Editorial

Editorial: How piracy changed my life

There have been many discussions lately about piracy and how to combat it, including some pretty radical measures. But I believe most people glance over some of the positive effects that piracy has. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging it and I’m not saying it’s good, I’m just saying that it’s not all black and white. Piracy is only a symptom of something more: whether it’s bad business models, restrictive markets, or economic problems. And I think my own story proves this point.

I was born in Romania, a country that had just gone through a revolution and was re-becoming a democracy. We, as a society, were just remembering what democracy was and how a free market works. We were just seeing what major technological breakthroughs had happened in the last 30 years in the west while our own country and populace had remained uninformed and technologically inept.

My first PC was a Pentium MMX which had an amazing 166 Mhz processor, 2 GB hard drive and 64 Mb of RAM if I remember right. At this time most of the folks around had 386 and 486 machines running DOS, so the blueish background of Windows 95 was kind of a big deal.

Now here’s the twist: that copy of Windows 95 I used was pirated. It came from a family friend who had it on a few floppy disks. It’s not because my family was cheap or wanted to commit a crime, it was because there simply wasn’t any alternative. Windows wasn’t sold anywhere in the country – at least not legally.

A few years later when Windows 98 came out the same thing happened all over again. The family friend came by with a bunch of disks and installed the OS on our PC.

By the time XP was rolling out, Microsoft had finally taken a real interest in our country, not to mention the fact that the free market was finally in full swing, so there were a lot of legitimate ways to buy the new OS. But here’s the catch: often times it was at least as expensive as the PC itself, so buying it would literally double your costs. Oh, and in case you are wondering, that would amount to about 3 months worth of salary. To give you a better idea, imagine Windows costing about $2,000.

I was pretty lucky as I got an original copy of XP bundled with the new PC my family had just bought. However, one year later when the motherboard went up in flames and we had to buy new hardware, we went back to the family friend.

For the next 5-6 years I used that PC with that pirated version of Windows to download an infinite number of games and software – all illegally. From the most basic Half-Life and Warcraft to the full-blown Creative Suite from Adobe. Again this happened not only because of price, though shilling out a few thousand dollars for Adobe’s CS would have been absolutely insane and would have sent any family into poverty, but rather because most of this software wasn’t even available on the market.

It is because of piracy that I had access to information that would have otherwise been impossible to find. It is because of piracy that I learned how to use Photoshop, how to edit movies, how to install an operating system.

And I am not the only one. All of my friends that have ended up working in the IT field began by using pirated software. How else would a 15 year old learn to use software that costs thousands of dollars, when the average monthly income was about $200? How else would an average kid in this country have learned stuff that’s price restrictive even in the US or the UK?

And here’s the thing: it’s because of piracy that most of us have jobs today. Without all those hours spent learning the software, my friends and I would not have become graphic designers, or game developers, or technology writers. I daresay we would have been much less productive members of society.

I know I’ve said some pretty incriminating things, but the catch is none of us pirate anymore. Why? Because we always knew pirating wasn’t right, but we never really had any other choice. But now when we all have jobs, when the content is finally available, and when the companies have changed their business models to give cheap access to students and teaching institutions ($39 Windows anyone?) we all choose to buy our software, music and movies. Oh, and that family friend that always had hacked operating systems for us? Well he’s now a manager at IBM.

Most people pirate out of need not out of greed. And pirated software can be of vital importance to the development of a generation in under-privileged regions. Of course cheap and accessible software would be a lot better, but there’s so little of that going around.

As for the people who do pirate out of greed, well they’re just bumholes but luckily for us there’s not that many of them out there. I'm really curious what your own thoughts are, and hopefully we can get a real intelligent conversation going.

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I am appauled when reading the comments that nobody (or almost nobody) says anything about FREE SOFWARE. I mean "free as in free-speech (freedom) not as in free beer (gratis)". Also known as OPEN SOURCE sofware or LIBRE.
And these free/libre softwares are all (or almost all) free of charge, and do not include adds or malware like many "free-beer" softwares. Upgrades are free too. You can find them on the Internet and download them LEGALLY and use them on your Windows / Mac OS (and GNU/Linux of course) operating systems.

I do not use cracked commercial softwares because - and that's thanks to the Internet - I can find a free/libre software for every one of my needs. And often these free/libre softwares are even better than their commercial counterparts.
You can participate in making them better even if your are not a developper.

Why are commercial sofwares so easy to crack ? That's because (and this is obvious from the article and the comments above) it is the best interest of the companies that produce them to have them used by the greatest number of people, especially by the young people (who can't afford it).
Microsoft, Adobe and the others want you to "pirate" their software (if you can't pay for them or can't find them). What they really do not want you to do is to use free/libre softwares instead of their products.

THE REAL PROBLEM IS that free/libre softwares are not enough known by the people, especially in poor countries. There are websites that maintain lists of free/libre softwares. There must be some websites like this in your own language.

Here are the 4 most commonly used free/libre softwares (they are translated in a very large number of languages) :
LibreOffice is a replacement for MS Office (http://libreoffice.org)
Mozilla Firefox is a replacement for MS Internet Explorer
Mozilla Thunderbird is a replacement for MS Outlook (http://mozilla.org)
GIMP is a replacement for Photoshop (http://gimp.org)

They are free for all. Work on all systems. And they help you increase your freedom and your privacy.

"A few years later when Windows 98 came out the same thing happened all over again. The family friend came by with a bunch of disks and installed the OS on our PC."

Win 98 took that many discs?

Just came here to say great article, great read, and insight to your situation. It's rather bothersome when people bother others, downplaying everything they say or do simply because they cannot wrap their heads around the idea of someone who struggles.

I grew up with a mother who was coked out of her mind half the time, and a non-existent father. If it wasn't for one of my mom's boyfriends actually being a computer nerd, I'd probably have zero interest in computers. Using his PC from ages 13-16, I taught myself how to code websites, utilize photoshop, and so many other things that I'm incredibly grateful for.

I don't condone the act of piracy these days, though I still do it only as a temporary means. (pretty much the equivalent of paying with a credit card until I have the funds to back it up. broke college student here) And with services like Spotify and Steam... man, it's hard to want to pirate at all anyway. So much convenience all right at your fingertips!

Anyway, again, thank you!

I am very disappointed that my comment was removed as I said NOTHING illegal. Do not censor member's opinions. Its disgusting and if it was known more, there would be less members on Neowin.

Since I have not broken any rule on Neowin, this is the comment I put before it was deleted (I also added some additional points)

I pirate almost everything I can, even if its free. Do I think it is correct? No. I am a programmer currently and I feel that the programmers that work on hard games and their game gets pirated "hurts" in a way. But I (and I hope they do to) relalize that whatever you do, your software will get pirated. Fact. Its just that simple.

