Some thoughts on the file-swapping ruling

Down with Kazaa and their ilk

Monday, June 27, 2005 by Draginol | Discussion: Industry

Over on the WinCustomize.com news page I gave my two cents on today's ruling.  Based on the poll I saw on News.com, 2 out of 3 people disagree with the ruling.  What a shock.  "But...I don't want to have to pay for other people's work..I want it for free.." 

I know a lot of people who pirate software, games, music, movies, etc.  I don't harp to them about it.  What ticks me off are the companies that actually make a business model out of serving pirates.  eDonkey and Kazaa and the like made millions of dollars by enabling people to steal other people's stuff.

And in turn, they have harmed consumers in ways most people don't realize. Copy protection has gotten nastier, DRM has become a household term, and licenses have gotten more and more restrictve.  Not that such schemes don't get cracked -- they do -- but the record industry (whom I'm no fan of either) and the like have figured out that those who don't pirate can be made to buy more stuff with more DRM to make up for those who would have bought stuff but were able to download it for free from Kazaa or something.

Such services cheapen the value of hard work too.  The other day I read someone complaining how WindowBlinds was "too expensive".  It's twenty bucks for crying out loud.  That's just a bit more than a Pizza dinner.  A decent cooking knife costs $50. An AutoScanner is $140 (and I can tell you with some experience that the production/profit margins on these things is pretty significant). Cheap shoes are $50.  Stuff costs money.  Yet we'll see someone complain that a software product that took years to perfect that people run every day for years that costs $20 is too expensive.  And why? Because places like Kazaa have made software look worthless. 

People will complain about paying $40 for a game that took two years to develop and provides support to the user but you rarely hear the same people think twice about paying $40 for a small box of legos where the buyer will never interact with the company.  Places like Kazaa and their ilk devalue intellectual property.  And the results hurt us all in ways that people don't realize. 

Software piracy isn't as huge of a deal as many make it out to be, but the mainstreaming of it through these peer-to-peer services were steadily making piracy something that even the newbie down the street was able to do which definitely takes revenue away from hard working software developers, musicians, etc.

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DJBandit
Reply #121 Wednesday, October 12, 2005 12:08 PM
Sorry about how long my post is, I can never find a way to express myself in few words. In todays world most people are not smart enough and details are necesary. I realize there are many different topics on this one article so I would like to make my own statements on each.

Here’s my 2 cents on this article, and some of the posts made after. Making the creator of a program responsible for how his product is used makes no sense to me, even if it seems to be with the intent of a criminal activity. Here is an example: Why do gun companies make guns? For display, sports maybe, or maybe for self-defense? Ah, but that would mean you would have to hurt someone, or worse even kill them. I thought taking someone’s life was illegal. Except in self-defense, and even that can be argued. But in the end guns are used to murder people, to wage wars, to steal, to give cops excuse to kill someone rather than take them to jail (but that’s another topic). Should the gun companies be responsible for the misuse of their products? After all, the intent of a gun is to do harm in the first place. Even when hunting. I personally have never seen anyone use a gun to make a hole in the wall instead of a drill or to knock something down they couldn’t reach. Should we make pharmaceutical companies responsible for the misuse of their medicine as drugs to get high? Get my point?

Kazaa and the likes make software worthless? Well, I guess you can say that. But the way I see it is that software was expensive before all of thing. That’s why so much open source software is available. Kazaa only made it easy for people who couldn’t afford it to get it. Eventually people began to abuse the system. Companies were forced to lower prices to keep up but even then it wasn’t enough. I have tried most of the software that Stardock has and let me tell you that those are not simple programs. They require a lot of programming to get it right. BTW there is no such thing as making a software perfect as you mention here: “Yet we'll see someone complain that a software product that took years to perfect that people run every day for years that costs $20 is too expensive.” That’s why there are versions; if it were perfect there would be no need to make a newer version.

I have to believe that if all this illegal file-swapping wasn’t going on, Stardock would not be selling their software at those prices. I mean how is it possible that a collection of Stardock software, that can alter the look of an entire computer screen, cost only $50 yet a software like Adobe Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro, that only alter images and graphics, cost between $129 and $600. Think about it, most Stardock software is for fun use while software like Photoshop and Paint Shop are used by professionals in most cases. So really, in a way people think Stardock software is too expensive simply cause they can’t afford it and if they could it would probably be to complex for them anyways and possibly even crash their PC, while a $20 Pizza Dinner is a no brainer. Oh and BTW I believe it’s kinda dumb to compare a Pizza Dinner to a $20 software. I mean how much material do you use to make software? Once you make it all you really used was time and electricity. No materials involved and once done copies are endless for free. You don’t have to keep ordering more materials to make more of software. Imagine if Pizza was made the same way as software and there were no materials needed to make more pizzas, would you think paying $20 to eat pizza for years is a good deal? Think while all you need is a nice PC at home to make even the most complex of software and once made there is no need to have 500 of them in stock cause one can be copied over and over, a Pizzeria needs an entire establishment full of machines and ingredients just to make enough pizza to feed all those who are DLing your one copy of software.

So yes I do agree that these companies are making money off of illegal file sharing and to that point they should be held responsible. They are after all making money off of someone else’s product without permission. And yes Dling illegal software is wrong. But, and that’s a big but, today we live in a world where the only thing that matters is money. In the end the whole concern over pirated software is not that someone is just breaking the law, it’s all about how much money a company is losing. People now a days want to get rich fast and will go out a make a crappy products and sell as many as they can before people realize the product stinks. Software is no exception. And those who can’t afford it feel they deserve to have it as much as those who can afford it and find ways to get it. The truth is that even though many here believe that people wouldn’t steal electronics like they would steal software, if given the chance people would take or buy stolen electronics, which many already do. The only problem is a piece of software on a PC is not as noticeable to many as a $5000 62 inch flat screen TV in the livingroom that many know you couldn’t afford.

I admit I have Dled software myself and I could care less. The way I see it is the day the companies make a product with the costumer in mind rather than the money then I will consider changing my mind about it. In the meantime deal with it. I guess companies now know what it feels like when the shoe is on the other foot when they were the ones trying to get every last penny from consumer’s pockets.

Oh yea one last thing, stealing is stealing. Whether its software, music, a copyrighted logo from a site, a life, virginity, a piece of gum, etc. If it doesn’t belong to you and it is not given with permission it is stealing. The only thing in life that you can’t take even though it’s yours is your own life. Even suicidal people go to jail for trying to kill themselves.

And that’s my 2 cents. I respect yours and everyone else’s opinions, I am not here to convince anyone. I just wanted to point out the way I see this world, and never forget no matter how you see things we all live on the same planet, we all grew up looking at the world from a different perspective, it is impossible for any 2 people to stand in the same spot and look at the same exact thing at the same time. Hope you get what I mean. Thanx for reading.
Jafo
Reply #122 Wednesday, October 12, 2005 4:51 PM

Kazaa only made it easy for people who couldn’t afford it to get it.

....and that is called THEFT ....the rest of the '2 cents' means sweet F A after you concede that taking something without paying its due 'price' is theft.

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