Help with piracy January 19, 2010 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Is there a rule about AskMeFi questions that are explicitly asking for help pirating software? Because if not, there probably should be.
posted by malphigian to Etiquette/Policy at 12:09 PM (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

It doesn't seem like they are explicitly trying to pirate anything, they just don't want newer games to work on their modded console. I could be reading that wrong, though.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:11 PM on January 19, 2010


^to not work on their modded console
posted by Burhanistan at 12:12 PM on January 19, 2010


Yeah... that seems like something of a slam dunk. I'm a little surprised it was approved. Plenty you can do with a SoftModded Wii that's at least quasi-legal, but this:

Now I brought it back out and none of the burned discs for new games

is not.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:14 PM on January 19, 2010


On second thought, it could be either way.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:14 PM on January 19, 2010


It's that *burned* versions of the newer games don't work. (Real ones wouldn't anyway, but that's beside the point.) A slight rephrasing and this might have been kosher, but as it stands, I can't imagine it is.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:15 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I could read that charitably as their own backup copies, but they really should've made that explicit. It does seem a bit foul.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:19 PM on January 19, 2010


I make burned copies of games that I legitmately own all the time. Often, despite owning software I am required to circumvent the copy protection just to operate the stuff.

What the OP does with the technology is his/her business, but just because they want to circumvent DRM doesn't make them a criminal or even definitively imply that they want to pirate their games.
posted by chrisbucks at 12:19 PM on January 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


There have been plenty of questions on this sort of thing regarding DVDs. For instance, which software to make copies, and recommendations for good region-free players and such. Also questions on how to softmod an XBox.

So if there is a rule, I don't think it is what you think it is.
posted by smackfu at 12:23 PM on January 19, 2010


I say we try in general to read this sort of thing as charitably as possible. Backup games are a legitimate concern, after all.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:26 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


DRM avoidance is exactly equivalent to theft. This is a settled topic on this site and never causes debate. Please see the previous 2,893,666 comments on this subject if you have any questions.
posted by Babblesort at 12:31 PM on January 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


DRM avoidance is exactly equivalent to theft.

Wait, so if I want to burn and use a backup of my Wii game so my kid doesn't mess up the $50 original, I'm exactly equivalent to a thief?

I don't have kids or a Wii, but still
posted by Burhanistan at 12:32 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Please don't make me actually say hamburger Burhanistan.
posted by Babblesort at 12:34 PM on January 19, 2010 [24 favorites]


Do you have a hamburger?
posted by ODiV at 12:34 PM on January 19, 2010


You can have my kids, but not my Wii.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't even raise an eyebrow if it was "Help me Softmod my Wii", but it's "Help me Softmod my Wii that has a very-much-illegal device installed such that I can continue to use it for purposes that might be legit, but just as easily might not be."

Not trying to be fighty, just trying to explain my curiosity. I'll clam up until a mod weighs in. For what it's worth, I'm in the process of setting my own Wii up for backups (really!) as we speak, but I considered it to be a topic a little to shady for AskMe. If not, good to know.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:36 PM on January 19, 2010


Aw, damn. I guess I need to eat some crowburger! Heh.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:37 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm thinking about getting a card to back up my DS games (after a friend lost nearly all of mine that he had borrowed), but I figured it was a really touchy subject for AskMetafilter? Is it not?
posted by muddgirl at 12:40 PM on January 19, 2010


You can get a card to play ROM images on the DS but it's a lot easier to download them from torrents than to actually dump a cartridge. Whether purchasing the media entitles you to download an imager of somebody else's cart is probably legally in a grey area and morally it's up to you.
posted by GuyZero at 12:43 PM on January 19, 2010


Yeah, I'm thinking about getting a card to back up my DS games

I reckon there's a difference between backing up your disks and a questions which, on my first read, comes off as, "Hey I modded my Wii and now I can't play burned games!" I very easily could be jumping to conclusions, but that sounds like somebody downloaded roms and burnt them to disk so they didn't have to pay for the game.
posted by jmd82 at 12:44 PM on January 19, 2010


