For the ∞th time, piracy does NOT result in a lost sale!

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Disclaimer : This article is written by Ryo, whose site is currently down & what's left is an un-updated Git repo. I'm putting it up here as an archived content (with some fixes & personal additions) since it mostly helps in me explaining my stance on piracy.

The boomers are still so hopelessly brainwashed, they keep denying the fact that research after research after research after research after research shows that piracy does not equal a lost sale. In fact, cracking down on piracy is exactly what results in an undesired outcome. Despite all the efforts to wake them up to this reality, the MAFIAA continues singlehandedly destroying the internet even harder than all governments combined have ever been able to do.

The common reasons why people pirate are one or more of the following:

  1. Your product might be so good that fans can't wait to get their hands on it, but the problem is that they're broke (too young for a job and takes months to collect the money needed to buy your stuff, adults that got laid off and thus have not enough money to buy your stuff, and so on), implementing anti-piracy measures won't magically make money needed to buy your product appear in their wallets. And when those people get a job at a later time, or get some other way to get the money needed to buy your product, they'll happily buy your product weeks, months, or even years after having pirated it.
  2. If your product is bad, and it still makes its way to torrent sites, pirates will be like "EWWW!! Who the fuck would even want to pirate that shit!?", and thus your product might only have been profitable thanks to piracy, because pirates would be the only ones willing to buy your product.
  3. Even if your product is awesome, people pirate exactly because you put so much effort into anti-piracy which at one point becomes so much of a hurdle, that people will naturally resort to piracy, because they get a version that's easier to use for free. Would you seriously pay for a product that would then wrongfully accuse you of piracy, lock you behind a serial code that might not even work because a keygen executable on somebody else's computer on the other side of the world might have guessed that code before you bought it, or install literal malware onto your computer just to make absolutely sure you didn't get it from The Pirate Bay or Nyaa!?
  4. This is especially a common one in current year, and that's the cancer called censorship. Not only does buying products "legally" cost more and more money than ever (a 2000 yen Game Boy Color game vs a whopping 12000 yen Nintendo Switch game), they usually come with blatant censorship too. Nobody in their right mind would buy a game with big boob characters in them only to NOT being able to see them. Pirates know this very well, and remove the censorship by default in many cases. So why the fuck should I pay 12000 yen for a censored version of a game while I can get the superior uncensored version for free!?
  5. This is a common one among the Linux gamers. Most games are still WinDOS only, and sometimes WinDOS and macOS only, and occasionally only for WinDOS, macOS, Android, and iOS (so proprietary peasant OS only). So we need to use Wine or Proton in order to play along. However, DRM (which is malware) is the cancer that always gets in the way, and sometimes we see other measures being made to lock out Linux users who have paid the full price for the game in question. As already explained in other points, pirates tend to remove DRM (which is malware) and the other measures, so even though Linux users are by far the most willing to pay for software, (more evidence, archived because the original soyte is empty when Javascript is disabled, and a funny one just for the laughs), we're forced to resort to piracy because corporations apparently don't want money from free software master race chads.

To break down, number 1 can be seen as a way to get an unofficial trial version so you get to see whether it's worth the support or not without being restricted. It might come over as "but that's like stealing a car and then paying for that same car in cash after you've got the money", and it does. But if you as the creator of that product refuse to give a trial version, or otherwise give a trial version that doesn't represent the actual product at all, then people will take matters in their own hands. In fact, there is even an example of an indie game developer uploading a pirated copy of their own game to The Pirate Bay, and from the next day onward their sales skyrocketed by 400%, because these developers know full well they've made something awesome, and they understand that if you give people a way to try the full game out for free, they will give you money out of support.

Number 2 is pretty straightforward. A shit product can be smelled from the very first public announcement, and the only people willing to buy your product will be the pirates, because they do need to get a copy somehow in order to pirate it. Not a single consoomer will otherwise want your product, so all your profit will come from the very people you're chasing away with pitchforks and burning sticks.

Number 3 is the direct result of putting in so many anti-piracy measures that you're becoming absolutely hostile to your own consoomers. Of course if I'd find out that you're installing malware on my 300,000 yen gaming PC, then I sure as fuck will refuse to pay you any money, and sail the 7 seas guilt free instead!

Number 4 speaks for itself, not a single fan of a product wants to have a censored version of something that could have been released uncensored by default (so that means literally everything). If you want to have my money, then you better leave the big boobs and/or loli characters in their uncensored state, this includes uncensored genetilia! Any kind of censorship, no matter how justified, is subject to piracy in my book. The only exception I can make is if you make it easy to uncensor through software modding and you won't stop us in doing so. And bonus points if you endorse that and stick to that, then I'll go ahead and buy multiple copies!

And number 5 is again very straightforward. If you stop me from using a product I paid for only because I refuse to install a botnet OS on my PC, then I'll demand a refund, and will never buy any of your stuff ever again, and resort to piracy instead.

At the end of the day, nobody wants to be stopped from running your products, and nobody likes restrictions. Real fans of your products are ready to pay, but once you get too hostile to them, they'll go away and find some other creator that's much nicer to them instead.

So if you want to make a profit, the solution is simple:

  1. Provide a free trial version that actually represents the product you're selling, and be upfront with your customers.
  2. Make good products, nobody wants to support a quick cashgrab, especially if it's a live services, whatever as a Service™, and kami-sama forbid always online.
  3. Calm down on your anti-piracy efforts. No need to hate millions of legit customers just to catch 4 or so pirates in the act.
  4. Release your stuff uncensored. Fuck the artificial "laws"; it's part of the matrix, it's not real! And if the platform owner demands censorship, then either dump them and sell to customers directly (like how we used to do back in the 80's and 90's), or go ahead and release the censored version, and officially provide an uncensored version, and maybe even put instructions in plain sight on how to obtain an uncensored version in your product on boot up (or in the introduction in the case of books). Or files needed to uncensor the censored version, that's another option you can take.
  5. Don't discriminate users based on the operating system they're running. It's OK to not provide official support, as a developer I fully understand that, but don't use that as an excuse to blanket ban an entire audience.

Personal comments

Originally, I was about to write up my own opinion on piracy, but it just so happens that I fully agree with Ryo's article. As for whatever piracy link I could have linked... I'll just have to let the secret club do its thing - it'll be way more detailed than what 1 random weirdo on the net would offer anyway.

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