Software and other piracy

Hang out, sip some ice tea, and shoot the breeze with TR regulars.

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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 5:25 pm

What are everyone's feelings? In some circles, I know people who claim they "don't ever pay for software, out of principle." On the other hand, with so many creators of intellectual property amongst us here, I would be surprised if that opinion would go unchallenged on TR.

Do you feel the same about all software? Any distinction b/w work apps and games?

Also, how do you feel those principles (or whichever ones you hold) apply to other piracy: mp3s, divx movies, etc? I know a lot of us own hard drives as big as we do only because of music and other media...
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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 5:44 pm

I think if you use software you should own it. On the other hand I think software should go with the owner not the PC except for the OS. For example, I have 4 PC's running WinNT4 and I have 4 licenses for WinNT. On the other hand I have one copy of an application which is installed on two or more of the four but since I am the sole user I think that is justified. Given the often trollish, usually cumbersom, and time consuming protocols that software companies employ to replace damaged originals I think it should be legal to make backup copies of media and installations.

If the software provider specifically disallows that activity (e.g. he/she has thought about it and decided not) then I decide not also and don't use their software.

In the past I've copied vinyl records to tape and I think under fair use it should be legal to copy my CD's to make compilations for my own use and Ditto for DVD's, software backups, and installations.

One things for sure. I had a friend who used Napster a lot. From what I saw of Napster it was a way to see how a song sounded without having to waste money on the CD. I hate buying a CD for one song only to find out the rest are filler. I'd be willing to buy a PERMANANT license to a song on a song by song basis but not like it is mixed with a bunch of filler songs. And get the d---ed entertainment industry out of our PC's! My PC is not their closed box entertainment/revenue center.
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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 6:19 pm

I felt much differently about piracy of all sorts when I didn't have any money to spend :grin:. Now I'm all for IP rights; I don't copy MP3s unless I own the CD, for example. I don't (in general) use pirated software. On the other hand, I am not averse to getting an underhanded upgrade on products that I feel are unreasonable -- Windows is priced unreasonably, for example, and I didn't pay for my upgrade from NT to 2000. I paid for NT in the first place; why should I pay for a service pack? I remember seeing a study done several years ago during the great MS Monopoly case about Windows pricing, where a Microsoft internal letter was published in which MS had done a study and figured out that they could cut their price by something like 40% and still make a huge profit. Did they cut it? Of course not. Take this anecdotal evidence (since by now I have no link, of course) as you will, but there's some products that I just don't feel are justified in their price.

I'm sure this makes me a hypocrite, but hey, such is life. :grin:

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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 7:27 pm

Sure, i've downloaded the occasional mp3, burned the occasional iso...quite a few times actually. But in ALL cases if the game i download is worth buying i buy it, if the song is good i get the cd. If the game or song sucks, it makes a trip to the recycle bin :smile:
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Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2002 8:05 pm

I haven't download a song or movie, ever. I have downloaded software, quite alot in fact. And like 0oALio0, if I dont like it, i nuke it. If I do like it, I buy it within a week. I like being able to try my software before I buy it, since you can't return retail purchased software unless the CD is somehow defective.
And once I own the software, I will make backups of said software, no question about it.

EDIT:
I forgot shareware. Software that I use alot, like Zone Lab's ZoneAlarm or the Opera browser, I register. I actually support the development teams because they put out a decent product, even thought I'm not obligated to do so.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: lenzenm on 2002-03-21 15:37 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2002 2:16 am

My personal policy is to buy what isn't free. (edit: not to say only what's not free, just to pay for it if it does have a price tag) But that's the extent of it. I don't care about crusading for any cause. When I had less money, I did make illigal copies of software at work, then use it myself. Now that I can afford to buy whatever I want, I do pay. And in many cases, like Windows and Norton Utilities, I went out and bought licensed versions of the software that I "borrowed", after the fact, and then went on to buy the newest versions to use.

Right now I'm moving away from the Windows paradigm, mostly because I'm sick and tired of waste^H^H^H^H^Hspending so much time learning the latest quirks that require yet another round of upgrades. I do admit that a close second reason is the prices, that stretch my willingness to pay to the breaking point. Professionally, I'm sick and tired of the self-important, know-nothing jerks that can only make it in Windows shops. In UNIX shops, the self-important jerks know a thing or two! :grin:

I do find myself using more and more "Free" software, not because the price is right, but because it's really good. I can believe that a labor of love makes a superior product, although it's not a religion to me. If it's made easy enough, I'll donate to the projects I make use of.


