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"Why I Pirate" - An Open Letter to Content Creators (Very, very, very long read inside)

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Either provide us with a study that shows the same when it comes to intellectual property rights or learn to live with me not acknowledging your claim that it has been “shown empirically” that said rights “foster innovation, creativity, and growth” :|

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Why, of course!

The Role Of Intellectual Property Rights In Economic Growth

Gould, David M. & Gruben, William C.

Source: Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 48, Issue 2

Abstract:

By influencing the incentives to innovate, intellectual property rights protection may affect economic growth in important ways. An important question for many countries is whether stricter enforcement of intellectual property is a good strategy for economic growth.

This paper examines the role of intellectual property rights in economic growth, utilizing cross-country data on patent protection, trade regime, and country-specific characteristics. The evidence suggests that intellectual property protection is a significant determinant of economic growth. These effects appear to be slightly stronger in relatively open economies and are robust to both the measure of openness used and to other alternative model specifications.

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This is why I keep citing that the used game market is worse than piracy -- many of the same people here who buy/own used games have this seething, hypocritical and blind hatred of pirates.

Of course, they're all quick to state that used games are "legal" and then make used car comparisons and whatnot, but that completely misses the point of their original argument against piracy, which is that piracy means no money gets to the content creators.

Now, multiply that by the fact that you're a willing, paying customer who is paying money to everyone EXCEPT the content creator for a used game, and you've got a recipe for disaster. A used game is a de facto lost sale. You took money to a store and paid money for a product, but you did not give a cent to those who created the content, only those who supplied it. In stores such as Gamestop, if you bring a new game to the counter and they have a used copy in stock, they will try VERY hard to convince you to buy the used copy, which most people will do because hey, same game, a few bucks cheaper, right?

But no, that's okay, because it's "legal," and pirates are scum because what they're doing is "illegal," and not because they're not giving money to content creators, because shifting goalposts are the best arguments you can make, am I right?

The people in this thread who are arguing against the author of this letter keep arguing that piracy is bad, when that was never the argument to begin with. They refuse to see that point because they don't like pirates or piracy or the thought that maybe pirates aren't comic book villains in black and white that they can stereotype the same way that gamers love being stereotyped as fat jobless virgins. Let's all be as hypocritical as possible, make strawman arguments, snowball fallacies and a bunch of other stupid bullshit because that's easier than using your fucking brain to discuss with some modicum of logic, because your way of thinking is based on your emotions instead of reality.

Maybe this article is something you people should read and take to heart, because this thread has become a fucking joke of the same lame and irrelevant rhetoric being spat out again and again by the same people.

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Nicely said, Xbob42, old chap. You surprise me :clap:

@foosh: I also thought about bringing that up but the last time I mentioned this it was merely brushed off with some “Well, we don’t keep it” bullshit.

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This is why I keep citing that the used game market is worse than piracy -- many of the same people here who buy/own used games have this seething, hypocritical and blind hatred of pirates.

Of course, they're all quick to state that used games are "legal" and then make used car comparisons and whatnot, but that completely misses the point of their original argument against piracy, which is that piracy means no money gets to the content creators.

Now, multiply that by the fact that you're a willing, paying customer who is paying money to everyone EXCEPT the content creator for a used game, and you've got a recipe for disaster. A used game is a de facto lost sale. You took money to a store and paid money for a product, but you did not give a cent to those who created the content, only those who supplied it. In stores such as Gamestop, if you bring a new game to the counter and they have a used copy in stock, they will try VERY hard to convince you to buy the used copy, which most people will do because hey, same game, a few bucks cheaper, right?

But no, that's okay, because it's "legal," and pirates are scum because what they're doing is "illegal," and not because they're not giving money to content creators, because shifting goalposts are the best arguments you can make, am I right?

