Software Piracy

Thanks to the advent of Gnutella, Napster, and all kinds of other related technology, one computing trend is steadily rising to the top of the batch of ever-growing computer trends, and that trend is software piracy. Companies (i.e. Microsoft) have enacted many different very ineffective and rather inconveniencing ways of software protection to stop software piracy. These many things are including, but of course not limiting to XP’s Activation Codes, and all kinds of Network Scanning, and ways of limiting software to being installed on only one machine, or only by one user. Of course, thanks to serial and activation code crackers, and LimeWire’s amazing piracy ability, these things have been very ineffective at stopping their target, software piracy. However, they seem to never be able to target the what’s really causing their incomparable amounts of piracy and other related software stealing: High Prices.

I don’t think any form of Microsoft Budget Forecast would ever be able to justify the need to charge over four hundred dollars for their premier software suite! If most people can get a nicely equipped used iMac or other used Macintosh for $350US on E-Bay, which usually includes at least some licensed software for free, why pay so damn much just to have an application that does a lot of stuff you’ll never really need?

So, once faced with this problem, many users attempt to get around it most any way they can. At first all righteous people who will never pay up to five hundred bucks just for some program to type a few notes to an ex-girlfriend attempt to avoid the program altogether. Of, course, at first this seems like a very easy and practical application for anyone to avoid. I mean, all iMacs and most of the G3’s and g4’s not to mention all iBooks, etc include at least some version of the very popular AppleWorks suite, right? And that has all of the features of Office, and then some of course because Apple makes it, right?

Well, this seems like a good answer in the long term, but after a while of everyday use, especially while being forced to use PC’s that are almost always bundled with some version of Office or other on them at work in school, it seems like it is almost impossible to avoid the demon of high priced software!

So now, the end user is faced with a problem. Since they are having Office and the other bevy of over-400 dollar software just jammed in their faces every chance they get, they are forced to become part of the “Productivity Collective” or become some type of computer loner because there’s not really too many PC Users out there that have even heard of AppleWorks, let alone a computer that will natively open a document from AppleWorks without even the slightest fuss.

Still, this isn’t enough to make the average internet-savvy user go and shell out five nice George Washington’s just to get a nice little program because everyone else is using it. But of course, they still are going to need this program in the end run, so they think and think and figure out there must be a way to get it a lot cheaper, free even, and this way is called Software Piracy.

Some people will just go out to their next-door neighbor and borrow a few programs or so and just install them. Geniuses such as IBM and Microsoft have tried to combat this with “Activation Codes”, as I believe Windows95 was the first to utilize this feature, however, thanks to search engines such as Yahoo!, anyone with the ability to spell “Microsoft Windows 95 CD Keys” can get a key code that will work with pretty much any old Win95 CD they have laying around.

In fact, for some of the websites, you don’t even need to click on a link to get to the key code! Imagine that!

But, then of course, there’s the even more web-savvy computer user that will just go on LimeWire or something of the like and just download whatever 400 dollars worth of programming they’d like, usually with the software key included.

Proof of this lies in the search. When one does a search for “Adobe Photoshop 6.0” they see millions upon millions of results for “free”, usually virus-free, “downloadable”, and pirated software. Yet, it’s $40 alternative, Color IT! 4.0, my personal favorite has no pirated copies? Coincidence? I think not.

So, what does this all mean? And, why do people do it? Maybe it’s because they refuse to pay six hundred dollars for a program by some company called Adobe that basically just lets you draw stuff? Or maybe they just like stealing things? Personally, I choose the first, and maybe you do too.

Evan Kleiman

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