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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Speed on 2002-03-16 02:40 ]</font>
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Postposted on Thu Mar 21, 2002 4:26 pm

On 2002-03-15 18:27, 0oALio0 wrote:
Sure, i've downloaded the occasional mp3, burned the occasional iso...quite a few times actually. But in ALL cases if the game i download is worth buying i buy it, if the song is good i get the cd. If the game or song sucks, it makes a trip to the recycle bin :smile:


totally agree, concur, etc....no need to state MHO since it's right here
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Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2002 11:17 am

My policy is, basically, I pirate things that I find worthless. Does the RIAA think that I'm going to fork over $100 for my collection of MP3s feating 80s hair bands? Hell no! If I had to pay for any of that crap, I'd just as soon live without it. It's fun to have, but it's worth essentially nothing. THat's what the record comapnies don't understand. I still (reluctantly) buy CDs to support artists I respect. However, on many occasions I cannot buy CDs for artists I like because they're no longer being pressed and then I'll make an "illegal" copy. I fail to see how any of my actions deprive the record companies of their just revenue, yet technically I am a criminal. Our copyright system is nuts!!!

When it comes to software, I have no issue paying reasonable prices for software licenses. I bought a retail copy of Win2k. I do take issue with crazy EULAs which require me to fork over my soul. Consequently, I try to use open source whenever I can. My main computer now runs FreeBSD so I have no licensing issues there. My second workstation runs the the afore mentioned copy of win2k, and my ancient Mac toy runs MkLinux. Bring on the BSA!
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Postposted on Fri Mar 22, 2002 8:11 pm

On 2002-03-15 18:27, 0oALio0 wrote:
Sure, i've downloaded the occasional mp3, burned the occasional iso...quite a few times actually. But in ALL cases if the game i download is worth buying i buy it, if the song is good i get the cd. If the game or song sucks, it makes a trip to the recycle bin :smile:


Amen, brother/sister. Unlike regular merchandise, you can NOT return software, music, and movies if they suck. Hell, you usually cannot return a second copy of the stuff if you received both as gifts. I think if the EULA's and return policies weren't so unreasonable, there would be a lot less piracy. Imagine if you bought a washing machine and the spin cycle didn't work?
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Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2002 10:59 am

On 2002-03-22 19:11, Rancid_Meat wrote:
Amen, brother/sister.


It's brother. I assure you :smile:
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Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2002 12:30 pm

I've already downloaded all the mp3 music I will probably ever want. Most of it I paid for when purchasing the original 45s/LPs/CDs (numerous times in some cases) and I feel I've already paid Black Sabbath enough for Iron Man.

As far as software goes, I feel that my obligation to pay for it directly correlates to the degree it passes the Grocery Store test: if I buy a loaf of bread or a package of meat and I discover something's 'off' about it I return it to Safeway for a full refund and an apology. If the software in question is similarly half-baked and I can't return it for a full refund and an apology then I don't pay for it in the first place. It's the only way to be sure.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-23 15:04 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2002 7:03 pm

VooBass, somehow I don't think the Safeway will give you a cheerful refund every time you bring back empty wrappers and a "half-baked" claim. And if you have the original media, why would you go to the trouble of downloading the MP3s? Sorry, but something doesn't ring true in that story.

I'm getting tired of all the attempts to make theft sound virtuous. If you don't like the terms, you're freedom is to not use the product. Listening to Black Sabbath just isn't an inalienable right. If you're really interested in changing a system that you feel is unfair, there are plenty of legal ways to go about affecting that change.
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Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2002 8:56 pm

With the cost of CDs these days, it's no surprise that people are downloading mp3 files. Something is definitely wrong when something that costs roughly $.50 to make is priced at around $18.00. People that are looking for just one song know that they're being ripped off, so, they download it for free. Of course, this problem lies with the record companies, who seem to think people are idiots and will pay the FULL price for a CD. They've made no attempt to change their business model, and are now attempting to get congress to pass a law to make it a serious crime to build your own computer. Personally, I don't think this bill will pass, since it would basically cripple (or kill) a lot of computer hardware companies. Can you imagine the long list of lawsuits that would come from it?

