On Piracy

The other day, I called out someone on the Techie Forum who was advocating piracy like you wouldn't believe. I asked_

Why is it that you're such a rampant supporter of software piracy?

If you don't like Microsoft, fine, don't use their stuff - there are lots of alternatives. But how can you reasonably justify your actions, which take money out of programmer's pockets? Don't software engineers have the right to make a living too?
An excerpt from his reply, which attempted to justify his actions_
product piracy is actually good for companies. most of the people who pirate are people who wouldn't buy the product anyways.
. . .
XP isn't good enough to pay for yet. I find that the problems with XP are worth more to me then the purchase price. If microsoft ever makes a product that adds more value to my computer, then its headaches and purchase price, then i will buy it. But since they aren't getting the money, using it won't hurt, and actually will help them slightly.
Childish at best. My response_
This is where I disagree. If you weren't using a pirated version of Windows XP, what would you be using? Linux? If so, why not just use linux? Win 98? If so, why didn't you just stick with Windows 98?

I'll answer for you here_ You didn't use an alternative because you saw value in the new software. (This could be increased stability, more features, convenience, etc.). So, when you pirated that software, you recieved the value included in that software.

If you really wouldn't buy the software, you should have to live without that value.

I'll agree 100% with you that data costs nothing, and that distribution costs, yadda yadda, cost almost nothing. However, the development of software has real costs (money, time, effort). Programmers shoulder the costs of writing that code. And they have the right to ask for compensation for their time and effort.

Now, does MS overcharge for windows? Most definitely. But as owners of that proprietary code, that's their right. You also have the right to find an alternative. But you didn't - instead you stole it. It's theft, plain and simple.

If you're really all about free software, join the free software movement, and use code that people offer up for free. But remember - Just because they're benevolent doesn't mean everyone has to be.


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