Amazon is selling pirated digital copies of games

Oct 25, 2017
4,225
USA USA USA
#1
You may have seen this thread earlier: [PC] Frostpunk is $3 on Amazon.com, could be a price error [Up: Dead]

What you might have missed was the ending: https://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/comments/8yrgaq/amazon_frostpunk_299_i_think_this_is_a_screw_up/
I decided to pay $3 to play detective. It's piracy. Someone took the GOG version of the game, repackaged it with their own installer signed and published by "Ace Media Group LLC" and submitted it to Amazon. The installer looks fairly legit but the uninstaller doesn't work. They left GOG-specific metadata files and Galaxy64.dll (for GOG Galaxy client integration) in the install dir.
The rest is from the PC thread.
LewieP has been commenting on it on his Twitter:

Xulima Dev says he has notified Amazon in October 2017 and they still haven't managed to take it down.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/296570/discussions/0/1489987634013222629/

Also removed links because of this, so no one else has to get scammed.
 
Oct 27, 2017
770
#8
Yeesh. This seems like it could turn into a big problem for GOG.
Not GOG as their whole raison d'etre is that they sell DRM-free versions of games, and publishers are aware of that, but it is a big problem for Amazon who are responsible for the legality of what they sell (at least in the UK).
 
Oct 26, 2017
5,145
#9
Still awaiting an email from them. They said "6 hours" and that was like 3/4 hours ago. I'll post here what they say.
 
Oct 28, 2017
802
#12
Not GOG as their whole raison d'etre is that they sell DRM-free versions of games, and publishers are aware of that, but it is a big problem for Amazon who are legally responsible for the legality of what they sell (at least in the UK).
I was thinking more in lines with if this becomes more of a regular thing, I could see publishers and developers being more hesitant to work with GOG.

Then again, it’s not like a lot of the AAA market is there so maybe those on the platform are more willing to stay? Regardless, hate to see someone abuse the system like that.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,304
#14
Trying to wrap my head around which part of this process makes it piracy.
You must have a pretty loose head, so I will break it down for you:

• Someone buys a DRM-free copy from GOG
• Replaces some text files with their own, repackages the game as their-own distribution
• Sells it on Amazon undercutting legit resellers
(also leaves the customer in ruins because the copy doesn't work with patches or online features)

The act of copying the game, without the permission of the publisher, is piracy.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,808
#15
/Amazoncustomerservice2018

They use to be so great in customer satisfaction but now it's nothing like it used to be. Maybe you just need the right person at the right time of day who can actually figure out what's happening and take it somewhere.
 
OP
OP
SteveWinwood
Oct 25, 2017
4,225
USA USA USA
#16
Trying to wrap my head around which part of this process makes it piracy.
pi·ra·cy
ˈpīrəsē/
noun
noun: piracy
  1. the practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.
    synonyms: freebooting, robbery at sea;
    archaicbuccaneering
    "piracy on the high seas"
    • a practice similar to piracy but in other contexts, especially hijacking.
      "air piracy"
    • the unauthorized use or reproduction of another's work.
      plural noun: piracies
      "software piracy"
      synonyms: illegal copying, plagiarism, copyright infringement, bootlegging
      "software piracy"
Can’t developers file a lawsuit against Amazon for this?

Edit: Actually not sure how his would be handled. What about a DMCA takedown?
no those only work against small youtubers
 
Dec 2, 2017
586
#18
Trying to wrap my head around which part of this process makes it piracy.
Well the fact that someone is taking the GOG version of the game (which has no DRM) and just repackaging them into a different installer and then selling it is considered piracy, it's not even up for debate....
Can’t these keys be deactivated?
There are no keys to be deactivated, GOG games have no DRM, the seller probably buys the game on GOG, get's the files and then just repackages them....
 
Oct 25, 2017
281
#19
Wow that's fucked up and Amazon needs to take action.

Although I don't think telling some random CSR is going to resolve this, they probably just think you're insane. It needs to be escalated to people higher-up, especially if it's a wide-spread issue.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,857
#20
Aw shit. I bought Battle Chasers Nightwar last night since it was so cheap, I didn’t think it wouldn’t be legitimate.

Is there any chance of Amazon giving a refund? Because I’m uninstalling the game as soon as I get home.
 
Oct 26, 2017
5,145
#21
Wow that's fucked up and Amazon needs to take action.

Although I don't think telling some random CSR is going to resolve this, they probably just think you're insane. It needs to be escalated to people higher-up, especially if it's a wide-spread issue.
I got escalated to a supervisor, but yeah my plan is to work my way up the chain, all the way to bezos if I have to
 
Oct 25, 2017
870
#22
Can’t developers file a lawsuit against Amazon for this?

Edit: Actually not sure how his would be handled. What about a DMCA takedown?
sure, but theyll pop up again. Amazon's system is set up to maximize revenue, not ensure legitimacy. thats why you can always get 'Birkenstocks' for $40/pair no matter how many complaints are raised. They dont care and it helps kill retail.
 

GeekyDad

Banned
Member
Nov 11, 2017
740
USA
#24
User Warned: Advocating piracy.
You must have a pretty loose head, so I will break it down for you:

• Someone buys a DRM-free copy from GOG
• Replaces some text files with their own, repackages the game as their-own distribution
• Sells it on Amazon undercutting legit resellers
(also leaves the customer in ruins because the copy doesn't work with patches or online features)

The act of copying the game, without the permission of the publisher, is piracy.
* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.

