Software Piracy

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Matt is a YouTube community member who watches us regularly. He recently sent me a very interesting email, asking about my thoughts on piracy, and how to put a stop to it. Piracy of music, software and movies is rampant these days, and there is just no one sure-fire way to put an end to it.

I had some questions about piracy issues on the Internet today. I watch your videos everyday on Youtube and find them very informative. I noticed that you haven’t done a video on anti-piracy. I was wondering about your thoughts on how software piracy or piracy in general should be stopped on the Internet. Is it the software developer’s responsibility to stop users from cracking their program? Or… is it the users’ responsibility to resist using the program without paying? How can piracy best be slowed down?

My personal thought on this is that piracy will never completely go away. Piracy can be slowed down, but not completely stopped. A lot of software piracy happens because users want to use a program but are unaware of the program’s ability. This motivates them to crack the software to try it for themselves. I think a demo of all commercial software today would help decrease software piracy. I’m sure there are many more motives as to why people crack commercial software. I’m not sure of what they are exactly, but I was wondering about your thoughts on this. Thanks.

Piracy is nothing to joke about. I’ve seen too many people admit that they pirate, and that they’re proud of it. That’s not fair… at all. It is SO much easier to approach a vendor and ask if they have a review or NFR (not for resale) copy. You can write up a review after receiving it. Bang! You have free software… legally. It’s simple. DON’T. PIRATE.
If you don’t want to pay for it, find freeware. Find Open-Source alternatives. Develop your own! In many cases, Open-Source or free software is better than the paid alternative. You’d be better serving the developers and yourself by taking a moral approach to this situation. If you can’t find a legal, free alternative or don’t want to spend the money, then the answer is simple. Don’t use the software!

POST UPDATE After this was posted, I received some excellent thoughts from “Terminator” in our chat room.

I watch your videos on YouTube a lot these days, and I just saw your video about piracy. I am against it in general, but its not the same as stealing a car (or a cup of coffe). Well it is the same, but not through the eyes of the consumers. The problem is that you get a choice. Will you buy this car… or will you take the other one, thats the same, for free. What would you do? I think this is the major problem of software piracy. If you would go to jail or have to pay a lot of money for stealing the software, then everything would be different. I think, or rather, I’m sure we dont need all that pirated software and free movies and all that. People download movies they dont even watch, just because they can. Before downloading was possible, you could still see all the movies on tv when they came out. When I go and buy a movie, people look at me and ask me why I didnt just downloaded it. We got pretty spoiled. We were all fine before that trend began. Of all the people I know in my neighborhood, maybe 95 % dont have even one original piece of software. As you said, there are tons of free programs that are very good and you can use them without spending a buck. If people started facing consequences, then everything would change overnight. Consequences are the key, but not an easy thing to make possible. If we would face them, we would suddenly realize, that we can survive without all that pirated stuff that we “really” needed the other day, and just get freeware versions.

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