Software Piracy seen as Normal

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Applespider, Jun 23, 2005.

  1. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Two UK researchers have discovered that most people see pirating software/games as perfectly normal and that the current UK campaigns about it aiding organised crime aren't doing much to stop it. It appears that most people get copies from their mates rather than buying on street corners.
    I'd imagine a similar attitude to music may be what's holding down Euro iTMS sales.

    I hate this 'something for nothing' culture that seems to have grown up whereby people think they are entitled to everything they want even without paying/working for it.
    BBC Link
  2. crachoar macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    It's not like software and music are overpriced. Paying $1,000 for a studio app is perfectly accpetable. But of course, this probably has nothing to do with why people download applications for free, rather than paying for them.

    Some people don't have that kind of money to burn. By downloading software, they're able to better themselves by creating something, which may get them a better job someday - in which case, they will then have the money to pay for their software.

    Not everybody does it 'just to do it'. A lot of people do it because they need it, and they can't afford it.

    And I already know you're going to argue 'so get twenty more jobs and work until you can afford it' - but some people don't have time for that. Minimum wage in the U.S. is so low that you can barely afford the gas it takes for you to get to work. You barely break even. Now, take more off for rent, insurance, taxes, etc.

    Good luck affording those programs you need for school.

    Oh, but of course, you could work at the school - between classes, and before they close (i.e. not much time).

    Could you imagine a kid, working until he's 30 so he can afford to go to university, and to afford Photoshop and all of those common applications?

    And don't say, 'but there's a student discount!' - because it hardly accounts for anything - at least it's a step in the right direction. Personally, I think software should be free (or close to it) for students.

    If all of the companies 'suffering' from downloads lowered the cost of their software by about 75%, they would probably see a 300% increase in sales.

    Could you imagine if Photoshop were $50? Students would be able to afford it, and a lot of people would buy it.

    As for music - ever stop to think that maybe DRM and low bitrates might be what's keeping a lot of people from using the iTMS?

    Or maybe the fact that they don't actually own anything?

    Paying $10 USD for a digital album isn't exactly everybody's idea of owning an album.

    Also, they don't provide you with a service, where they keep a record of what you've purchased, and allow you to 're-download' everything for free - incase your HD fails, or your computer is stolen.

    Granted, it might cost them more bandwidth (unless they used the ever-so-'evil' Bit Torrent), but they should at least offer it as a premium service. This is how VALVe's (game company - makers of 'Half-Life') 'Steam' client operates (free of charge). You enter your key and download the software. If you format, you can just download it again (and some of these games are gigabytes worth of data).

    That's why I don't use iTMS.

    Or maybe the fact that they have to own an iPod to take their music with them?

    Oh, unless of course, they use a dreaded 'illegal' DRM stripper to use their purchased music how they see fit.

    Yes, fair use certainly is unfair to the RIAA.

    Furthermore, how does downloading software (i.e. 'getting it for free / not buying bootlegs') help organized crime?

    Is this like the campaign we had in the U.S. trying to get people to stop smoking marijuana, and to start smoking domestic cigarettes?

    'Smoking Pot helps Al Qaeda. When you buy marijuana (that's grown in the states - in the basement of your friend's house), your money is going straight to Al Qaeda!' That was a good time...
  3. Applespider thread starter macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    I question 'need' over 'want' particularly when it comes to games and copies of DVDs/CDs. The average consumer doesn't need Photoshop CS. Photoshop Elements at £50 (a more reasonable price) would suffice.

    Students using copies of pro applications for school when there aren't enough computers to go around, I have a little more sympathy for although the schools are encouraging the piracy if they aren't providing sufficient facilities for their students to complete their coursework.
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Please don't use the term "Fair use" to justify music piracy. Fair Use is a legal term with a specific meaning. And it doesn't mean "I think it's fair for me to do x"

    Almost every major software manufacturer has discounted student versions available specifically for use in schools. And there are as Applespider pointed out, lower cost or alternative programs available.

    But I think the problem is driven by the greed of the computer owner. "I have a Mac. I want Photoshop. I won't accept GIMP, PSE or any alternative. I don'e want to/can't pay for it. Therefore I can steal it."

    Compare: "I have a Honda. I spend more to have a good car. I don't have any money left over for a stereo or gas for it, so I am justified in stealing it" (Variant "Sony charges too much for their stereo, so I have to steal it instead. If they only sold them for a reasonable price I wouldn't have to steal it".)
  5. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    I won't lie. I have illegally used software before.

