then breaking the contract, and thus, the law. So, basically: It's a matter of whether it stays a 1:1 trade of game for money or not."

So here's my reply: "Bad example, Banj, in light of it's comparison to Monsanto, which we all know is, in actual fact, a nexus of evil so deep that Dante couldn't fathom how to get down to it, so twisted that they make North Korea seem like Eden, and so depraved that Satan forbids his demons to work there lest they give evil a bad name.

The "real" answer is close to what you wrote, but perhaps a little more fundamental. For all of human existence, creation has fallen under a simple model of "making stuff" which can be distributed and owned. The music, movie, and software industries have been trying desperately to make their products fit that model because that's the only kind of economics our society is prepared to understand. You can't get a bank loan to start a business based on another model, you can't even get government recognition that what you're doing is fundamentally different than the prevailing model. As technology slowly eradicates the solutions which they put in place to try to keep their media "protected" (i.e. to keep their media stuck in the old model), they turn to the government to find solutions for them -- "we give up. we can't make people treat these new things as old things, so just jail anyone who doesn't fit our straitjacket". and the government says, "sure. we don't understand the new model, either. so those are probably dangerous subversives we're incarcerating."

Now it becomes very easy to understand. Piracy is breaking the model and offends all the established economic sensibilities enshrined in our corporations and governments and even religions since the beginning of human understanding. Used game stores, on the other hand, perpetuate the old model by treating the disc as a "manufactured widget" which can be "owned.""
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