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October 24, 2011

Valve Co-Founder on IP Piracy

Since we're looking for content . . . a bit on an issue near and dear to my heart:

Gabe Newell, a co-founder of Valve, a video game company and groundbreaking online game distribution company, shares something that should be obvious, but oddly isn't, at least not to everyone:

"The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. Itís by giving those people a service thatís better than what theyíre receiving from the pirates," he said.

Word. When IP owners place barriers between their product and the customer's enjoyment, they incentivize bad behavior. I'm happy to pay for games and music and videos and whatever. But if IP owners make it impossible to get to or even moderately inconvenient to get to the work---say, with delayed releases, paralyzing DRM restrictions, etc.---somebody's going to provide an alternative.

For example:

According to Newell, Russia -- which is often ignored as a market due to its high level of piracy -- is one of Steam's highest grossing countries.

"Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market," said Newell, adding that "the people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localize their product into Russian.

I've certainly enjoyed Steam's offerings, particularly their ever-growing catalog of older games that I want for nostalgia value.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:03 PM

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