But on to my original post that was deleted. The reasons I pirate are the following:

1: I dont want to get up from the chair in from of my computer
2: I dont want to click this link to add to cart, fill in my personal data, pay using card/Paypal.......Open your favorite torrent search, search for what you are looking for, open the torrent file, DONE. And free.
3: I choose the language I want when in my country there is only one language avaliable at retail (even sometimes online)
4: I get content faster than when released in my country and with 3
5: I get content that wont be released in my country
6: I can test if the product works correctly with my hardware; If it does, I use it. If it doesnt, I delete it. If I bought it, I would have to go to the store again (40 mins away which is 80 minutes lost), see if they will give me my money back or if I have to change it for something of similar value, etc...
7: Prices are completely blown out.
8: 99% of software on a mobile platform should not cost any type of money. I completely agree and encourage all non annoying ads in free apps and DO NOT remove them.

I could go on and on why I pirate software.

Also (I havent read the compelete comments section as I was very annoyed that Neowin removed my comment) a lot of people say usually, if you steal software, its like stealing a car. would you steal a car? My answer to that question is that if it was easy and simple, yes I would steal a car, a bank, a old lady, etc. Im sure someone would rob me so I would rob them. Difference is that pirating software is a lot easier than stealing. Thats why I dont do both.

Thats my opinion

pes2013 said,
I am very disappointed that my comment was removed as I said NOTHING illegal. Do not censor member's opinions. Its disgusting and if it was known more, there would be less members on Neowin.

Since I have not broken any rule on Neowin, this is the comment I put before it was deleted (I also added some additional points)

I pirate almost everything I can, even if its free. Do I think it is correct? No. I am a programmer currently and I feel that the programmers that work on hard games and their game gets pirated "hurts" in a way. But I (and I hope they do to) relalize that whatever you do, your software will get pirated. Fact. Its just that simple.

But on to my original post that was deleted. The reasons I pirate are the following:

1: I dont want to get up from the chair in from of my computer
2: I dont want to click this link to add to cart, fill in my personal data, pay using card/Paypal.......Open your favorite torrent search, search for what you are looking for, open the torrent file, DONE. And free.
3: I choose the language I want when in my country there is only one language avaliable at retail (even sometimes online)
4: I get content faster than when released in my country and with 3
5: I get content that wont be released in my country
6: I can test if the product works correctly with my hardware; If it does, I use it. If it doesnt, I delete it. If I bought it, I would have to go to the store again (40 mins away which is 80 minutes lost), see if they will give me my money back or if I have to change it for something of similar value, etc...
7: Prices are completely blown out.
8: 99% of software on a mobile platform should not cost any type of money. I completely agree and encourage all non annoying ads in free apps and DO NOT remove them.

I could go on and on why I pirate software.

Also (I havent read the compelete comments section as I was very annoyed that Neowin removed my comment) a lot of people say usually, if you steal software, its like stealing a car. would you steal a car? My answer to that question is that if it was easy and simple, yes I would steal a car, a bank, a old lady, etc. Im sure someone would rob me so I would rob them. Difference is that pirating software is a lot easier than stealing. Thats why I dont do both.

Thats my opinion

And these are exactly the type of people who SHOULD get arrested and thrown in jail.
You pirate because you're lazy, not because it's difficult (or impossible) to get something you need.

It's not the usual poor kid next door who NEEDS to learn this stuff that bothers me. It's people who have jobs and responsible adults who know better that pirate stuff. No offence, but I don't see why they should steal if I pay. I'm not rich. I earn an average wage for a designer. Nothing super. So why do so many people who earn what I earn or even more, rip software, movies, games etc off? It's unjustified. Good article, but it highlights issues that I don't think are quite covered by the average earning adult.

TV shows is the only thing i download right now. I have the money to pay for everything and everything is avalaible here.

We have access to most american TV channels but we are missing some like CW and AMC. So for those channels i download the shows cause the local channels here get the shows often 2 years later (if they ever get them).

I wanted to pay for HBO last year for Game of thrones (was ready to pay 5$ a month for the time of the show) so i called my cable provider and it was impossible for me to have HBO since i had Super Écran package instead of TMN package. So i downloaded the show.

This is was my problem i remember i buy the genuine windows Vista and this is how my nightmare start it nothing was Compatible and my pc was Super slow not because i don't have the lot of memory or graphic card or good CPU , it because windows Vista was Horrible every know it anyway even Microsoft , so i call Microsoft to get my money back and they say the can't not give me my money back i was so mad that day so i downgrade to XP. so i was stock with Vista and lose my money .. so i pay for something that didn't work at all . so i understad why some people use Pirate windows .. sorry for my bad English

With regards to movies, as long as cinemas charge 10 EUR for popcorn (and forbid you to bring your own), people will pirate them.

Anti-piracy advocates / enforcers couldn't care less what your excuses you use..
You will be *if caught crucified to the max extent of the law.
So what does this story hope to accomplish ? Public opinion ?
There is no swaying the opinions of ant-pirates. Logic and reason exists for these people
to twist and contort into something they can use to suit their needs and they rest they can't use will simply be ignored.
Short version of what i said ? Your wasting your time..
Your directing your thoughts at people who will plug their ears and lecture you.

There may be times when i think piracy is wrong *morally but so is spending your paycheck at the bar or blowing money at the race track or what ever.
The key issue is copying something is NOT the same as STEALING something
and no matter what reality shifting, logic warping symantecs anti-piracy advocates want to force on people they can never nor will they ever Prove an apple is an orange.
they are 2 distinct separate things and there for NO MORE people should be fined millions of dollars and have their lives ruined and thrown in jail over deceitful scumbags tricking law enforcement into patching and band-aid'ing their sad and pathetic dying business model.

And my story would be pretty much the same.. same stuff, same reasons, same old pc hardware lol ..so i see where your coming from
The only part i would disagree with is the statement "most people pirate out of greed"
This is not true.. Most people pirate because they want to and don't need to give a reason.. it is their right to do so. it's called file sharing and it is entirely legal to do so !

If people can't make money with their products then too bad ..cry me a river.
Find something else to sell.. don't make a business out of harassment and extortion etc
If Pie sales are low at the grocery store should they go to the fruit stand on the highway and kick over their displays and confiscate their pies ? Yank the fork out of a little girls mouth and punch out her daddy and throw him in jail and fine his wife 1.2 million dollars ?

I just don't get how someone pirates on album and gets charged say 1,000 uploads x the full retail cost (that would be lossless content on a physical disc w/ packaging)
and some how to judges that is the same as an MP3 download ..never mind the fact they are recouping more than full retail value AND the item is never being sold in a store with retail mark up so clearly they make a large profit on suing people lol
yeah nice business model.. I bet they would rather sue 1 uploader than have to go and sell 1,000 physical cd's and actually have to pay for manufacturing etc.

Ant-piracy advocates will be buried and laughed at and ****ed on.. they just need to arrest a few more little girls for their Justin Bieber downloads on "Winnie The Poo" laptops..

@I am Not a PCyr

What people need to understand is that the lawyers working for the big media companies, at a minimum, bill $250 an hour. While boutique law firms are assembled to support these cases, most layers don't want to touch anything without at least a $2,500+ return on their time for a day's work. Even if the media companies could enforce their IP rights systematically (individual abuse discovery) on the internet, there's no way the companies can afford to bring legal action in volume.

The best course of action is for everyone to support each other and the content creators directly. If you appreciate an individual's product, find a way to support them directly and the costs to everyone will fall over time.