I've downloaded mp3s and warez. I have also gotten copies of various games/operating systems/programs from friends. The fact that it's possible to make a copy of something and/or upload it to a web server tells you that software/record companies are at fault, and can only blame themselves for it. Where were all these companies when CD burners first came to market and mp3 technology was born? Why did they wait so long to complain?

Note: this isn't a Utopian society where everybody will abide by the law (and kiss everyone's a$$).

You can argue about piracy until you're blue in the face. The simple fact is that the average joe isn't going to pay $600 for a high-end graphics editing program, or pay $18 for a CD with only one good song on it. People know when they're getting ripped off--yet, the companies that produce these products seem to think otherwise. It's wishful thinking on their part.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeXus 6 on 2002-03-23 19:57 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeXus 6 on 2002-03-23 19:57 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2002 9:07 pm

Speed:

On the contrary, Safeway will indeed cheerfully give me a refund each and every time I have the misfortune of buying an unacceptable product. If I take a bite out of a donut and it's still wet inside it doesn't matter if it's the sixth donut I've returned that week or the six thousandth. Besides, I would not be returning all software to just one company but, rather, to the majority of companies and each of them individually should damn well be obligated to produce a product that measures up to the product quality levels we as consumers expect from everything else we buy.

As far as Black Sabbath goes, as much as I love them dearly, I've gladly paid my share for their creative efforts. They don't rewrite Iron Man every time I buy a new CD of Paranoid. From here on I'm mostly padding the pockets of one of the most corrupt, wasteful and moronic industries in existence - the music publishing monopoly. @#$% them.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-23 20:08 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 2:10 am

I'm in agreement with you VooBass, especially with some of my stuff that's out of print. With CD costs so low you'd think they'd be working on a press-on-demand scheme. 99 cents a song, I'd be there for it.

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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 2:38 am

No one is addressing Speed's point. Whether or not you think a product is overpriced, you just can't steal it and claim the moral high ground. If I said I was selling donuts for $1000 each, what would you do?
a. Buy one (you fool!).
b. Realize my price is too high, move on.
c. Steal my donuts, reasoning that my price was too high.

I will fully admit with IP and zero marginal production costs, the analogy is not perfect. But you need a better excuse to steal software than "it's overpriced." I do believe a case can be made for piracy as a non-immoral act (I won't say moral, b/c I don't think it's Robin Hooding), but no one made that case here.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 3:22 am

I will fully admit with IP and zero marginal production costs, the analogy is not perfect. But you need a better excuse to steal software than "it's overpriced."


What other reason is there? Are people too lazy to drive down to Best Buy and get the latest version of Windows or the new Britney Spears CD? I guess some people are lazy, so, this could be a reason. Maybe they just like the idea of stealing software/music? It's possible, but I doubt that's the case.

As some other people here have pointed out, a good majority of software that's out there is garbage, and isn't worth the asking price. Even the beta shareware, though inexpensive, is hardly worth the money. Of course, it's your own decision to either pay for it, find a warez copy, or just don't buy it. Choices are a good thing. :smile:

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeXus 6 on 2002-03-24 02:27 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 4:35 am

If its good enough to use, its good enough to pay for.
Cant't afford several thousand dollars for Maya? Then you don't need it, because you're not a graphics professional. If you were, your employer would pay for it, or you would ber making so much that it would be easy to afford, and it would be a deductible buisness expense.
Don't wanna pay $18 for an N'Sync CD? Don't buy it then, but don't think that you have some sort of inalienable right to listen to the music on said CD, because you dont. Just wait for it to hit the bargain bin, it will in a few years, like all crappy pop music does. Then you can buy it for a more reasonable price. It just won't be instant gratification.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 4:49 am

Nexus 6, I'm not asking WHY people pirate software. I'm well aware it's about wanting it without wanting to pay for it. But my point is, pointing out that a product, any product, is overpriced does not justify stealing it. It only explains it, and we're in consensus on the explanation part. Which is why the question "why do people pirate stuff?" is not interesting.

