Having long watched the pirate manufacturers controversy swirl in the pages of the computer magazines, I have concluded that both sides spend more time rationalizing than reasoning, and what I have to say will make little difference either way. From several minutes of distracted study I have summarized the major points of both sides. First, for the pirates:
And now for the manufacturers' side.
Such homilies as "There's truth to both sides" are banal, and, in my opinion, both sides are probably hypocritical. First, I don't care what software costs, if people can get it free, they'll probably take it. Since I have not met one single person—including software manufacturers, dealers, distributors, and software authors—who does not have pirated software, I seriously doubt that anyone can cast stones. Secondly, manufacturers do have various costs, but any businessman worth his salt doesn't figure the minimum amount he can get for a product and sell it at that. He figures the maximum, and if he doesn't go too high, he'll get rich. Look at VisiCalc, for example—they got their development costs back a long time ago and they're making a bundle selling both old and new versions. However, as for manufacturers supporting their software, with "low cost" updates—that's a joke. For example, one piece of software I bought with promises of updates for $7 charged $20 when the updates finally were made. However, one of the updates was on the original—only you couldn't get to it unless you had a "broken" copy. (That's how I found it was there.) If manufacturers came out with high quality, low cost, and well supported software, I doubt it would make a bit of difference. Pirating would go on regardless. The fact that there is a lot of junk and unfulfilled promises does shore up the excuses of the pirates, but, let's face it, as long as there are ways to copy software, everyone is going to end up with some hot programs. About the only bright spot in this (for the manufacturers) is that I have only come across one person dumb enough to try to sell pirated material. He didn't get very far since no one was willing to pay him for what they could get free. So what's the point of this letter? Well, I'm tired of hearing bull from both sides—mainly in the form of lame excuses. The pirates are trying to get something for nothing, and the manufacturers are trying to get rich. Maybe they deserve each other, who knows?
But, please . . . let's not hear any more of the false morality that has pervaded the whole issue.
Bill Sanders, San Diego, CA - V2N7