Are PC manufacturers covering for pirates?


Well not technically, but according to id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead, PC manufacturers see the sharing of illegal content as the consumer’s “hidden benefit”. The PC manufacturers are secretly happy about this, as the file sharing supposedly boosts hardware sales.

“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,” Hollenshead said in an interview with

He believes that although PC manufacturers speak badly of pirates, they’re at some level ignoring the problem. Instead of taking actions against peer-to-peer programs, they tend to talk about the fraction of people who use them in a legitimate way. According to Hollenshead, that fraction is inconsiderable.

“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.”

There are most likely truth in what Hollenshead says. At the same time there’s no need to call it a “dirty little secret”, because when you think about it – what obligations does hardware manufacturers really have towards the entertainment industry? At the same time, if the statement would be completely true wouldn’t we be hearing some arguments against these sort of things?