I think the only convincing justification for piracy that I've heard stems from the arbitrary creation of "fair use" standards. Restrictive EULA's get around this, making the agreement explicit, but in non-EULA restricted piracy, I don't necessarily believe that it's stealing. If you tell me a secret, without very particular pre-negotiated contracts, you can't legally bind me into not telling anyone my secret. Well, what if that secret is how to run applications on a computer, and it's contained on CD in the form of thousands of lines of code? If there's no EULA from point of sale, why can't I give away the knowledge I purchased?

The court rulings on the (il)legality of websites that show you how to rip DVDs are a good example of what I think are outdated interpretations of property rights as they apply to new technology. IMHO, "fair use" has been interpreted in very unfair ways recently.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: technophile on 2002-03-24 03:52 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 6:33 am

Technophile,

I don't think "fair use" has anything to do with it, but I do remember the days when it had some sort of merit. If people see mp3 players for sale at the local electronics store, they are going to think it's OK to download mp3 files and also record them. They don't see it as "illegal" because why would they sell mp3 players if it were? The same can be said for CD burners. If it's illegal to make a copy of a software program then why would they allow them to be sold to consumers? People either pirate out of ignorance to the law or do it for money reasons. I guess you could say that some people who just make a copy or two of something probably fall under the "fair use" guidelines, but are they even aware of it or really care?

Your example of "fair use" is understandable, and it should be legal as long as you are not violating any copyright laws.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeXus 6 on 2002-03-24 05:34 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 6:59 am

NeXus 6: With the cost of CDs these days, it's no surprise that people are downloading mp3 files. Something is definitely wrong when something that costs roughly $.50 to make is priced at around $18.00.

Oh that's brilliant... :roll: The problem with your half-truth is that when people go into music stores, they aren't there to buy commodity CDs, they're buying the content on those CDs. And then there's the work it takes to get those CDs to the warehouses, and then to the stores, and then to the display racks etc. How would you like it if you worked hard all day on a number of things, but your boss only noticed one thing that you did, and then paid you for the time it took to do that single task? Would that be OK with you? Because that's what you're saying is OK for other working people...

VooBass: On the contrary, Safeway will indeed cheerfully give me a refund each and every time I have the misfortune of buying an unacceptable product.

Not if you've already consumed it, which is the analogy you're making. And the excuse that you don't care for it is totally different from a legitimate reason, like it's not cooked. If you decide you don't like a song, that's your tough luck.

As far as Black Sabbath goes, as much as I love them dearly, I've gladly paid my share for their creative efforts.

First I'd like to find out what dollar amount you say your share is. If you really were an investor who gave Black Sabbath cash when they went into the studio to record Paranoid, then you have a legitimate point. But if all you did was take a trip to the record store, then you're being pompous. Buying a record, tape or CD is a transaction between you and the retailer. You have no involvement in the recording process, and no right to say you have any special rights.

From here on I'm mostly padding the pockets of one of the most corrupt, wasteful and moronic industries in existence - the music publishing monopoly. @#$% them.

So let me get this straight -- you're passing judgement on "the music industry" for doing more or less what you do yourself? And your way to "@#$% them" is to participate in a process that validates their calls for more draconian protective measures?

I got news for you, bub. The only people who you're @#$%ing is honest people like me, who get to pay for the overhead that thieves like you cause. And I for one don't take kindly to it. You're no different than a shoplifter, except you don't have the balls to try it face-to-face.


Thanks technophile, for addressing my point. :smile:
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 1:37 pm

Quote:

"Oh that's brilliant... The problem with your half-truth is that when people go into music stores, they aren't there to buy commodity CDs, they're buying the content on those CDs. And then there's the work it takes to get those CDs to the warehouses, and then to the stores, and then to the display racks etc. How would you like it if you worked hard all day on a number of things, but your boss only noticed one thing that you did, and then paid you for the time it took to do that single task? Would that be OK with you? Because that's what you're saying is OK for other working people..."


You're obviously missing something:
http://www.negativland.com/minidis.html

If you want to argue about creative content, be my guest. I think this article about sums up the situation:

http://www.latimes.com/technology/la-00 ... technology

Reality check: I've worked enough $hit jobs in my life to know that I wasn't getting paid enough money for what I did. Even the three differnent radio broadcasting jobs I worked VERY hard at barely paid me enough money to make a decent living. That's why I left that industry.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 2:17 pm

NeXus 6, the fact remains that taking something that's not yours is stealing. All the op-ed pieces in the world don't change that. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- if you don't like what the recording industry is doing, then feel free to boycott that same industry. Don't listen to the music. No CDs, no radio, no tapes or MP3s made from CDs. That would be taking a stand. But two wrongs don't make a right.