"disintermediation" of the media industry!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disintermediation

best,

Daniel
Founder
nwzPaper.com

Dan McReavy said,
The best course of action is for everyone to support each other and the content creators directly. If you appreciate an individual's product, find a way to support them directly and the costs to everyone will fall over time.

Exactly! In the field of software, I call it donationware.
For musicians? Trust me, there are tons of YouTube musicians who go by nothing but releasing their original songs on iTunes and make amateur music videos that get tons of views and at least some revenue. But they have fans, and not the usual fans like popular artists - in a community such as YouTube, fans=supporters=friends who will find a way to donate some money for, let's say, a new mic, a better camera, or production for a video etc. and still go to iTunes and buy the song/EP/album. Why? Because in the end, they get a "thank you" for their support and time and effort to help out.

Disintermediation of the media indistry is what we need, and what would benefit both the content creators as well as consumers. The world would just be a better place, and a much less greedy place, to live in.

Great article. I have my own personal experiences as well but they mirror many in this discussion thread (which has been excellent so far) so I won't repeat them here.

I will say though that the software and some elements of the games industries are tackling piracy the right way. The goal of reducing piracy is to introduce or keep inconveniences associated with pirated games and software high, and to make conversion an easy process. Or as others pointed out above, introduce more product offerings to recognize potential in markets and user groups. Microsoft's efforts in reaching out to student developers is one example. And for games, we have digital distribution outlets that deals away with discs and DRM, and also offers community features, cloud sync, play on any computer, regular sales, etc. Offer a great service and people will come.

It also seems that chasing after pirates isn't the primary concern of anti-piracy orgs as relating to software. You pirate a game on say your Xbox 360? You get a ban. That's it. There isn't a fear of some ****** media industry org plotting a lawsuit in your direction.

All of the media companies are failing because their business model isn't scalable in a digitally connected world like ours, today. Not only that, people are correct that the value of tabloid articles is at or approaching the zero-limit price-level.

It took decades for MSFT to extend its supply chain and marketing to support a Romanian software market and adjust their pricing and business model to support the glut of demand at a lower pricing level. Similarly, the media industry needs to adjust its distribution, pricing and business models if it wants to participate and support and global market for its product.

What is lacking is a publishing platform with a globally scalable geospatial information system to organize content, a transparent content/user audit facility to build community trust and a pricing module to support peer2peer news production and dissemination.

nwzPaper is building it and the beta is public. Get the word out!

http://nwzpaper.com/articleView?articleId=68
http://nwzpaper.com/articleView?articleId=79

i used to pirate 100% of the games i play but was able to reduce it to 60%
atm i can't afford to buy them all. after all some has high prices.and i saw in a comment that the first OS he bought was WIN8
same here. price was fair and it all worth it.. piracy is what keeps the balance

shameezh said,
i used to pirate 100% of the games i play but was able to reduce it to 60%
atm i can't afford to buy them all. after all some has high prices.and i saw in a comment that the first OS he bought was WIN8
same here. price was fair and it all worth it.. piracy is what keeps the balance

I dont get how games can cost millions to produce and retail for $60, but movies cost billions and retail for $15..

srbeen said,

I dont get how games can cost millions to produce and retail for $60, but movies cost billions and retail for $15..


No movie costs billions....

In addition, movies have a wider audience, and then sell rights for pay per view, DVDs, etc. A game that's a few months old usually drops in price.

Great article. Well said with the need and greed stuff. The only exception in my view is the downloading of tv shows. To me - thats just from lack of commercial stations in whatever country taking 3-6 months after the show has aired in the US to play catch up.

But that begs the question - is downloading tv shows piracy?

Anarkii said,

But that begs the question - is downloading tv shows piracy?

TV shows in the US at least are protected under copyright law. Depending on your country it may or may not be illegal to reproduce a copyright work from another country. 90% of the time this is illegal.

But I get your drift. If you could pay $8 a month and get access to commercial-free hulu library - which EVERY american can - or BBC or Sky1 or any UK network, you wouldn't need to find those torrents. Like many others, piracy is driven by content availability. Ironically the station you may need to pay a lot for where you are, is likely free OTA in its territory.

Wow guys, I'm truly humbled by the overwhelming response. Thanks for all the nice words and most of all thanks for your mature intelligent replies. This is exactly what I wanted with this piece and it's awesome that it happened.

Vlad Dudau said,
Wow guys, I'm truly humbled by the overwhelming response. Thanks for all the nice words and most of all thanks for your mature intelligent replies. This is exactly what I wanted with this piece and it's awesome that it happened.

That's what happens whenever you write something original and truly epic! Awesome editorial is awesome, there are some really outstanding comments about this subject that it seems like all of us, including myself, is guilty of in one way or another. Thank you for this, Vlad!

What some companies consider piracy nowadays is just ridiculous.

Take YouTube, for example: there are a bagillion channels that upload nothing but copyrighted content, (mainly) music, with nothing to add to it but lyrics and pictures of shiny Edwards and rainbow unicorns. That is unacceptable by any means.

Then there are channels that create original content, like vloggers, who record their whole lives day by day, many of them literally daily. Like any of us, they come across music on the radio while driving, popular hits that echo through the mall etc. and it's all "caught on tape". So when they post it on their channels, they automatically can't make any money off of those videos because it has copyrighted content. What? It's a real-time situation where the music is not the focus of the video, it is merely an unavoidable environment they cannot possibly exclude without replacing the whole audio stream in that clip, which in the end they're forced to do, actually... Completely and utterly stupid, if you ask me.

What I'm trying to say is that, in such a case, merely a couple of seconds of a popular song playing in the background is enough for someone to shout out "piracy", even though such "effects" cannot be controlled by the creator of the content - so why should they be punished while others run a muck uploading "fan" videos of music they probably stole in the first place and will never pay for it anyway? Sure, they can never make money from those videos at all, but their channels are still up while other people's channels get threatened.

Some people use piracy because they don't know better, or don't care, but some people don't have a choice, exactly like it was described in the article. This is why I appreciate donationware much more than anything else, and such an idea would benefit each and every business in the field of software.
Look at VLC! It is one of the most popular media players of today with a colossal fanbase - and yet it's completely free. Facebook is the largest social network on the planet - and they never forced users to cough up cash for the service. If more software companies approached the idea of donationware, we wouldn't be hunting for keygens and cracks and crap. I understand some things are just too much of an effort to be completely free, but hey, a $40 Windows? Imagine something like that in the XP days. There would be no competition (not that there is any real competition when it comes to home PCs) in the field unless other companies followed.

I, myself, succumb to piracy because I live in a sh***y country with sh***y monthly incomes from sh***y jobs... Worse yet, even if it wasn't like that, I don't have a place to buy legal software, music, DVDs (no PayPal=you can't buy sh*t) etc. All the shops that used to sell original copies were shut down years ago because people don't have that kind of money. Especially if it's not a major popular artist, and even those sometimes take months before their albums come to a single (I repeat, SINGLE!) store in town. So how can I listen to music? Through YouTube's channels full of shiny Edwards and rainbow unicorns (not literally, lol!) or piracy.
Safe to say, without piracy, I would still be living in 2004 with no knowledge of anything, or any music, movies, and software. It doesn't make it okay to use piracy, of course, but what other choice do I have? Do I have to make a decision if I want to eat for a few months or buy a piece of software (even if I did have the place to buy it from, which I don't)? Well, guess which one I'll pick.

