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I admit that I been a pirate. But as much as I learned the difference between what's mine and what's not, it's easy for me to take sides. There is a side where things have to be paid for up-front before seeing or using. Then another side where things become free with an option to donate. And then there is one more side where you own all the stuff you created yourself. These are the three sides I take into consideration as to whether I pirate anything good or just simply lay low and leave stuff alone for my safety.

 

Although piracy has gained popularity since the post-1984 era (as most of you would put it), I already learned that piracy is spoiled where there are idiots who don't know what they're doing. This is another reason I stay low, because most users fake popular software or popular music. But for the rest of us, as Steve Jobs always says, that does not always mean the end of piracy. While us the intelligent understand our values and play smart with what we buy or what we get, there will always be someone else online gambling their own freedom by downloading all they want, sharing all they want, or even hacking all they want. One court case against one particular person is not enough which everyone should already know by now. While a PS3 and an XBOX 360 both can be considered a toy, I can tell you all from my experience that the Internet itself is clearly not always a toy!

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I buy software from small, independent developers. Pirating from these people is completely immoral as far as I'm concerned. When it comes to the big, multibillion dollar companies, I pirate software for two reasons: A: It won't hurt them at all. Mr D has provided a valid example with Wal-mart, but I'm pretty sure that the nice 70-year old lady is still going to get paid if I pirate Wal-mart's software for personal use. B: I believe everything should be open source. When every piece of software is licenced under the GPL (yes, you can sell GPL software), and source is being willingly offered, I'll stop pirating. This software wouldn't be any less profitable in the long run, as I'm quite sure most people (including me) simply won't be bothered to compile from source. As far as the getting caught thing, downloading is actually legal here, and I use a VPN, just in case.

 

As you've probably guessed by now, I'm anti-copyright.

 

Just my opinion, I'm not implying anyone else should/has to live up with these standards. :)

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Software is not that expensive nowadays,if you can't afford it there is an open source alternative to many of them. People who torrent apps like Adobe Photoshop will not buy it anyway,and could be satisfied by an open source alternative such as Gimp. Here,in Croatia piracy is normal. 99% of population has some kind of pirated software or a copyright material on their computers,even coffee shops and internet cafe's use pirated OS. There are laws against it but are rarely excersised.

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I buy software from small, independent developers. Pirating from these people is completely immoral as far as I'm concerned. When it comes to the big, multibillion dollar companies, I pirate software for two reasons: A: It won't hurt them at all. Mr D has provided a valid example with Wal-mart, but I'm pretty sure that the nice 70-year old lady is still going to get paid if I pirate Wal-mart's software for personal use. B: I believe everything should be open source. When every piece of software is licenced under the GPL (yes, you can sell GPL software), and source is being willingly offered, I'll stop pirating. This software wouldn't be any less profitable in the long run, as I'm quite sure most people (including me) simply won't be bothered to compile from source. As far as the getting caught thing, downloading is actually legal here, and I use a VPN, just in case.

 

As you've probably guessed by now, I'm anti-copyright.

 

Just my opinion, I'm not implying anyone else should/has to live up with these standards. :)

 

An interesting article on making things open source and why: http://tom.preston-werner.com/2011/11/22/open-source-everything.html

 

It prefers the MIT license, and so do I given the parameters of their reasoning, but not for everything.

 

I do have to pick at one of "your" arguments (in quotes because it has been made by others many-a time). Though your shoplifting from WalMart does not directly affect Gladys, the 70-yr old greeter, and her position with the company, we cannot look at issues like this with such a narrow scope of view. If we are to consider a corporation (Wal-Mart, Adobe etc.) then we must consider the ENTIRE corporation and all of its sources of income. So it's not just you shoplifting that will affect Gladys' job, it's every Tom, {censored} and Harry that has EVER shoplifted in EVERY city in EVERY state that has a Wal-Mart. This therefore creates a compounded effect. I would not be surprised is Wal-Mart loses $150,000 a week in stolen merchandise. Forget Gladys, that's a middle-management salary or even seven of Gladys! This is why such actions can ONLY be considered on a more universal scale. So if I go and download Adobe CS6 Master, it's not a huge amount of money Adobe loses out on in and of itself. But when you look at all of the people across the WORLD that are doing so, we're talking billions of dollars. Do you think the music and film industries would be pushing so hard for legislation if we weren't talking enormous sums? They are spending millions right now lobbying for harsher penalties for piracy, which tells me they are currently losing at least that or more.

