Penguin Software announces a new policy on copy protection: an open letter to all Apple owners.
In conjunction with the release of The Graphics Magician and the updated Complete Graphics System II, Penguin Software is announcing a new policy with our applications software for the Apple. The Complete Graphics System II, Special Effects, and The Graphics Magician will all now be available on non-protected disks. We've been torn between two points of view. As computer users, we appreciate the ability to have several working copies of our applications software, and even the ability to go in and modify the code, if desired. We'd use programs such as VisiCalc or DB Master for dozens of other applications if we could have them running off several separate disks and didn't have to guard our master copies with such extreme care. Being programmers also, occasionally we'd like to adapt a program slightly to our system or our needs. On locked disks, much of a software product's potential usage goes untapped. On the other hand, as publishers we've been drawn into the prevailing point of view that lack of copy protection means greatly decreased sales due to casual "piracy."
This is not just a crazed overreaction; we've all been to user group meetings, homes of acquaintances, and even some computer stores where we've been aghast at the almost encouraging attitude toward copying copyrighted software, most of which took authors months, maybe years, to perfect. The real scare here is that many of us have decided to take a risk on a very new industry and trust our livelihoods to it. Suddenly, individuals out there become statistics, some of which say that for every nonprotected program sold there are at least a dozen "pirated" copies. Those kind of numbers could really wreak havoc on paying the bills. Scary? Yes. From these conflicting points of view, our desire to make a good product better won, but not by much, over our fear of tampering with something that is already going well.
Our policies, from pricing to support, have always been very consumer-oriented. Ultimately, it is from that viewpoint that we decided to go ahead with removing the protection. We feel that you, the consumer, are entitled to software as useful as possible for the money you spend. Our hope is that the added convenience will result in more sales, not less, and that the software market has matured to the point where people realize that the result of illegal copying is less convenience for everyone with all software. We hope that people will think twice before accepting copies from friends, and we hope to be able to continue this policy and start a new trend toward improved usability of all applications software.
Please don't abuse our trust in you.
Mark Pelczarski, President, Penguin Software - V2N7