Illegal Software

Do you think it is right to own and use software you did not pay for?

Is it a “victimless crime”?

Do you own any?
If so, do you feel any guilt for using it?

Please discuss :slight_smile:

Since I design and write software for a living it would be pretty hypocritical of me to pirate software. Yes, IMO, it’s wrong. Just because it’s often easy (because most PC software companies don’t use license keys) doesn’t mean it’s ok.

Right? As in ethical? No. Programmers and companies work to produce software products which they sell to realize gains for their efforts. Using a software product that wasn’t paid for is stealing from the programmers and companies that produced the product. To me, it’s no different than breaking into Sony and stealing a stereo.

And of course there are victims; the software company is the obvious one. Consumers are potentially victims as well, if arguments about piracy forcing companies to increase prices is to be believed (I’m not sure that I believe it).

I have bought a lot of software for my iMac. Some of it is not “licensed” to me, but I have the original, authentic disks, not CD-Rs. I got this software off of eBay, from people who either weren’t using it anymore, or had used it for a class and had lost interest in the program. (That’s how I got Adobe Illustrator.)

I had hoped that I would be able to register my copy of Adobe Illustrator, but the previous owner had not signed over the registration to me, and I had forgotten how to reach them. The lady at Adobe almost had a fit when I called to ask about my copy of Illustrator. She could not tell me not to use my CD, but she tried to imply that it wouldn’t install if it were not registered. (It did, of course!)

Anyway, even though I’d like to have a registered copy of Illustrator, I do have the original Adobe disks. Is this an ethical no-no? I really can’t see how, the person who bought the CD had a right to sell it if they wanted to, right?

I have to admit, I have a few programs that were “given” to me. Most of the software that I use a lot, I buy, though. Some hacker friends of mine laugh at me - but someone’s got to pay for this stuff!

The program I feel really good about paying for is a CPU cooling program for my PC. It had been having overheating problems, making it basically unusable. This little $13 fixed all that, and literally gave me my PC back! One of my hacker friends offered me a “crack” for this program, but I thought, phooey on that. It would be a pleasure to pay the software developer his $13, for all that his program had done for me!

The only software I have that magically appeared on my disk is stuff that I would never buy anyway. Yeah, I use these programs, but had I not gotten them from the disk fairy, I’d never be able to afford them, and thus I’d never buy them. Basically, no one loses money off of me in that way. I never pirate games, which makes up a substantial portion of my software collection. This is because games are no more than $50, and that’s a reasonable price for software. I don’t have the money, nor the desire, to spend $650 on certain programs when I don’t rely on them for daily life. Does that make it right? No. But in my case, it IS a victimless crime, since I don’t distribute them, and I would never have paid for it anyway. If I would have bought the program anyway, and I get a free copy, I buy the originals. I think that probably 95% of people in the country have some sort of pirated software. Doesn’t make it right, but it’s probably true.

On one hand, I think some companies charge simply way too much for software. I think if certain programs (like, say, MS Office) came down in price to around $100 instead of the $300-500 you have to pay now, many more people would buy it. I happened to have it come with my computer, but for those who didn’t, or for those who have an old version, $200 is too much for an upgrade, and $400 is rediculous for an office suite when you can get StarOffice for free. MS would make MORE money, IMO, if they lowered the price on some of their software. Same goes for Adobe.


Hmmm, interesting way to look at it. In a way I agree. Because to own and use pirated programs is, on some level, just like petty theievery.

I’ve always believed this to be true, yet you are not sure you do, what gives you hesitations to this argument?

How did you get these programs in the first place?
I think that college students are the number one offenders of this crime. Their arguements are that they are students and can’t afford to pay the $300 for EACH of the computer programs needed (my best friend is a computer animation major and she needs around 5 to 6 of these $200 to $400 computer programs to do her projects.) Should we live and let be when it comes to these college students? Because I believe this is where most of the pirating of software takes place. Also, who thinks that once these college students get out of school they will start acctually buying programs? As I’ve seen in some threads here, many people here believe “once a criminal, always a criminal.”

In the history of microsoft, it was said that it was the piracy of DOS that made it so successful. Windows is said to be the most pirated software in the world. Not surprising, Gates was once or is still the richest person in the world.

But then, those who buy a copy of Windows for each computer they own cast the first stone.

FWIW, I am a college student. Much of my software is of, shall we say, suspicious origin. My brother built my system and loaded most of what is on here and I’m pretty sure most if not all of it wasn’t paid for (don’t ask, don’t tell). Some of my software I have since actually paid for–for example, I bought Norton Antivirus despite already having it, just because I felt better about it. Now, the Micro$oft stuff I don’t feel too bad about, since I don’t exactly see Bill Gates starving. So for me I guess it comes down to what company it’s from whether I feel bad about bootleg software.