Gornot said,
What some companies consider piracy nowadays is just ridiculous.

.
Look at VLC! It is one of the most popular media players of today with a colossal fanbase - and yet it's completely free. Facebook is the largest social network on the planet - and they never forced users to cough up cash for the service. If more software companies approached the idea of donationware, we wouldn't be hunting for keygens and cracks and crap. I understand some things are just too much of an effort to be completely free, but hey, a $40 Windows? Imagine something like that in the XP days. There would be no competition (not that there is any real competition when it comes to home PCs) in the field unless other companies followed.

k.


This is exactly what companies need to do. There is always a reason why people resort to it, find the main reason and find ways to combat it. Don't just shun the people, find ways to connect to them. Offering music services that provide free streaming is a good example, Netflix with unlimited movies. There are plenty of services out that offer some sort of way to help consumers get the content in a more feasible way.

True story, i pirate because i can't watch tv shows from the U.S like TBBT and Community in Indonesia but for pirated games i buy them either online or offline

as for piracy people shouldn't feel guilty for doing it if they believe in the free flow of information but I do strongly encourage donations to the content providers

I'm in Canada, and a pretty young guy. I don't make loads of money right now and my funds are rather limited to paying for essentials. Anyways, so I pirate my music, my videos.... I figure I've pirated quite a bit worth. But the point is not how much I pirated, but if I would have bought it if it was enforced to that point. I wouldn't have.

I pay for things I can afford, things that make sense and are not going to run me dry. I pay for video games because I buy only 1 a year. I pay for Netflix, because it is a cheap alternative (though needing massive improvements). I pay(d) for Zune Pass, because It was a cheap way to have all the music I wanted.

Anyways, from my experience, I think its best to say that companies need to be priced competitively to grab the hearts of the people who are unable to pay up big dollars. Yes, people who have manager jobs at IBM can now afford it, but think about the family who has to work at walmart? they are still part of society even if it is a poor career. The company has to think of ways to get to those people as well.

As for me, I'm a student.... I don't know when I'll be able to afford everything. But I have a feeling that once I get a real job, a real career ill be buying everything that I need. Just because I can. But please, keep In mind there are others who simply cannot get a good job... I have a feeling they are the population that is pirating. Like myself currently.

So really, who is at fault for piracy. Society or the Pirates?

Piracy of software and business-related materials is a symptom of a larger problem. For instance, you could argue the advancement of our society is no longer optimally served by the traditional model "Make good grades, go to a good college, get a good job." Today if you want to compete on the global scale, it's necessary to learn by doing. That certainly doesn't describe what most students do in college these days. Schools are seldom prepared to teach students how to grow up and make money in the tech sector. Also, you can learn and use free and open source software for free or nearly free. But there's just no getting away from Photoshop and Windows sometimes.

auziez said,
I'm in Canada, and a pretty young guy. I don't make loads of money right now and my funds are rather limited to paying for essentials. Anyways, so I pirate my music, my videos.... I figure I've pirated quite a bit worth. But the point is not how much I pirated, but if I would have bought it if it was enforced to that point. I wouldn't have.

To me it's one thing to pirate essential items for your future commercial productivity, but it's an entirely different story if you're one of these self-entitled guys who needs "my music" and "my videos" to live. No, you don't need "your music" or "your videos". You want them. And furthermore, since when has the human experience been about having 'your videos'. We've only had videos for 100 ****ing years. But you just have to have it, don't you? You couldn't possibly pay Apple $10 for the Lion King. No, let's just give you "your videos".

Your consumption of entertainment products isn't making society any richer. The only argument that sits with me is how, in aggregate, pirate communities have led to a diverse and efficient product discovery mechanism. But this can also be solved with commercial ventures led by companies without their heads up their azzes.

ausiez, I'm not saying you're a bad person for pirating videos. I just resent that you're justifying your actions with a sense of self-entitlement. I understand the film companies and their representatives are dicks, but you really never needed to have their products in the first place. Entertainment is not a "need". Some films are actually quite good. The inputs were man hours and ingenuity, and the result was a timeless classic. We need to encourage people to make timeless classics by ensuring them that you're set for life if you ever make it happen.

On the other hand, business skills are a need. IT skills are a need. Education is a need.

auziez said,
As for me, I'm a student....

Oh, so you're a student? Guess what, you ARE entitled to different standards than others. Congratulations.

auziez said,
So really, who is at fault for piracy. Society or the Pirates?

The day you convince me that you, watching Pirates of the Carribean 2 for free, is productive for the rest of society in any way or makes you more money over a lifetime is the day I'll condone it.

mouth said,
The day you convince me that you, watching Pirates of the Carribean 2 for free, is productive for the rest of society in any way or makes you more money over a lifetime is the day I'll condone it.

It would be pretty easy to argue for that as much as any other pirated material. Entertainment helps people de-stress, and removing stress helps people work better. Sometimes people are in really ****ty situations, with anxiety/depression problems and stressful jobs, and pirating entertainment helps their life as much as anything. -- Second, some people are inspired by entertainment products, to go on into making entertainment or art themselves. So a computer game that a 13 year-old middle school student pirates might inspire him to write computer games himself, or get interested in the subject that a computer game is about. An RPGer might get interested in medieval history and folklore, etc.

Which isn't to say I'm making that type of argument. Instead of watching Hollywood entertainment, you could take walks, exercise, or simply learn better ways to deal with stressors, so you don't get stressed to begin with. You could make the same type of argument for productive software too. People can be thrifty and save money to buy a copy of Photoshop, or if not, use it at a community computer lab. Even if you're just a high school student, a part-time job can earn you enough money to buy software pretty quickly. In most cases, even in poor neighborhoods, there's always a more straight and narrow way to do things, even if the more straight and narrow way is always a harder path.

So I agree with you to that point, people who blame society for their pirating often simply overlook the idea that they may simply be *spoiled*.

On the other hand, there's a different between supporting an ethic of not pirating and being overly moralistic and pious about it. I see the pirating issue the same way as vice issues like drug use, sex, etc. Its good to have a conservative personal ethic about these things, but its bad when you aren't honest about the reality of how things work. The fact that people may be spoiled, self-entitled, and self-indulgent also doesn't change the fact that most piracy won't hurt companies in the end or the fact that most intellectual property is overpriced to begin with.

The problem with the piracy debate, imo, as with most of these debates about vice is that it gets stuck between people who want to be conservative about it vs. people who want to be liberal about it, but there's common ground between the two viewpoints.

mouth said,
Piracy of software and business-related materials is a symptom of a larger problem. For instance, you could argue the advancement of our society is no longer optimally served by the traditional model "Make good grades, go to a good college, get a good job." Today if you want to compete on the global scale, it's necessary to learn by doing. That certainly doesn't describe what most students do in college these days. Schools are seldom prepared to teach students how to grow up and make money in the tech sector. Also, you can learn and use free and open source software for free or nearly free. But there's just no getting away from Photoshop and Windows sometimes.