 

Software is not that expensive nowadays, if you can't afford it there is an open source alternative to many of them. People who torrent apps like Adobe Photoshop will not buy it anyway,and could be satisfied by an open source alternative such as Gimp. Here,in Croatia piracy is normal. 99% of population has some kind of pirated software or a copyright material on their computers,even coffee shops and internet cafe's use pirated OS. There are laws against it but are rarely excersised.

 

I agree with you about GIMP for sure. It is what I used for several years before saving up and buying the Adobe Suite. If anyone views this as a sub-standard photo editor, please head over to Deviatart and search for works created by GIMP. I think you will agree that when it comes to digital art, the power of your tools will only take you so far. GIMP served me very well, I finally switched to CS5 for some of the conveniences it offered to my photography biz. You know, the governments of Eastern Europe really should start an interest-free software-selling system, whereby people can pay down the software like a car (except without interest). As I said in my original comment, like it or not it's the law, and there is a certain moral duty to obey reasonable laws. For those that are unreasonable, we either have the option to take action and change the law through petition and activism, or we can practice civil disobedience (at least in the U.S., although I believe the U.N. has similar allowances). The problem is, civil disobedience by theft is rarely a good PR move and I can't see it doing much to promote open software.

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GIMP is an excellent example of a superb open source software that is still on par with others of its kind. But it carries what I call "open source stigma" which means,if its free it must be inferior to other solutions. This was true many years ago. Now we got software like Blender,LibreOffice and GIMP and many others that are powerfull open source alternatives.

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Some software, you will only use once, or not very often at all.

 

If you're a designer, photographer, illustrator etc, then yes - you should probably support the industry you're in and pay the full asking price.

But if it's something like a tool you need for a small task, then using the trial version is adequate. However, when trials are restrictive, then that's when I go on the hunt for cracks or full versions to install.

However, I do try to always go OpenSource where possible.

 

I liked the comment earlier about pirating because you can't afford it - but I also feel pirating is also caused by things being over valued; such as Photoshop. Is it "really" worth $700??

And this then goes on for everything. Is an Album with 12 tracks but only 3 are any good really worth the asking price? Are any of Apple's devices "really" worth their asking price? If they were, would there be a purpose for Hackintosh's?

 

It becomes a war against greed.

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I liked the comment earlier about pirating because you can't afford it - but I also feel pirating is also caused by things being over valued; such as Photoshop. Is it "really" worth $700??

[...]

It becomes a war against greed.

 

I totally agree with you that corporations such as Adobe are more concerned about profit than anything else. That said, the people who worked hard on the software itself might not be. Again, I don't think you can separate the two, beyond your own mind. Stealing from Adobe is stealing from John Smith who designed part of the software. Profits go down, his salary could potentially be diminished or his position could be "down-sized". This is not a call for companies to go hog-wild with their pricing and be allowed to be greedy, but from a philosophical and very practical point of view, you cannot separate a company from its employees in this situation. If you're going to flip Adobe the bird, you have to be morally okay with flipping it to the hard-working employees too.

 

Feel free to disagree with me (this is highly subjective), but I think photoshop is worth $700. Honestly if you're not creating professionally (i.e. where you get paid), then GIMP is more than enough. Even some pros use GIMP, and create amazing work. I designed a few posters last week and got paid $350, which is half of the value of photoshop in just over 15 hours of work...that makes it totally worth it in my mind...

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I don't think Photoshop is overpriced. Not at all. If you do photography for leaving, then it's the tool you depend on. It's an investment that will pay off quite soon (the more work you do, the sooner it will).

