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The Economic Impact Of Piracy On The Game Industry

670 words - 3 pages

If there is one topic that will spark debate amongst PC gamers today, it is piracy and the impact its economic impact on the gaming industry. Nearly everyone has an opinion on the topic, ranging from complete acceptance and support for piracy to utter disgust and disapproval. In the past years, since the SOPA and PIPA legislation was proposed to Congress, this issue has reached its critical mass, with a different PC game developer blaming piracy as a present danger to the industry every other day. As someone who has played games for almost my entire life, I must confess I am rather upset when reading the innumerable discussions and articles on piracy.
Discussion on piracy on the PC platform as well as DRM has been riddled with uninformed opinions through illogical excuses. This has caused hysteria and scaremongering making it nearly impossible to have a civil discussion on the matter. Although it is quite difficult to obtain reliable data on piracy and its impacts, the challenge is ...view middle of the document...

This is where content owners began to equate infringers to thieves. However, infringers think of themselves as the free, anarchic romantics of fiction when they use the same term for themselves (Douglas).
The first time the term “pirate” was used to describe those who made unauthorized copies of media was after the invention of the printing press in 1439. The printing press exponentially sped up the spread of knowledge in all subjects, as well as increasing the number of literate people in the population. Despite the printing press’s substantial benefits, it created various new problems for authors. Prior to the printing press, it was rather difficult for individuals to duplicate a book without permission and not on any scale relevant enough to worry about; the press changed these notions overnight. Soon both printers and authors sought a way to protect their works, not only for economic reasons, but to insure their works were not changed and they were credited for what they wrote and printed. What the printing press had created was a growing market of economic significance. Over the next several centuries, authors, printers, pirates and governments would engage in a struggle to determine laws which would control who would possess the rights to ownership and reproduction of works (“History of Visual Communication”).
The Berne Convention, first accepted in 1886, was an agreement that would set the ground work for all copyright law from then on. This trade agreement created the first standards for copyright law and would later be bound to almost every country that was a part of the World Trade Organization. It was intended to give owners of literary and artistic works the ability to maintain exclusive rights over how their works were reproduced and distributed; however, there was a limited time on the effective monopoly of their works. Fifty to one-hundred years after the owner’s death, their works could be used and distributed freely without their consent. There are also provisions of Fair Use in the Berne Convention, which allow people to use copyrighted works without permission in some scenarios such as reviewing or educational uses (Berne Convention).

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