Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

June 4, 2013 -

A Russian coder and hacker known only as "Barabus" has ported Ska Studios popular "M" rated XBLA action game The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile to the PC. But before you celebrate, this PC version of the game is not an official port and doesn't exactly have the blessing of Ska Studios founder James Silva. It is basically pirated version of the game.

Barabus defends his action by arguing that the developer of the game should have made a PC port himself and that by not doing so is "not very nice."

"I have to argue that the part of the authors are not very nice to publish the game exclusively for the Xbox 360, making it impossible for PC gamers to play in such a great game," wrote Barabus on the GameDev.ru forums (via Google Translate). "We do not steal the game for the Xbox 360, we release it for the PC port. Given that developers ignore the PC platform, about any loss of profit for them is not out of the question. After all, if they wanted to earn money, then the game would be issued on all available platforms. If the game came out on PC officially, then this thread would not exist."

While Ska Studios founder James Silva doesn't seem all that bent out of shape about the game being out in the wild, he does take issue with Barabus's reasoning for creating a port in the first place:

"I guess you could say my reaction is mixed," Silva told IndieStatik. "I'm flattered that there's this much interest in Vampire Smile on PC. I'm not mad about the crack itself, in fact, I'm actually pretty impressed. But I'm bewildered by the cracker's attempt to justify the morality of it. He assumes a lot about why Vampire Smile's not on PC yet, and he could have cleared up a lot of those assumptions by just emailing me. I get that piracy is a service problem, but that's a consequence, not a justification."

Barabus responded by saying that users always have the option of paying for the game if they want to.

"Users always have the option to pay for the game or not. This also applies to Xbox 360 which has the opportunity to play pirated games."

He added that the PC port is missing many features like co-op, online play, and achievements. Ultimately he believes that what he has done should not be considered piracy.

"This is not piracy. This is restoration of justice."

Source: Eurogamer

 


Comments

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Having experienced many frustrating situations in which I could not play a certain game due to games being released only regionally, or only on platforms I didn't own, I find it impossible to condemn pirates when what they're doing is either releasing a region-locked game region-free, or on a platform that the developer doesn't support.

If games aren't available for everyone to play, people are going to make them available. I say good luck to those people. Maybe their actions will encourage developers to work towards ensuring that future games are released in full on all platforms and in all regions.

James Silva gets it slightly wrong when he says, "piracy is a service problem". Actually, poor service is the problem - piracy is the solution.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

James Silva gets it slightly wrong when he says, "piracy is a service problem". Actually, poor service is the problem - piracy is the solution.

What he said an what you said are exactly the same thing. So I don't see how he "gets it wrong". Piracy is the result of poor service on the part of the supplier.

Of course you are also "slightly wrong". Piracy is not the solution. It isn't really a solution. Merely a reaction, a work around. The real solution is for the game provider to fix the service problem. 

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

If the developers decide to make a "proper" PC port in response to what this Russian hacker did or at least consider the platform for all future titles, then he truly succeeded in solving the core issue in this specific instance. Nobody would take all that time to port somebody else's game if there was not too much interest on that platform.

 

I agree that it all comes down to a service issues and big-name companies like Microsoft are not helping matters when they make claims such as you MUST sell it exclusively on XBLA or else we are not interested in your product or you have to release simultaneously on all platforms even if the Xbox version is held up by an absurdly lengthy approval process (this happened to Dungeon Defenders).

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

"This is restoration of justice."

Oh Barabus. Couldn't even bring yourself to admit you were outright stealing it, could you? Well, now I know it's not just English-speaking pirates who use crass self-justifications to excuse their crimes.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Couldn't even bring yourself to admit you were outright stealing it

Setting aside the fallacy of calling piracy stealing, how can someone steal something that doesn't exist? Am I stealing when I have a local painter paint me the Mona Lisa? Or having a local sculptor sculpt me a David? So how is creating a version of a game that doesn't exist stealing?

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

You're better than this to use a bad analogy. The hacker didn't "create" the game, he modified it without permission of the actual creator.

If you want a better analogy then what the hacker did was the equivalent to taking the Mona Lisa, taking it to a copy place and making copies, returning it and then selling copies in Mexico.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

I don't see how your analogy is any better or even different than my analogy.

