back to article Swarm of file sharers spurred UK crackdown

Pinball game publisher Zuxxez decided to chase down British file sharers after discovering that illegal downloads of its best-selling Earth 2160 outstripped its retail sales 35 times, clocking up nearly one million Jolly Rogers. Zuxxez found 891,414 people who had attempted to download Earth 2160 between its release on 1 June …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    0.5 million units * £30 a copy = £15m, by my calculations. So how does that "only just" make a margin on £3-10m costs?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reverse economics - the new game

    First you produce a game (apparently) so bad that (almost) nobody buys it.

    Then you accuse lots of people of theft, reaping a huge* sum in "legal costs" (even scaring innocent people into rolling over by the tone of the threats) - despite no actual evidence of the identity of the offender - if one even exists...

    * relative to the profit made from a genuine sale, of which there were few

    Congratulations - you have now far outstripped the lost profit from the limited market it had in the first place, turning one really crap game into a very profitable "legal threat" game.

    Why bother with the pretence of having a product in the first place - just go straight for the random legal threats and watch the money pour in.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maths?... is wrong!

    The publisher wont make £30 a copy.

    They typically get about 40-48% of the Retail price when they sell to distributors and directly to major retailers.

    Therefore they get between £12.00 and £14.40 on a £30 retail.

    Then take off your duplication, packaging, marketing costs and you are typically left with about £7.50 a copy (not including central overhead).

    0.5mil * £7.50 = £3,750,000

    If you don't sell 0.5mil, your marketing slice and overhead per unit increases so it gets much worse.

    And that's why I got out of the business!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you mean "Maths"?

    [quote] 0.5 million units * £30 a copy = £15m, by my calculations. So how does that "only just" make a margin on £3-10m costs? [/quote]

    Obviously you have no idea how a business is run. That £30 a copy doesn't all go to the game producers, does it? There are warehousing and transport costs, the markup for the distributor, and the markup for the retailer, so there isn't much profit left for the game producer on a £10 million investment.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright infringment is not piracy

    There seems to be a deliberate policy amongst those who have their copyright infringed to misconstrue the nature of the activities of the copyright infringers. When someone uploads or downloads a song, film or game on P2P they are not engaging in 'piracy' or 'theft', they are engaging in copyright infringement.

    In the UK, piracy is the act of making money from infringing copyright and is a crime that can be taken to the criminal courts. Theft is the act of taking a physical object from its rightful owner with the intent of never returning it and can also be taken to criminal court. Copyright infringement is the act of copying something without the permision of the copyright owner and is only a civil crime and can only be taken to the civil courts.

    There is a basic philosophical difference between copyright infringement and piracy or theft, and the attempt by big corporations to blur this boundary is an attempt to manipulate our feelings to support their own questionable tactics. Copyright is not an ineliable right in the same way ownership of possesions is - copyright is a gift bestowed by society onto the producer of a work with the aims of increasing creativity and rewarding the act of creation.

    At the moment it is highly questionable as to whether copyright rules as they are actually achieve this and so the moral justification behind attempts to sue infringers is dubious at best. Don't let the RIAA and others make you think you are doing something criminal when you use P2P - you are not. That is what copyright owners want you to think because they know the moral argument is not as clear cut as they would like it to be.

    It really is about time the legislators looked at the way copyright really works and change the rules so that copyright genuinely benifits all members of society rather than simply protecting the entrenhced interests of immensly rich and powerful companies like Microsoft, Sony and Apple. Once copyright owners have the moral high ground it will be much easier to justify cracking down on P2P sharing of copyright material.

    Justice has to be seen to be fair - and its not fair to crack down on individual infringers when big companies so regularly break moral and legal social rules for their own benifit. For example, Microsoft are still in breach of European rules on the way they package their products - Microsoft can afford to pay the fines, but most of the sued copyright infringers cannot. Apple are unwilling to cooperate with several European governments' wishes for Apple to open its iTunes technology up to everyone (ie, to help promote competition to stimulate creativity). Then there was Sony who maliciously infected many hundreds of thousands computers with their rootkit installation on their music CDs - why was this not more widely criticise by governments?

    The system isn't fair, and calling copyright infringement 'piracy' just makes the system even less fair.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BTW, bad analogy

    By the way - that Ferrari analogy is incorrect. A better file sharing Ferrari comparison would be. 'I couldn't afford a Ferrari, so I made a full scale working replica out of free materials'.

    As for profit margins - here is a thought, perhaps £10 million is too much money to spend developing a game! Here is another thought, perhaps computer games aren't as important to society as the manufacturers think they are. Can't make money from creating computer games? Don't make them then! Society won't be any worse off if there are fewer computer games around - the market is bloated and overstocked with rubbish titles anyway.

