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https://gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/65381/risen-2-unlock-dlc-via-console (10k link)

Should we allow content like this?

It is basically just a cheat like it happened to be there in the good old days. But from the view of the publishers, I am sure they see it as piracy since you access paid content without paying.

There are many moral and legal things to obey and in my opinion a built in cheat is not piracy. But since this issue never came up as far as I know, I thought it might be worth a question on meta to hear the stance of the admins :).

14

Is it asking for a method to freely gain access to content which was intended to be paid for?

Yes.

Sounds like piracy to me and I'm sure it would to the publishers as well. Methods and personal opinions aside, the fact remains that the publisher wants people to pay for access to that content and this questions is about circumventing that.

Questions asking how to circumvent payment should be off-topic. The question should be closed.

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    Just to play devil's advocate, we don't know what the publisher wants. – juan May 7 '12 at 13:19
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    @Juan I think that it's probably fair to say that if the publisher intended for players to access the DLC for free, it wouldn't be paid DLC in the first place. – FAE May 7 '12 at 13:20
  • @JuanManuel - Whether or not the publisher would consider it piracy is just my speculation, but as FAE said, it's pretty safe to assume they intend for people to pay for paid DLC. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 13:29
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    @JuanManuel: I think it's more likely that we don't know what the developer wants. The publisher is pretty much only interested in ROI, meaning they want people to pay for paid DLC. – MBraedley May 7 '12 at 14:19
  • I think the fact that the sound files aren't even included make it pretty clear that they do NOT intend for people to get this for free. – bwarner May 7 '12 at 15:05
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    But do we have to enforce the will of a publisher? Is it our duty? Isn't it their fault in the first place to leave it in the game? – user12190 May 7 '12 at 15:05
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    @scorcher24 - None of that matters. We should not provide direct means intended to circumvent payment. Piracy is strictly off-topic. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 15:11
  • @MatthewRead - The content was data that was included the with the game which required unlocking via payment. The question was asking how to access the "DLC" content without paying. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 17:48
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    @MatthewRead - When you buy a game, you are buying a license to use the software. The "DLC" is a separate license. Gaining access that content without purchasing a license is piracy. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 17:52
  • @MatthewRead - Circumventing payment of paid DLC is piracy. It's pretty simple. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 17:56
  • @MatthewRead - The copy of the software may not be unauthorized, but it's use is. Call it whatever you want, but it doesn't belong here. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 18:19
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    @MatthewRead I think that in the absence of specific knowledge of this particular EULA, we can assume that if the company that produced the content did not intend to make it available without additional payment, they would not grant legal access to it with the original purchase. Anyway, if a company does not intend for a product (the DLC content) to be accessed except in return for money, then accessing it without paying for it is theft. – murgatroid99 May 7 '12 at 18:20
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    @MatthewRead - Because the question was specifically asking how to access content that one would normally have to pay for without paying for it. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 18:46
  • @MatthewRead I just don't understand why you lend credence to the idea that a company would make a product (in this case the DLC) that they intend to sell and then give people both the means and the legal right to access it without paying for it. The hypothesis that they did give that legal right implicitly in the EULA for the encompassing software should have much less weight than the hypothesis that their legal team carefully gave players the rights to exactly the content they wanted to be accessible in the base purchase. – murgatroid99 May 7 '12 at 19:01
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    @MatthewRead so, you're arguing that because you are imagining that someone you don't know may have been too stupid to include something in an EULA you didn't read, it's OK to take something that you should pay money for? This sounds to me kind of like saying that if a publisher was too stupid to make a game impossible to pirate, or the EULA doesn't specifically disallow it, you should be able to get it for free because "one way to access [it] is via paying and another is without paying". – murgatroid99 May 7 '12 at 19:31
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From the stance of the admins: It's none of our business.

In general, we're not responsible for policing everybody else's legal agreements that we are not party to in the first place.

That said, here's the relevant clause from our Terms of Service:

Subscriber represents, warrants and agrees that it will not contribute any Subscriber Content that (a) infringes, violates or otherwise interferes with any copyright or trademark of another party, (b) reveals any trade secret, unless Subscriber owns the trade secret or has the owner’s permission to post it, (c) infringes any intellectual property right of another or the privacy or publicity rights of another, (d) is libelous, defamatory, abusive, threatening, harassing, hateful, offensive or otherwise violates any law or right of any third party, (e) contains a virus, trojan horse, worm, time bomb or other computer programming routine or engine that is intended to damage, detrimentally interfere with, surreptitiously intercept or expropriate any system, data or information, or (f) remains posted after Subscriber has been notified that such Subscriber Content violates any of sections (a) to (e) of this sentence.


Matthew Read already included a link to our current guidance on handling copyright issues.

For questions like the one that spawned this meta discussion, it's entirely appropriate for the community to determine its own policy. In cases where that runs afoul of legalities, interested parties should contact us and if needed, we'll pass on an amended policy down to you.

It looks like software piracy has already been deemed off-topic:

Please note, however, that site policies prohibit questions of the following types:

[...]

  • Piracy, and support with pirated games.

What you guys need to discuss and agree upon is whether unlocking DLC that's already on disc via "cheats" falls under that policy or whether there's another policy you want to come up with to cover these cases. There is no legal agreement here that we're obligated to enforce on sight.

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    @MatthewRead I personally disagree that it's not, but that's exactly the kind of ethical/moral thing the community here should figure out. – Adam Lear May 7 '12 at 19:46
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    Call it what you want. This is circumventing payment. Like Matthew said, publisher/developer intention is irrelevant. Likewise, publisher/developer competence is irrelevant. Questions asking how to circumvent payment should be off-topic – user9983 May 7 '12 at 20:25
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    @Anna Given that 5 active users (myself included) voted to close the question and it was subsequently deleted by 3 of our 20k users (no mod intervention there), I feel fairly confident in saying that the community stance has been made clear in the case of this question in particular. – FAE May 7 '12 at 22:07
  • @FAE Oh, definitely. Just responding to Matthew's "SE should officially speak up" (I paraphrase) call. – Adam Lear May 7 '12 at 22:30
  • What has been discussed at length, and really should be in the FAQ, is that questions that involve means for circumventing a TOS or EULA are almost always off topic. Perhaps part of the reason that it isn't there yet is that there are some edge cases that are allowed, and that we can usually point to some other clause to close. I'm willing to bet that in this particular case, there's a EULA violation. I also think that this question clearly falls into the piracy bin as well. – MBraedley May 8 '12 at 22:20
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I think it should stay open (or rather be re-opened).

If they don't want this, it's their job to fix it. Abusing bugs and cheating should be fine in singleplayer mode. Otherwise you'd also have to close questions related to cheats which give you e.g. more ammo capacity as long as you get the same benefit via a DLC (I think one of the Assassin's Creed games has a DLC where you can buy more ammo capacity ingame).

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    I'm pretty sure that if they wanted people to be able to access it for free, they wouldn't be charging for it at all, anywhere. – GnomeSlice May 7 '12 at 14:01
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    Imo, he has a point with his comparison, though. – heishe May 7 '12 at 15:24
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    @heishe - There is a difference between means to emulate DLC and means to access DLC. – user9983 May 7 '12 at 15:26

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