Thanks GuyZero. What I meant to say is that I figured it would be unacceptable to AskMetafilter how to pirate DS games, even if my intention was to only use those pirated copies as backups for purchased games. Which is much more of a gray area than the question under discussion. Which seems pretty black-and-white to me.
posted by muddgirl at 12:45 PM on January 19, 2010


Go ahead and make the apathetic 16 year olds angrier...go ahead. Only good can come out of this, right?
posted by hal_c_on at 12:45 PM on January 19, 2010


very-much-illegal device

In breach of license.... or illegal...? Which ass-hat came up with a law which said you couldn't mod your own hardware?
posted by chrisbucks at 12:49 PM on January 19, 2010


I would like a hamburger, and information on how to soft-mod it to make it even more delicious. If that's illegal, then I don't ever want to be not-illegal.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, the asker said nothing self-incriminating. AskMe ought to stick to an "innocent until proven guilty" policy and give people the benefit of the doubt. Not lynch them for sentiments we assume they might have.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2010


a law which said you couldn't mod your own hardware?

You make the assumption that you own that which you have paid money for. I suspect you're not always correct about that.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:50 PM on January 19, 2010


I suspect you're not always correct about that.

Sometimes I am. Ruthlessly so.
posted by chrisbucks at 12:54 PM on January 19, 2010


want to burn and use a backup of my Wii game so my kid doesn't mess up the $50 original

I hear this one get trotted out occasionally, and I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?

Granted that NES cartridges didn't scratch, but when I was 5 or 6 or so, I was obsessively careful with my video games because the damned thing would find any excuse not to load.

Teach your kids to handle a disc properly, or load the game for them, but it seems extremely unlikely that people are really burning Wii or any other video games as backups. It always seems more like "backups."
posted by explosion at 12:58 PM on January 19, 2010


What a world.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:59 PM on January 19, 2010


Please don't make me actually say hamburger Burhanistan.

I actually ate a Hamburger Burhanistan once. It was so rare, it tried to sell itself on e-bay.
posted by Dr-Baa at 1:03 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hear this one get trotted out occasionally, and I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?

Clearly, you have never seen a child handle an item somebody else has paid for.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:04 PM on January 19, 2010 [22 favorites]


That's a very useful thread. I have a Wii and it is softmodded, I purchased it in Japan a few years ago along with a number of games, but on a whim asked someone (who was repairing it because the stupid thing broke out of warranty) to make it region free. A Nintendo update wiped out the firmware mod, and it would only play N American games. It took a lot of time to figure out how to fix it (loaded Gecko OS, which works well).

My point is, the existing knowledge base for softmodding Wii's is extremely arcane. It's challenging for those of us who are too old to spend hours and hours figuring this out, and the forums are often populated by people who can barely spell.

This is a great way to utilize AskMe. If you purchase a Wii, you should be able to do anything you want to it.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:06 PM on January 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


explosion: Are you suggesting that discs never get damaged when handled by careful and coordinated people? I can't tell you how many discs I've lost over the years due to the player scratching them, or the case scratching them, or accidentally dropping them. I'm not clumsy, but stuff happens, even when you do everything right.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:07 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a 24 year old child who still succeeds in breaking his brand new computer game discs :(
posted by chrisbucks at 1:08 PM on January 19, 2010


Because if not, there probably should be.

There probably is, but there shouldn't be.
posted by spaltavian at 1:11 PM on January 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


My take on it is that the generous reading—help me with this hardware/software conundrum, regardless of what's being done with the produce of that help (which is not made explicit in the question)—is an okay one. The subject's a little touchy, and it's impossible without some sort of blunt statement from the asker to know whether they're doing anything skeezily piratical with the machine, and it's not so much our job to try and hammer them based on an assumption about that.

That said, this definitely is in grey territory as far as what I'm comfortable with. I think it lands just on this side of the fence, and it may be that being more of a video game dork puts me in a position of seeing it as further into that greyness than Jessamyn would see it as being (she approves most of the anony submissions) to the point where I might have not put it through myself, but, eh. I'm inclined to leave it be with the acknowledgement that it's pushing it.