Let's just forget that used copies were purchased copies at some point. And they get some back little by little with online passes, etc. And without any data of how many times your average used/rented copy gets passed around, you could potentially compare it to the profit on super deep Steam discounts. Pirates don't buy online passes, do they? There was maybe 1 original copy, for every 50000 DL's with piracy though. lol comparable/worse. Ya ok. Creator/publisher got paid at some point>>>>>never saw a penny.

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This is why I keep citing that the used game market is worse than piracy -- many of the same people here who buy/own used games have this seething, hypocritical and blind hatred of pirates.

Of course, they're all quick to state that used games are "legal" and then make used car comparisons and whatnot, but that completely misses the point of their original argument against piracy, which is that piracy means no money gets to the content creators.

I am against used games as much as I am against Piracy. Used cars are a terrible example as you actually own the property after it's paid off whereas with games you do not own the intellectual property and enter into a contract with the game developer/publisher. The contracts can be enforced, but nobody enforces them save for a few extreme cases.

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... and you are saying that this is the doing of copyright laws :| ? Really?

Shown empirically, huh? Citation needed :nottalking:

Why, of course:

1)

The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation

Author(s): Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, James A. Robinson

Source: The American Economic Review, Vol. 91, No. 5 (Dec., 2001), pp. 1369-140

2)

Unbundling Institutions

Author(s): Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson

Source: Journal of Political Economy,

113(5), October 2005: pp. 949-995.

Abstract:

This paper evaluates the importance of property rights institutions', which protect citizens against expropriation by the government and powerful elites, and contracting institutions', which enable private contracts between citizens. We exploit exogenous variation in both types of institutions driven by colonial history, and document strong first-stage relationships between property rights institutions and the determinants of European colonization (settler mortality and population density before colonization), and between contracting institutions and the identity of the colonizing power. Using this instrumental variables strategy, we find that property rights institutions have a first-order effect on long-run economic growth, investment, and financial development. Contracting institutions appear to matter only for the form of financial intermediation. A possible interpretation for this pattern is that individuals often find ways of altering the terms of their formal and informal contracts to avoid the adverse effects of contracting institutions but are unable to do so against the risk of expropriation.

All the data is available and ready to use on Acemoglu's website, http://economics.mit...aculty/acemoglu

Errr ... I haven’t read it yet but that abstract makes it sound like this is a paper about actual property rights and not intellectual property which is a whole different matter.

Except it's not a whole different matter, physical property rights is what is used because it is what was avaiable back then. The point of the paper is grander than just property rights, it's about the quality of institutions in general and what drives growth and innovation as incentives. And as far as incentives for innovation go, the "but it's not really stealing since nothing physical was taken" distinction is immaterial.

Either provide us with a study that shows the same when it comes to intellectual property rights or learn to live with me not acknowledging your claim that it has been “shown empirically” that said rights “foster innovation, creativity, and growth” :|

Why, of course!

The Role Of Intellectual Property Rights In Economic Growth

Gould, David M. & Gruben, William C.

Source: Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 48, Issue 2

Abstract:

By influencing the incentives to innovate, intellectual property rights protection may affect economic growth in important ways. An important question for many countries is whether stricter enforcement of intellectual property is a good strategy for economic growth.

This paper examines the role of intellectual property rights in economic growth, utilizing cross-country data on patent protection, trade regime, and country-specific characteristics. The evidence suggests that intellectual property protection is a significant determinant of economic growth. These effects appear to be slightly stronger in relatively open economies and are robust to both the measure of openness used and to other alternative model specifications.

Nicely said, Xbob42, old chap. You surprise me :clap:

@foosh: I also thought about bringing that up but the last time I mentioned this it was merely brushed off with some “Well, we don’t keep it” bullshit.

Are you actually going to address my post, or did you ask for evidence just to see if I was bluffing?

