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Snip Snip: Anti-Piracy Device Seized, 1984

Snip Snip is an occasional look at a magazine cutting from computer games past. Where necessary, names and addresses have been removed to protect the innocent.

I stumbled into this particular letter pretty much by accident whilst looking something else up and gosh, the eighties.

I’m not entirely convinced this was written by a 15 year old, I mean “shindig” is not a word that would have passed most 15 year old’s lips and it suspiciously references the same documentary and quote used in a couple of letters across different magazines about the issue. I know there wasn’t much on the TV and that but still.

Mind, stranger things have happened and as the existence of Reddit ably proves, it’s not exactly unknown for teenagers to try and sound like they’re aged 69 or something. It could well be a libertarian, you know what they’re like.

It's a rather too enormous to transcribe cutting from the letters of Home Computing Weekly, end of March 1984

The context here is an incident in 1984 when the government, much to the disgust of industry anti-piracy bodies (yeah, it was ever thus), put an untimely end to a Barnsley data duplication firm’s grand idea for an anti-piracy device, citing that it would endanger national security. Questions were made in parliament about the government’s actions, such was the concern.

There was a bit of a do in the home computer press about it at the time too, though how much of the correspondence came from within, rather than outside, the industry is debatable. I can’t imagine many teens or what have you stanning for copy protection.

To prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same – one spokesperson for the industry insisted that it was only right that the government compensated the industry for the millions in lost revenue caused by their intervention, an intervention that obviously sided with the pirates because of course it did.

Nothing that wouldn’t be out of place on a Torrentfreak article in 2021 there.

For those curious, you’ll be glad to know the videogame industry survived this incident and you can still buy some videogames if you like that sort of thing.

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