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  1. #1
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    "Slightly" unbalanced article about "CD Projekt Threatening Alleged Pirates"

    Hello dear RPS,
    although I've been reading RPS since 1873, I didn't feel the need to register and comment/discuss. However, after seeing the recent article about CD Projekt, I felt obliged to register and at least slightly defend my favourite developer. So let's get to the point, which is the fact, that CDP is not the only company that is "threatening alleged pirates". As you can see in a German article about this case, as far as google translate isn't mistaken (and I'm almost sure it's not), it seems that there are more companies that use such methods:

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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    You can also add a bunch of groups in the rest of the entertainment industry. But CD Projekt like to make a point about having a good relationship with the gaming community with an intent on being "fair" to people. Then they become part of a plan to demand arbitrary sums of money from people who may or may not have actually infringed on copyright, without any legal process behind it. That's pretty contradictory. Nobody's saying they can't defend their copyright, but they should be actually following an established legal process, not getting someone to demand money with just an IP address and the threat of legal action.

    They might be your favourite developer and they might dislike DRM, but that doesn't change the fact that they are a part of a practice which is reprehensible. If they want to protect their copyright they should take people to court, not demand arbitrary sums of money. Alternatively, accept that piracy is a fact of life, and that no amount of litigation is ever going to change that.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    (...) without any legal process behind it. (...) but they should be actually following an established legal process, not getting someone to demand money with just an IP address and the threat of legal action.
    Oh, now I understand. From what I see I assume that you are from a country with the "common law" system and seem to have some concerns about the procedure they follow.
    But as Germany is a statutory law state, it is perfectly normal to first issue a demand for payment, give a time for reaction and only if the claims are not met go to court and have a normal legal case. (In times like this I regret not taking the "English for lawyers" class...).
    Of course the complainant must add all the evidence to the demand of payment, so you can easily see that you will lose the case if it goes to court.
    What is more they do not demand money only with the IP address, they have logs form the ISP which prove, that the data was downloaded to a certain computer (that's a prevention from false accusations due to IP spoofing). Add the fact, that you are responsible for what your children/guests/pets (and so on) do with your internet connection (in Germany you are even responsible for not protecting your wifi with a strong password and WPA2 security protocol if anyone - even a thief - uses it against law) and you can assume, that CDP has rather strong evidence.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    Oh, now I understand. From what I see I assume that you are from a country with the "common law" system and seem to have some concerns about the procedure they follow.
    Actually Australia has a mixture of common law as well as legislation etc, mostly implemented by individual states and territories. Ours is a rather mixed legal system.

    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    What is more they do not demand money only with the IP address, they have logs form the ISP which prove, that the data was downloaded to a certain computer (that's a prevention from false accusations due to IP spoofing).
    Unless they have a magic drone that travels down the line, or unless they've got software phoning home, they don't have this. The ISP's logs will note that an IP was assigned to a particular account holder at this particular time. And that's it unless they're implementing very tight logging that watches all traffic... but it still can't drill down into your home network.

    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    Add the fact, that you are responsible for what your children/guests/pets (and so on) do with your internet connection (in Germany you are even responsible for not protecting your wifi with a strong password and WPA2 security protocol if anyone - even a thief - uses it against law) and you can assume, that CDP has rather strong evidence.
    I don't deny that the majority of IPs they caught were knowing and willingly pirating the game, I mean drag IPs off any tracker and you're guaranteed that most of them are not innocent, that part is common sense. But CDP's claimed "100% detection rate" doesn't make sense, and they're being awfully coy about how it works (which is suspicious). Also, the demand for payment has no apparent logic behind it; the amount appears entirely arbitrary, which is why I (and many others) don't agree with this action. By all means drag them off to court, but these kind of legal threats are poor form, no matter if they're coming from CDP, RIAA, BayTSP, or any other group.

    We don't agree with them sending out demands for arbitrary sums of money, then trying to justify it with their "secret 100% detection rate" system. And the fact that the German legal system might allow for this (AFAIK they can do this in Australia too) doesn't change the fact that we don't agree with it. Again like I said by all means prosecute pirates, but not by having a money-hungry lawfirm demanding a cash amount pulled from thin air without independent arbitration.