I hear this one get trotted out occasionally, and I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?

I'm an adult with no neuromuscular problems and I've scratched a couple of optical disks pretty badly in the last few years. I also ruined a few CDs through mild negligence, and had others chewed up by failing drives.

Question of these arguments being trotted out in any given case as an excuse vs. a genuine primary motivating factor notwithstanding, the vulnerability of thin shiny plastic discs to wear and tear is a real, and annoying, issue when the things cost between $10 and $60 a pop.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:11 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hear this one get trotted out occasionally, and I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?

I'm the original guy who made the callout here. While I think most of the people who say they are "making backups" are full of it... there are legit reasons. And I have personally had my 3 year old scratch the crap out of a few games.

This particular AskMeFi post seemed really over the top ("burned discs for new games" could be about backups... but we all know it isn't) which is why I made this post.
posted by malphigian at 1:13 PM on January 19, 2010


I'm inclined to delete. We take these as case by case, but if legit discs play, this is pretty much asking for how to play non-legit discs, and that's straight up piracy which isn't cool.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:16 PM on January 19, 2010


There are many legitimate reasons to mod game consoles, including backing up purchased copies. But the tone and language of this question indicates pretty clearly (at least to me) that it's about pirating games. The statement that he/she was "having tons of fun with the games available at that time" rather than "backing up and playing games with no problems," and saying that they "haven't tried any games" recently instead of "bought", etc.

If you're going to ask a question that you know is bordering on illegality you should make a small effort to clarify that you are interested in the question for legitimate reasons.
posted by helios at 1:27 PM on January 19, 2010


And it's gone. In any case, the asker probably go the info they were looking for.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:33 PM on January 19, 2010


"who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?"

You've never met children before? You can come meet my kids if you want. The older one's got a pretty decent sense of humor for a 13 year old, and the younger one is something of a character. About 50% of our PSX originals are scratched beyond playability, and I used to have to swaptrick some of the backups. Our Dreamcast and PS2 originals are in somewhat better shape, because I wised up by then, but my wife gave them free reign on the stuff a few times and there was some damage. The GC and subsequently the Wii stuff has held up better than I expected it to considering how much handling it gets, but there are a few titles that I'd characterize as flaky when it comes to hanging or bad boots.

Of all those original pressed unburned "legit" titles I've owned, a good quarter are somewhere between at least iffy all the way down to unplayably chewed. Kids and optical media do not mix.

I don't let them handle original laserdiscs or DVDs at all.

And to be fair, some of the Dreamcast titles are GDROMs -- burned at Sega by the guy whose job it was to burn GDROMs for QA testers, who dumped the entire office cabinet of leftover Dreamcast stuff on me when Sega ditched the platform -- so they might not be quite as robust as the mass pressed titles. But they're not CD-Rs or anything, and they're "legit" in the sense that they were burned using special hardware by the guys who make the damned console in the first place.

Anyway, yeah. Who are these kids? Let me put it this way: Have you ever fucking seen a CD after a kid got ahold of it?

(I also think the call of "straight up piracy" is a bad one, but I'm inclined to err more on the side of letting people do whatever the hell they want with their hardware, rather than helping manufacturers perpetuate artificial restrictions. So I'm not unbiased in the matter.)
posted by majick at 1:45 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


SpiffyRob writes "I wouldn't even raise an eyebrow if it was 'Help me Softmod my Wii', but it's 'Help me Softmod my Wii that has a very-much-illegal device installed such that I can continue to use it for purposes that might be legit, but just as easily might not be.'"

chrisbucks writes "In breach of license.... or illegal...? Which ass-hat came up with a law which said you couldn't mod your own hardware?"

Unless anonymous made the chip themselves then the DCMA makes it illegal in the states. Pretty crazy it's true. Note that a softmod isn't any different than a hardware mod in this case as far as legality goes.

explosion writes "I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?"

In my experience one kid is fine, it's when you have two kids who want to play different things that disks can get damaged.
posted by Mitheral at 1:58 PM on January 19, 2010


I suppose I ought to chime in as someone who responded to the question.

