I would like to thank the readers of Softalk and other magazines for the very positive response to Penguin Software's policy change with regard to protected software. I'm certain that we made a good decision, and so far the move has had no negative effect on our sales. This doesn't mean that every publisher should go out and remove their protection immediately; that's a decision that has to be made with time. It takes a certain amount of trust in your customers to take such a step. I happen to think that it's helpful for any customer to have working backups of software that they purchase, as long as they keep the copies themselves. I also occasionally have this silly notion that everyone is honest if you treat them as such. I like to think that 99 percent are. Mr. J. Barry Smith's letters in the May Softalk, and other people's various letters and comments elsewhere in the world, lead me to believe that in order not to be dishonest people, they twist their morals with rationalizations in which they try to keep themselves honest in their own minds. "To quote Mr. Smith, "Piracy is a biased word, it implies theft." Sorry. It doesn't imply theft. It is theft. There are no two ways about it. When you take something that doesn't belong to you, it's got a simple one-word definition: stealing. "But," you say, "it's so expensive." Sorry again. Yes, selling Apple software is mass marketing as far as computers go, but it's not really that huge of a marketplace. Would it surprise you to know that advertising costs us about $6,000 per month? Or that most publishers are paid only forty percent of the retail price after distributors and dealers get their cut? What about packaging, people to take and ship orders, customer service, office space and supplies? Dale Archibald was an order of magnitude or so off when he jokingly said that we're so small that it takes weeks for our distribution to reach double figures (Softalk, May) ; but even so, it doesn't take a mathematical wizard to compute rough sales figures to see how much money actually finds its way to the publisher and author. For the most part, software packages are priced close to what they have to be. Sorry. So Barry, your excuse is your wallet. Do you buy gasoline without paying? Do you leave restaurants without paying the check? Do you stuff your pockets in the supermarket? It doesn't make any difference who you steal from, it's still stealing. If that's the definition of a pirate, then yes, you're a thief. And if you steal because you can't afford the software then you had no business buying a computer in the first place. To the 99.9 percent of you who are honest, thank you for your kind words and support.
P.S. Despite the column bio, I taught at Northern Illinois U. in DeKalb, home of the famous flying ears of corn. Is there an arcade game in that somewhere?
Mark Pelczarski, Penguin Software, Geneva, IL - V2N11