Actually, I would say that your analogy is worse than mine. In your analogy, an actual theft happens. Neither in my analogy nor the real events reported on did a theft happen.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Quit obsessing over the theft angle. Both the real incident and my analogy deal with misuse of property by individuals without permission of the owner. Regardless of the original acquirement means, the modification is still being distributed in a manner that the owner has not deemed appropriate and is still illegal.

His calling it justice because the creator was "not very nice" in doing a PC port originally is BS. There's dozens of games that are console exclusives. Why doesn't he target them? Probably because they have lawyers who will sue him into poverty if he tried.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Quit obsessing over the theft angle.

Why should I quit correcting people when they are wrong? That makes no sense.

Both the real incident and my analogy deal with misuse of property by individuals without permission of the owner.

What property? Intellectual property is also a misnomer and a befuddling of what copyright actually is.

Regardless of the original acquirement means, the modification is still being distributed in a manner that the owner has not deemed appropriate and is still illegal.

I am not arguing that his actions do not violate law. I simply correcting the mischaracterization of his actions. 

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

A variation on the regional distribution argument for piracy? I admit, 'stealing' may not be precisely the crime he would be charged with if it ever came to that, but he took the game code and assets for an intellectual property that wasn't his and redistributed it illegally.

The fact that it was on a platform that the game hasn't been released for is entirely irrelevant. This isn't even an original fan-made game or a freeware clone like Grid Wars, so fatuous statements like 'This isn't piracy.' (yes it is) and 'This is restoration of justice.' fail to convince me of the validity of the author's +5 Moral High Ground bonus.

While I admire his hustle, I take issue with the way he's presenting himself as the aggrieved party here, taking the high-minded stance that he's 'giving' the game to people who own PCs but not Xboxes. This is a commercial product, and it's not his to give away.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

I admit, 'stealing' may not be precisely the crime he would be charged with if it ever came to that

You are still trying to relate copyright infringement and stealing, which is completely wrong. There is no relationship. 

I admit that his actions are copyright infringement and that his justifications for it hold no grounds, but to say he is stealing the game or even to say that it is not "precisely stealing" is a complete and utter mischaracterization of his actions. 

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Okay, I asked a few of my friends to get some clarification, and they tell me that copyright infringement and stealing are technically not the same thing under US law.

These semantic gymnatics are basically irrelevant though. It is quite clear ethically that this is stealing, and describing it as such is a perfectly valid way of characterising his actions.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

It is quite clear ethically that this is stealing, and describing it as such is a perfectly valid way of characterising his actions.

So if I invent a duplication machine and duplicate your car, what I have done is the same thing as stealing? Gotcha.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

You're attacking his words and not the point. The individual's actions violate copyright law, even in Russia, and his justification for it is highly subjective.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Words matter. Words have specific legal meaning. Meaning that matters. While this guys actions may violate copyright law, he was not stealing. Very different legal and social activities. 

As long as people insist that copyright violations are the same as stealing, we will never be able to solve the real problems associated with it. That is why words matter.

And to further expound on my statement above, what this guy is accused of "stealing" doesn't even exist legally. There is no PC version of the game. So how can someone "steal" a PC version of the game if it doesn't exist?

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

If you found your bank account empty, then is that stealing?

 

After all, that money does not exist, it is just zeros and ones that are being recorded by a bank.

 

I see no difference between a bank account that has been emptied out by an unauthorized person and a game that is played by an unauthorized person.

I may be crazy, but I am not insane.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

That is not a valid comparison. Sorry. The "zeroes and ones" in my bank account represent a portion of a finite resource. Transferring that finite resource from one account to another without permission would be stealing. You are depriving me of a finite resource that I own.

Now if you somehow found a way to duplicate money, then you would not be stealing. You would be counterfeiting. Another thing that is not legally like stealing.

While making an unauthorized port of a game is copyright infringement, it is not stealing.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

While I am sympathetic towards being displeased when content you want is not being made available for legal purchase on the platform (or country) that you have,... yeah.. it is still piracy.

It also speaks to the hacker having a bit of an awareness fail for why someone might not release on the PC... so I guess good technical and domain specific social skills, but lacks other relevant types of experiences.

Re: Russian Hacker Pirates The Dishwasher, Calls it 'Justice'

Hackers and Pirates are very skilled at justifying their actions.  If you want something, then you have a right to take it.  

 
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