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Topic: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

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  1. #1
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    Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    The BBC has reported that people don't see downloading copyrighted material as theft, despite public awareness campaigns to convince them otherwise. The report claims that '[People] just don't see it as theft. They just see it as inevitable, particularly as new technologies become available...The purchase of counterfeit goods or illegal downloading are seen as normal leisure practices' says Dr Jo Bryce one of the researchers who conducted the study.

    Piracy as Normal? Has society so numbed sensibilities that wrong is right and theft is normal?

    Perhaps the end result is more stringent copy protection or completely open-source sampling.

    Do you agree with this study? Let's discuss.

    Gary Garritan

  2. #2
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    The BBC has reported that people don't see downloading copyrighted material as theft, despite public awareness campaigns to convince them otherwise. The report claims that '[People] just don't see it as theft. They just see it as inevitable, particularly as new technologies become available...The purchase of counterfeit goods or illegal downloading are seen as normal leisure practices' says Dr Jo Bryce one of the researchers who conducted the study.

    Piracy as Normal? Has society so numbed sensibilities that wrong is right and theft is normal?

    Perhaps the end result is more stringent copy protection or completely open-source sampling.

    Do you agree with this study? Let's discuss.

    Gary Garritan

    Yes, I am sure that the study is correct. But open source is not the solution, that just makes it easier. More protection? I don't know, but I expect that would just bring on another round of ways to crack the protection. There is, I believe, a serious flaw in our education system/social structure that allows the attitude to exist that if it is there, I can take it if I want. The problem is not only of indiviuals, but corporate as well, a example being the current trend of stealing pension funds, but giving the theft a different name.

    Richard

  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    Arrr, it's only normal if yas be havin a patch coverin one eye and a hook for one hand. Otherwise yar be a stealin thar gold darbloone sarftware matie and yar should be made awalkin thar plank!
    Styxx

  4. #4

    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    back when i was a student, expensive softwares were out of the question. It was through pirated software that I learnt how to compose, sequence midi, do word processing, graphic and web-editing... "Learning" was the key reason and excuse. In those days, it was normal for me and almost everyone my age. However, I always intended to purchase the full software if I used it to make enough money to buy it. I didn't see it as a horrid sin to use the pirated software to learn, or to do my homework. It was a neccessary "evil".

    Now, I'm proud to say my two PCs are totally free of pirated software, thanks to the availability open-source programs. I use Gimp, Open Office, NVU (open-source substitutes for Photoshop, MS Office and Dreamweaver. Frankly, these are the most basic tools everybody needs. They should always be affordable or even be provided for free with the OS.); GPO, Sonar4PE and Kontakt (these are original, now, of course. ). Even though the use of pirated music software is rumoured to be the norm even among the pros where I come from, I firmly believe in Karma, and nothing comes for free, ever. Don't pay for the developer's hard work with money, and you'll still end up paying in other ways.

    These days, I can afford to be respectful of coyrights. For those who can't open-source software is definitely a good place to start.

  5. #5

    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    No doubt it is seen as normal. Consumer level software simply cannot subsist unless the developper makes their money through more indirect means - for example, by licensing it to be bundled with hardward components (such as video/audio cards, burners, etc.).

    For professional level software, I do believe things are a bit different - those who use them in a professional working context will most likely have legitimate copies. Piracy occurs, but many of these would be pirates will never use the software in any real way - either due to lack of skill, or lack of time. What can a casual dabbler really do with something like the Symphonic Cube, or, to use an example from a different area, something like Alias Maya? Such people were never really prospective clients in the first place. Some are just curious. Some are software 'collectors'. And some might just master the software and end up as legitimate users... it is no secrect that most students in graphics and such learn on pirated copies. What choice do they really have?

    I'm not condoning - just acknowledging reality.
    And, as has been said many times, harsh copy protectiosn only punish the legitimate user. Everything ends up cracked in the end, and, in the ultimate irony, the pirates end up with a more usable program... aaaarggghhh....

