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Software Piracy

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I have yet to meet an individual who has actually purchased Adobe Photoshop. Why is that?


Today's Great Debate focuses on the question of software piracy in all its various forms. Is it wrong? Is it analogous to stealing physical goods?


Many people claim that piracy is acceptable and, in some cases, ethical. I know of one Mac developer who has frequently been accused of stealing from open source projects. Is it ethical to steal from an (alleged) thief? What about Microsoft? Why is it that so few people buy copies of Windows? Is it a problem with the user or the product?


Others claim that software piracy is just like any other forms of stealing - it's theft. Those who shoplift are the same as those who take from the latest Serial Box. Is stealing 1's and 0's the same as stealing a physical product? How does piracy affect developers?


Some don't even think about it any more. For them, piracy is the only way to get software.


What say you?

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There is one other class of piracy as well : piracy of software that can no longer be bought, even if you want to. I'm referring to older versions of software that a user might prefer, but can no longer purchase because the developer no longer sells it or is no longer in business. Where do you (and other here) stand on that?

I think the main thing is just that its fast, easy and cheap. I have just got my new MacBook and I have to say I am in the process of filling it up with apps and Piracy is just plain tempting! But, ethics aside, why pay for something when you can get it for free!!

I dont support it and I dont do it often (I cant say I never do it), but it is very tempting.

One thing I always support however is small Shareware software/freeware developers - Donate people!!

Here's what i have to say, and by no means do i declare it ethical. I have never, will never, and hope no one else here shoplifts from stores. I do find it a lot worse to steal physically from stores for a couple reasons, which i don't have time to explain now. I find that stealing via torrent or whatever else is not exactly going out of your way and it is too tempting to pass up. Stealing in general is not right but I'd much rather be known as an internet pirate than a office max thief or something to that idea. As a young person without a job i do believe there is a bigger temtation to do this. I have told myself that once i have an actual full time job i will begin to stop piracy all together. All in all i don't feel good about torrenting stuff but there arent a whole lot of other options. It's hard to take a stance on something you disagree with but go ahead and do it.


But i do agree with small shareware stuff like dtm said.


EDIT: I do know one person who has bought CS2 and i personally have bought Adpbe Elements.

I'm less torn than others, but there is a little tear. I dislike it period and wish it just wouldn't happen. There are many kinds of software piracy (and this came from Micrososft's pages):


End-User Copying: When users copy software without appropriate licensing for each copy. I think we've all been guilty of this at some time or another. Most of the time, though, companies don't want to try and find someone who made a copy for the desktop and one for the laptop (it's only when you install like 23895670245 copies that someone will find you). This is one of the biggest arguments that will present itself here in terms of how much is really tolerable to the software industry and to end users.


Hard-Disk Loading: Practiced by dishonest computer system builders who sell PCs with illicit software preinstalled. Dealers use one legally acquired copy illegally for installation on many machines. Much worse than End-User, and I think we can all agree this shouldn't be tolerated.


Counterfeiting: Software piracy on a grand scale, in which software and its packaging is illegally duplicated, often by organized crime rings, then redistributed as supposedly legal products. Again, bad bad bad, and I think we can all agree on this one too.


Online: This form of piracy occurs when copyrighted software is downloaded by a user connected via a modem to the Internet without the express permission of the copyright owner. This would cover warez sites also, and it presents itself with a problem also. As we all know full screen in QuickTime is only available as a Pro ($29.95) option. Most users only want that one feature, as video editing is done in iMovie or Final Cut. Why pay for just one feature when poor, innocent Dawn M. Fredette gave away her QuickTime Pro serial number for everyone to use? This is especially sticky when you're only using one feature of said software.


License Misuse: Software distributed under special discount licenses, either to high-volume customers, computer manufacturers, or academic institutions, that is then redistributed to others who do not hold or qualify for these licenses. This one has a lot of subsets and is well opened to debate also.

Unfortunately... I admit that I have fallen down the cracks of piracy on occasion. Mostly without knowing it, but a few times I knew what I was doing. Here's somthing to mull over. Just think about how many people are burning in hell over pirated software and software licences. Well? Thats why I try to stick with open-source alternatives as much as possible.


I'm not perfect by any means though... EVERYONE deserves payment for their wares whether they be intellectual or physical property of the author.