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The people in this thread who are arguing against the author of this letter keep arguing that piracy is bad, when that was never the argument to begin with. They refuse to see that point because they don't like pirates or piracy or the thought that maybe pirates aren't comic book villains in black and white that they can stereotype the same way that gamers love being stereotyped as fat jobless virgins. Let's all be as hypocritical as possible, make strawman arguments, snowball fallacies and a bunch of other stupid bullshit because that's easier than using your fucking brain to discuss with some modicum of logic, because your way of thinking is based on your emotions instead of reality.

Seems odd that you're telling us (people who have criticized the letter) that we're the ones making hypocritical straw man arguments when you go off universally and erroneously claiming what our arguments are. Many of us have said that there are valid points in his letter and I certainly don't hold software pirates as scum of the earth either. If you want to respond to something someone has said, try actually highlighting what has specifically been said and stating why you disagree with it. Otherwise, you're the one making straw man arguments here.

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Here's my take:

1) I don't know why people inevitably make comparisons to the auto industry. It doesn't even remotely resemble an apples to apples comparison.

2) I agree with the notion that piracy is, generally, a service problem. When Napster blew up and it became easy for people to acquire digital media for free without the "hassle" of trolling services like Usenet/newsgroups, it should have been a signal to record labels that there was an emergent market for that method of content distribution. The industry read the tea leaves poorly, decided to attack the consumers and not the problem, and out of nowhere, fucking Apple, of all companies, came up with a solution that people found palatable and is now the biggest company in the known universe in no small part thanks to this. This is worth keeping in mind.

3) I would argue that the iTunes "equivalent" has happened or is actively happening for digital game distribution. Steam is fucking easy sauce to use. The deals are bonkers.

I agree with the main thrusts of Xbob's points. You're never going to be able to "convert" all pirates and there SHOULD be some attempt to get the people interested in your content to PAY for your content. But I think this has HAPPENED, between Steam deals, amazon (and other) preorder discounts, etc. $60 may be too much for the overwhelming majority of games; I don't disagree with that and I can't remember the last time I paid that much for something, having daisy chained amazon deals for what feels like forever now. The only reason this conversation is happening is that piracy for end users is both easy and consequence free.

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I agree with the main thrusts of Xbob's points. You're never going to be able to "convert" all pirates and there SHOULD be some attempt to get the people interested in your content to PAY for your content. But I think this has HAPPENED, between Steam deals, amazon (and other) preorder discounts, etc. $60 may be too much for the overwhelming majority of games; I don't disagree with that and I can't remember the last time I paid that much for something, having daisy chained amazon deals for what feels like forever now. The only reason this conversation is happening is that piracy for end users is both easy and consequence free.

I agree with this. I think if you're pirating PC games or music, there's something seriously wrong with you, ethically and behaviorally, and you should probably seek help. I only buy maybe a couple of games every year for full price, the rest I wait until they are priced at a point that's worth it to me, there's really no excuse to pirate except on some of the games with really poorly-tested, draconian DRM procedures that can interfere with game play.

But when it comes to other forms of media, like console games and books and TV/Movies, there hasn't really been that break-out service like iTunes/Steam yet. Kindle and similar services are kind of there for books, and Netflix is more like spotify than itunes. And none of these other services have the pricing down the way that Steam has done. If you're lucky, you'll get an Amazon sale here or there for a console game, but prices tend to stay pretty high for a lot longer than they really ought to.

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I agree with this. I think if you're pirating PC games or music, there's something seriously wrong with you, ethically and behaviorally, and you should probably seek help. I only buy maybe a couple of games every year for full price, the rest I wait until they are priced at a point that's worth it to me, there's really no excuse to pirate except on some of the games with really poorly-tested, draconian DRM procedures that can interfere with game play.

But when it comes to other forms of media, like console games and books and TV/Movies, there hasn't really been that break-out service like iTunes/Steam yet. Kindle and similar services are kind of there for books, and Netflix is more like spotify than itunes. And none of these other services have the pricing down the way that Steam has done. If you're lucky, you'll get an Amazon sale here or there for a console game, but prices tend to stay pretty high for a lot longer than they really ought to.

