I was thinking today about software piracy. I have a book I’m reading that I borrowed from a friend. It is legal for me to read this, and one can even go to the library and borrow a book, the same copy that possibly hundreds of others over time have read. If authors are OK with that, and they are able to make a lot of money anyway, what’s up with software developers?One big difference I can think of is that software usage is a LOT different than reading a book. If I give you a copy of ColdFusion, I am most likely still using it myself. You go ahead and install CF on your server, and I’ve still got it on my own server. Adobe made no money from you, while you might go ahead and start making money by using their software.When I lend a book, I can no longer use it (nor do I generally want to use it anymore, as I’m finished). Of course, there are people out there that make freeware software, and usually encourage you to share it with your friends (like Firefox). But I think in these cases the author wants his software to spread for the sake of popularity, not for profit. Similar to newspaper columnists. They do make money from the printing of their article, but they don’t care if people spread their column all over. In fact, it is common to see a columnist’s works on his personal website, available for free, sometimes before they are printed in any newspaper.But I don’t think it’s wrong for people to make money selling software. There are people in the open source world, particularly those that follow the precepts of the Free Software Foundation, which professes, “The Free Software Foundation…is dedicated to promoting computer users’ rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs.” But if a person or company spends a lot of time and effort developing software that really helps others, they should be compensated for it. And while some are happy to gain popularity as their compensation, it’s not like everybody can live off of the complimentary emails they get from their users. And while I do think some companies take anti-piracy measures too far (I believe software should belong to a person or company, not to their PC/Server), piracy in itself can do a lot of damage.
- Post author:yacoubean
- Post published:February 12, 2006
- Post category:Uncategorized