Pirates are the best customers: just sell good stuff at a reasonable price in a timely fashion

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Research? Research be damned! Bad people are bad and must be punished! Profits come second to righteous anger.


I would pirate games if I could be bothered. Damn you steam!



How is the govt telling you how to run your business a bad thing, but pirates telling you how to price and deliver is a good thing? The mafia used to make people charge more and slow down, that was generally considered a bad thing. But as long as it’s faster and cheaper, or instant and free, thumbs up!

Pirates shut down my business. I’ve posted the details here before, and got “boo hoo, you had a crappy business model and deserved to be run out of business”, so I won’t bother restating it here. But it was MY business model. I’m astounded anyone here on BB can applaud extorting anyone to change their business, whether you like them or not.

Well, on the face of it, the pirates are a portion of the demand for your product and therefore to maximise profit you would want to provide them with supply of it. That’s pretty much capitalism 101.


How is that not blaming the victim?

Well I don’t know your personal circumstances but there wasn’t any assignment of blame for anything to anyone in there.

Demand can dictate price as much as supply can, and it will dictate delivery even more. When pirates are part of the demand side of the equation then it follows that it is good they tell you how to price and deliver to them, unless you disagree that capitalism is good (which is fair). None of that is extortion because you don’t have to price and deliver to them, all they can do is withhold their purchase - it is just extremely simple economics.


You have an interesting view of capitalism. Is that the Somali school?

I believe that piracy is inevitable in an information economy, that the total costs of suppressing it or trying to suppressing it are not worth it, and that of course it directly benefits some people (those who would not otherwise be able to afford products).

It’s weird to me that people want to go from that to claiming that piracy is therefore an unmitigated good, that no one has ever been financially harmed by piracy, and that if e.g. a small-time musician claims otherwise, they’re either lying or, somehow, deserved it. I don’t recall bathosfear’s situation, but I’ve seen this happen more than once on the internet, and it’s really bizarre.

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If you can articulate a view of capitalism in which goods in the market place are immune to one or both of the fundamental market forces that are supply and demand then I would suggest that is why your business model failed.


I wouldn’t dream of arguing about supply and/or demand. I only wonder about your including someone taking my product without paying or my permission, making essentially infinite copies of it, posting it on literally thousands of sites effectively burying my legitimate Google listing, and giving it away for free to anyone with a mouse as “demand”.

I believe that copying data is not piracy. That is a name big business gave to a perfectly rational behavior in order to criminalize it and maximize their profits. The same thing happened to walking down the street - one day it was normal, the next day it was “jaywalking,” and it’s well-documented the auto industry and the oil industry thought up that word and popularized it.

Not many people remember that the entertainment industry first started calling piracy when listeners made analog recordings of their radios. If you record a sound and I claim to own that sound, you are a criminal and a pirate, because my profits are more important than your ears. But it’s important to remember the corporate point of view is not the only valid point of view.


By definition they are part of the demand group. They want the product. The fact that they are stealing it to meet their own demand doesn’t change that. The article is about converting that existing demand into sales by challenging the idea that all theft in the information age is simple criminal behaviour best met by increasing penalties, when a lot of research shows that it’s due to a lack of appropriate supply.

Of course, providing that appropriate supply is difficult, in some cases possibly even impossible, because it means developing new models such as the one for developing countries that software licensing uses, or the consistent sales that Steam uses. But being able to convert people who pirate because things aren’t available in their country, or are at a premium price, or because they simply don’t believe the product is worth as much as you initially charge, means converting no-sales into sales - the trick is figuring out how to do that without affecting your existing bottom-line.


Pirates did not ruin your business, you ruined your business by ignoring potential customers and leaving them no other option but piracy. That is the long and the short of it


There are, in my experience, two kinds of pirates. One kind just downloads everything and works more as a collector. These kind don’t generally care about what they’re downloading, and they don’t use it. Back in the early 00’s, I knew some people who had cracked copies of pretty much every computer game. They never played them – they’d sometimes install them, run the game for a few minutes, and get bored and uninstall it (and keep the copy).