Kindle book prices are great! Most of their books are 50% off. I got a shit ton for 90% off.

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But when it comes to other forms of media, like console games and books and TV/Movies, there hasn't really been that break-out service like iTunes/Steam yet. Kindle and similar services are kind of there for books, and Netflix is more like spotify than itunes. And none of these other services have the pricing down the way that Steam has done. If you're lucky, you'll get an Amazon sale here or there for a console game, but prices tend to stay pretty high for a lot longer than they really ought to.

I agree that console prices stay higher than they ought to be for longer than they should; there's no doubt about that. I think it was Mack that pointed out that he never used XBL's Games on Demand service because the prices are awful. I feel the same way. I love the convenience of digital content I'm not so in love that I'm going to buy a game for $20 that I can find online for $10. That's just nonsense.

It has gotten a bit more predictable, though... Ubisoft games tend to drop in price quickly, Rockstar games? Not so much. Value shopping for games really has never been easier.

It's not awesome or consistent, but Sony is at least stepping in the right direction with Vita releases, by having digital prices less than retail. It's not a big difference but it's something, at least.

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I agree with this. I think if you're pirating PC games or music, there's something seriously wrong with you, ethically and behaviorally, and you should probably seek help.

To pick up this point again anyway: Does this also to people who download or stream porn without paying for it :) ?

Are you actually going to address my post, or did you ask for evidence just to see if I was bluffing?

I was offline, that’s all. Chill, dude, I wasn’t even gone two hours and you’re already sounding the alarm :lol: ? But whatever ... am I missing something or did you forget to include a link to that study 448VT.gif ?

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To pick up this point again anyway: Does this also to people who download or stream porn without paying for it :) ?

Yes it does. But I think the porn industry gets around that by having massive amounts of advertisements on their pages and of course retail and online sales of sex products. The industry isn't hurting at all really as far as I know.

I was offline, that’s all. Chill, dude, I wasn’t even gone two hours and you’re already sounding the alarm :lol: ? Anyway, am I missing something or did you forget to include a link to that study 448VT.gif ?

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Yes it does. But I think the porn industry gets around that by having massive amounts of advertisements on their pages and of course retail and online sales of sex products. The industry isn't hurting at all really as far as I know.

Thats a little unfair. Its the site thats streaming that gets the revenue. Doesn't mean the video company does. Revenue isn't going director to the filmers.

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True. Besides:

Yes it does. But I think the porn industry gets around that by having massive amounts of advertisements on their pages and of course retail and online sales of sex products. The industry isn't hurting at all really as far as I know.

Then you don’t know much, bub :P To just cite on figure:

“Industry insiders estimate that since 2007, revenue for most adult production and distribution companies has declined 30% to 50% and the number of new films made has fallen sharply.”

The porn industry is fucked (pun intended) :fap: They of all people need your money. Far more than gaming companies anyway.

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Thats a little unfair. Its the site thats streaming that gets the revenue. Doesn't mean the video company does. Revenue isn't going director to the filmers.

I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I'm sure that someone is getting fucked in the process :P

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I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I'm sure that someone is getting fucked in the process :P

The porn industry is cracking harder than the gaming industry using ethical and non-ethical methods. They don't like piracy anymore than the gaming industry.

Someone is usually profitting off stolen porn. Not much in pirated games.

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Well, yes, they do. Websites like PirateBay earn A LOT.

Fun fact: The porn industry actually has been (and still is) the pioneer and main drive behind DRM and other anti-filesharing measurements.

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Let's just forget that used copies were purchased copies at some point. ...you could potentially compare it to the profit on super deep Steam discounts. There was maybe 1 original copy, for every 50000 DL's with piracy though. lol comparable/worse. Ya ok. Creator/publisher got paid at some point>>>>>never saw a penny.

Ah. So theft is okay as long as there was an initial payment? Well have I got great news for you, based on your very own logic!

Most scene releases are from purchased retail copies of the game! Meaning that that copy you pirated was at some point very much likely paid for by someone! So it's all okay now!