To me it's one thing to pirate essential items for your future commercial productivity, but it's an entirely different story if you're one of these self-entitled guys who needs "my music" and "my videos" to live. No, you don't need "your music" or "your videos". You want them. And furthermore, since when has the human experience been about having 'your videos'. We've only had videos for 100 ****ing years. But you just have to have it, don't you? You couldn't possibly pay Apple $10 for the Lion King. No, let's just give you "your videos".

Your consumption of entertainment products isn't making society any richer. The only argument that sits with me is how, in aggregate, pirate communities have led to a diverse and efficient product discovery mechanism. But this can also be solved with commercial ventures led by companies without their heads up their azzes.

ausiez, I'm not saying you're a bad person for pirating videos. I just resent that you're justifying your actions with a sense of self-entitlement. I understand the film companies and their representatives are dicks, but you really never needed to have their products in the first place. Entertainment is not a "need". Some films are actually quite good. The inputs were man hours and ingenuity, and the result was a timeless classic. We need to encourage people to make timeless classics by ensuring them that you're set for life if you ever make it happen.

On the other hand, business skills are a need. IT skills are a need. Education is a need.

Oh, so you're a student? Guess what, you ARE entitled to different standards than others. Congratulations.

The day you convince me that you, watching Pirates of the Carribean 2 for free, is productive for the rest of society in any way or makes you more money over a lifetime is the day I'll condone it.

Entertainment is a part of our society... it always has been. Whether its dancing around a fire, going to the pub, going to the club, going to Disney world, concerts, theatres. People have always wanted entertainment. In that sense it almost seems it's a need for our culture, though it doesn't contribute intellectually as much as other activities could. It isn't going to disappear anytime soon.

We are human beings, not robots. In a sense we do all have certain tasks in our societies, but that doesn't make us selfless. We will always have some degree of feeling, thoughts and emotions. Anyways, if society didn't "need" entertainment, we would not have thousands of ways for entertainment to be experienced*. Maybe it is something we have infused into our needs, but its now a part of us... whether you or I think its necessary or not.

Society does need people who go after intelligence, wealth, skills... schooling. People like Steve jobs who create jobs which in turn creates prosperity. We will always have individuals who are business inclined, or just individuals who want to be welders. There are those meant to lead, those meant to follow. Neither role is more important than the other. In any regard. Neither should take advantage of the other as well.

Who knows, you or I could be the guy with the next big idea. But every idea sprouts from something you personally experience. Even from a form of entertainment.

Anyways, I would pay for the things i have downloaded IF i could. I do not promote pirating, but i will not shun it and pretend like it doesn't exist. It is there, and it delivers a form of entertainment. Something we have infused into our lifestyles.

Edited by auziez, Dec 2 2012, 1:33am :

brianshapiro said,
It would be pretty easy to argue for that as much as any other pirated material.

You're right. You never know how the world's going to end up working out. Sometimes it's easy to side with entertainment piracy because entertainment makes the world more enjoyable. But piracy weakens the incentive to make good entertainment available in the first place. Who's going to pay for a DVD copy of House if they already own an illegitimate copy?

Illegitimate distribution lowers the profit potential for good entertainment, which makes good entertainment less likely to occur and adds to the risk associated with taking films to market. And another thing: pirating a film so you can watch it at your leisure isn't at all like pirating Photoshop. With Photoshop, you can pirate it in hopes of increasing your skills, and if you're like the author, you might end up using Photoshop on your job. Additionally, Adobe offers potential buyers a very reasonable 30 day free trial, after which you can purchase a license for $40/mo. For the majority of its lifetime, however, it had to be purchased in full at ~$700. If you're an aspiring designer, that's a really steep price to pay, but then again they have to learn Photoshop to do their job.

As you say yourself, entertainment isn't strictly limited to movies and music, destressors can come in any form, natural or man made. It's not like not having movies and music prevents you from living a good life.

Untold energy is put into making great films, but the makers aren't doing it for sunshine and rainbows. Great films are produced with the expectation of profiting substantially for many years to come. If you have problems with the legal arrangement under which films you view are distributed, you should seek films by alternative film makers who use other distribute schemes. If there are just no good alternatives, then you should vote with your pocketbook until there is one. Mostly movies and entertainment just isn't that vital for people. Somehow I doubt entertainment piracy is about curing depression.

mouth said,

But piracy weakens the incentive to make good entertainment available in the first place. Who's going to pay for a DVD copy of House if they already own an illegitimate copy?

As you say yourself, entertainment isn't strictly limited to movies and music, destressors can come in any form, natural or man made. It's not like not having movies and music prevents you from living a good life.

you view are distributed, you should seek films by alternative film makers who use other distribute schemes. If there are just no good alternatives, then you should vote with your pocketbook until there is one. Mostly movies and entertainment just isn't that vital for people. Somehow I doubt entertainment piracy is about curing depression.

Now, I'm not so convinced we are concerned about pirating... but what we are pirating. You said yourself that "piracy weakens the incentive to make good entertainment", the same could be said about Photoshop. The reason Photoshop costs so much is because of the demand. In fact, I'm willing to bet a pirated copy of Photoshop is more detrimental to a company than pirating a song, or movie for that case.

It doesn't make pirating any better no matter what it gives you. You can argue all you want but saying 'stealing is good because it teaches me skills' is not a valid argument, that's just what I think. You can't twist a murder into something positive, if your found guilty your just guilty.

I'm not trying to say that either of us have bad intentions, but that both of us have committed the same 'crime'. We shouldn't be arguing which reason makes stealing a good thing, but how to combat it in the first place.

This is why I strongly support services like xbox music, getting unlimited music for free. The subscription based model you were mentioning for adobe, that's a start. These are perfect example of combating piracy. I encourage the industry to continue on with that.

mouth said,

Illegitimate distribution lowers the profit potential for good entertainment, which makes good entertainment less likely to occur and adds to the risk associated with taking films to market.

Actually I personally would argue that even though all artists need income, good art is not made for profit, and the entertainment industry props up a lot of junk because some marketing execs decide its what sells. Profit motive alone is what brings you music like Justin Beiber.

And then, on the other hand, when it comes to the indie game industry, a lot of people voluntarily contribute money even when they don't have to, out of principle.

Which isn't to say all mainstream music is bad and all indie games are good (thats a cliche), I'm just giving a counterpoint to what you're saying.

I pretty much agree with you that its not "society's fault" that people are have a spoiled and self-entitled attitude. I think it would be a mistake to abolish copyright laws, because if we did, more people would be copying out of greed and not need. I just think realistically, its not hurting artistic creation as much as people argue it is.

Entertainment piracy is to piracy what 19 year old potheads are are to the medical marijuana programs in the west. Pirating Batman DVDs is not at all comparable to begrungingly pirating essential items to productivity like Photoshop. Entertainment pirates like you are jeopardizing the ability of people in hard circumstances like the author was, who pirate Photoshop with little to no choice in the matter. Furthermore, the author of this article can feed his family with Photoshop. What exactly has your free Batman DVD done for you?