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It would be terribly hypocritical of me to make any sort of stand against software piracy, given the forums I frequent and the actions I take. However, I have paid for two excellent pieces of software, Path Finder and OmniWeb, not because I couldn't pirate them, but because I enjoy using them so much that I had to give thanks. I really wish to extrapolate more and give reasons for anything I've done, but it's quite difficult to type without the use of my left hand.

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I pirate software because I simply can't afford half of the stuff out there. If it's a single person who's asking for something like $5 for their handy utility, I've got no problem paying for it.

Companies claim that when people pirate their software they're losing money, because they reason that those people would have otherwise bought the software. The reality is this simply isn't true. People don't pirate Photoshop so they don't have to buy it, they pirate it because they can't buy it. People just don't have the cash lying around to put down $700. I do, however, have a problem with people pirating just to be cheap, assuming that they can afford the software.

I should note that I'm against stealing. However, my definition of stealing doesn't include software piracy, because of my above reasons. I see stealing as taking from one party and giving to another. People see this as wrong because it's taking from the first party; they no longer have it. This isn't the case with software piracy--the first party still keeps the original, but the second party gets it as well. And, again, they're HARDLY losing potential sales, as I said.

If you could magically clone your brand new car and give one to your best friend, wouldn't everybody do it?

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well... i own photoshop legit, but like alot of the keys i distribute to/from friends, and torrents/warez is fun too, its just more convenient for me to do that then to drive to a store...

I buy games to support the coders (and they are cheap), but do infrequently torrent apps because they are so expensive (geared to industry). I tend to torrent tv shows and books/audio reqularly.


Incidentally try adobe darkroom in windows, its a free beta download, awesome (so far!)

well really everything has already been said, I don't do it to be cheap, its just not having the cash.


I support the little developers, even if its freeware, if they have got a donation button, i will most likely use it if i use there app enough. But there is no way I could afford to shell out $700 for a peace of software, $30 is my limit really.



There are several ways to look at this matter, and this is mine.


I did at part of my life do it, but that was when I was a student, I can't afford to buy the software I wanted and I had to gain the knowledge, I don't know how to crack a software and go into the code to override registration information or generate a key, the DARK SIDE of the computer has it's charm, BUT, I was always busy learning or working to pay the bills.


In my current Job, I learned allot about what are the benefits of buying a legal copy, including support, and taking part in having a better next version of the software you use, since it's your favored software.


But really, let's look at it this way, people use pirated software because they are a free copy of a good programmes, and this is harmful for them, and they don't realize it, by doing so, they are eliminating the necessity, and this will not push other companies or talented programmers to create alternatives, these that can be either in lower price, OR even free, this is how I see the piracy harming people.


Companies they know people use pirated copies of their product, and they are happy with it, actually, I bet that they supply hints about how to do it, this is a marketing strategy, let people get used to our product, and they will buy it when we realse one and delay the cracks :D, yes this is true for allot of people.


Is this good or bad? well, hay, they want you to use their product, this is their right, they spent money and time building this, and they want you to buy it, it's you who used piracy, eliminated the necessity, and created the monopoly, and increased the price, it's your fault, and they are right, we did do this to ourselves.


I'm switching to Mac, after a BIG disappointment trying to switch to Linux (from bigger disappointments in windows, or so I wish to think :) ), So I'm checking the list of software that I will be using, and it turn out that I'm going to spend some money on this, but the good news is, I'm going to spend money on software that will get me money, and I'm going to use an OS that has almost all the essential stuff (still checking :idea: ) that I used to pay or ..., and they are free :)


Long post, Sorry for that, it's just another boring day in the office, the good news is that alternatives for some are coming, which means lower price in the future (hopefully for those who don't switch).

Why should one feel guilty when he "pirates" his own OEM copy of Windows XP to run it on his new shiny Macbook? As long as I know each OEM copy of Windows is legally bound to the system you bought it with, but why suold one pay for the same thing over and over again just because he decided to change the hardware it runs on?


Think of the difference in pricing between the various versions of Windows or Microsoft Office. Isn't that plain stolen money, considering that probably no real "different versions" exist until the developement process is almost over? Don't you feel you have the RIGHT to obtain the latest version of a particular software without paying for it, expecially when the only differences are bug corrections? Why should one pay an extra to have an error free app? If I buy something I expect it to work just as it is advertised to and in the majority of cases I know I can return it and have it changed with something functional if it isn't working out of the box. With software you often have to pay if you want buggy software to become functional... Doesn't it make you feel robbed of your money?

