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Software Piracy

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This is an issue that puzzles me. I find that more and more people around me have no scruples with illegally downloading software.

I would love, believe me, to own some of these programs, but I know that it is stealing. I feel you are no less a criminal for pirating programs than for shoplifting or pickpocketing. Is it easier to justify because you won't ever see the guy who's losing money, often thousands of dollars, because of your whim?

Someone want to explain your reasoning behind doing this? You know you do it.

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Only software I get is emulators to pirate games since they're either in another country or I'd have to shell out hundreds of dollars on ebay for the real deal.

Technically that has nothing to do with pirating software, but that's seriously as far as I go.

Although back in my freshman year of high school a guy gave me Macromedia Fireworks and Flash but I didn't do much with either (save for a few fun GIFs). Those are gone now though.

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People pirate software because people like free stuff, and the creators are so far out of someones monkey sphere that they really just don't care.

I haven't pirated anything that I'm aware of, but I do use open source free programs like the GIMP. :P

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Because I have no job, no money, but I still want.

Do I feel bad about it? Not really.

Would I pay for it if I could find a motherfucking job? Hell yes. I LIKE to buy things.

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I haven't pirated anything that I'm aware of, but I do use open source free programs like the GIMP. :P

haha I actually prefer GIMP to my pirated copy of Photoshop, myself

But really my reasoning for pirating software is that I'm doing little more than toying around with it. If I were actually producing stuff that was being sold or whatnot, you can bet your ass that I'd pay for a retail version, though.

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Yeah, the overriding reason for most people is just pure laziness and lack of morals, really. What other reasons are there?

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My main reason for emulation with old systems was that, even if I were to find a legit snes with a legit copy of the game, since it'd have to be at a yard sale or eBay or some such, Nintendo would probably not get a cut of the profits, therefore, I am not hurting them.

This was before the virtual console, though, so now it's just cause of laziness.

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If you steal a CD from a store, the store owner will no longer be able to sell that copy because you stole it. They lose money. If you download a copy of a program you would otherwise not even consider buying because it is several hundred dollars for example, nobody has one less copy to sell, nobody lost a purchase that would have otherwise been made, and nobody loses money.

That is how I see it, anyway. I would still buy a legitimate copy if I were to sell something I made with that program or whatever.

If Flash was like $20 I'd buy it. That seems like a fair price. If a CD or DVD is like $5 - 10 I'll buy it. Which reminds me, if I download a CD or buy a used CD from eBay, either way the artist gets no money, therefore in my mind they are morally equivalent.

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That's some really weak justification. The issue is that when you buy a CD or computer program, you don't literally own it 100%. You own the rights to use it, and a physical container holding the intellectual property (sometimes, not even that). Thus, if you bought one of my CDs and uploaded it online, it is not relevant whether 0 people download or 100 people download it. You used a right that you don't have. Only I have that right. The same goes for software or any other kind of IP.

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Yeah, the overriding reason for most people is just pure laziness and lack of morals, really. What other reasons are there?

RoooooooFL

Pirating, for me at least, is a victimless crime. I grab things that I would never buy. If there's something I pirate that I like enough to buy (recently a Pendulum album) I'll buy it anyway, but I listen to the copy I pirated because the person who ripped it did a better job ripping it than I'm willing to do.

This is not a justification for all piracy, mind you, just my own.

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That is a good reason that I never really thought about, but still, I'm not hurting anyone by downloading something I wouldn't have paid for anyways. I suppose uploading is a different story, but I don't do that.

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Again though, that's a weak justification. Arguably, if you shoplift a candy bar from a store, you're not hurting anyone. The candy bar sells for 99 cents, but it probably costs the retailer less than 50 cents, and it takes a fraction of a fraction of a cent to produce. Even a mom-and-pop corner store would not consider this to be a loss worth writing on the books. Yet, we still can't allow this behavior. Furthermore, if you feel like you can get anything for free anyway, you're going to be less inclined to buy anything to begin with.

Say a friend of yours sends you a zip file with a few CDs of music from artists you enjoy. You had planned on purchasing those CDs. Now you have them on your computer, for free. Are you still going to go out and buy them? Maybe, maybe not. But I think that unless you're really a diehard music fan, that action is going to diminish your motivation to purchase the product. Now, substitute a friend coming over and giving you the music with the widespread availability of pirated IP on a wide variety of websites. You're one click away at any time from getting anything you want. That's going to diminish your motivation to buy ANY of those things you now have access to.

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Apply your morals to paying 30 bones for a copy of Chrono Trigger or FFVII. Both solutions are wrong from an economic standpoint.