I modded my Wii (via a hardware mod, which at the time was legal where I live) a while back for the purpose of using it as a media player, and so that it would play back DVDs. There's quite a lot of homebrew software for the Wii, although there was less back then. You can run Linux on it if you like too.

Unfortunately, recent changes to firmware (which you are often forced to install before playing newer games) effectively break the ability of the Wii to do all these amusing unintended things.

So quite a few people who previously had hardware-modded Wiis are now having to do various kinds of software things (soft-modding) to get back that functionality.

Coming from that angle I didn't really parse the part about playing 'burned discs'. I suppose that's a fair reason for deletion. I just hope similar questions (minus implications of piracy) aren't deleted on the presumption that that's what they're about.

And anyway, I don't know why someone would bring a Wii-modding question to AskMe. It's not like the Wii-hacking community exists in any kind of secrecy.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:02 PM on January 19, 2010


Sorry this was my fault. I wasn't quite sure what a modded Wii entailed and didn't realize it was pretty much just "help me play stolen games on my computer" Yeah, generally speaking if the question is just "help me be an effective pirate" that's not really what AskMe is for. My apologies.

Love,

The non-gaming mod.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:05 PM on January 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hear this one get trotted out occasionally, and I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?

I'm 23 years old and I still have trouble with games I paid for getting scratched. And I even keep them on a shelf.
Sometimes it happens when people "borrow" them and return them in much worse condition. And sometimes it just happens- I think moisture in the house is to blame, the silver backing just sloughs off. That's why I've got a terabyte hard drive with backups of everything.

Also, I find that it can actually be a lot easier to buy games, at least when you're in the store and it's right there in front of you. What I do is buy ones that are two or three years old and for sale for about 5 to 10 bucks.
It also means I don't have super-up-to-date hardware. Everyone wins!

I do pirate some games, though.
posted by dunkadunc at 2:09 PM on January 19, 2010


Sounds like Anon was ... gaming the system. YeeeaaaaaaHHHHH!!

Cue David Caruso putting on his sunglasses.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:10 PM on January 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


I wasn't quite sure what a modded Wii entailed and didn't realize it was pretty much just "help me play stolen games on my computer"

I softmodded my Wii on the weekend, for the express purpose of using it to run MPlayer and watch videos streamed over WiFi from my PC. I hadn't even considered using it to run pirated Wii games - in my ignorance I didn't know it was possible. I thought softmodding your Wii was all about running homebrew software. As for backing up discs - we bought the DVD of Up a couple of weeks ago, and, like all DVDs I get, the first thing I did with it was decrypt it and back it up onto my PC, which meant my 3-and-a-half year old had a frustrating wait before he was allowed to watch it. So maybe I'm a saint, but there are legitimately people out there who are into cracking DRM for moral purposes.

That said, I don't think this Ask Mefi question had this level of moral justification.

That said, there are plenty of resources out there they could have gone to with this sort of question before they dropped it on AskMefi.
posted by Jimbob at 2:18 PM on January 19, 2010


I hear this one get trotted out occasionally, and I really have to ask: who are these kids who are coordinated enough to play video games, but not coordinated enough to handle them?

they're figurative. i'm surprised anyone would find the statement difficult enough to believe. I mean, shit, I fuck my own discs up at the ripe old age of 30. I've come out in favor of piracy before, so feel free to dismiss everything I'm about to say, but these days I find myself less and less willing to pirate shit at all. partly for practical reasons (pc game torrents are breeding grounds for viruses, these days), partly for moral reasons (I don't want to pay 40 dollars for crysis via steam, so I'm simply not downloading it at all until the steam price comes down because I want them to one day have at least SOME of my money for their hard work. at least, I do now that I have some money to spend.), and mostly for convenience reasons (steam is ridiculously fucking easy. makes torrents look like linux kernel compiling by contrast). either way, I've found myself cutting way down on the piracy. That said, I just got a new pc after not having one worthy of gaming on for years, and installing the old and new stuff I've been missing out on has resulted in a pile of discs (in cases) for older games sitting on my desktop that I need to swap out any time I change my mind about what I want to play. I've gone about cracking them because it's easy and they're full installs anyway. the discs are just for copy protection. but steam and gog.com have spoiled me. I don't want to damage my discs any more, with my clumsy stupid hands.