I write software for a living. I personally don’t use pirated software. However, many of my musician friends do.
My musician friends would not dream of owning pirated CDs. I own several. So it is all a matter of perspective.

Well, I have several games and software progs that aren’t on the orginal CDs, but at one point I did buy the original CDs. They either got lost or destroyed over time. Was it wrong to have friends make me copies of their original CDs so I wouldn’t have to buy them again? I don’t think so.

I too write software for a living. I also use a few pirated programs (not at work, where everything we use is Free software anyway). Am I proud of it? No. Am I ashamed of it? Again, no. I don’t give it a second thought.

Then again, I’m an amoral sociopath.

I have 3 computers (it just happened - perhaps they bred).
I like playing multiplayer games with my mates.
So I buy 3 copies of each game.

Pass me that stone, will you? :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t feel too bad about using Microsoft products that I haven’t personally bought. Microsoft makes most of its money from businesses buying site licenses or by OEMing their product to large computer manufacurers that then charge the customer for it.

Smaller software companies, like most game developers, are hurt quite a bit from piracy. I haven’t pirated a game since I was in high school.

We have to sell a lot of used computers in our thrift shops. They have operating systems on them but no one would pay $89 for the operating system when the computers are only $50.00 each. The people who give the computers don’t give letters of transfer for each program. I suppose we can’t legally sell them either but we do.

I think pirated software is a crime. Here are some of your “definitions”:

  • ‘I have a few programs that were “given” to me’

  • The only software I have that “magically appeared” on my disk

  • Much of my software is of, shall we say, “suspicious origin”

  • …pirated CDs. I own several. So it is all a matter of “perspective”

  • I don’t feel too bad about using Microsoft products that I haven’t “personally bought”.

The winner of the best euphemism is…sorry the award’s been stolen :rolleyes:

There was also the view that:

‘Now, the Micro$oft stuff I don’t feel too bad about, since I don’t exactly see Bill Gates starving. So for me I guess it comes down to what company it’s from whether I feel bad about bootleg software.’

‘Microsoft makes most of its money from businesses buying site licenses or by OEMing their product to large computer manufacurers that then charge the customer for it.’

So it’s all right to steal from rich companies?

I worked at a large Department store once. The floor manager told me that prices were raised roughly 10% to cover ‘shrinkage’ (=shoplifting :eek: ). Someone estimated here that 95% of people had pirated software. Perhaps if you all paid for your software, the prices would come down a lot!

Hey Glee, you forgot “I don’t bother justifying it, or even feel a need to”.

Just felt a little left out, is all. :frowning:

Oh, and I forgot to say above that I did buy Quake3. I thought of it more as a $50 tip.

The theft of material goods analogy is flawed. If I download an application, the software company does not lose any material possessions. But you already knew that.

That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all week! Do you think that Microsoft would lower their prices if piracy ceased to exist and they sold twice as many copies of Windows? Hell no! They’d probably raise them!

I don’t really think it’s morally right to engage in software piracy, but for me at least, it’s a victimless crime. Hell, I barely have enough to pay the rent, let alone an extra $550 for Photoshop or something.

I have several progs that I didn’t buy, but I only got them because they sounded nifty. Guess what? I don’t use them at all any more. Why should I go out and spend $300 for a prog that I’m going to use for maybe a week?

The main disagreement I have with this argument is that the current software prices are high, at least theoretically higher than they would be if there were no piracy. Now, if everyone suddenly agreed that’d they be upright and never pirate another piece of software ever again, I question whether this would lead to a corresponding reduction in prices. After all, if a price reduction did not occur, the software companies could never make less money that they currently are. People that were buying software before would still be buying the same software after the “no piracy pact.” Perhaps the people who were previously pirating software would elect simply not to purchase the product, but you’d invariably have some people who needed the software in question for whatever reason. So, in the end, the software companies would realize additional profits while consumers would experience no price benefit.

The major software purchasers are businesses, not individuals, and businesses generally will pay for the proper number of copies/licenses etc… Risking a lawsuit simply isn’t worth even several thousand thousand dollars. Since the big software buyers will continue to purchase and use software legally whether or not everyone else agrees to do the same, I don’t see a reason why a software developer would lower prices, knowing that their major customers would be willing to pay the higher price.

In a nutshell: Software vendors are already charging what the market will bear.

Neither Shrinkage nor piracy cause raised profits. They do cause businesses to fail to make a profit and to go out of business.