    Not stolen, but installed on more than one machine.

    I have friends in design making very good money who refuse to pay for software, and they always give me **** when I tell them i won't give them a copy of Tiger, CS2, iLife...

    THAT pisses me off.

    Stealing is stealing, violating usage agreements is violating usage agreements. End of story.

    Perhaps if the record labels in Europe started hauling grandmothers to jail...

  6. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    I'm sure you won't mind if I come over to your house and take your PowerBook. I couldn't afford one, so I got an iBook. you know I could really do a lot more photography work on the road with a PowerBook and make more money...I could even afford to buy one one day... :rolleyes:
  7. witness macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2005
    I think that a big part of the problem is price.

    If I were a Photoshop pro I could probably justify spending ££££ on legal copy, but I'm a home user, I'll open up Photoshop just once every couple of weeks to make changes to my personal website. Why should I pay the same price? I'm definitely not getting value for money. (BTW: I don't have an illegal copy of Photoshop, this is just an example)

    Of course it would be quite difficult for a software company to regulate this, but I think that there must be a way to charge users according to how much they use a product, perhaps a service based model would fix these issues (though I wouldn’t want to be editing my images via a web server somewhere the other side of the world!).
  8. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Photoshop Elements
  9. ----Bowie---- macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2004
    I am ashamed to say it, but I have pirated in the past, and i feel really bad about it. But now my Mac is all legal.

    It is 100% normal to steal software and music here. I get laughed at for NOT pirating music.

  10. witness macrumors 6502

    Apr 7, 2005
    Just because I'm not a graphics pro, doesn't mean that I don't want to use Photoshop only features.
  11. Sharewaredemon macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Cape Breton Island
    I've pirated software before and I do feel bad about it, but as soon as I am out of university and making real money, I will purchase all of of my software titles.

    I'd rather buy the software. I like getting the box and the instructions, and knowing that I actually support the product.

    Also, I've only ever used a P2P to get one program otherwise I get them from my friends.

    I totally agree with you iGary about how you feel about your friends when they want everything you've paid for for free.

    It's really annoying and I wouldn't want to give these things away.
  12. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    I have a lot of sympathy for the student dilemma, and I see the cost of an education rising every day, but I think that the problem is only partly covered by the student's claim to poverty.

    Sure everyone deserves the best education they can get, I think it should be state funded to degree level, but it's not, and most students suffer large debts because of this.

    Students have always complained about the costs of learning, in the early 80's it was the amount of books they were expected to buy and there was a stink about photocopying and copyright. Now it's software piracy, but it's really the same deal, students have a hard time financially as it is, and the software companies aren't always as helpful as they could be. (Although Apple's discounts are pretty good, Logic Pro is down from £699 to £270 under the edu discount, a hefty drop). So I have sympathy as I said.

    What I have no time for at all is the casual thievery that happens every day in the "real world". If you can't afford to buy something, then you can't have it until you can afford it. If you choose to break the law and steal what you want then you must pay the penalty if you are caught.

    A massive amount of software piracy goes undetected, and the casual thief gets away with it time and time again because it is too costly to prosecute. The RIAA is flogging a dead horse with the court cases it's bringing and the legislation it's promoting, because technology has gone way beyond them, copying is too easy and too convenient. However to complain about the steps that companies are taking in order to protect their revenue streams is pathetic, companies are in business to make money and they are entitled to protect their products from theft. A farmer would not allow you to carry a sack of potatoes or a side of beef off his premises without paying, he may well shoot you. A bank security guard certainly would if you tried to help yourself to a bag of cash. There is no difference in the eyes of the law.

    Theft is theft regardless of what pretty and self-justifying reasons you lay before it. If you copy or install software you don't own, you're a thief.

    The problem, then, lies with Applespider's initial comments, that this is a cultural shift that indicates a further decline in personal morality. This returns to the quality of education in generations of people. Poor education leads to poor personal morality leads to a disregard for the law leads to (ultimately) anarchy. The answer lies not in cheap or free software or denying musicians the chance to earn a living from their craft, but in educating children and adults.

    It's a vicious circle, because most people can no longer afford a decent education...