  7. Name

    There is no way this is true

    There just aren't 900000 people in Britain who want to play this game and are willing and able to pirate it online. Not a chance. It's a B-list game for a specialised audience. Even if you are going to pirate a real time strategy game you'd go for better-known and higher-rated (see games like Warcraft 3 or Dawn of War.

    I bought a copy of E2160 at launch (got the special edition with the LED in the cover), and would have been overjoyed if any of my mates had wanted to play it - they're all welcome to borrow my copy and crack it. Now I'm bored with it I'd be perfectly happy to give any of them my copy for free. Yet, out of the 10 or so of my friends who play PC games one other bought his own copy and the rest were utterly disinterested. The idea that a milllion Brits wanted to play this game is ridiculous - are there even that many real time strategy players in the country?

    Either their number is massively wrong, or there are a million people who for some mystifying reason download every game that gets commercial release (and therefore don't possibly have the time to play most of them).

  8. A J Stiles

    I didn't pinch the Ferrari

    It's one I knocked up all by myself, out of some spare parts I had lying around. All I did was run a tape measure over a "real" Ferrari, hold up some paint samples against it, and take notes; and you'll be pleased to know the rightful owner still has the full use of it.

    PS. I have never, ever paid for a piece of computer software in my life -- and having heard what it's like outside the FLOSS world, I have precisely zero intention to start now.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright infringement certainly isn't piracy

    I quite liked this comment except for 'In the UK, piracy is the act of making money from infringing copyright'. er no it isn't, piracy is a crime involving ships and the high seas. It's pretty rare in the UK nowadays.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's to debate?

    I dont understand why people have a difficulty grasping the moral argument. As a software developer I can assure you it really is a kick in the teeth to see people rip off ones hard work without a second thought. It isnt just game software that gets shared around, this is a problem that extends across genre. Software developers dont do this for fun, we are just trying to make a living and put food on the table for our families - we arent all Bill Gates.

    That there is no physical loss is a tired argument, and spurious at best, if you genuinly think that no one is hurt by this then I would like to assure you that such an assumption is wrong. Seeing software I have worked long and hard to develop shared illegally does actually really hurt. Those late nights, the sacrifice, the time, the energy, the ideas, the creativity, cheapened into a 20minute download. Why should I bother?

    I realise im not going to change anyones minds here, people who download have clearly picked through the detail to justify their actions and now believe it to the extent that they feel downloading illegally is a crusade that must be won. Whether they hurt someone like myself in the process is clearly of no consequence - such is modern integrity. But be careful for what you wish, when people get fed up and turn away from developing software, we'll all be the losers.

    Its funny how the people who support p2p sharing are the ones who benefit from it the most - no coincidence that. Why not just be honest and admit people like getting things for free when they can, we all push the boundries, honour and respect is dead. Ive read many pro sharing debates and they all seem like post-rationalisation, jumping on the little details because of course there is no real argument over and above wanting something for nothing.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something for nothing....

    "Its funny how the people who support p2p sharing are the ones who benefit from it the most - no coincidence that. Why not just be honest and admit people like getting things for free when they can, we all push the boundries, honour and respect is dead. Ive read many pro sharing debates and they all seem like post-rationalisation, jumping on the little details because of course there is no real argument over and above wanting something for nothing."

    Though I do agree with the sentiments by the would be software engineer, I would like to turn the statement on its head and point it at those who "OWN" the copyright .... Hmmm seems to be just as valid doesnt it.

    Oh, when I say own, I dont mean those who actually put time and effort and real work into the production of the material. I mean those in corporate office who do all the buck passing and expertly spin anything into maximized profit for minimal effort.... Oh to be a CEO of a music publisher or second best, a software publisher .... Gotta luv those perks.

  12. Richard Dawson

    Make me a Ferrari too !

    I don't think you chaps have quite got the Ferrari analogy right, or at least you haven't taken it to its correct conclusion.

    You see, file sharers aren't building their own game from scratch. They're just copying it. There is no effort or skill to be lauded here - they're hardly plucky little engineers, working away in a workship on a labour of love are they ?

    And to say that they wouldn't have bought the game anyway so there are no lost sales is a bit (well, ok, not at all) like telling the magistrate that you wouldn't have bought the bottle of Talikser that you've just lifted since you normally make do with Bells.

  13. Nick Campbell

    Oh come on

    People are annoyed at being sent letters (like myself) when THEY DIDNT download the game. Whats to stop another one coming in a months time? its extortion its wrong and they are using loopholes in the law. Denying any view of evidence so you pay up out of fear that maybe someone hacked you or they made a mistake or you clicked on it by accdient and cancelled it.... or the more likely case they just got your ip address by luck!!! it makes me sick and I am sooo angry that I am probably going to pay even though I am innocent. GET THE REAL PIRATE THEIFS NOT ME!!! :@

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