Pirating premium entertainment is not at all like pirating industry standard software. The former is petty and selfish, and the latter is done because you have no choice, and because in using the software every day you have a reminder to pay for it every day of your life. Plenty of people who use Photoshop illigitamately fully intend to pay Adobe when they are making enough money to afford to. It's a mutualistic relationship, because the community grows and the desire to use the tool in professional settings grows with it. This is opposite what happens with pirated entertainment. Don't You're never going to buy any of the films you pirated, and despite your optimism you will not become a famous film producer after watching pirated films.

You should think long and hard about your need to pirate mindless entertainment. We've only had movies for around a hundred years so the fact that you feel you need movies for free flies in the face of thousands of years of human history. And even more important, pirating entertainment jeopardizes the livelihood of aspiring professionals who pirate for educational and career building purposes. OTOH, you just want to watch Batman for free. Complaining about $40 for HBO because of some entitlement-based rationale sounds suspiciously first world problems. If it's too expensive, then you better start liking nature or shut your damn pie hole because you're breaking the law.

Pirating entertainment is a petty, selfish act not performed in good faith of the creator's preferred contract. And again, if you don't like the contract that comes with the film, there's nothing stopping you from finding other forms of entertainment. In fact that might even make the world a better place. Either find what those alternative forms of entertainment are that work for you, or find a different movie released under a contract you like. Doing otherwise is disrespectful to the creators of original works.

mouth said,
.


"[individuals] pirate Photoshop with little to no choice in the matter". People DO have choice, sir. Since when are you forced to get Photoshop, and since when are you forced to make a career in that? I'm sure there are plenty other opportunities, there always are. It's just that in this case Photoshop was the FREE option. Guess what if it's too expensive of an option... you better start liking nature. Plenty want to go to University but can't afford it, they find other options to raise capital or get a different career. Why should someone who can get by for free, by stealing, be the exception? Because they say they will come back and repay them? Not everyone is so gullible.

Fact is, I might buy that film. Yeah, I will because I said so. So now it's okay right?

'Wrong' is probably your consensus. This is correct. Same applies to your little "get into a career for small amounts of money" option. You don't see the single mom at iHop getting some sort of easy way into a career, do you?! She would most likely be offended by this easy and illegal method you speak of. Her along with all the others that spend countless hours working and earning what they have, their jobs, their homes, their food... well-being. While lazy joe just says I can do it illegally and free. So now its ok? It was just his onlyyy option right...

Stealing is bad, no matter the reasoning behind it. Granted, some things are worse to steal and should face greater penalty... like something worth thousands vs something that's worth dollars. I'm not trying to argue what's better to steal, what's more worthwhile to steal... like you are. I'm arguing that the industry needs to bring new methods to combat stealing[.] Not to allow stealing for someone who "needs" it. lol.

I'm sure the creators would respect combating it, rather than allowing it like you say. Hey, but I get it. Someone is in need of help and you feel sorry for them. Guess what, so are the countless amounts of people who are jobless in America.

Excellent write up, I am from Pakistan and have gone through a very similar phase, had it not been piracy, I would have not been able to learn how to use computers, CS, Office and many more softwares. Now that I work and make money using those softwares, I have legit copies of Windows, Office, and all the softwares I use now. With so many comments agreeing to the article and having a simlar experince, it trully makes sense, that this is how many people are learning globally.

One comapny that really stands out for me and has gained a lot of respect is Microsoft. I remember when growing up Windows would cost months of salaries of a normal person here. Now for $39 I really do not see why anyone should pirate it anymore. Also MS office is priced on local averages now as well.

Great article. I completely agree that there is nothing wrong with piracy and torrenting media content - aside from those who do it for greed/profit. If Timmy downloads the movie and watches it, they lose a sale. $30 lets say Timmy would have spent on the BluRay. When timmy tells 50 of his friends that they should choose THAT movie to buy/rent/see, that kind of advertising can't be bought. You also have to consider Timmy likely don't get as good of quality film when he downloads it - and he also loses the extra features bundled onto the Bluray disk.

Another example is people backing up the apps they paid for, which they don't actually own. If I get an appleID and buy a bunch of magazines its great! But, when I break that device/lose that device/stop using it I also lose all the digital content as it was locked to that account. People can download the magazine they bought DRM-free. It don't indicate its a lost sale..

Edited by srbeen, Dec 1 2012, 9:01pm :

Having a similar story (but in America), I'm very grateful for people throwing out computers with viruses on them, NetZero, and IRC.

This tells a very true story. Piracy also balances out the greed that takes place of the corporations. I mean who would even bother to pirate some of these HBO shows and such if they were priced at the $5/season that they should be. But $40 for a season of Game of Thrones or whatever it costs, when the entire subscription for HBO is an extra $40 is a flat out greedy rip off.

And Comcast force feeding 900 channels onto me that I don't want because of ONE channel that I do want is also a perfect example of why they are practically begging to get pirated.

If I like a piece of software and use it every day, I will be glad to pay for it. When MS Office subscription comes out soon, I will be subscribing. Show me value and I will gladly pay, but don't expect to get paid for being greedy.

Thanks Vlad

Similar stories are common, & not only in developing countries or under-privileged regions. People think of the US as a rich country, & in many ways that's true, but there are millions of Americans who are, for lack of better words, left out. The standard of living may be relatively high, but so is the minimum rent & so are the food prices -- long story short, at the end of the month millions worry how they'll pay just the most basic bills.

Software from companies like Microsoft & Adobe is available at greatly reduced prices if you are a student, but the price tag of thousands of dollars for school is simply out of reach for many, perhaps most of those in greatest need. There's also the inconvenient fact that for so many of the millions of working poor in America, a set schedule of classes is impossible -- they work irregular schedules, & are often too tired after work to do much more than eat & collapse into sleep... it is becoming the norm to work 2 or 3 or 4 part time jobs just to survive. And then you have the millions of disabled who physically could not attend school if it was fully paid for. For so very many there is only one hope, to enrich themselves & society the same way you did Vlad through learning.

My personal circumstance, & this Is Not a plea for sympathy or anything, is that many years ago I woke up one morning disabled because of illness. I did nothing wrong -- it was just bad luck, pure & simple. No one knows what causes my illness, though many millions share the same or similar symptoms throughout the world. Some people get well -- I started to go into remission once for 1.5 years -- & we keep hoping that tomorrow we'll wake up & someone will have discovered the cause, or treatment, or the Holy Grail, a cure. This is despite the US spending the trifling sum of ~$7-$8 per victim per year on related research, while devoting all sorts of resources to studying things like cockroaches in some foreign land. [It would be MUCH smarter if they worked on finding a treatment or cure so these millions could go back to work & pay taxes, rather than spending billions on our small disability pensions plus billions more on medical care for our deteriorating bodies.]

