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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Honour Amongst These

It's not often an online debate retains civility and reason, rarer still a debate manifested in an ideological battle contested between representatives of contractual obligation and freedom to act beyond the realm of legality. Click here and you'll discover something very special - an intersection of worlds - where Astalavista's underground community of software crackers engage Mode 7 Games' nervous_testpilot in a miraculously rational dialogue regarding the nature of piracy. I say miraculous because the first line reads "I was wondering if anyone had a Determinance serial key or crack" and the second post contains "I'm a developer on Determinance", yet sanity is maintained.

I'd often assume that developers and pirates were juxtapositions of greed - ancient credal colossuses, opposed in stance yet bound to their terrain in a need to swell their treasuries by any means possible; The developer would charge the highest price they could extort from consumers and the pirate would go to great lengths to avoid paying for anything. Astalavista's community reaction to nervous_testpilot and the arguments put forth by both camps are profoundly enlightening. I've come to realise each faction labours in support of an established world-view. Money is hardly a factor.

Whether or not we buy games can immensely affect the lives of developers, especially smaller 'indie' teams. Determinance has been an investment of life for Mode 7. Through piracy we're not only robbing ourselves of any further team projects, we're directly downloading a deposit of defeat to the doorstep of developers in disregard of their sacrifice for our own enjoyment. In contrast, the software cracker views each anti-piracy measure as a challenge. There may be no such thing as an altruistic action but software crackers don't work for loot, their labour's goal is to exclaim 'w00t!'.

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