Patience pays off for computer game pirates

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2000, 12:00am

Today, the Internet is making life easier for producers of pirated computer games, but it is causing headaches for those trying to stop them.

Games for devices such as Playstations and Dreamcasts can now be downloaded at no cost from the Internet instead of buying a real copy of the game.

This makes it far easier, and cheaper, for those in the pirating business to mass produce copies for sale.

So, how is it done? To begin, hackers spend countless hours figuring out codes for the games. The codes are needed to bypass security checks that games industry giants have painstakingly installed to prevent people from copying them.

Once the hackers have got the codes, they can post their findings over the Internet.

Anyone with time on their hands can visit the sites, download the files, fix them up and then copy them using CDR technology After that, you have an illegal copy of the game.

All this work would save someone between three and four hundred dollars per game.

Some may argue that the computer game industry can afford the losses. The industry, on the other hand, views it as a major problem since it takes a huge bite out of their sales and profits worth millions of dollars.

Millions are also lost by the music and movie industries.

So what should be done about it? Who should we blame. The hackers for figuring out how to make the copies, or the Internet for making piracy easier? How should the makers of the original games be compensated?

What we are left with is complicated questions and debatable answers.

It remains clear that problems arise faster than solutions with the issue of piracy.

Vivien is a student of Sha Tin College. She was on a two-week work placement with Young Post