EDIT: Questioning the status quo is NOT advocating piracy. Mods shouldn't be so trigger happy. This is a discussion forum, no? It's about discussing things. Not cheerleading.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
770
#26
I was thinking more in lines with if this becomes more of a regular thing, I could see publishers and developers being more hesitant to work with GOG.

Then again, it’s not like a lot of the AAA market is there so maybe those on the platform are more willing to stay? Regardless, hate to see someone abuse the system like that.
Publishers put their games on GOG in the full knowledge that there's nothing stopping someone from downloading a copy of the game's GOG installer from somewhere and getting the full game for nothing. This is something new and different (and more equivalent to counterfeiting), and the problem is that someone else is making money from it, and that because Amazon are selling these downloads themselves, people (understandably) think they're buying the game legitimately.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,920
#27
Aw shit. I bought Battle Chasers Nightwar last night since it was so cheap, I didn’t think it wouldn’t be legitimate.

Is there any chance of Amazon giving a refund? Because I’m uninstalling the game as soon as I get home.
They are selling pirated software, i think once this got sorted out everyone will get a refund.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,653
#30
Aw shit. I bought Battle Chasers Nightwar last night since it was so cheap, I didn’t think it wouldn’t be legitimate.

Is there any chance of Amazon giving a refund? Because I’m uninstalling the game as soon as I get home.
How much did you pay? $15 is generally the sale price.
 
Oct 25, 2017
870
#31
/Amazoncustomerservice2018

They use to be so great in customer satisfaction but now it's nothing like it used to be. Maybe you just need the right person at the right time of day who can actually figure out what's happening and take it somewhere.
you will also find now that the are dominant and the only place many shoppers even look at, that even their prices arent the greatest. These trends will continue as online (and off) competition decreases.

It came as a big surprise to me just how bad a deal Amazon can be for shoppers. i wish i had my links handy. if anyone is interested let me know and i post them when back home.

oh, and they really put the screws to manufacturers
 
Oct 25, 2017
10,465
Indonesia
#33
There are no keys to be deactivated, GOG games have no DRM, the seller probably buys the game on GOG, get's the files and then just repackages them....
And they don't even have to buy the games in the first place. I don't believe people who do this would buy them.

* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.
I'm sorry?

Can you actually multiply the car so that you can sell it infinitely to your customers?
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,304
#34
* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.
Your opinion is horseshit, nothing grey in here.

You don't understand the difference between the property and license to the game.
 
May 26, 2018
288
#35
Oct 30, 2017
3,388
#36
* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.
You can’t make unlimited copies of that car.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,290
#37
* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.
This is not selling keys from phisical copies you bought.
This is literally actual piracy where you literally download a game and infinitely copy it and sell it. This is 100% unquestionably piracy.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,689
#38
I was thinking more in lines with if this becomes more of a regular thing, I could see publishers and developers being more hesitant to work with GOG.
If they took the time to repackage the game in their own installer, they could probably also download a crack from the internet.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,395
#41
* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.
They're not selling a single physical item that they own, they're selling digital copies of a game that they do not own the copyrights to.

That's literally all piracy is. Copyright infringement.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,664
#43
* Someone buys car.
* Replaces various parts with aftermarket junk
* Resells it on eBay

Your last comment I can see being a real issue, but I think the industry's arguments about what does and does not constitute piracy is horseshit. Too much grey matter in my opinion.

And "legit resellers"? That's semantics of the worst kind.
lmfao
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,653
#44
These were not third party sellers, they were sold by Amazon directly.

Edit:
Specifically it was "Amazon.com Services, Inc." as the seller.
Usually when you purchase a digital game from Amazon the key sits in your digital library.

What does the pirated software have? A link to a download or just an .exe file?
 
Oct 25, 2017
513
#45
Slighty off topic, but Amazon had been selling a bootleg set of the Ghibli releases, which GKids owns. I just checked and it SEEMS it finally was resolved, but apparently GKids had been fighting for awhile with Amazon with getting it removed. It had been up there for months, and yet it took forever for Amazon to do something. It was to the point that it was in the 500s for Movie & TV (which is very high, to note) and within the top 5 of Anime. So Amazon was profiting off of it.

So yeah... they seem to not really care about these issues.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,385
#46
I saw Wario64 post a deal for Battle Chasers: Nightwar from Amazon. It was 90% off. I guess that's one more game to add to the list. It was also DRM free.

ShinUltramanJ Battle Chasers was 90% off, which is $3.
 
OP
OP
SteveWinwood
Oct 25, 2017
4,225
USA USA USA
#49
Slighty off topic, but Amazon had been selling a bootleg set of the Ghibli releases, which GKids owns. I just checked and it SEEMS it finally was resolved, but apparently GKids had been fighting for awhile with Amazon with getting it removed. It had been up there for months, and yet it took forever for Amazon to do something. It was to the point that it was in the 500s for Movie & TV (which is very high, to note) and within the top 5 of Anime. So Amazon was profiting off of it.

So yeah... they seem to not really care about these issues.
I gave up on trying to buy a battery for my phone through amazon around a month ago because it was all just fake shit according to reviews. Pretty frustrating. But I guess batteries plus got a sale so.