Thoughts on software piracy.
Software piracy is ubiquitous. For this reason, it is a problem for both companies who develop software, but also the customers who use software on a daily basis.
For companies and developers, they put in hard work making software to market and sell. In other words, their livelihood is based on selling software. So, when people pirate it, then it cuts into their livelihood. It is stealing plain and simple.
For buyers of software, what often happens is that prices are higher than they should be because companies have to account for piracy. From this perspective, piracy hurts consumers.
In light of these issues, companies have created ways to limit piracy. For example, many programs are subscription based. So, if you want Microsoft Word or Abode products, you can sign up and pay a yearly or monthly fee. In this way, the company “leases” their program. This also helps the consumer in that the consumer always has an up-to-date program.
Software piracy includes activities such as creating, downloading or purchasing illegal copies of software as well as loading multiple copies of a single license. This impacts businesses, consumers and the economy in various ways. It is difficult to track and to stop. Therefore, up to an estimated 20% of business software is pirated. Businesses lose money as a result of this piracy and may even have to cut employee jobs. As business income falls, prices may have to eventually be raised to make up for lost income or to add features such as access codes that help prevent piracy. Consumers do not always respond by continuing to purchase so this may also impact the economy. Consumers stop buying, businesses lose money and eventually may even shut down.
Ethically software piracy is wrong. It is stealing. However, as described above, it also causes business and economic problems.