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So I downloaded Doom 3 this week

How could I not? Everywhere I turn, there it is. The file-sharing networks have been drenched with copies. So many copies, in fact, that at one stage I was downloading six different versions in Bit-Torrent. It was like a race, watching their download bars. Any that started to lag behind got the chop, until just one remained, roaring down at 55KB/s with me cheering and checking it every five minutes.

What could be more exciting that having Doom 3 before anyone else? To be able to nonchalatantly phone your mates and say:

ME: I’ve got something you might want to see…
THEM: We’ve seen it. You got it out in the taxi at New Year’s.
ME: No, not that.
THEM: What then? What?
ME: (false reluctance) No I can’t tell you.
THEM: Tell us or we’ll kill you.
ME: No, I mustn’t.
THEM: Come on you pillock – what you got? Snoop Doggy Doggy porno flick?
ME: Nope, better than that.
THEM: God! A Half-Life II beta leak?
ME: Er, no, not as good as that.
THEM: Go on tell us.

You can’t contain yourself any longer. So you say it, in your most dramatic whisper…“Doom 3”. Adding: “Full version”. And then bask in the incandescent glory as tidal waves of respect pours over you.

"I mean, who exactly have I deprived of revenue? Who have I hurt? What is the ethical problem with that?"

That’s what I’ve been doing. Phoning everyone. Bragging until I puke. They’re all coming round mine tonight for an all-night Doom-a-thon in the dark with the sound turned up really loud. “Bring some beers! Don’t bring your girlfriend!” reads the email. Man, I’m glowing like a power-up. This is so exciting.

What? Don’t look at me like that. Oh like you didn’t download it? Oh okay - maybe ‘a friend’ downloaded it for you to absolve you of guilt (and bandwidth issues). Like you’re going to wait until it hits the shops, two weeks after the US, while everyone around you spooges themselves sticky over this most glorious of releases?

I ask myself: “If I download Doom 3 pirated and then buy a copy when it comes out, what exactly am I doing that’s so wrong?” I mean, who exactly have I deprived of revenue? Who have I hurt? What is the ethical problem with that? Let’s face it, no SWAT team is going to come bursting through my door in the middle of the night in search of a couple of gigs of pirated code.

(Besides I’ve played Counter-Strike. I know how to evade SWAT teams. I keep a few flashbangs by my bedside just to be sure).

I fully intend to buy a proper copy when it comes out. Next week. Or the week after. Or whenever. Hold on though. Isn’t that what they all say? And isn’t that what I said about Photoshop? And Reason? And Winzip? Will I? Will I actually get round to it? Will I actually fork out the spondulicks and righten the karmic balance?

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David McCandless


Anyway, I can’t stop now. It’s taken me nearly three days to download this mutha. Actually, it’s still downloading as I write this. There are just a few minutes to go. Man, I can’t wait. I’m chewing my nails down to the wrist awaiting that final dribble of data to squirt through. I always get scared at this point. 99% is the scariest percentage. So often in the past, downloads have cocked up on me at the 99% point. I’ve had to put up with a three days of impaired performance as Bit-torrent hoovers the data down. I’m not quitting now.

What else is my broadband for FFS? Emails? Webpages? Do me a favour. They just chip at my bandwidth. They’re like flies exploding on my windscreen. Intellectual property theft - that’s what broadband is really for. It gives my ADSL a serious workout.

"[He] doesn’t care what he’s got, only that he’s got it. He’s an obsessive, obsessed with having complete collections of things."

The thing is though, file-sharing is habit forming. They didn’t tell you that at school. It’s addictive. Like shopping. Like drugs. No doubt about it. The lure of being able to get anything you want for free, combined with skill needed to circumvent the obstacles in your way, turn file-sharing into one big addictive game – better than anything you’d find on the shelf. It demands a combination of cunning, persistence, luck and no small amount of bandwidth to succeed. But once you start, you’re hooked.

Mind you, I thought I was bad until I met ‘Billy’. He has over 30,000 MP3s downloaded to date, and a shocking 250 gigabytes of films, software, and um, porn. He likes porn. Billy has eight machines dedicated to file-sharing and they are always on. Weekdays, he’s moving gigabytes a day. Weekends he spends sorting his downloads into categories, folders, and subfolders, and burning them on to DVD. Suffice to say, he doesn’t get out much.

But get this: he rarely listens to any of his music. He barely watches films. He never installs the software. He doesn’t have time. He’s too busy sharing and organising his files. And whacking off, probably. Billy doesn’t care what he’s got, only that he’s got it. He’s an obsessive, obsessed with having complete collections of things. (actually he’s lots of other things too, which I can’t go into here). Perhaps he’s ill. I think if he collected bars of Imperial Leather soap or lemonade bottles, like he does episodes of Seinfeld, he’d be branded an obsessive compulsive, given some high-grade anti-psychotic medication and a man with a beard to talk to.

Sorry GTG. My download is complete. At last! Doom III est arrive sur mon download folder. Got to prepare for tonight’s showing off session. Plus a couple of hours praccy so I own the deathmatch maps when we play together.

Double click. UNRAR….

Uh...

What’s this

“EXPANDING…Battlefield1942.exe”

No! No! No! No! No! No! No!