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PC manufacturers view piracy as "hidden benefit" for consumers - Hollenshead

Thu 21 Aug 2008 8:23am GMT / 4:23am EDT / 1:23am PDT
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Acceptance of file-sharing is hardware industry's "dirty little secret", says id Software CEO

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id Software's CEO Todd Hollenshead has stated that he believes PC manufacturers' acceptance of piracy and the sharing of content the user does not pay for is the PC hardware industry's "dirty little secret".

According to Hollenshead, manufacturers are secretly happy with levels of piracy in the industry as it helps to sell hardware.

"I think that there's been this dirty little secret among hardware manufacturers, which is that the perception of free content - even if you're supposed to pay for it on PCs - is some sort hidden benefit that you get when you buy a PC, like a right to download music for free or a right to download pirated movies and games," said Hollenshead in an exclusive interview published today.

"I think that if you went in and could see what's going on in their minds, though they may never say that stuff and I'm not saying there's some conspiracy or something like that - but I think the thing is they realise that trading content, copyrighted or not, is an expected benefit of owning a computer."

Hollenshead - famed for PC titles Doom, Quake and the forthcoming Rage - believes that PC manufacturers will obviously speak out against piracy in public, but the enormity of the problem is evidence that it's being largely ignored by hardware companies.

"I think that just based on their actions...what they say is one thing, but what they do is another.

"When it comes into debates about whether peer-to-peer file-sharing networks that by-and-large have the vast majority, I'm talking 99 per cent of the content is illicitly trading copyrighted property, they'll come out on the side of the 1 per cent of the user doing it for legitimate benefit.

"You can make philosophical arguments that are difficult to debate, but at the same time you're just sort of ignoring the enormity of the problem," he said.

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