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This site seems to have a harsh policy regarding piracy, and it makes me wonder. However, I am sure that there do exist grounds to ban questions regarding pirated games.

If you admit using an old, outdated version of a game, you may be asked why are you playing it to check if you have pirated the game. If you admit playing a version that is no longer legally obtainable and playable, the question will be closed. It seems to happen even if it is not a question about a bug that might exist due the game being pirated.

What are those reasons? I am especially interested in those that are not morality-based, because it is a very controversial issue, and piracy is itself controversial enough.

As an example: RPG.SE bans links to pages that illegally distribute non-SRD content for the sole reason that they will be eventually targeted by a Cease&Desist order.

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    "When it comes to legality, we tend to err on the side of assuming good faith here, and only prohibit questions that are clearly on the wrong side of the law, the terms of service, or the EULA for the software in question... This means that outright discussions of piracy, EULA/TOS violations etc are off topic, but most of the rest of the legal questions surrounding gaming we leave alone. For instance, emulation and issues with emulators are considered fine and on-topic." - What's our procedure for asking about not-quite-legal games? – Robotnik Dec 19 '17 at 9:22
  • @Robotnik The answer you are linking to (perhaps) explains what do you ban, even though not in the exact details. I am asking why do you ban it. What is the (potential?) harm that can be done by answering a question asked by a use who says "I use Minecraft 1.5" because I have pirated it and my launcher doesn't support the last version? What if the said question about WoW would have been answered? That is what I would like to know. – Baskakov_Dmitriy Dec 19 '17 at 10:13
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    piracy is stealing and stealing is a crime, even in the parts of the world where thieves still get their hands cut off if they are caught. your minecraft example is moot as there is nothing in it which prevents the user for buying the game and using the officially supported launcher to get the latest version which is what it was designed to do. with WoW it's also moot because the first thing the client does is to update itself and you can't play WoW without the current version of the client – Memor-X Dec 19 '17 at 12:08
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If you admit using an old, outdated version of a game, you may be asked why are you playing it to check if you have pirated the game. If you admit playing a version that is no longer legally obtainable and playable, the question will be closed. It seems to happen even if it is not a question about a bug that might exist due the game being pirated.

We do not ask why you are playing it, but instead, how. The reason why this question was closed, is because there is no legal way to play this version of the game. That's very obvious. We don't care why OP was playing it.

The closing of questions about bugs existing due to games being pirated has nothing to do with trying to help people around bugs - we do that all the time, instead, it has to do with playing pirated games.

What are those reasons? I am especially interested in those that are not morality-based, because it is a very controversial issue, and piracy is itself controversial enough.

There is one reason why we do not allow these questions: Pirated games are illegal.

There is no legality check about pirated games, it's illegal. Hard stop. Piracy itself is not controversial at all. There are laws everywhere, not only pertaining to video games that prohibit the stealing of intellectual property - movies, books, music, software and even ideas.

We DO allow questions about emulation, because emulation is legal - but the majority of questions that come through about emulation are clearly asking about pirated software or pirated games.

  • Minor nitpick: the legality of piracy is not controversial. As you said, there are plenty of specific laws outlawing piracy of any kind. The morality of piracy, however, is still quite controversial. There are those that claim that piracy doesn't hurt anyone, since nothing is being "stolen" (a copy is made instead). Opponents argue that while it may not be a physical theft, there is still a sale of a product that was lost. However, as far as this site is concerned, the morality doesn't matter - we abide by the law. – Mage Xy Dec 19 '17 at 18:23
  • @MageXy Aye aye. I'm editing morality to legality, you're totally right. – FoxMcCloud Dec 19 '17 at 18:50
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    @FoxMcCloud - "the majority of questions that come through about emulation are clearly asking about pirated software or pirated games." - We have no way of knowing that definitively therefore we don't jump to that conclusion. That's part of the 'good faith' assumption that I quoted earlier. Plus with devices such as cart backups so you can obtain legal ROMs from your own copies, plus 'emulator' consoles like the Retron series that use actual carts (but dump them to memory for you) - emulation != piracy. – Robotnik Dec 19 '17 at 22:47
  • @Robotnik I'm not saying emulation = piracy, I said that literally before your quote. I was just making an observation that a lot of the questions we get asking about emulation, just boil down to "how do i play pirated games." – FoxMcCloud Dec 20 '17 at 13:58
  • @FoxMcCloud "a lot of [emulation questions] just boil down to "how do i play pirated games."" That's an assumption though. Unless the user explicitly states "I downloaded Pokemon ROMs, how do I use them" we have no way of knowing whether they're pirating or not. That's the 'good faith' argument. If any users do state "I pirated this" then the question should be closed as unreleased/illegal. – Robotnik Dec 21 '17 at 2:50

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