I don't mean to scream to the world that the situation is intolerable [though it is], but rather to show the mind-set of American government & business. Microsoft & Adobe [among many other software companies] donate or give fantastic [read affordable] pricing only if/when they think they'll make that money back when you finish school & start working, already trained in their products. They're perfectly happy to applaud those who've helped themselves the harder way, on their own, but they won't bet a penny on you until then. In my case if I was to go into remission or be cured enough to work tomorrow, my disability payments stop, yet I'm no longer physically able to do any of the jobs I once held -- this illness has taken it's toll. So I hope & I continue to try and learn, and I practice -- the same as I've done for all these many years. It's for something I want to do, going back to making a contribution to society & making my own way so-to-speak, just as it's something I feel I must do if I don't want to suffer the irony of getting well just to become homeless.

Right now I don't have any unlicensed software on my PC, but I can understand as well as anyone how & why it could be a necessity. I go to sometimes ridiculous lengths to scrimp & save given my limited income, yet even then there's just enough to pay *most* of the bills. Yes there is *nix & there is free & lower cost software, but if you plan to get a IT &/or PC related job, Many companies do not use *nix, or free/low cost apps -- you need to be able to use what they use.

I don't download illegal copies of books, movies, or music, but I can understand that too... personally I don't think it's on the order of a human right to be able to learn or enjoy some things, but philosophically I feel it's more a right of the soul. Yes, book & music publishers do have the right to earn money for their efforts, but I simply cannot condemn someone who can't afford a book or a song & so get's them illegally. The same goes for a movie when an illegal download or counterfeit disc is the only way someone can afford it.

Some people do take advantage -- it's like that with anything -- but who decides what's just, who can/can't afford something, & who decides the severity of the crime? Unfortunately loads of people are opportunistic, will take the advantage if/when you let them, if/when they can, but please realize that a large portion of those sorts of people are running the movie & music studios, as well as big software companies. Right now in the US a reckless or drunk driver, who may [& often does] kill or injure complete innocents, often pays less in penalties than someone convicted under piracy laws. Hollywood is generally on the side of illegal immigrants, feeling everyone has a basic right to a better life -- unless by a better life you also mean enjoying a movie they didn't get paid for. Software companies want to make the highest profits, the greatest ROI, & so charge whatever the market will bear. They often make inaccurate claims, often don't have fully functional trials, may cripple your system because of their DRM, & usually never accept returns or refund your money, justifying much of that by citing high piracy figures -- but don't expect any benefit from them if piracy went away overnight.

The way I look at it anyone can discuss &/or debate piracy as long as they limit that discussion to numbers -- beyond that you're really discussing human ethics, values, &/or the rules of whatever society. That's still cool, but please be aware of what's going on... you've got people illegally using content on the one hand, content owners on the other, & both sides are populated to some extent by people that are equally morally bankrupt. Content owners have deliberately framed the conversation around the word "Piracy" to prejudice any discussion, but the truth is there are bad people on both sides. There are overly greedy, grasping content owners that think nothing of stealing & cheating anyone for their personal benefit -- look at the patent wars. OTOH thieves steal for their own benefit, and if you've ever been robbed you can sympathize with their victims. If you feel you must choose sides, please do so with your eyes open rather than being anyone's pawn.

Great article indeed. I completely agree with everything. I myself used to pirate my windows and games when I was younger, but now once I am getting a pay cheque, I have bought my own windows 7, 2 copies of windows 8, ms office student editions and I buy all my games on steam.

It is because of piracy that I had access to information that would have otherwise been impossible to find. It is because of piracy that I learned how to use Photoshop, how to edit movies, how to install an operating system.

And I am not the only one. All of my friends that have ended up working in the IT field, began by using pirated software. How else would a 15 year old learn to use software that costs thousands of dollars, when the average income was about $200? How else would an average kid in this country have learned stuff that's price restrictive even in the US or the UK?

I agree wholeheartedly with this. When I was learning to program, I was learning with Visual Studio 6 at school, so when I wanted to learn at home, I chose to download a pirate copy of Visual Studio to use. I was about 16 at the time, and shelling out the £600 for the most basic version of VS6 was out of the question. Without piracy, I would likely not be where I am today.

Incidentally, Microsoft eventually caught wind of this too, and offer the Visual Studio express editions for free to every aspiring developer, and have a multitude of programmes available for students to have free access to full Visual Studio suites through their educational establishments.

The real problem is when companies keep using pirated software instead of buying it. Most professional apps are priced so that they make sense to buy only to companies (who can deduct things like VAT off the price too) and they definitely should do so.

But it is true that probably a lot more Adobe packages have been sold to various companies because when asked what software their employees would like to use, the most likely answer is the ones that they're familiar with, which is usually the Adobe Creative Suite they pirated back in school. Maybe that's why Adobe hasn't really made as big an effort to protect their software as for example the audio software industry does with all those damn iLok dongles you have to cram in your computer just to work with a VST instrument.

For entertainment it's a slightly different, though again the fact that outside the US the latest movies and series can come out anything from months to even years later. This is something the media industry could easily rectify but seem to be unable to do so it's no wonder people turn to piracy where these thing are offered the next day from the US airing at a quality better than what is available from many streaming services.

As for games, I blame the high prices. Just yesterday I had to go buy Halo 4 for Xbox in a hurry (had a LAN party to attend and we didn't have enough copies of the game). I went to the local supermarket and the game cost 70 euros ($90 USD) and that is just absurd. Yes, you can get it for half the price online abroad but that doesn't bring any money to my country's economy and many local brick and mortar stores are maybe 10 euros cheaper so it would've been expensive no matter what. At 20-40 euros I have no trouble buying games, but nearly twice that is just bull****.

Just as others have said there is no lost sales due to downloads. Its not like going to the store and stealing a physical copy of something that could be counted as a sale. In the end piracy forces companies to change. Making their product cheaper so people can get it legit is one way. Other ways is making the product so much better that it actually becomes worth the price instead of being extremely overpriced. Windows 8 was the first MS OS that I ever bought. Not saying I pirated other versions of windows but I usually found other free ways of getting stuff like beta testing and conference giveaways. Now if some of the other software developers would make stuff worth buying we might actually see a drastic drop in piracy.

I'm surprised that more people aren't vilifying you. I used to pirate everything, even Dreamweaver and it helped me build my websites that helped build my business that eventually allowed me to buy it.

I used to pirate PC games and the ONLY reason I wanted a fast PC WAS for pirated games. I bought a PS3 and I'm no longer interested in pirated games. I used to pirate all kinds of software but never pirated an OS because I wasn't sure if it was safe or not and I had an MSDN subscription.

Piracy is not as big of a deal as it's made out to be but money talks and it dictates our future. If there ever is a revolution to take down the MPAA or RIAA I'm in. Those ******* are greedy.

C-Squarez said,
I'm surprised that more people aren't vilifying you. I used to pirate everything, even Dreamweaver and it helped me build my websites that helped build my business that eventually allowed me to buy it.

I used to pirate PC games and the ONLY reason I wanted a fast PC WAS for pirated games. I bought a PS3 and I'm no longer interested in pirated games. I used to pirate all kinds of software but never pirated an OS because I wasn't sure if it was safe or not and I had an MSDN subscription.

Piracy is not as big of a deal as it's made out to be but money talks and it dictates our future. If there ever is a revolution to take down the MPAA or RIAA I'm in. Those ******* are greedy.