The other kind are casual pirates, who due to high barriers of entry or circumstances that mean doing things legitimately are onerous, will pirate. An easy example of this are the people who downloaded HBO shows like Game of Thrones prior to HBO Go, and are the subject of cartoons such as this one:

Those kind of pirates are the majority, by far, and are usually happy to pay a reasonable price for things that they want. When an illegal download is easier than the legitimate way, or the legitimate thing is priced too high, then more people are going to turn towards “piracy.”

If someone sells a product that can be easily copied, they should account for this – it’s part of the marketplace now. There’s a reason that many software companies have a “lite” version, or why digital books often have deep sales. It’s better to make a little money on pent up demand than wait for everyone to buy an item at the high price (while actually pirating it). People who do this are also just as likely to happily pursue an alternative product.

This isn’t new. I had a plumber come by last week to look at my steam radiators, and he gave me a price to replace the valves (most of which are shot). The price for me to buy the valves myself and install them are significantly less than his quote, and there’s no guarantee that I won’t have to get in there and fiddle with things anyway, so I’m just doing it myself. He lost a sale due to what I perceived as a high price. That’s not “knowledge piracy,” even though he told me what I should do.


I’m curious if this is actually true. Yes, any anti-piracy measure that’s been implemented has been cracked fairly quickly. But, for example, shutting down Napster/Limewire/the easier to use piracy apps probably eliminated a TON of casual pirates (also, the ease of purchasing via iTunes certainly contributed to their decline as well). Once they actually have to install a torrent client, go to a torrent site, figure out which version to download, etc… I imagine that cuts out a fair chunk of people (I know that it cut out my wife, for example). You can jailbreak an iOS device, and sideload pirated apps if you know what you’re doing… But casual pirates just can’t be bothered to jump through all those hoops, they’d rather just buy their apps instead (or go with Android, where sideloading is much easier).

Arrrr… On topic.

You skipped the biggest group, the commercial pirates. The ones that use automated software to generate thousands of listings to get ad views, plant malware, or generate affiliate commissions.

Just yesterday I had to file a DMCA takedown on someone who’d cloned my entire Youtube channel. My channel was free and instantly available to anyone. They copied it for the ad sales.


Pretty sure this is exactly the point being made.

I’m not reveling in your failure when I say that most businesses fail, and it can be for a number of reasons including just being run badly.

While piracy may be wrong, it isn’t causing any businesses to fail. If someone downloads a movie, a song, a whatever, rather than paying for it, the idea that revenue was lost is a farce. As the evidence shows, they are more than happy to pay for things they want. You seem to be writing off the idea that businesses ought to cater their products and services to their customers. I doubt you think you were somehow entitled to succeed, but that is the way you sound when you write things like this.

See, that’s another matter. “Piracy” for personal use by people who weren’t going to pay anyway (and who would pay if there was a good way for them to pay at a reasonable price) is a symptom of a failed business model, it won’t go away until the business model changes, and criminal laws targeting it are futile and damaging. Copying someone else’s wholesale so you can generate ad revenue from it is awful, and I’d have been sympathetic to your position much sooner if the word “piracy” hadn’t been diluted to meaninglessness by copyright lobbyists.

Remember music? Yeah, that was nice while it lasted. Too bad that cassette tapes put an end to people making music forever in the 1980s, eh?

But what if iTunes wasn’t there? Apple fought the music industry hard on iTunes - the industry had to be dragged kicking and screaming into selling their products to people who wanted them in a convenient format. If they hadn’t capitulated and iTunes hadn’t taken off, do you think that people would be at the CD store right now, or that they’d take the five minutes it takes to learn how to use those less convenient methods of pirating? Or, even more realistically, they would just get a memory stick with the album from their friend who does know how to use the torrents? iTunes undoubtedly cut down on piracy, just as Steam did, but I don’t really know how much of a role anti-piracy measures played.