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Software should be licensed on a per user basis not a per machine basis. If you are not using the software at the same time you should be allowed to install on as many PC's as you like.

Also tying a license to a specific computer in the case of OEM licenses is wholely unfair. There is no justification for it - if i sell my old pc why shouldn't i be allowed to remove XP from it and install on my new PC.

License agreements are far too restrictive - i mean you wouldn't buy cd on the basis that you could only listen to it in your house - if you want to listen in the car or on your MP3 you need to buy another copy. Nor do you get some discount DVD's when you buy your DVD player to be told you can only use those DVD's in that player. Software Licensing is just one big money spinner.

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You can split it up into two parts: Stealing from software companies that turn over millions, if not billions each year. Stealing from software companies (or authors) that are lucky to turn over $100 in a year.


Obviously stealing from the first lot is great. Do it all the time. Everyday. And encourage everyone you know to do it as well. Burn this software onto CD's and DVD's and distribute it to all of your friends. It is your duty as a software pirate to share this software.


Stealing from the later is kind of nasty. These guys charge like $10, $20 for software, that often times is really quite ingenious. Don't steal from these people, wait until their companies become massive, then steal from 'em.


Not to say that I don't. I steal everything, I'm a thief. But at least I know it's wrong, right?


I'm kind of the same with physical theft. Don't theive from your local newsagent, or corner store. But if you walk into a wallmart or whatever, bring you biggest jacket and get as much of their {censored} as you can - obviously you can actually get caught for physical stealing, unlike piracy (FOR WHICH YOU WILL NOT!!!), so I would only advise to those that are under 15, or very, very good at it.


Seriously, if you make a lot of money from a cerain piece of software (say... photoshop...) then you should pay for it. If your a home user, the software company should be making it free to you anyway. So theive away!!


Obviously I am a big believer in the distribution of wealth.

I've always regarded piracy as an unofficial "try before you buy" none of the big packages would have their marketshare & reputation today without it. Just think: how many home users would have & know photoshop without an illicit copy?..


The line for me has always been commercial use. Once the program is being used to make money, some of that needs to go back into buying the software.


In the meantime, hobbyists have the choice of using a free package which may or may not be inferior to the commercial one, or using a "bogus" copy of a commercial package, which potentially gains the software company a skilled user in the employment market, the further spread of their reputation and, once the chips are down, their market share.

I don't know... this all seems too flakey to me. There are so many ways to violate licence agreements it's not even funny. I, for one, am for free enterprise. However, it seems that nobody puts themselves into the shoes of the programmers, though. Just think, how are the programmers going to make a living if they don't get paid for their work?





Here's how I put it...


1. Music- Don't care


I use iTunes though... I guess that makes me a hypocrite.


2. Games- Don't care


I do hope people realize the potential consequences of massive piracy which include no updates, no incentive to make another...


3. As a businessman, I will never support the piracy of industrial software for profit. However, I think it's perfectly acceptable to acquire these softwares (be it, Adobe, UGS, Logic Pro) with strict intentions to learn. In these fields, I think it's VERY safe to say that consumer-end market is minimal to begin with.


I think anyone in a computer based industry is familiar with the demands that candidates be familiar with software being used. Unfortunately, in here we use VERY little software worth acquiring a license for personal use.


Just to give an idea:

My marketer(s) use the entire Adobe suite, plus Final Cut/Keynote.

My engineer(s) use Pro/E Wildfire 3.0 or UGS NX4

My PCB designer(s) use Cadence plus some others...


Not exactly things you can go to the store and get......

For me I stand buy the try before you buy method, for the most part. For the last three years I've been working alongside a computer genius(well really an everything genius) but anyways, my line of work is in Technical Design(Theatre, Concerts, TV, etc..) and I'm a huge computer geek. So naturally there are some applications that are industry standard. Specifically, Cast's WYSIWYG, Vectorworks, AutoCAD. But I'm also a composer, journalist, and photographer. So I use CS2 and Finale. And being an ex-pc user(though I do dual boot alot still) I had to have microsoft office.