    (returns to top of post...)
  13. Mblazened macrumors regular

    Dec 20, 2002
    The Valley

    I've been stealing Painter since version 7 and I tell myself that the reason I won't pay for it yet is because it STILL crashes like crazy, the interface blows, it just doesn't seem "finished" yet. I feel guilty but why should i pay thousands of dollars for software that doesn't work right? We all buy software that crashes right out of the box, sometimes it really messes up our project files! I would pay SOMETHING for this software, but now the hundreds and hundreds of dollars everything costs these days. They overshoot my price range by $500, so I have to steal it. Painter 9.0 for me is so buggy and they still haven't released updates for it. It's been out for months! If I had bought it when it came out, I'd be sooo pissed right now!

    Has anybody here paid full price for software and ended up regretting it when it crashed their computer, messing up their files? And the only thing you can do is sit on your butt waiting for them to release updates? Sometimes the updates themselves cause problems!

    Major software updates promise new improved features but what they don't say is "now with more bugs!" I know this is just how things work but I prefer to try before i buy, and that's basically how I justify ripping these companies off.

  14. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Gee, maybe if people paid for software, companies could afford the developers and testers they need to improve it.

    You do not need Painter. You want it. And you're stealing it. Whether or not you feel guilty about it - you don't - doesn't really matter. We all know you'll keep stealing it. But to argue that you're forced to steal it because it's buggy is sheer manure, and you know it.
  15. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    San Francisco, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    Absolutely agreed. Heck, the cost of classes at our City College in SF has nearly tripled in the past two years. Of course, a lot of this is the Governator's fault, but accessible education that advances a career, vocation or artistic calling is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

    True - but then again, when it comes time for a job interview, the average numbnuts doesn't know the real differences between these types of software. Thus if you say, "well, I haven't used PhotoShop, but I've used PhotoShop Elements and it's essentially the same thing..." I don't know how that would affect your chances of landing a job.

    Need over want is a valid concern though - does the average, non-professional, non-student, need PhotoShop when a chunk of its real features would never be accessed by them? Probably not. I'd posit that it's a status thing for everyday folks to brag about over the watercooler, especially when there's Freeware apps that do essentially the same basic functions as PhotoShop on a Mac. Of course, this might not necessarily apply to other apps such as Illustrator or others, but you get the idea.

    Especially if community colleges and schools continue to see their support from their localities and states decline. It's like the government in the U.S. doesn't give a damn about educating you out of high-school unless you're rich enough to afford it. Of course, I would point out that this in itself is a product of a corrupt capitalist system that needs an underpaid underclass to sustain itself, but that's a topic for another thread.

    All true, though I would say at the end of the day it's whether you're willing to live with the consequences that determines many people's choices to pirate software - not the same thing as knowing that pirated software breaks the law. Of course, it's the folks who say, "Yes, I took this stuff, but I don't want to pay a fine or spend a year in jail for it if I get caught" are the ones you hear most often, I suspect.

    I think about this a lot, too. I'm sure that the big companies: Adobe, Macromedia (which I guess are the same thing now), M$, and others have studied this. But, I've never seen anything from them that justifies the prices of their stuff beyond, "well, we made it and can sell it for what we want, and build in the cost of having it pirated five times per copy into the sale price." I'd be interested to see if anyone out there has this kind of information, and what it reveals.

    Uh-oh, then I know a lot of folks who are probably hooking al-Queda up with some serious $$$. Yeah, these commercials cracked me up, too.
  16. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I looked at your illustrations. I like some of them, but they're not 100% to my needs. I'm not sure if using your illustration will work for my client. Might mess up my project.

    If you won't lower your prices by 50%, i'll just take one off of your website and use it. Ok?

    THAT'S how i justify your sketchy morals.

  17. Xeem macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2005
    Steam is terrible; not only is it a pain, but it occasionally locks my computer up. Having to have an internet connection to play a single player game is just plain wrong in my opinion.

    Anyway, I live in a small, middle-of-nowhere Minnesota town and I have to say that piracy is quite the norm even here. I even had teachers that told us to pirate software (specifically, Photoshop) and movies if we weren't going to use them for "anything serious." The only thing I usually use torrents for are TV shows. If any law enforcement officer really thinks that downloading someone's TiVo'd Stargate is a terrible crime, I would suggest that they start going after real criminals.
  18. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    Bull. Even the full boxed version lists at $429 ($349 at Amazon), and Newegg have the academic version for $74. They have a $179 upgrade deal for Painter IX, even the cut-down version thrown in with tablets qualifies.
    I'm pretty happy with it. The license paid for itself (and apparently, some stolen copies too) a few times over with one small job.
  19. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    I use Photoshop Elements for all the same reasons you do. $50. Actually it came free with my scanner-- but now I am looking at version 3 for $50.
    I have used CS before. My friend has it, and when I was doing some work on his PowerBook I used CS.
    Didn't look any different, really. Lots of extras, but Elements is already so powerful there wasn't anything I had trouble with. It was almost more cluttered used CS, with all the extra options.