    No offence intended, but it seems like you're just getting upset because people don't agree with an action taken by your favourite developer, hence you're going to shout down everyone else in their defence. It's a criticism of CDP which stings all the more given that most people thought they were benign and above legal threats, but the same criticism applies to anybody else doing the same thing. These methods are entirely ineffective for real pirates (who ignore it and never pay it, and 9 times out of 10 nothing ever proceeds), and only scare the casual ones or the people who were caught in the web (however few they are). As for how many will actually pay it: despite what CDP say, probably few.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    We don't agree with them sending out demands for arbitrary sums of money, then trying to justify it with their "secret 100% detection rate" system. And the fact that the German legal system might allow for this (AFAIK they can do this in Australia too) doesn't change the fact that we don't agree with it. Again like I said by all means prosecute pirates, but not by having a money-hungry lawfirm demanding a cash amount pulled from thin air without independent arbitration.
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  6. #6
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    There's a bizarre thing going on here. They have a 100% correct detection mechanism, but it's a trade secret so they can't reveal how it works. Which means none of their cases can ever go to court, as in court they'd have to reveal how it worked to prove that it was 100% correct, and that would then be a matter of public record.

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    The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009: unfortunately I weren't able to find any more detailed source in an understandable language. Anyway the point is that ISPs in EU have to retain "Data necessary to trace and identify the source of a communication" and "Data necessary to identify the destination of a communication" together with "Data necessary to identify the date, time and duration of a communication".

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Also, the demand for payment has no apparent logic behind it; the amount appears entirely arbitrary, which is why I (and many others) don't agree with this action.
    The demand has to be arbitrary, as we are talking about lucrum cessans (latin, I have no idea how it's called in English) - the people using torrents were not only downloading but also uploading the game, what means further "potential losses".
    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Again like I said by all means prosecute pirates, but not by having a money-hungry lawfirm demanding a cash amount pulled from thin air without independent arbitration.
    Again getting a demand for payment doesn't mean you are obligated to pay anything. If you do not agree with the claims of the other side, you can simply wait for the case to go to court. there you have independent arbitration :)

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    No offence intended, but it seems like you're just getting upset because people don't agree with an action taken by your favourite developer, hence you're going to shout down everyone else in their defence.
    Initially the whole point of my post was that RPS made it look like CDP was the only company doing this, I didn't mean to defend their actions in any way :)
    In my second post I simply addressed certain parts of you post trying to explain, why this action acctualy means "following an established legal process".
    Last edited by fonics; 16-12-2011 at 02:01 PM.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    There's a bizarre thing going on here. They have a 100% correct detection mechanism, but it's a trade secret so they can't reveal how it works. Which means none of their cases can ever go to court, as in court they'd have to reveal how it worked to prove that it was 100% correct, and that would then be a matter of public record.
    Actually it only has to be enough to satisfy the court. If the judge is happy that their approach works (when explained to him/her) then it's all good legally. There's no requirement to give out trade secrets to the wider public.

    This company wouldn't be doing what they are doing if they felt they were legally going to fall down at the first hurdle. This is not a reactionary action, it is a calculated one. Personally I wouldn't want to be one of those German Pirates tbh.
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    The Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009: unfortunately I weren't able to find any more detailed source in an understandable language. Anyway the point is that ISPs in EU have to retain "Data necessary to trace and identify the source of a communication" and "Data necessary to identify the destination of a communication" together with "Data necessary to identify the date, time and duration of a communication".
    The destination is identified. It's the IP address assigned to that account holder at that particular time. This does not mean that they know what individual computer on the home user's network was used to access the data. You can magically trace a computer's location unless it has a GPS device on it. An ISP will match an IP address to an account holder, and the service is obviously used by the user at the address the account is registered to. Cellular data is a bit different since you could work out what tower the data is routed through and get a better geographical location for what it's worth.

    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    The demand has to be arbitrary, as we are talking about lucrum cessans (latin, I have no idea how it's called in English) - the people using torrents were not only downloading but also uploading the game, what means further "potential losses".
    I don't think you understand what I mean by "arbitrary", maybe it's a language barrier? In this instance it means "being selected at random". You're giving a reason for why they choose a value (and I acknowledge that) but there's no apparent justification or assessment of potential losses. The number has no apparent "meaning". It's like you crashing into my dodgy car and me claiming that you owe me $1.2 million in damages. I've got a reason for demanding it (I'm claiming damages) but I don't have any apparent logic or validity behind the amount I'm asking.

    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    Again getting a demand for payment doesn't mean you are obligated to pay anything. If you do not agree with the claims of the other side, you can simply wait for the case to go to court. there you have independent arbitration :)
    I think that's fairly obvious... and irrelevant. The point is that they're making these threats in the first place. Again people aren't disagreeing with their legal right to do this, or even that there's a mechanism for them to do so. We're arguing that these kind of actions amount to cheap attempts to get cash out of people without the expense of going to court, where they might lose for all we know, or get a paltry amount compared to the cost of actually launching action. I'd argue that an appropriate legal process would be taking it through court so that a valid, independent assessment of damages is performed. These kind of threats are frankly ridiculous and cynical cash grabs. That is the argument made by the people who condemn CDP's actions. We're not saying CDP are doing something 'illegal' or not following established legal process. We're arguing that CDP's demand for cash doesn't have any apparent validity beyond "they're for damages", there's no obvious assessment or independent analysis. Again just because the legal system allows for such an action doesn't excuse such behaviour.

