It's kind of amusing (on video game sites, particularly) the amount of whining and rationalizing that is going on with game piracy. My favorite one is "the developer released the game for free on torrents, so it's not piracy." Uh, yes it is. The developer set a price on their game, and unless the official price becomes $0, if you are hitting the torrent or whatnot because you don't want to pay the price, you are still pirating with intent to do so. It's like being busted in a sting operation, even if it was the police all along, you were still trying to do something wrong.
What the developer is doing with the 'pirated' version reminds me of the whole 'cuckoo egg' tactic on Napster years back with rigged music files. Not that it will combat piracy, but it's going to happen anyway, hard to stop, and the developer might as well use the pirates to have their fun (and more importantly, publicity) out of the whole thing.