Why Not To Use Pirated Software, Some personal thoughts for debate
Why Not To Use Pirated Software, Some personal thoughts for debate
Nov 12 2007, 11:25 PM
Moderator - low level high stakes
Group: GMC Senior
Joined: 27-June 07
From: Espania - Cadiz province
Member No.: 2.194
Why not to use pirated or cracked software
Five reasons not to use cracked software:
1) It is theft and therefore illegal.
2) It results ultimately in fewer and more expensive software products.
3) It is a ‘poor’ way to repay the music community.
4) It is often ‘malware’ and can potentially damage your pc.
5) It is GMC policy not to condone the use or discussion of where and how to get/use ‘crackware’ and illegal filesharing.
It seems opportune to write this now and pin it as a closed thread. I have and use a fair few pieces of music software - commercial, shareware and freeware – sitting on my music PC are sequencers like Reaper, Live!, Reason; the wave editors Audacity and Cool Edit; various soft synths including Reaktor, Sylenth, Pentagon and Atmosphere; two samplers Kontakt and Halion; and various effects and mastering tools including ones from PSP, Sonalkis, Har-Bal and Ozone. If I was to add up the cost of all of this and tell my wife it would probably lead to a divorce. If she knew how much I spend just updating these she would have a fit!
All my software – not just music – however is legal. I don’t use pirated or ‘crackware’ – never have and never will. If I can’t afford some software then I will in the first instance attempt to get a shareware or freeware version. If none are available that I like then I wait until I have saved the money and then buy the software. I don’t have a high income so saving up potentially hundreds of Euros can take me a while and I often find it frustrating to have to wait. But wait I do and what follows are my reasons why I do this rather then use ‘crackware’.
Moral and ethical considerations.
I lecture in Ethics and Morals and one early lecture is a discussion that is extremely relevant to his subject. In it I argue (backed up by some philosophical heavyweights) that the rule that we should live by is basically one of ‘do unto others as you would like done to you’. Or to put this another way: if I steal then I must accept it without complaint if someone broke in to my house and stole all my guitars. ‘Crackware’ is theft and I don’t want someone stealing my possessions.
In most countries software piracy is a felony – not just pirating software but having and using it. It is breaking the law. Like it or not we live in a society and as such should abide by its laws. The laws are there to help maintain and protect society so if you break the law by using ‘crackware’ then expect to pay the price.
It seems that some view piracy as something ‘cool’ that they do as a mark of their ‘living on the edge’ of society or outside it. If you wish to live outside society then you should repay what you have had from it first. Curiously I have yet to meet anyone who has repaid society adequately for their housing, healthcare, education and so on.
Music software is expensive to develop, test, debug and market. Many of the companies involved are small operations. Many make little profit and are often run by a few people who are just passionate about music. ‘Crackware’ eats in to profit both because it reduces revenue and because it means that the companies spend time and money implementing protection routines. Sooner or later someone pays for the lost revenue and increased costs – either the price of the product goes up and/or the company uses time implementing protection rather then coding new or improved products and/or the organization goes bust and/or the staff in the company are paid less or lose their jobs. So ‘crackware’ costs us all –for customers via fewer, more expensive products; and for staff in lost income and jobs.
I’ve spent many years in and around the recording industry and am lucky enough to know a number of people and to have learnt from them. They have a passion for music, recording and technology. In my experience people are nearly always generous with their time and help and often view this as a way of repaying the help and advice they received along the way. If you look at the boards of the music software forums you can see many of these people providing help and advice. Music production and recording is a small community. Using ‘crackware’ isn’t stealing from someone unknown – you may well be stealing from someone who has given you help and guidance or from whom you might need to help in the future.
Music production and recording is a community – a small scale society if you will. If you use ‘crackware’ then you can’t expect to be well received in the community. Take a look at the number of flames in the forums when someone using ‘crackware’ asks for help. Personally I never refuse to help but if I suspect the person is using ‘crackware’ then my help is restricted to advising them to read the manual or contact the software company.
Technical reasons not to use ‘crackware’
Most ‘crackware’ is downloaded from P2P sites. These sites often include items which contain viruses, Trojans and other malicious code. If you use ‘crackware’ you are actively choosing to download and run potentially malicious code.
Virus guards are not ideal for a DAW as most run in the background and monitor activity. Recording and mixing on a DAW takes time and an active, resident virus guard can have a detrimental affect on your pcs performance, slowing it down, reducing hard disc speed or activating when you least want it.
Because of theft most music software companies now protect their software either physically – ie via a dongle – or through software through some form of password code. I stopped using and buying software that is hardware protected partly because I got fed up with losing the dongles and having to spend time searching for them. In some instances hardware protection can cause incompatibility problems with pc hardware or other software that may result in a pc crash, poor performance or software that runs irratically or not at all. So my choice in software is restricted to those that do not use hardware protection.
Software protection is often some form of call and response system. For these systems I find that I have to keep a file of passwords, serial numbers and so on. Everytime I upgrade I have to dig the file out to find this information. Some of my software is locked to a pc component – the hard disc, network card and so on. If I change a component I then have to go through the task of re-authorising my software. Some software is coded to the original installation disc – lose the disc, or just don’t have it to hand, and the software won’t run. All of these methods require time that I would rather spend doing something else with.
So protecting software doesn’t just end up in additional development time and costs and therefore a more expensive product. It also results in inconvenience and may reduce choice and cause technical problems for the legitimate end-user.
Music software is in a state of continual development. The programs are often large and complicated and despite debugging a new version will often be followed up by a number of bug fixes and improvements or feature additions downloadable from the developer’s site. Access to these downloads nearly always requires product registration and so is not available to ‘crackware’ users. In a similar vein product registration is also nearly always required to access technical support. ‘Crackware’ has no technical support. Ironically ‘crackware’ that is ‘malware’ may actually cause technical problems.
Very recently there have some threads about whether we can download the backing tracks and/or lesson videos from GMC. These are both the exclusive intellectual property of, and copyrighted to, GMC and if someone pirated them it would result in lost income for GMC. Without this income GMC might cease to exist and we would all suffer as a result: we would lose the lessons, the instructors would lose an outlet for their lessons and skills and all the work that Kris, Henrik and Maria have put in would come to nothing. I’m sure that’s not an outcome any of us would want.
Software piracy is the theft of intellectual property and as such GMC cannot and will not condone it, or discussions of where to get or how to do file-sharing, cracked software and so on.[i]
ps - stickied but open for debate.
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Nov 13 2007, 02:54 AM
Get to da Chopper!
Group: GMC Senior
Joined: 18-March 07
From: South Wales, UK
Member No.: 1.374
My brother designs software for a living, if due to piracy he was unable to find work..it would ruin his many years of education and would be unable to start a family with his girlfriend.
I'd feel crushed if that were me...
Big fat no as far as i'm concerned!
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