100% this.
I'm in a similar situation and if it weren't for pirated Photoshop I couldn't even advance in it and I would never havr developed the self-confidence in what I love to do so much.
Because of that, I bought expensive camera gear and I'm trying to make a living of that.

I do appreciate how lighthearted Adobe seems to take all the piracy though.
They joke around that it's so heavily pirated, but at the same time they know that those who'd actually pay, will probably some happy day.

GS:ios

Adobe knows the won't see a dime.

Glassed Silver said,

100% this.
I'm in a similar situation and if it weren't for pirated Photoshop I couldn't even advance in it and I would never havr developed the self-confidence in what I love to do so much.
Because of that, I bought expensive camera gear and I'm trying to make a living of that.

I do appreciate how lighthearted Adobe seems to take all the piracy though.
They joke around that it's so heavily pirated, but at the same time they know that those who'd actually pay, will probably some happy day.

GS:ios

I'm pretty sure software companies see it just as you do: The give you the first fix for free (piracy, Dreamspark, whatever) to hook you on their software. Of course they know that no 15-year-old will be able or willing to buy the full Adobe Suite - but if he becomes a graphics designer and makes money with it, you've got a lifelong customer. If he becomes something else, he wouldn't have bought it anyway so there's nothing lost because he pirated it. However, if he becomes a graphics designer and learned his stuff on GIMP because CS is completely airtight, they definitely lost something.

Same goes for every other software maker. And drug dealer

Edited by dancress, Dec 1 2012, 4:35pm :

It seems like a cheap excuse but I feel like the reality actually is that there are no such things as lost sales when it comes to digital media. I would have stayed on OEM Windows ME had a friend not given me Windows XP. If I didn't have access to movies, media, etc. then I just wouldn't buy them. That's the honest truth too. I couldn't find a song to download through Kazaa that was readily available on iTunes, and just never downloaded it until I got a free download code in the cap of some soda bottle. It must have been a good two months before I stumbled across it. We're past the days of 20 track CDs and onto 10 song (1 remix and 1 dance mix usually) compilations, that will usually be re-released in six months with one more song. That has no value to me, and I can hear it on the radio if I need to.

On the other hand, I purchased Windows 8 Pro for the $15 offer. A Microsoft operating system for that cheap is unheard of in my time. Even if I didn't like it, it's worth the gamble. Even after they found ways to permanently activate it, I still bought another copy for my other computer. The chance to learn something valuable and be current was well worth the price.

Great article!! I also learned on pirated software. I remember learning server administration by downloading Windows 2000 Datacenter Server. There was no other way for me to learn this stuff as my family didn't have the money for the software or for a better education. Now I am Director of IT for the company I work for, and I wiouldn't have gotten here without pirated software. Now that I can afford the software, I buy it.

I'm much the same, almost all the knowledge I have acquired I did via pirated software, and like you I attempt to buy the majority of the software I use today. I realise piracy is wrong, I always did but I would never have learnt what I have without it. Nowadays there are so many tutorials on the web that picking up and learning new skills is a lot easier, but before the advent of modern Internet media those kinds of things were still a lot more specialist and one of the best ways was to learn the skill yourself.

Un articol bine punctat, ma bucur sa vad inca un roman pe acest site

Great article, well written, glad to see another romanian on this website.

Alexander-dude said,
Un articol bine punctat, ma bucur sa vad inca un roman pe acest site

Great article, well written, glad to see another romanian on this website.

Yes, piracy was the only choice to try something new in Romania for the better part of 1990's.
Good article, Vlad.

Si eu ma bucur sa intalnesc romani pe acest site

Same here, started with nothing and through obtaining and learning certain software I couldn't afford, I was able to get a job using those very skills. Still hate paying $2500 for CS as it seems grossly overpriced, but I resist the temptation. I never felt guilty one iota over getting anything, because I NEVER WOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT ANYWAY. How many crappy movies, games etc have I sampled only to delete them after a few minutes I couldn't say, and I still try anything I can before buying. It's this ridiculous guilt people accept because some other ******* says something isn't right. Seems things are working just fine, everyone is making money, the overall profits are greater because of piracy (my opinion that I can argue toe to toe) than without it. But thanks for writing something a little more honest than so many other "tech" writers would dare.

Piracy makes Windows the most popular OS in the world, piracy now make android the most popular Smartphone in the world. Go figure.

sinis said,
Piracy makes Windows the most popular OS in the world, piracy now make android the most popular Smartphone in the world. Go figure.

...not really. Android is free and runs on cheap phones. The only piracy is for apps, but that's not the reason behind its success.

sinis said,
Piracy makes Windows the most popular OS in the world, piracy now make android the most popular Smartphone in the world. Go figure.

I completely agree.

Windows, very easy to pirate applications
Android, although most is free, the paid ones are very easy to pirate
Wii the easiest to pirate, top sales. The Xbox 360 second easiest to pirate, most sold right now....

At this point in life most of my stuff is legally purchased. Even my Windows licenses but I'll admit that at one point I pirated most everything as well. Some items I will "pirate" so I can get a proper evaluation on it before deciding if I want to invest the cash on it. You might ask though "If you already pirated it why buy it?". Well I still believe the developers and the management staff and anyone else making any significant contribution in a good product deserves reimbursement for their efforts so many times I'll go online and make a proper purchase with the company.

Great piece, very well written. It reflects the same environment I saw around me when I was a kid. Piracy is "bad" in some ways, but it's "great" in others. Survival comes first and once you can afford to buy software, you buy it. Those who pirate usually do so because they have no other way of acquiring the software, hence why I think it's ridiculous that companies cry about millions of dollars "lost"... lost? Had they not pirated it, those people would have NEVER bought the software, so there's no loss at all.

Great article. This is the same story in all the developing nations out there. As the software products are priced more competitively, situation will improve even more.

Volume of business will be crucial in the future.

I would like to add that it would be impossible to prove any person having access to tech has never ever knowingly or unknowingly NOT pirated anything in his/her life.

sanke1 said,
Great article. This is the same story in all the developing nations out there. As the software products are priced more competitively, situation will improve even more.

Volume of business will be crucial in the future.

I would like to add that it would be impossible to prove any person having access to tech has never ever knowingly or unknowingly NOT pirated anything in his/her life.


Not only developing nation, I'm from holland, born and raised with technology and the internet. Yet if it wasn't for piracy, I would never have proper experience with bussiness products, or even many consumer ones. Unfortunally I do not have the money to buy everything legitematly, I do my best and buy what I can and what's worth it tho.
Also not everything has a (proper) demo version. And for many things you need to test with a proper version, and more then often your only solution to try-before-you-buy is just piracy.

sanke1 said,
I would like to add that it would be impossible to prove any person having access to tech has never ever knowingly or unknowingly NOT pirated anything in his/her life.

Very true, most people don't even understand they are doing it. Common examples are:
-Playing a movie or CD (that you legally own) at a public event or party
-Using images you found on Google in a PowerPoint presentation at work
-Using a radio or CD for your company's music on hold
-Using photoshop to modify a copyright picture in any way
-Printing or scanning pictures of yourself or family taken at a studio
-putting a birthday video on YouTube that includes singing "Happy Birthday"
-bla bla bla, you get the point.