The first piece of software I ever pirated was Vectorworks 9, which was a few years old at the time, but I recieved it from the genius I reffered to, who had already recieved a pirated copy. Now this is one of the harder apps to crack, because it requires a dongle to start(or atleast it does now). Years went by, now they realesed a new version I needed(lost the copy of 9.0) so I looked on the popualar places and I found it. I tested it out and everything. even used it for a while(this was well I was on a OSx86 box btw), but then I got a real mac and decided that I liked the software enough to buy it. So I did, I bought the full educational package for $150. Same with Finale(though I only bought Allegro, because it's all I needed. I still haven't bought CS2 though, simply because I don't have the money, and I don't use it that much, but I will be buying lightroom once it's out of beta. I haven't bought WYSIWYG yet either because its $1000+ and it doesn't run on a mac(yet), but I still use my old copy.


On to microsoft, XP really made me mad, I may have installed my license of pro 25+(which was the limit before WGA was made bad) But guess what it was on 2 machines, and at different times, which is what the license says(yes I read it). So I didn't feel I should have to buy ANOTHER $300 copy of it, so I got a new copy. Same with MS office I paid for the student version for windows, I'm not shelling out another $200 to use it on my mac, its only installed on 1 computer. So I got a copy of that too.


Of course that's not the end of my priacy because I'm also a programmer, and I have the Ration Rose discs as well. IBM doesn't even advertise the price on those... And there's the Macromedia suite, and about 40 or so other apps and 4-5 games I play three times a year.


If I like and use a program, and the price isn't to far out of my budget(for a highschool kid, Vectorworks and Allegro were pushing it) then I will buy it. Hell I bought a mac after I fell in love with OSx86 didn't I.

I'm with Hagar on this (funny, I usually agree with Hagar...). Being able to test software without having to pay for it is very, very useful. If you use it for anything other than personal pleasure, you should pay for it.


There is an interesting article here on crytpo products, which is off-topic as far as piracy goes, but makes some very pertinent observations on software in general. I like the car analogy - you can fulfill your desire to buy a red car by looking at it before you buy it and making sure it's red. You have to guess at the manufacturer's claims that its fuel consumption is what you want, and you can't be sure until you've bought it, but at least you can test the claims after the sale. You probably will never know if the airbags work, and even if you are in an accident that deploys them, you won't be sure that they saved your life like they were supposed to since you may have survived for a dozen other reasons.


As the article says, software is like that car. You can buy a package that claims it does something, but find that it doesn't live up to those claims. You probably never know how well it does the job unless you have special equipment and skills to really test it. Does Photoshop produce better quality jpg files than Corel? Is Bestcrypt really secure? The question for me is "Do I want to spend $$$ on something just to have it sit on the shelf?"


I've downloaded pirated versions of many DVD authoring programs in an attempt to find one that does what I want in the way I want to do it. Most just haven't cut the mustard, and they were ditched. Many were not available as trials, and those that were often came crippled so you couldn't really try them properly. I found a product from a small company, at a sensible price, and I bought it. I don't feel bad that I used pirate software during the assessment.


One of the common justifications for piracy is that the user would never buy the package anyway, so the company hasn't lost anything. That holds fairly true in the case of the student with Photoshop who otherwise might have to settle for a cheap imitation. Where it falls down is the point at which the use becomes an everyday thing, or the output goes to other people. If you use something seriously, you should pay for it.


Like most things in life which are declared 'bad' by society, you can rationalise and justify endlessly. Piracy is wrong, but then, so is exceeding the speed limit - and I probably do that every day. It comes down to your own conscience and your view of the extent to which you are prepared to break the law. Generally we view the impact our actions will have on others. That doesn't change the reality that wrong is, well, just wrong.


Oh, and yes, I do have a genuine copy of Photoshop. Fortunately my company paid for it...

I own Photoshop, several versions too. All purchased as full EDU copies for my work at a University. Accademic copy is cheap, so why not?


I see piracy like this: If you are just messing with it, it's fine. If you are using it frequently you should pay for it, and if you are using it to make money for your company... then you should go straight to jail.


Ethics regarding piracy vary depending on the circumstances surrounding it's occurance. If I'm just some guy who wasn't going to buy it anyway, and it's a tinker toy once in a while (Painter IX for example) then I just consider it as a long trial version because that's how I use it anyway. Now if I start to use it more and begin to sell prints that I make with it then I will buy it, because I can't support a product that I'm not financially supporting myself.


I'm not working for free.. and neither are these programmers.



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