Software piracy is a term used for the unauthorised copying of software. This is also known as bootleg or grey-market material. Of course the term always throws up connotations of dubious, shifty individuals, but is that always the case? Some of us may be giving in to piracy without even being aware.
There are clear definitions of breaking the law and distributing unauthorised software, which may seem minor offences to most, but are prosecutable offences nonetheless. For example, an individual must never copy software for a friend, although exceptions do include the ability to make copies of the program for backup purposes.
Upon purchase of legitimate software you become a licence holder, purchasing the right to use this on a single computer (unless stated otherwise). This is qualified by the End-User License Agreement, which you can understand better at www.adobe.com/products/eulas.
These are all direct causes of piracy that you may miss the importance of. But what about the victims who are affected by those actively pirating?
We know that many find the hiked prices of modem software hard to manage, turning to cheaper solutions on the internet. However, doing so sadly means you are putting yourself at risk. Modest discounts from non-authorised resellers on Amazon and other similar sites can be risky. Those programs that are illegally downloaded put your computer at a high risk of viruses and many third-party copies cannot be registered, meaning that any attempt to upgrade or seek support for these sorts of products will be denied. Such instances can be avoided by adhering to authorised sellers listed on manufacturer websites. Also, immediately registering software after purchase leaves you enough time to take action against the reseller.
Many believe that piracy is a result of pricing. Beginners will always struggle to afford professional software and some believe these price points are unreasonable. In reaction to this, it yet to be seen what effects the introduction of subscription services, which Adobe has implemented with Creative Cloud, will have as a deterrent — setting a lower regular price point as well as frequent software updates.
However, in the meantime, software theft only serves to increase what honest consumers have to pay. Edward Sanchez, executive vice president of Nik Software, Inc. agrees: results in increased costs, lost revenue and lost opportunities in job creation, which ends up affecting everyone —not just the creative community. Legislation, DRM and awareness of piracy s effects arenthe only solutions available for curbing piracy. Businesses must adapt to new models in order to combat piracy, as well as offer the creative community quality goods and services.”
KIRK NELSON WEIGHS IN ON SOFTWARE PIRACY
IS PIRACY EVER REALLY JUSTIFIED?
IS IT RIGHT FOR AN UP-AND-COMING ARTIST, WHO CANAFFORD SOFTWARE PRICES, TO USE A GREY-MARKET VERSION OF PHOTOSHOP?
Not too long ago Adobe released the latest version of Photoshop CS6. Along with this highly anticipated update came a less anticipated alteration to Adobe policy, regarding the price of the software. If a user was more than two versions back, then they were no longer eligible for reduced upgrade fees. This means that an owner of CS3 is faced with the unsavoury prospect of paying $699 (US) for Photoshop vanilla and a whopping $999 (US) for the Extended version of the program.
This decision was likely orchestrated to help push the emergence of the new subscription based pricing model, Creative Cloud. As in the past, users tended to look at alternative, often more dishonest methods of obtaining the software without spending a thousand dollars. Hacked, illegitimate, or pirated copies of the software were not difficult to find for anybody who sought earnestly enough. The moral dilemma was often more difficult to overcome than a lack of opportunity. Naturally, anybody with a moral compass pointing anywhere near the right direction instinctively knows that pirated software isna very good idea.
But the siren call of getting the goods without paying the steep price often leaves some with no other option, rationalising their actions with reasons such as: Ijust a student, certainly they donexpect me to be able to pay a thousand dollars’, or I m not making any money with it, just playing around. They donreally care.’Even the most brazen attempt to redefine what stealing means, by reasoning that piracy isntheft because it doesnremove the item from the owner, simply copies it
Seductive words to be sure, but the best lies always are. No, Adobe does not expect students to be able to afford ? 1,000 for software, that why they offer educational discounts at 80 per cent off the retail price —just search for educational discount’on www.adobe.com to find evidence of this.
Whether you make money while using the software or not is none of Adobe concern. Their concern is whether or not they make money from its sale. So yes, they do care if you using a grey-market version just to play with. You wouldn't expect car dealers to allow you to just take a vehicle to play around with without paying would you?
Adobe has poured a lot of time and money into the development of its products, so if you use them, they deserve payment. That how business works, they not a charitable organisation giving away free software, they selling it. Additionally, the idea that piracy is not thievery because it not taking the product, but copying it, is a poor definition of theft. It is not defined as the removal of property, it defined as unlawful obtaining of property. The fact that you have it without paying for it makes you a thief.
Beginning with a pirated version of software also sets the tone for the rest of your career. When a user doesn't respect the end user agreement, how can anyone else trust you with image copyright? If software theft is OK by your moral standard, where does plagiarism sit? Once you start down that rabbit hole, it goes much, much deeper. Until you get so entrenched, you can dig your way back out again.