Please, Nick. You're justifying it just as much as a pirate would.

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Ah. So theft is okay as long as there was an initial payment? Well have I got great news for you, based on your very own logic!

Most scene releases are from purchased retail copies of the game! Meaning that that copy you pirated was at some point very much likely paid for by someone! So it's all okay now!

Please, Nick. You're justifying it just as much as a pirate would.

You glossed off half my post. Say 50000:1 for piracy, to like maybe 5:1 for rented/pre-owned (I am guessing, of course, but there's no way every used copy went through 100 hands). The difference in revenue per 'owner' is in a different...galaxy. There is no comparison. And what about the online pass revenue, DLC, etc? Non existent with pirates. So, there.

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Ah. So theft is okay as long as there was an initial payment? Well have I got great news for you, based on your very own logic!

Most scene releases are from purchased retail copies of the game! Meaning that that copy you pirated was at some point very much likely paid for by someone! So it's all okay now!

Please, Nick. You're justifying it just as much as a pirate would.

You are completely ignoring licensing. A used game has one license and is only used by one person at a time.

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You glossed off half my post. Say 50000:1 for piracy, to like maybe 5:1 for rented/pre-owned (I am guessing, of course, but there's no way every used copy went through 100 hands). The difference in revenue per 'owner' is in a different...galaxy. There is no comparison. And what about the online pass revenue, DLC, etc? Non existent with pirates. So, there.

And you're ignoring that people use piracy as a sort of "demo" system for games, and go on to purchase ones they would not otherwise have purchased, or buy new copies of sequels to games that they pirated, or whatever, generating revenue that would not exist without piracy. That hardly excuses piracy, but the fact that a content provider company makes some money off of an unethical transaction doesn't make that transaction any less unethical.

Used games, piracy, borrowing/trading... they all have the same effect, they allow people to play something that they have not paid for. You can twist your arguments around to try and justify your position, but used games are no better than piracy.

In fact, I'd argue that used games are generally worse than piracy, except in the case of private party sales. You're effectively supporting a company that makes their living profiting off of the sale of IP that they have no right to sell. The portion of revenues a used game story takes as profit from the sale of used games is literally money taken out of the pockets of developers. Presumably, the person selling the game is going to go buy more games with their money, but they are getting stiffed on resale so they don't have as much to spend as they would have if they'd sold to someone directly. Likewise, the person who buys the used game is getting something without compensating the content creator or distributor in any way.

I don't see how you can be opposed to piracy but not be opposed to used game sales. It just doesn't make any sense.

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I don't see how you can be opposed to piracy but not be opposed to used game sales. It just doesn't make any sense.

Let's also forget that the last owner loses the right to play once they trade in the physical universe also. I could go on and on. Your argument is based on the possibility that the pirate may buy something (either what they pirated, or related items)..that's BS to me. It happens, but not often enough to make more than a drop in the bucket. Why bother? You can just dl the sequel too!

Too funny, dude. Keep up the crusade, though!

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For starters, one is legal, the other is not.

I suppose.

But that's sort of like arguing that killing a random stray dog is morally superior to killing your neighbor's dog because one is illegal and the other isn't. It's a pretty shallow thing to base an argument on, especially when you don't know what any of the other circumstances are.

Let's also forget that the last owner loses the right to play once they trade in the physical universe also. I could go on and on. Your argument is based on the possibility that the pirate may buy something (either what they pirated, or related items)..that's BS to me. It happens, but not often enough to make more than a drop in the bucket. Why bother? You can just dl the sequel too!

Too funny, dude. Keep up the crusade, though!

And you assume that the person who's sold the game hasn't made a copy of it for themselves, and/or would want to play it again after selling it.

I'm not the one reaching. You're the one that's bending over backwards to justify an equivalent behavior just because you like to do one and not the other.