    Quote Originally Posted by fonics View Post
    Initially the whole point of my post was that RPS made it look like CDP was the only company doing this, I didn't mean to defend their actions in any way :)
    They never claimed that... it's just that CDP are so well known and this kind of move is fairly unexpected of them. Fact is most of the other groups who do this do it on a regular basis and it's well known and not newsworthy. The article even mentions another legal firm who did the same sort of stunt back in 2008.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kadayi View Post
    Actually it only has to be enough to satisfy the court. If the judge is happy that their approach works (when explained to him/her) then it's all good legally. There's no requirement to give out trade secrets to the wider public.

    This company wouldn't be doing what they are doing if they felt they were legally going to fall down at the first hurdle. This is not a reactionary action, it is a calculated one. Personally I wouldn't want to be one of those German Pirates tbh.
    Might be right on the first point. It just seems unlikely unless they really have stumbled upon some 100% verifiable measure. As to the second - it's a calculated act sure, but you're assuming the intention is to go to court. I'm assuming the intention is to scare a few people into paying up, and get summary judgements for cases where they know people won't show up in court, and make a few quid.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    The destination is identified. It's the IP address assigned to that account holder at that particular time. This does not mean that they know what individual computer on the home user's network was used to access the data. You can magically trace a computer's location unless it has a GPS device on it. An ISP will match an IP address to an account holder, and the service is obviously used by the user at the address the account is registered to. Cellular data is a bit different since you could work out what tower the data is routed through and get a better geographical location for what it's worth.
    And it seems you are missing the value of the European law: it does not matter which computer behind that IP address has committed the offense, the person registered for the address (which will be contacted) is responsible for any traffic. So, contrary to the US where the guilty party needs to be established, here, the owner will by default be that party.

    As far as the arbitrary damage demanded, it is as you described, arbitrary. It has no relation with additional potential loss, it is a deterrent to make sure people don't do such an act again.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchy2k1 View Post
    And it seems you are missing the value of the European law: it does not matter which computer behind that IP address has committed the offense, the person registered for the address (which will be contacted) is responsible for any traffic. So, contrary to the US where the guilty party needs to be established, here, the owner will by default be that party.
    Try reading what I said, I never claimed that EU law didn't state that the end user isn't responsible for traffic flowing through their connection. I stated that it's not possible for them to know which specific computer on the internal home network handled the traffic. I never disputed that the account holder who had the IP address at the time will get the notice and will be charged whether or not it was them or someone on their home network that did it. The same thing applies here in Australia, FYI.

    Clearly, because you weren't reading my post properly, you seem to have taken this to mean that nobody should be charged at all, which is entirely incorrect and proves you weren't actually paying attention to what I was saying. I was quite clearly and unambiguously refuting that they have logs proving the data went to a specific computer, because the ISP doesn't, it has logs that point to an account holder's IP address at that time, and that the computers on the network for most purposes don't exist for the ISP at all. You're essentially just agreeing with me and trying to attack me over a perfectly valid and correct viewpoint, because you didn't even read it properly.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Finally, after about a month, everyone seems to have realised this isn't isolated to CDPR, and that other devs/publishers have been at this for several months.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...ng-games-pubs/
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    Finally, after about a month, everyone seems to have realised this isn't isolated to CDPR, and that other devs/publishers have been at this for several months.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012...ng-games-pubs/
    Um... I don't know why people are acting like this isn't common knowledge. We've known this for quite a while now. Why people singled out CDPR is because it seemed like an unusual action for them to take, given that they're usually more interested in community engagement and encouraging people to purchase their game, not sending legal threats demanding sums of cash. They've always had a focus on engaging with their community and presenting themselves as a benign group, who understood that DRM wouldn't stop piracy and therefore didn't include it. Their legal threats weren't going to gain them anything except negative press, so I can't see why they proceeded with it when they can already equate DRM with negative feedback and press.

    This sort of thing has been going on for ages. BayTSP, an "anti-piracy group", has been sending out infringement notices for ages demanding various sums of money (which most people apparently just ignored). And whether they do this or not, they're still going to be victims of piracy. It reminds me of Cliffski of Positech Games, crying bloody murder because his games were will on torrent networks even after modifying the demos. Anyone who thinks piracy will vanish overnight because of any attempt to curb it is kidding themselves.

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