so take that how you will. yes I've pirated, and come out in support of the practice. but there's a legit use for cracks that is not all about piracy. sure, some people have that wink and nudge routine going on: you know, for backups, ha ha. but there is a legit use for the things, believe it or not.
posted by shmegegge at 2:58 PM on January 19, 2010


which is not to defend the post, which I think is pretty openly about piracy and not for mefi.
posted by shmegegge at 2:59 PM on January 19, 2010


I don't want to pay 40 dollars for crysis via steam, so I'm simply not downloading it at all until the steam price comes down

You missed a great deal over the holidays. Now you can make sure it doesn't happen again.
posted by ODiV at 3:05 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh my god, I did. stupid money stupidly not being there for my new pc purchase at the stupid right stupid time.
posted by shmegegge at 3:08 PM on January 19, 2010


AND I missed Sins of a Solar Empire on sale. DAMN THE LUCK!
posted by shmegegge at 3:10 PM on January 19, 2010




Then, what, exactly, are you supposed to do with your time if you were meant to be a pirate? If you're a pirate on the inside and it's too hard to steal a boat and go onto the high seas like you're meant to, you don't have much of a choice but to try to pirate whatever you can on land.

Yar.
posted by anniecat at 3:19 PM on January 19, 2010


he could well have been playing his legally-protected personal backup copies.

but he probably wasn't.
posted by radiosilents at 3:34 PM on January 19, 2010


I was thinking about getting an illegal mod to my Wii, but the wife said no. I guess some things are just too kinky for her tastes.

That and the doctor said it might throw me off balance.
posted by quin at 3:46 PM on January 19, 2010


holy fuck, bow wow wow. That's fantastic, nadawi.
posted by boo_radley at 3:51 PM on January 19, 2010


"We take these as case by case, but if legit discs play, this is pretty much asking for how to play non-legit discs, and that's straight up piracy which isn't cool."

Matt (and Jess), the problem with this is that it's totally an area where it's impossible to tell the difference between justified and unjustified acts. I'm going to distinguish that from "legit" versus "illegit" because the law and what's right are not necessarily the same thing, and essentially just muddy the waters.

It's kind of like this: Imagine a question about playing CD-Rs on a boombox (a problem all of us old enough to remember the first CD-Rs had). Now, the legal and justified way that this could happen is if someone has made their own backup copies of albums they own. However, if it's an album burned from someone else or a mix CD, that's technically illegal here in the states—it's copyright infringement. I think that question is still justified or justifiable; not only is their a plausible legal usage for the information, but I—and this is my own position—don't think that there's all that much wrong with sharing music like that. The only reason that games are different is because games are much more difficult to copy—intentionally so. In order to protect the intellectual property of games producers, games companies (arguably illegally, certainly immorally) abrogate the rights of games consumers to make legitimate backups.

Now, I'm not arguing for a babe in the woods approach to this question: I do think it was about pirating games. And I do understand being unwilling to stand the legal risk. But folks who point out that given the language, there is nothing specific to argue that this is de facto illegitimate are correct. There is nothing in the information that is inherently illegal; rather, you're contributing to the security-by-obscurity theory of rights management that games companies currently employ. And I'm commenting mostly to avoid having you guys view these questions as inherently illegal or about piracy, because they're not and there are a lot of other folks who have a lot of time and money invested in convincing you that they are, and there are far too many otther people who have been spooked about this stuff. A lot of the call-outs regarding piracy in AskMe are well-meaning folks who think that because a technique can be used to pirate, that means that the question is promoting piracy or that leaving it up promotes piracy, which is, to my mind, the exact inverse of the reasonable way to discern questions like this, which should focus primarily on their justified uses.
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


And I'm commenting mostly to avoid having you guys view these questions as inherently illegal or about piracy