Either you're in favor of people paying a content creator for the right to consume the content they are providing, or you're not. Used games, borrowing games to your friend, renting games (assuming there isn't a law that requires rental companies to purchase special copies of a game or provide some percentage of revenue to the publishers) and piracy are all 100% identical in that sense. You can make excuses for why one is better than another, but they are all excuses.

Borrowing/trading games and piracy are the only examples of the above where some third party isn't getting rich off of someone else's hard work, so I'd view those as being less reprehensible than used game sales or rental companies (again, assuming that rental companies don't have to pay some sort of rental license).

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And you assume that the person who's sold the game hasn't made a copy of it for themselves, and/or would want to play it again after selling it.

I'm not the one reaching. You're the one that's bending over backwards to justify an equivalent behavior just because you like to do one and not the other.

I'm not really in favor of a used game market, but I think that's an inappropriate criticism. If the person copies the game and then distributes other copies, they no longer are merely part of the used game market, but have wholly entered into the realm of software piracy and therefore voids the argument against the used game market.

These are different situations that need their own unique criticism precisely because in the the "fair" used game market scenario, the seller loses their ability to play the game ever again. To demonstrate the effects of this difference, lets look at these behaviors taken to their respective extremes. That is, if a person wants a game and is able to buy it used, they will opt for that choice (and symmetrically will sell it if they no longer want the game). On the piracy side, everyone will pirate a game if given the option. We will call these behavior models complete used market and complete piracy markets respectively.

For the used market, at most, there can only be as many used copies in distribution as there are copies of the game that have been sold as new. Further the actual number is the fraction of those copies for which the previous owner decided they no longer want it. If the demand for the game is greater than this fraction at any given time, then the number of new sales increases. In other words, in a complete used market, the revenue of the developer scales upward with the demand/interest of the game.

Now consider the complete piracy market. In this case, one person buys (or possible obtains through a leak) a copy of a game, uploads it to the net at which point it is seeded to as many places as desired. Every person now pirates the game and the total number of actual sales is constant at one. It does not grow with demand/interest of the game.

These scenarios are different and therefore require their own arguments.

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I'm not really in favor of a used game market, but I think that's an inappropriate criticism. If the person copies the game and then distributes other copies, they no longer are merely part of the used game market, but have wholly entered into the realm of software piracy and therefore voids the argument against the used game market.

These are different situations that need their own unique criticism precisely because in the the "fair" used game market scenario, the seller loses their ability to play the game ever again. To demonstrate the effects of this difference, lets look at these behaviors taken to their respective extremes. That is, if a person wants a game and is able to buy it used, they will opt for that choice (and symmetrically will sell it if they no longer want the game). On the piracy side, everyone will pirate a game if given the option. We will call these behavior models complete used market and complete piracy markets respectively.

For the used market, at most, there can only be as many used copies in distribution as there are copies of the game that have been sold as new. Further the actual number is the fraction of those copies for which the previous owner decided they no longer want it. If the demand for the game is greater than this fraction at any given time, then the number of new sales increases. In other words, in a complete used market, the revenue of the developer scales upward with the demand/interest of the game.

Now consider the complete piracy market. In this case, one person buys (or possible obtains through a leak) a copy of a game, uploads it to the net at which point it is seeded to as many places as desired. Every person now pirates the game and the total number of actual sales is constant at one. It does not grow with demand/interest of the game.

These scenarios are different and therefore require their own arguments.

You are right that the supply of used games is a limiting factor that doesn't exist for piracy, but I don't really think that's a great defense of the used game market relative to piracy. Piracy has plenty of it's own deterrents (mostly that you have to know where to go to get stuff, there's risk involved, you have to have a pretty substantial internet connection, etc.), while anyone can walk into a store that sells used games and purchase a used game. With the success of used game sales companies like Gamestop and the recent trend of places like Best Buy getting in on the business, it's kind of hard for me to imagine that piracy has more of a negative impact on a games company (in terms of lost sales) than the used game market does.

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