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
  20. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2003
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains
    Just because I'm not a mechanic, doesn't mean that I don't want to use an air wrench instead of my socket set, even though I only work on the car about once a month.

    There are always professional options that are more expensive because they offer better features and better build qualit/durability- that is why they are professional tools. It would be nice if you could time-share tools and software, but you can't- that's life.

    But at $50, would it be cost effective for Adobe to develop it?
    More people would buy it, but I think more people would actually steal it. It seems sometimes that the cheaper something is, the easier it is for a person to justify stealing it.
  21. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    It's a sad commentary on our current set of morals that stealing is considered normal. If it continues developers will stop developing and improving software. Just too much of an entitlement mentality.
  22. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    I wonder if alot of the people who do pirate software actually consider it stealing. Alot of people think that because software isn't something physical, its just files on a computer, that its not really stealing to copy it. Just like its not stealing to copy a music CD and give the copy to a friend, which is technically stealing, but it socially accepted.

    Just a thought.
  23. _pb_boi macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    True. The cheaper it is, the more people will buy it, and so more people will stick it on P2P, and it'll be even easier for yet more people to pirate it.

  24. bankshot macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2003
    Southern California
    That's interesting, because it is $50 for students (Elements), as others have already pointed out. And for non-students Elements can be had for about $80. If you absolutely need the few features that CS reserves over Elements, then you're a professional who will more than pay for it with your first job. Even if you're just starting out, you have to realize that starting a business takes an investment of capital. And there are plenty of ways for people without a lot of money to get it for business purposes.

    There's just no excuse for software piracy in my book.
  25. crachoar macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Who said anything about piracy, other than you?

    I simply said I don't use the iTMS because it doesn't abide by the principals of fair use.

    You're the one conditioned to call me a pirate, simply because I choose not to use your preferred DRM-based service.

    Please don't use your inability to comprehend a paragraph of text the first time through as a means to acuse somebody of participating in 'music piracy'.

    'Fair Use' means - you buy it - you do what you like with it, as long as that doesn't entail re-selling it or distributing it.

    You buy a DVD? Make a backup of it to take on vacation - so your obnoxious little kid doesn't destroy your $20 investment.

    The iTMS only allows you to download their proprietary songs to their proprietary player at a fixed (low) bitrate. You can only share with a limited number of computers, and if your HD fails, that's your problem.

    Wait, I forgot, if they're on your iPod, you could just back them up onto iTunes, right? can't transfer songs from the iPod with Apple's software?

    They only allow you to burn the cd a handful of times - and they send cease and desist letters to independent developers for trying to give you the rights to your own purchased music.

    No thanks fella.

    Oh yes - boo-hoo. The poor corporations are being torn down by Joe Consumer.

    Awww, they can't afford to have beta testers! It's total anarchy!

    Besides, they don't have the responsibility to test their software - it's the fault of the kids that download it for free!


    I guess that's why Windows has never had a security hole, right? Because, I mean, practically everybody uses it - hell you don't have the option not to buy it with 90% of the PCs on the market. They're the richest corporation in the world. By your logic - they're perfect.

    You realize, that in the end - the person can't afford this program. Can't buy. So, them downloading it and using it could be considered the same thing as if they hadn't downloaded it at all.


    Just blew your mind? Ok, here:

    In the end - they're not stealing, as much as they are 'using without a license'. The company sees no lost profit from Joe Consumer downloading Photoshop, because in the end - they don't know - and they don't host the bandwidth anyway. They're not losing anything. If anything, they're gaining his interest in their product.

    I'll bet you my Powerbook that there are plenty of people around the world that have purchased games, music, software, movies, etc. that they otherwise, never would've looked at - thanks to P2P file-sharing.

    I know that's how I found half of the bands I support today...

    Now, when Adobe starts a service like 'Steam' for Photoshop? And somebody hacks it and finds out how to download Photoshop from their servers? Then I'll agree with you on the 'stealing' charge - considering the company would be taking a loss.