  6. #6

    Wink Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    I think the problem is to provide people with a good service for a good price.
    For example I saw the post about Finale 2006 and when I saw the price I said to myself: "wow, it's really expensive!" And it is for me, because music it's just an hobby!
    But I don't need all the features of Finale and it's two years that I do everything with GPO, GPO studio and Overture SE and that is fine for me.
    In this case i think I found a good product that fits my needs for a good price. Than Gary is offering a lot of services with GPO: the GPO competition, the composer channel, ...
    so I think that a lot of people buy it not only for the quality of the product but also because if they just "download" it they will not have the other "services".
    That's the way, I think: have a product with important and valuable services. The second aspect is to provide products at "low-medium cost" for not professional users so that they somehow "don't need to download" professional staff and prefer to buy a "light" version that comes with all the advantages to be a bought product.
    Sorry for the long post

  7. #7

    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    Providing a good product at a fair price will inspire "they deserve to be paid" feelings in many. The question of 'deserving' does come into play, at least at a subconscious level... that is why most people are not overwhelmed with guilt with taking from 'large faceless corporations' and such..

  8. #8

    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Perhaps the end result is more stringent copy protection or completely open-source sampling.
    There's an old saying 'a lock on a door is only there to keep honest people out'

    Copy protection adds to the cost of devlopment and is quickly cracked anyway making it no more than an irritation (however slight), to the legitimate user.

    I normally don't buy software with heavy copy protection or if I do I'll use a cracked version having already paid for the license, a common practice incidentally in some IT departments I have seen. Does that make me a criminal? Who am I cheating?

    Nobody really knows the extent of piracy and the impact it has. Has anyone heard of a company that went bust because all its software products ended up on LimeWire or BitTorrent? I'd be curious to know...

  9. #9

    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    The study is doubtless accurate, for a few reasons. First, people will always be people, and in any society a certain percentage of them will lack a solid ethical foundation regardless of that society's norms. Additionally, at least in America, there is a growing sense of "entitlement" and a lack of accountability. Many feel that obtaining creative works for nothing is just "their right", and the Internet falls into that category - "everything on the Internet should be free". It's both naive idealism and a convenient stance to get something for nothing. Lastly, at least in my country, honor is no longer an important aspect of our culture. It's seen as a corny, old fashioned ideal that no longer fits in the modern world.

    When you couple these things with the ease of distributing digital properties over the Internet, you're going to have piracy on a large scale, and there's nothing you can do about it. There's no such thing as a copy protection scheme that can't eventually be circumvented. Open source is also not the answer. Giving your products away for free is not a viable commercial business model (if it was, the open source community would be rich). Instead, it's simply a particular brand of idealism in practice, one that's a throwback to the 60s - "money is evil, as are those who pursue it: power to the people". Groovy, but not something you can make a living with.

    Having made a living as a musician, a software developer, and now an author, piracy and the protection of intellectual property is and has been relevant to my livelihood. Anyone who gets into a digital business has to factor into their plan that a certain percentage of their product will be stolen. The only difference between digital sales and a retail store is that the percentage will be considerably higher for the former.

    Ultimately, however, a significant percentage of people will always pay for what they use out of a sense of moral obligation. The best business plan is to treat these people very well and build your customer base through that population. The GPO community is a good model for this. Offer a good product, conduct your business ethically, and treat your customers extremely well, and you'll build a loyal base of the right kind of people.

    Until the day when honor is once again fashionable, there is no other solution.
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  10. #10

    Re: Software piracy 'seen as normal'

    I see this all the time with my students at the university here. I read them the riot act. It does not seem to bother them. It REALLY Irks me!

    My new solution for next fall is to require them to own GPO for orchestration class. I am writing all the lectures online, so no expensive text books! I would rather see my students spend the $$ on GPO. They have to come to class with their copy of GPO and show it to me. Gary, have you ever considered academic pricing?

    Peace

    Rik

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