This isn’t a philosophical topic. This is the reality, that software producers make tons of money when their software is ripped, cracked, duplicated and even resold across the globe. In this article, I will attempt to explain why piracy of software, music or movies shouldn’t be illegal. I will show how piracy actually benefits the companies in the long run. This is something that is known to the companies and they in fact use that to sell more of their products.
Piracy and Microsoft
Let’s start with the facts. Piracy was around before the Internet had begun. Windows 3.1 was being distributed by friends, family and even resold to others without Microsoft making a dime on it. Now, you could say that this resulted in Microsoft losing millions of dollars from lost sales, but the overall impact it had made Microsoft what it is today. The piracy generated popularity and ubiquitous control of the PC market. Because of this widespread adoption of Windows 3.1, Windows became the de facto OS and developers rushed to this platform to develop their software on it. This gave Microsoft huge power in the OS and software market and the popularity boosted Microsoft’s success tremendously. Another example would be Microsoft Word. In the early days, Word could be copied on to 8 floppy disks and distributed to anyone running Windows – which was 90% of the market. This piracy became so prevalent, that my teachers requested me of installing Word on their computer. The term piracy was not even know then. Soon, Word became the de facto word processor and all my assignments had to be handed in Word. Again, this piracy boosted Microsoft Word to the forefront and in the long run made them billions.
The rise of open source
With the rise of open source software and ironically enough Microsoft turning to it, the argument for piracy becomes even stronger. Open source software was created to distribute software without a copyright license and making it free. Take WordPress for example. Their core code is open source and available for everyone to use, but they make a lot of money from software related that open source software, eg. wordpress.com. The new model is to create open source software and then create a premium feature that can be sold. Sort of like a freemium model. This has worked tremendously well for many companies like Red Hat and Google (TensorFlow, etc). One of the takeaways behind the concept of open source is that people will pirate your software anyways, so why create copyrights on material that will be spread across like fire. Instead, have it spread like wildfire and derive a method to make money off of it.
Piracy being an inside job
Now, it’s not always wise to talk about conspiracy theories, but some things you have to give additional thought to. For example, do companies release cracks and keygens for their own software in order for it to spread. So on the business front they sell their software legally, but they themselves release cracks and keygens to their own software because, like the premise of this article, to create a pirate PR campaign to spread the influence and popularity of their software. The evidence behind this is that software like the Adobe Creative Suite is always cracked while creating an encrypted form could easily be created or create an internet only version where it would be required to login and connect to their verification service in order to use it on the desktop. Major softwares are released and easily cracked. How could this be? Do these companies gain anything from it? Thinks about that.
With all this, it makes sense to legalize pirating. Nearly, every person I know has pirated software on their computer. I know of businesses running pirated software. It would make sense for companies to therefore adopt a different business model and try to survive. Some software companies do allow for piracy, but for personal reasons, not for business.
Companies can adopt open source as a model to make money by making their software free, at least for personal use.