Linked by David Adams on Tue 26th Oct 2004 16:30 UTC
Editorial The software industry is undergoing a gradual transformation, and consumer fatigue is at its root. The licensing model that has formed the basis for the modern software industry is facing challenges on many fronts, and the industry is scrambling to keep its footing. Where this period of change may lead software producers and consumers isn't quite clear, but some trends are emerging. Since the proliferation of the internet, unauthorized redistribution of digital goods has become rampant. But although software sharing probably won't kill the software industry, the reasoning behind it shares some pedigree with the customer revolt that promises to transform the way software is sold.
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A little rant on 'piracy'
by dweazle on Tue 26th Oct 2004 21:51 UTC

I think everyone has it's own motivations to pirate software/music (or justifications as others might put it ;) . I admit I pirate music, movies and software. But I also buy. For every product I 'want' there's a balance between convenience, price and quality (value).

I spend at least 200$ a month on music (mostly vinyl because DJ'ing a hobby of mine). DJ's like to have control over what they listen to. So I don't listen to the radio much, because I like to make my own playlist and hate to listen to commercials and talking DJ's all day. So I download a couple of songs I like in addition to the ones I bought, put them in a playlist and let my music player shuffleplay it. That doesn't mean however that if this all wouldn't be possible I would go into town and buy full albums of these artists. I just like one song, maybe two. That not worth paying up to 25$ for (that's what albums cost in Holland), no matter how much you like that artist. But I actually do pay for really good albums.

Actually since I discovered online musicstores I downloaded much less pirated music, just the ones I couldn't find in the musicstore:)

If I record my own mix made from bought records and put that somewhere on the internet for friends and relatives to listen to, can you call that piracy? I think it's a grey area. In holland you can subscribe to a license from the so-called BUMA/STEMRA (the dutch equivalent to the US RIAA) to broadcast music over the web. Non-profit organisations and invididuals have to pay 25$ a month to legally allow internet streaming (at a max of 96kbps bitrate). If you allow your users to control what they listen to you're out of options, because that's illegal. So streaming is the only option. That just plain sucks. They make it hard for you to make use of new technology in a legal way, so you do it illegally.

About software. I use 95% opensource software. I however like to make music on my pc too. There's no good quality opensource sequencer out there. So I bought Renoise (it's like fasttracker but it supports pro features like asio/vst) for like 60$. The virtual instruments I use are mostly free, the commercial ones I use I mostly bought too. Some vst's I like to 'try before buy' so I installed a pirated copy because the vendors don't supply fullfeatured demo versions. However, all this software runs only on Windows. So as a Linux user I'm out of luck. It's almost impossible to port this software to Linux, because the VST protocol is proprietary and copyrighted by Steinberg (the creators of the Cubase sequencer, which is way too expensive btw). I'm forced to use Windows (or Mac) for this. I, for one, will never buy software from Microsoft because I don't like to support a monopoly that locks me in. So I use a pirated copy of Windows. Is that stealing? Maybe, but the motivation for using a pirated copy is morally justified imho and I think many people here would agree.

About movies. Well I would pay for movies if I had the convenience of streaming broadband video, with an uptodate selections of movies and for a decent price. Unfortunately that's not an option at this moment. So what's the logical course of action? Launch my browser, click on a torrent and wait for it to come in. Don't you just love the internet ;) In addition to 'leeching' I frequently visit the cinema.

The problem is that consumers want convenience and they take the 'lower pricetag' for granted. I think that for most people price is not the motivation to pirate, except maybe kids who don't have the money to buy all the software, albums and movies they like.

Internet brings these people convenience. They can just sit back and click around the web. They can easily locate what they want and they download it and put it on a cd to watch or listen to. Eventually the RIAA/MPAA will just HAVE to come up with equally convenient, but legal alternatives to this. And they will become popular (iTunes is the most prominent example of this). Alhough piracy will always remain to exist (as it always has existed), these corporations can earn back their customers (or thieves as they call it) by listening to them and giving them what they want: No stupid DRM restrictions or copy protections, no obsolete portable media, but internet distribution, no confusing produkt activation sequences. Consumers just want convenience. Period.