    Now, if he went to a retail store, and lifted a retail box (good luck by the way) - that's stealing. It's stealing because it's a physical item, tracked by inventory, supplied by the software manufacturer, etc.

    Money was spent, by the company, to place that item there.

    You may not feel it's 'morally right' for somebody to download software, but it's not 'stealing' as you're defining it (with these example of 'I guess it's ok for me to rape your mom and steal your children', etc.). It's especially not stealing if Joe Consumer isn't using this product to generate income - but rather - for his own education.

    And yes, major software developers can afford to reduce their prices - but their interest is solely in the professional and education markets (where they make a killing). And you know what? Professional firms and schools are routinely investigated to insure that they've purchased mass volume activation keys.

    In the end, it's their own fault for over-charging for these applications. Again, if Photoshop (the full version) were $50 - 90% of the people that download it now would see no reason not to purchase it. However, I'm not sure Adobe really cares. And until they do, the other side will continue to not care, right along with them.

    The best your average human will get is a dumbed-down version for less. They don't see a 'pro market' for your average citizen.

    In the end, the problem is price. Until minimum wage in this country is $9.50+/hr - there really isn't anything to argue about.

    $600 for Photoshop is outrageous for students and small businesses.

    Yeah, hey! It's the same thing!

    Don't forget iPhoto. I mean, you can edit photos right? That's the same thing, right? It has 'Photo' in the name, it's gotta be rougly the same thing - which is good enough.

    Yes, there's no difference between taking a penny out of a multi-billion dollar jar and stealing somebody's Powerbook from their home (for your own financial gain, no less). And yes, there's no difference between this and stealing a car, stealing from the federal government or whatever irrelevant examples you're bound to come up with...

    Christ, sometimes, I really wonder about some of you guys...

    I require that one (1), singular Powerbook to perform my tasks. Taking it away (based on my limited income) would effectively cripple my productivity.

    Now, when somebody downloads a copy of Photoshop - does Adobe have to lay off all of it's employees and file for bankruptcy?

    Your example would be more along the lines of taking bread from a starving orphan. Not nearly the same as taking the crumbs from a well-off king, that you found in the town trash heap.

    Now, if I had eighteen-billion Powerbooks...

    You know what, trying to compare the downloaded digital media to stolen physical property is impossible. Let's not do that anymore..

    First of all: Breaking and entering.

    When you download software, you're not stealing directly from the servers of the corporation. There is a huge difference between downloading intellectual property (or acquiring stolen merchandise) from your buddy and hacking a corporate mainframe or lifting the box out of the store yourself. But if you don't think so, be my guest and try it out.

    For example, if 'Dave 1' steals 'Photoshop CS2' from say, Best Buy. And then, he throws it up on Ebay for $100 Buy It Now. You buy it from him. Technically, you paid for it, right? Sure, not retail - but at auction price. Your copy of Photoshop is stolen - uh-oh. What do you do?

    Well, even if that guy got busted, and they tracked down your sale - the worst that would happen is - they'd make you give it back and you'd have to negotiate a money return with your card company.

    Whereas our poor buddy, 'Dave 1' faces criminal charges.

    Whether you, the law or your mother see the difference or not - there is one.

    Also, your feeble attempt at sarcastically responding to my points falls flat on its face - considering, in the end, you didn't give me my Powerbook back.

    Also also wick, emoticons are for dicks.

    In the english language, to emphasize a certain word, we use italics, rather than 'ALL CAPS'.

    For example:

    'No, you, sir, are behaving in an inappropriate manner!'

    Ok, now, onto the meat and potatoes.

    Well, by doing that, you would be stealing directly from the artist, by removing copyrighted material from his domain - using his own bandwidth to acquire his own copyrighted materials.

    And since you are planning on using his art for your own business - boy fella - I hope you've got a great attorney.

    The difference is - you're making money from stealing. Most 'pirates' aren't. In fact, they're at a loss.

    In sum, yes, companies deserve to make a profit from their products. And yes, if everybody (wow, that would be something, eh?) downloaded their products, they would probably stop making it.

    However, we're not nearly at that point, and I doubt we ever will be.

    The problem at hand is - they're complaining about people with little income downloading their $600+ applications, rather than paying for them - when in reality, the most that would come from them elliminating downloads is that those people just wouldn't use it.

    Either way, I think we can all agree that Gatorade is better than Powerade.


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