Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Systematic destruction through pirated software

I realize that this is going to be a long post, so whoever reads it, thanks for reading.

First of all, although I am against the use of pirated software, I am also not a big fan of those big companies who often overprice their products. Nevertheless, almost everyone knows that pirated software is against the law, but people still use it. I say “almost everyone” because some people really do not know the legal/illegal stance of pirated software (I was one of those people). But the fact that 80% of the software used around the world is pirated software is just simply overwhelming. It means that among 80% of PC users are (uhm, sorry) outlaws.

The amazing ease of getting access to pirated software is definitely one of the main reasons of its popularity. As if they were meant to be pirated. You can download a trial software, then do a google search to find the crack or key generator to the software, and then voila! You get the full version of it. You don’t need to dig into your wallet. All you need is an internet connection (and a computer of course). Yes, it is as easy as that. Trust me.

Microsoft products are among the most popular pirated software (I am not going to say victim because the term is relative). Most households in developing countries are almost certain to have a pirated version of windows and office. You would be amazed on how few people use LEGAL Microsoft software. Not justifying piracy in developing countries, but in my opinion, it seems rather harsh to price a product at $300 in a country which has a per capita income of $3500 like Indonesia (which means the average family has an income of $291 per month, although in reality it is much worse). So is Microsoft suffering any loss from this? In my opinion, it’s a big NO. Why? They get enough revenues from all their other big deals and rich people. Whether we realize it or not, nowadays, people depend so much on Microsoft’s software that it’s like marijuana to an addict.

One of the other popular piracy targets is Adobe’s photoshop. The software is highly rated among photographers and digital artists due to its versatility in manipulating and enhancing pictures and photos. Everyone wants to have it. Of course with Adobe’s near 1000 USD price tag they shouldn’t expect everyone to get a legal copy of the software. So is Adobe experiencing any loss here? Nope. Last that I heard their income has more than doubled over the past third quarter. Again, people become dependent on the software.

So there is a trend here. Letting everyone have software for free, in turn of addictedness. I don’t think it is such a big lost for the huge companies (in my opinion). But for users on the other hand, it is. For users like us, too good offers like pirated software are seldom turned down. We WANT (I repeat, want, not need) them so much, we’d do anything to get them, including “stealing” them. So, what do we become? As I said in a previous paragraph, outlaws. Whatever justification we make, we are still stealing from another person (even though we steal from gazillionaires like Microsoft’s Mr. Bill Gates). If we really NEED them as a career supporter, I am sure we will have the money to get legal copies, or at least plan to get one.

In all religions I know, stealing, whatever reason or from whomever we steal from is bad, a negative act. That negativity is invested to everything we do with those stolen items. We have to ask to ourselves, what goodness can we derive from stolen items?

By committing and supporting piracy, we have neglected universal justice and common sense. I hope we are all given the wisdom to look away from them, and use quality freeware, cheap alternatives, or buy the legal soft. I am sure nobody wants to be systematically converted into a thief.

I am truly sorry if anyone was offended by this post. I too am not able to be 100% consistent about this subject.