piracy, a win-win proposition

elliot smith (smithe@minot.com)
Tue, 14 May 1996 10:41:34 -0500


If you think about it rationally, stealing software (failing to comply with
the terms of shareware, extending demos, pirating commercial software) is
no different than looting a product from a store than stealing cash from a
register. Yet, millions of americans pirate software.
Stealing is wrong and it makes me sick, like when people pirate
stuff like shareware, but logically, people have no way of knowing if the
shareware author is really a good guy or just another corporation. But
they should investigate it and come to a decision. If these people who
steal software are just doing it to steal and make a buck that's sick, but
I think the piracy comes from the fact that corporations have too damn much
money and we all know it.
When we restrict the application of this sophistaced theory to
piracy, we all win! Of course we must not apply this theory to other areas
or we'd have anarchy which is even worse than overly rich corporations, and
as China with it's non-existant software development industry demonstrates,
even piracy must be moderated. It is moderated by only being allowed
between trusted friends and co-workers. [otherwise you go to jail]
So We have the convienience of being able to copy a friends
software, cassette, or video, and it makes us feel like we're sticking it
to the corporations. [see previously referenced theory]
Of course corporations just charge more for the software to
compensate, but in a way it's a safeguard against extravagant pricing,
because the trouble someone goes to pirate something depends on a delacte
balance of price and need. For example a poor student might need a
software so he'll wait until the opportunity comes along to copy it. If he
needs it badly enough, he'll buy it. If it's really too expensive, he'll
wait even longer. This way, people only pay for what they can afford. If
a corporation or "competing" corporations jack the price way up, more
people pirate it. Such socio-economic equity! All neatly fitted into
polynominal equations of the nth degree, I'm sure.
Additionally, because of the piracy-induced need to keep cost down,
less money is spent on advertising and competition is based more on
features rather than sex appeal (A loose-loose proposition for Mr. Gates,
I'm afraid.) If only we could pirate laundry soap we could have less
detergent ads. Sure, corporations would like to eliminate piracy, and one
day they will, but by the time that happens toasters will fly [literally]
and corporations won't be the huge waste of public money and trust that
they are today.

Okay... maybe not the part about the flying toasters...

-Elliot

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