I appreciate your efforts. At the same time, I don't think this is a personal viewpoint issue. I thought the question was dodgy but okay given my limited understanding. People brought it to Meta, mathowie decided it wasn't worth the hassle. That's pretty much it. The bright line for AskMe isn't "is something truly illegal?" it's "is this a shitstorm waiting to happen?" and, along with questions about warez-type things [and sure there are totally legit reasons to download something off bittorent] we have to sort of make a judgement call.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:23 PM on January 19, 2010


Aw, hell, if I ask a question about my kitchen table on AskMeFi, do I have to provide proof I didn't steal it from the store? The corporate DRM lobby would have us think reading aloud from books we've bought is assault and battery on the CEO of the publishing company and his 4 year old niece. Possessing burned copies of computer games is evidence of nothing except POSSESSION OF A DVD BURNER.

The fella's got a technical question that needs answering - he isn't asking anyone for help with or advice about any illegal activities. There is NOTHING wrong with buying some electronic equipment, cracking the case and going to town with a soldering iron. The silliest part of that question is where the poster thinks something he's said could incriminate him somehow.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:35 PM on January 19, 2010


Ahem, that was a bit fightier than I intended - sorry. Let me rephrase.

I don't think the poster was asking for help with or talking about illegal activities.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:36 PM on January 19, 2010


quin: “I was thinking about getting an illegal mod to my Wii, but the wife said no. I guess some things are just too kinky for her tastes... That and the doctor said it might throw me off balance.”

That's one floppy that definitely doesn't need copying, if you know what I mean.
posted by koeselitz at 6:36 PM on January 19, 2010


Please don't take AskMeFi away from us ingrate users o beneficent mods.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:37 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


In breach of license.... or illegal...?

6 of 1, half a dozen of the other. Presumably "breach of license" is not legal.
posted by Jaltcoh at 6:56 PM on January 19, 2010


Breach of license is not inherently illegal, though it can be. Often, using something in breach of license simply voids the license. Further, it's worth recognizing that "illegal" is often overbroad. Tortious is not criminal in most cases.
posted by klangklangston at 7:11 PM on January 19, 2010


That's one floppy that definitely doesn't need copying, if you know what I mean.

Then you get into the contentious cut versus uncut argument.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:13 PM on January 19, 2010


Well that (shrink-wrap licenses) is sort of a different issue. The DMCA makes it flat out illegal to circumvent copy protections without there even having to be a license at all. The DMCA is so insane that it criminalizes not just the act but the tools as well, leading to absurdities like prime numbers that are illegal to possess or distribute.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:14 PM on January 19, 2010


"At the same time, I don't think this is a personal viewpoint issue. I thought the question was dodgy but okay given my limited understanding. People brought it to Meta, mathowie decided it wasn't worth the hassle. That's pretty much it."

Yeah, I get that. What I'm hoping to do is twofold: First, help Matt have a little more information and a little broader framework when making these decisions, and second, preempt some of the shit storms that happen when well-meaning folks take an essentially illiberal and authoritarian position because they're acting from the maxim of "You can't be too careful."

I'm not trying to get this decision reversed—I'm trying to avoid having to argue over a future, similar question that's deleted based on an overly simple interpretation. The gray area on this is vast, with myriad shades, and requires a lot of delicacy to discern within.
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 PM on January 19, 2010


Further, it's worth recognizing that "illegal" is often overbroad. Tortious is not criminal in most cases.

I didn't mean "criminal" by "illegal," if that's what you're suggesting.
posted by Jaltcoh at 7:28 PM on January 19, 2010


I am asking the question anonymously because of obvious concerns about the legality of this.

Quick Tip:
If you include this and feel the need to post anonymously, it's probably not legal.

But I agree that it's stupid you can't what you want with what you own, and I yearn for the day with Mathowie et al. say "F the Man, Save the Empire!" and let one of these roll.
posted by Big_B at 8:45 PM on January 19, 2010


I can't believe that AskMe was deleted.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:50 PM on January 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


klangklangston, Salvor Hardin: It is my understanding that circumventing copyright protection mechanisms in the United States in order to duplicate copyrighted material is illegal because of the DMCA.

