Governments need to stop game piracy

Lord Mandleson is our political leader in Britain and he has a representative in the lower house, a Scot called Gordon Brown. Yesterday, as part of the release of the Digital Britain report Gordon said: “A fast internet connection is now seen by most of the public as an essential service, as indispensable as electricity, gas and water.” The problem with this is that the main use of broadband is theft. Millions of people use it to download many billions of pounds worth of digital content without paying for it. The biggest orgy of stealing in the history of humanity.

There is a massive problem with this in that if everybody steals and nobody pays for the content then the content will not be made. We have seen this many times in the game industry. And it is killing off quality television. And it damages any business that involves knowledge that can be represented digitally. Which is very many businesses in our post manufacturing, knowledge based economy. In other words for our society to work in the future the government has got to stop the thieves. There is no other option.

So it is good that Digital Britain is making the first tentative steps in this direction (the Swedes are already well ahead). It wants to force ISPs to reduce piracy by 70% in one year, supervised by OFCOM. This can be done. However even 30% of the current level still represents billions of pounds of theft. The global Anti Counterfeiting treaty will hopefully force stronger action and in more countries.

It really is about time that the worst peer to peer IP thieves were brought to court and prosecuted for their crimes. If they went on a rampant shoplifting spree in London every day they would soon be dealt with. But do exactly the same online and they currently go unpunished.

Of course the IP thieves come up with all sorts of spurious excuses to justify their actions. But then this is the same for all criminals.


  1. I’m not sure that it goes into much detail on how ISPs should go about cutting down piracy by this amount or how they are going to be funded. I’m betting they just punish high traffic no matter what the source just to hit their figures.

    Was there not something else in the report saying that the number of poor people that will gain the free internet will most likely to be the ones using it for piracy? Exactly how much would they be spending on media without it?

    At least if everyone had access to pirated downloads, no one would be making any money from piracy down the stalls.

  2. Cool, go after Bittorent all you like, its just gonna push people to get encrytpted usenet accounts . . . . . .Then the fun really begins . . . . .

  3. The problem of piracy is terrible and a huge problem for our young industry. I believe that we don’t have a chance to stop this without destroying the overall experience and value the Internet provides.

    We (and more and more other studios do) reacted by changing the business model the way that piracy becomes almost impossible. The Games Industry must stop seeing their game clients as their products but their server side services. The Internet is the best tool for stealing, but it’s also the best tool to stop stealing.

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