 

There are other software products for other industries (i.e. architecture, construction, engineering...) which are priced much more then Photoshop. It all depends on the scale of profits typical for the industry. If you earn more, you can (and in most cases you WILL) spend more. IMO the cost, in most cases, can be justified if you look in to it from different angles.

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What I would honestly like to hear, is a well reasoned argument for piracy. Not just the usual key phrases that are regurgitated, but a well thought-out explanation with supporting evidence. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but price and availability are NOT valid defenses for the argument. They are reasons for people to download software, but not a defense as to the morality/legitimacy of such actions.

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And this then goes on for everything. Is an Album with 12 tracks but only 3 are any good really worth the asking price? Are any of Apple's devices "really" worth their asking price? If they were, would there be a purpose for Hackintosh's?

If an album only has 3 good songs. that's the beauty of digital distribution because you can buy just the 3 songs and not the entire album.

 

"Worth" is completely subjective. WhatTheTech and 3.14r2 (and many others) believe that Photoshop is worth the $700, many do not as well and thus go beyond the bounds of the law (in most countries) to obtain it. But for professionals, they are willing to spend the money on it, because they need it. For the casual user, I don't know that I'd recommend getting Photoshop because of the price (unless, of course, you're a college student; my sis got Photoshop CS5 from Arizona State for $80), and that's why we have GIMP. Another program: Finale, music notation software. It costs $600 (w/o discount). But it not only allows you to create sheet music, but contains many Garritan instruments (very realistic instruments that are very expensive standalone), and allows you to record audio straight in, among a plethora of other features, and many people love it. I know we do, we have the full version of Finale because we write a lot of music (but it's only $350 with education discount, so that helped). But this argument has already been rehashed so I'll move on...

 

For me, I believe that all of Apple's devices are worth their asking price (with the exception of the Mac Pro, as of 3/29/13). I have many reasons, but even though you might be able to get a similarly spec'ed PC for $100-$500 cheaper than the equivalent Mac, there are a lot of things about Macs that make them unique; in Apple notebooks, battery life has always been superior (even pre-Unibody machines had good batteries, for the most part, and the Unibodies are unbeatable), and the build of Macs is very sturdy yet utterly beautiful, with everything custom designed and well thought out. And no, the value of Apple's computers has nothing to do whatsoever with the existence of hackintoshing. I and many others hackintosh for the fun of it/educational purposes. My hackintoshing started with repairing a friend's iMac, and then he gave me his old PC. Since my family is a bunch of Mac-heads, we didn't have Windows lying around, and so I thought "What the heck, let's see if this actually works," and I hoped it did because I really needed an Intel Mac instead of the G3 I was using. :P And it did work. And I've learned so much. But I would buy an Apple computer any day, hands down.

 

But I digress. :)

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Going back to the original question:

 

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?

 

Answering for myself, someone else's unethical actions have no consequence on the ethicality of my own actions. Whether it's a problem with the user or the product is immaterial - there are free alternative operating systems, so there is no legitimate excuse.

 

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?

If any one of time, effort or money went in to making those 1's and 0's into a product, then yes. I see no difference.

 

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

Even more so today. Someone really needs to make an infographic on acquiring software, but:

 

1) Can I afford it? If yes, purchase, if no, move to step two.

2) Is there an open-source alternative? Is yes, download it, if no, move to step three.

3) Can I live without it? If yes, stop here, if no, move to step four.

4) Is there another way to get it? Share cost with friend? If yes, do so, if no, move to step five.

5) You cannot have the software at this time.

 

I know, I know - this goes against everything that our "want it now get it now" generation is used to, but it's my honest feelings and what I do in regards to software. I went half in with a friend to get the Adobe Suite and made some big sacrifices to have Aperture...it wasn't easy, but totally worth it!

 

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Well, technically I didn't purchase my Adobe Suite either because our school has it available for free. But I could understand why someone who isn't in school probably couldn't afford to spend the kind of money Adobe is asking for...

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