Piracy Essay, Research Paper
Piracy Recently, The Toronto Star published an article entitled “RCMPseizes BBS, piracy charges pending.” The RCMP have possessed allcomputer components belonging to the “90 North” bulletin boardsystem in Montreal, Quebec. The board is accused of allowingpeople the opportunity to download (get) commercial and beta (orcommercial) software versions. I feel that the RCMP should notcharge people that are linked to computer piracy, because thepirated software offers valuable opportunity to programmers andusers. Also, revenue lost to the large software companies is sucha small amount that the effect won’t be greatly felt by them and soit is not worth the policing effort required to track down thepirates. When pirates distribute the illegal software, one could saythat they are helping, than hurting the software companies. Bydistributing the software world wide, it creates greatadvertisement for the software companies and their products.Although the software company is losing profits from thatparticular version, it could generate future sales with otherversions. Also, when the pirates distribute the software this couldbe a great source of test data for the software companies. This isan effective way to catch any unfounded bugs in the softwareprogram. From debugging to hacking, hackers can benefit the most.They can study and learn from the advancements with in theprogramming. So what does all this activity tell us? This tells us thepeople are willing to go to great lengths to get software at alower cost, or possibly in exchange for other software and thatthey are succeeding in their efforts. Although more than 50% oftheir software income is from other companies which do not pirate,
this poses a problem for the software industries. By fining asingle bulletin board out of the thousands in North America, therewould be little accomplished. Not to mention the fact the it isextremely difficult to prove and convict people under the CopyrightAct. In today’s society, revenue from software is such a smallincome source for corporations such as WordPerfect Corp. Thesecompanies make their money mainly from individuals purchasing extramanuals, reference material, supplementary hardware, and callingproduct support. Software companies are conscious of the pirateworld and the changes they have made. Some companies actually wantyou to take the software by using the SHAREWARE concept. InSHAREWARE one gets a chance to use demo programs and then pay forthe full purchase if he feels it is worthwhile. It is a bit liketest driving a car, before one buys. In most cases, users arehappy and end up purchasing complete software. Most softwarecompanies are still in business, and still bringing up moretechnological advancements that entice users to continually buynewer versions. The companies, in this sense , have outsmarted andbeaten the pirates. Violation of the Copyright Act seems tobenefit software companies more than it hurts them. Their softwaregets more exposure which leads to more software revenue in the endthan revenue that is lost through piracy. The opportunity cost isworth it in the end. Cracking down on software piracy is a waste of societiesenergy. There is more benefit for everyone the way things are inthe present. Users get to view and evaluate it before they pay.Hackers get a opportunity to view other works and learn from theadvancements on or find the errors in the beta versions. Softwarecompanies get more exposure which in the long run will lead to morerevenues for them.
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