Software companies suing

  Midsman2005 15:05 20 Aug 2008
Locked

Hi Forum,

I have read in the news today of several software companies, in this case game developers, threatening to sue people suspected of illegally downloading games from the internet.

Before we go any further I will say I don't agree with copying games or any other software by the way!

However, for years we have been buying (sometimes very expensive software) that simply doesn't work properly and is full of bugs. As far as I know I have not heard of anyone suing a software developer when they lose days, months or even years of work due to an inherent bug in a program.

It happened to me. Word 97 was full of bugs and it cost me weeks of work many years ago when all the images in my document turned into big red crosses over night!

We have almost come to accept that software (and games being no different) don't work properly.

I just feel that if the software developers are going to take such a hard line with their consumers (and even the pirates will BUY some software). Maybe as consumers it's about time we started to take a hard line with software companies!

It seems to me that we are following the American route of everyone suing everyone else. I guess it was only a matter of time, we follow them in everything else eventually.

:-)

  spuds 15:17 20 Aug 2008

The problem for a member of public, would be the very high costs of taking legal action, especially if it was against a high branded named manufacturer.

If you notice, companies like Microsoft are taken to court by governments or similar, who have resources available to fight cases, in perhaps protecting the public.

Even your own local trading standards would never consider taking on some of the larger software companies.

  Midsman2005 15:28 20 Aug 2008

Hi Spuds,

That's pretty much what I thought.

It's a shame though because over the years buggy software releases seem to have just become the accepted norm.

You buy a game for 50 quid (which is not a small amount of money!) and it doesn't work properly and you then have to endure endless patching for the next 12 months.

I actually can't think of anything else that I buy that I would accept not working properly. After all, nobody would buy a new car and simply accept it doesn't run very well!

I always felt there was just a bit of give and take between the software developers and consumers regarding buggy programs. We accept that to make a bug free program is very difficult.

However, if the software companies are going to be heavy handed and alienate people they may find this give and take coming to a swift end and people demanding/expecting programs to work perfectly the first time you install it...just like the software companies make out they do.

  jimmybond 15:56 20 Aug 2008

"if the software companies are going to be heavy handed and alienate people"

...although - perhaps software companies aren't going to be too worried about 'alienating' people who pirate their software and don't pay a bean for it in the first place!

  jimmybond 16:15 20 Aug 2008

...and unless you're actually illegally downloading software yourself (which you obviously aren't), then surely the fact that software comapnies are coming down - in your words - 'heavy handed' on them - is good news for both you and the rest of us law abiding citizens??
Software piracy adds to the cost of genuine products, and if it can be reduced in any way - surely this will benefit the rest of us??!

I really don't get the argument that illegal downloading should be some kind of accepted part of a "give and take" process!! Also, I don't think that most software releases are as 'swiss cheese' as you're making out :-)

  Forum Editor 17:05 20 Aug 2008

is that UK courts have explicitly accepted that error-free software doesn't exist - there's no such thing as an application without bugs or glitches of some kind.

If you took a case to court you would have to demonstrate beyond a resonable doubt that the problem you had experienced was specifically caused by a fault in the software code itself, and not by a hardware incompatibility, or a fault with one of the components in the machine you were using. It's virtually impossible to do that.

Before you could stand a chance of succeeding against a software company under UK Common law you would have to establish several things:-

1. That you were owed a duty of care by the software developer.

2. That there was a breach of that duty.

3. That you had sustained a loss.

4. That the loss was a direct result of the breach of duty.

5. That the loss was of a kind for which recovery of damages would be allowed in law.

It's an involved and complicated issue, and there has been relatively little in the way of case law to help. I could write you 5000 words on the subject, but that's not going to happen here. Suffice it to say that as an individual you would be well advised to forget about a move towards 'taking a hard line with software companies'.

Consumers have the ultimate sanction available to them - they can choose not to buy the software in the first place.

Games developers might consider action against individuals for different reasons - the most important of which is that a person deliberately and with aforethought copies and/or distributes their code without paying anything by way of a copyright distribution licence. That's a breach of the copyright law, and a serious one as far as the software developers are concerned.

  interzone55 12:39 21 Aug 2008

I thought the most interesting fact about this recent case was that over 25,000 people had illegally downloaded Dream Pinball 3D, but Topware Interactive had only ever sold 800 copies...

  GRIDD 13:39 21 Aug 2008

I've never pirated games as I'd be always thinking has some smart bugger reverse engineered it and manipulated the code to do something dodgy.

Software - there is absolutely no need to pirate it. Ooodles of the stuff is given away online and in mags like PCA.

  jimmybond 14:49 21 Aug 2008

"there is absolutely no need to pirate it. Ooodles of the stuff is given away online and in mags like PCA"

..true, but then again you're never going to get the stuff that people really want, like Dreamweaver, Office, Photoshop or whatever. I guess it's fairly tempting when the full version of photoshop is £500ish, to simply use limewire and download a fully working cracked version in 10 minutes.

I don't agree with the original poster though - if you take this route and get caught, you accept the consequences and pay the fine. If there isn't a heavy fine, then there isn't really a deterrent to do it, is there?

A perfect example of this is car insurance - for many, the cost of actually insuring their car far exceeds the actual fine they get if they're caught without any (I'm not sure of the fine amount, but I remember was pifflingly small) - so logically you can see why some people don't bother.

  Midsman2005 18:32 24 Aug 2008

"Also, I don't think that most software releases are as 'swiss cheese' as you're making out :-)"

Totally true. But some most definitely are....buy an Xbox 360 game (which are very expensive by the way)...they never work true to word...and some of them are very very buggy.

"Consumers have the ultimate sanction available to them - they can choose not to buy the software in the first place."

Exactly.

I sinply feel that video games are now so expensive that we really should expect them to work very very well (if not be completely and totally bug free)....and most of us now do expect that.

Strangely enough the handful of software developers doing the suing in the latest news story are the ones that have been struggling these last few years. Not because of illegal copying but because their releases have been terrible.

Anyway, interesting comments everyone :-)

  Forum Editor 23:33 24 Aug 2008

If their releases have been so terrible one wonders why they have been so enthusiastically pirated.

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