Is this no longer the case or am I understanding things wrong?
posted by ODiV at 11:01 PM on January 19, 2010


I can't believe that AskMe was deleted.

Psst. Hey. Hey, buddy. Yeah. Come ova 'ere.
posted by Mikey-San at 2:43 AM on January 20, 2010


I'm sorry, my pull quote towards the top wasn't clear enough. I should have pulled more.

The thing that set off the bells for me was that anonymous said:

Now I brought it back out and none of the burned discs for new games (MarioKart Wii, Punch Out, New Super Mario Bros., etc.) will play. They all show the error message "Error #0001, unauthorized device detected." Legitimate Wii discs play perfectly fine.

IIRC, Mario Kart Wii, Punch Out, and New Super Mario Brothers have all been identified as titles that won't play if you have (depending on which one) a mod chip installed. As in: Neither burned nor legit copies of the games would run. Since anonymous said "Legitimate Wii discs play perfectly fine," that suggests that the legitimate versions of *these* games were never tried (because they wouldn't have worked.) Hence, anonymous doesn't own these games, but has burned copies. Shiver me timbers!

Interestingly, if the line about legit discs had been left off, then, as many above are suggesting, anonymous wouldn't have said anything incriminating.
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:24 AM on January 20, 2010


And, further: There is no reason whatsoever for anyone to know that detail about which retail discs choke when they see a modchip unless they follow Wii Hacking. But it's a detail that, in this case, is the difference between backups and piracy.

It would be unreasonable to expect the mods to know tiny little details like this on every topic for which a possible AskMe exists. As such, I think it's completely reasonable for them to err on the side of caution.
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:33 AM on January 20, 2010


And on reflection, I realize that "didn't try legit copy of a game" ≠ "doesn't own legit copy of a game." In that case, I apologize, and will alter my verdict from "Definite Piracy" to "Probable Piracy, Bad Troubleshooting if not."
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:36 AM on January 20, 2010


Modders who don't pirate seem about as common as smokers who don't litter. I'm not saying they don't exist and I don't jump all over modders/smokers for piracy/littering because I'd sometimes be wrong, but the two seem to go hand in hand more often than not.
posted by ODiV at 8:58 AM on January 20, 2010


I think there are clearer lines drawn for the Wii than for other modding communities. Team Twiizers takes a pretty hard and fast stance against piracy, which a lot of people identify with.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:59 AM on January 20, 2010


Soft-modding the Wii is a great idea. With some of the loaders you can take all your originals, have them ripped to a hard-drive and then never have to insert/eject discs to move between games. While I realize that it is certainly used for pirating purposes (and certainly a high percentage of the modders do), there are other uses.

Not that swapping discs is overly cumbersome (and I barely touch the console to begin with) but it is a neat thing to see.
posted by purephase at 11:05 AM on January 20, 2010


I appreciate your efforts. At the same time, I don't think this is a personal viewpoint issue. I thought the question was dodgy but okay given my limited understanding. People brought it to Meta, mathowie decided it wasn't worth the hassle. That's pretty much it. The bright line for AskMe isn't "is something truly illegal?" it's "is this a shitstorm waiting to happen?" and, along with questions about warez-type things [and sure there are totally legit reasons to download something off bittorent] we have to sort of make a judgement call.

What shitstorm was waiting to happen? Do you mean the shitstorm of crying users in MetaTalk, or the shitstorm of lawyers letters from Nintendo? Realistically, I don't think any lawyers letters would ever come. However, if any letters did arrive, I'm sure they would be cease and desist type things rather than actual claims of damages.

Anyway, it seems to me that the line in the past has been different. Asking "how do I make this torrent software work" was okay, but asking "where do I find good torrents" was not okay. Modding a Wii doesn't quite line up with that analogy, but to me it pretty clearly falls more in the former. The explicit activity of sharing was not part of the question at all.

On the other hand, allowing it as an anonymous question seems really strange..
posted by Chuckles at 1:43 PM on January 20, 2010


« Older Crazy MIXed up meet up   |   Seems something did happen in Ordine long ago Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments