GameDaily has the lowdown on a talk given by Valve's Jason Holtman at the Game Business Law summit in Dallas last week. Holtman argued that "Pirates are underserved customers." Looking at it this way, he said, allowed Valve to make some "interesting money" from it. "The reason people pirated things in Russia," Holtman explains, "is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months...maybe.' "
When Valve worked to time distribution in Russia with Western releases: "We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly."
Even more interesting, to my mind, was this tidbit of Steam's development philosophy: ""We're not just a way of selling game... What we are, actually, is a platform."