Also, a plus for being an audiophile: I buy CDs even after I've acquired mp3s because I want lossless audio. I also despise iTunes for this reason.

Something else to consider is letting friends borrow DVDs versus making them rent their own copy. Nobody sees a problem with that of course, but there's still economic loss.

Another thing to consider... what about downloading TV shows? I missed 24 last night, and you better believe I'm leeching it to my harddrive right now. But it's the same as if I had watched it on TV and stepped away during the commercials. (Even though those damn things play at clip-level volumes all the way through)

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Not sure I understand what you mean. Are you referring to emulation or something?

Also, bear in mind that I'm not saying piracy is so horrible that anyone who pirates things should go to jail or something ridiculous like that. There are degrees of being ethical or unethical. Downloading an album that is normally being sold is unethical, but it's really not that big of a deal. I just have an issue with people trying to defend their actions as not being unethical at all. If you just said, "Yeah, I pirate stuff because I don't feel like buying it" I wouldn't really care. That's your prerogative. But if you try to pass piracy off as being A-OK, that's a different story.

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See post #16

You asked for examples besides laziness and etc, yet your response still relies on the persons laziness. The (very true) observation that having free access to music will diminish the overall tendency for people to go out and buy the stuff that they just got does not serve to combat my argument that not all people who pirate are doing it wrongly. Your argument just serves to condemn those who I specifically excluded.

The theft of a candy bar is a tangible theft. If you're including all pirates in your argument then stealing a candy bar is not analogous because if every person stole a candy bar the loss would be far from miniscule.

Perhaps you should make up your mind about who your argument applies to.

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Well actually I have bought several CDs (used, they are cheaper that way) of which I already downloaded the whole thing... better quality, and I have the real deal in my hand I suppose. But I wouldn't have bought them if I hadn't first downloaded and listened to them to know I would like them enough to pay for.

No, it's not okay to steal a candy bar, but if there was a place that was just giving them out for free and taking one didn't diminish anyone's stockpile by any amount whatsoever, I might as well go get the candy bar.

I do have quite a few CDs, DVDs, and games, but I might as well try things out to see what is worth my money. If the product is actually worth buying then they deserve my money.

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"I'm not hurting anyone by downloading something I wouldn't have bought anyway."

Then why are you downloading it?

For the same reason people rent things? The counter-argument isn't "why are you downloading it", it's "why not rent/netflix/etc. instead?" - as those are the alternatives to try-before-buy... ditto with software demos/trials.

Again though, that's a weak justification. Arguably, if you shoplift a candy bar from a store, you're not hurting anyone. The candy bar sells for 99 cents, but it probably costs the retailer less than 50 cents, and it takes a fraction of a fraction of a cent to produce. Even a mom-and-pop corner store would not consider this to be a loss worth writing on the books. Yet, we still can't allow this behavior. Furthermore, if you feel like you can get anything for free anyway, you're going to be less inclined to buy anything to begin with.

Just to play devil's advocate here, one interesting note is that the discussion is always about whether pirating hurts anyone or not. What about whether it HELPS anyone, or not?

Bill Gates publicly acknowledged that pervasive pirating helped make Windows as ubiquitous as it is, so there's actually potential benefit to software manufacturers themselves, but I'm also talking about the intrinsic value of what people DO with said software. Pirating games, yeah sure, you're not really "giving back" by playing games... but if a poor genius Brazilian student pirates 3D Studio Max, After Effects, and Photoshop, puts together the best animated short film the world has ever seen, and gives that away for free, there's a little karmic compensation going on. It's a subtle point - these are subtle arguments - but I think some people draw a line when it comes to creative software (Adobe, MAX, audio stuff) as to whether you're using it to make money, or whether you're giving the music/movies/whatever you make with it away for free.

That's probably a "slippery slope" argument, as they say, but it's certainly one that further muddies already dirty waters. Draconian DRM, companies violating the GPL and reselling other people's hard work, etc. are all other topics that should come into play.

I think of myself as a good consumer who's poured tens of thousands into music, movies, software, and games, but I also don't come down really strongly on either side of this argument... I think an idealist/anarchist "pirate everything" attitude is juvenile and ridiculous, but also feel like the 21st century has irreversibly changed the nature and dissemination of intellectual property, and the corporate world needs to adapt.

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A used "candy bar" was still bought by someone, and "candy bars" distributed for free should also have been bought from somewhere. Illegally obtained "candy bars", be they downloaded or bootleg "candy bars" aren't bought, so the company that make and sell "candy bars" get no money for it.

Company gets no money -> "candy bar" programmers/producers/whatever get no money for their work when the company goes down due to poor sales -> you're stealing their money and their jobs and sabotaging their company.

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