As for your "reality check", well...if you can't get paid what you think you're worth, then maybe you aren't worth all that. Sorry, but that's how it goes. Your appeal to pity tack is starting to annoy me. The world doesn't owe you a living of your choosing, and it doesn't owe you entertainment. So suck it up and quit whining.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 3:30 pm

On 2002-03-24 13:17, Speed wrote:
NeXus 6, the fact remains that taking something that's not yours is stealing. All the op-ed pieces in the world don't change that. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- if you don't like what the recording industry is doing, then feel free to boycott that same industry. Don't listen to the music. No CDs, no radio, no tapes or MP3s made from CDs. That would be taking a stand. But two wrongs don't make a right.

As for your "reality check", well...if you can't get paid what you think you're worth, then maybe you aren't worth all that. Sorry, but that's how it goes. Your appeal to pity tack is starting to annoy me. The world doesn't owe you a living of your choosing, and it doesn't owe you entertainment. So suck it up and quit whining.



Well, you obviously have taken the "moral" approach, which clearly shows your ignorance to what the music industry is doing. The "two wrongs don't make a right" excuse is about the lamest (and most used) statement I hear all of the time. Just remember that it goes both ways.

As far as my "pity tack" goes, I never claimed anybody owed me anything other than that I wasn't getting paid enough for what I was doing. The broadcasting business, as a whole, sucks. So, I don't see the point behind your sly remarks, since you have no idea what you're talking about. You can live your life as you please, but don't EVER tell me what I can and can't do with mine.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: NeXus 6 on 2002-03-24 14:36 ]</font>
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 4:18 pm

Have a nice day, troll.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 4:35 pm

Same to you, Troll.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 24, 2002 10:30 pm

Well I'd just like to say that I download music, movies, and software constantly. I haven't bought a legal cd in over a year. I've bought a few dvd's but usually just burn them to vcd. I just bought serious sam second encounter but only because it was only $20 and I believe thats a justified price. Everything else is WAY overpriced and I'm just way to cheap to pay it. Yeah its illegal and the RIAA could come get me arrested but will they do it? nope. I'm not gonna try to rationalize it or "robin hood" it away. I know i'm ripping them off and I feel great about it. They deserve to be ripped off. They have too much money invested in entertainment to begin with. They should all get over themselves and quit whinning because if i had a couple million i'd be happy. And i know there's gonna be some people who hate me for thinking this way and to those people i just say congradulations for having such strong convictions but you dont need to try and impress them onto me.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 2:36 am

NeXus6:

Fair use DOES have something to do with it. As I mentioned before, for me at least, it's the only ethical justification for piracy that doesn't critique capitalism as a whole or suggest conspiracy theories of IP content creation. And even then, it doesn't justify music / movie piracy, to me at least.

NeXus6, or anyone else, I would really like to know how people justify having thousands of songs, tens of movies, and a majority of their apps pirated. And as I've pointed out before, "it costs too much" is not a valid reason in itself. I think it's clear that piracy is stealing, unless you can show otherwise. And as I've stated, I think it could be shown. But for God's sake, if I hear one more person say "it costs too much, I'm not going to pay that much..."

LOTS of things cost too much. Cars from Infiniti. Clothing from Abercrombie. Pepsi. But on the whole, people don't steal these things while claiming "they cost too much."

My hunch is most people don't see it as stealing because they aren't physically taking something. More people would be willing to accept a burned copy of Photoshop than would accept a boxed version stolen right off the conveyor belt. But why? Clearly, as Speed pointed out, one is not paying for the raw materials - so it's not like there is significant extra guilt incurred from stealing the cardboard, manual, etc.

So my hypothesis is this. The mental justification is not:
"I have stolen something overpriced. I am a champion of reasonable pricing!"
It is instead:
"I have acquired something that I would not otherwise buy otherwise (therefore I am not cheating them out of any amount of money, no matter how little), but I have added no costs to the producer (therefore I have stolen nothing)."

The latter statement still suggests that intellectual property laws are bull$hit, though. And most people, even people with pirated software / media, think IP laws are a good thing. So what bridges that contradiction?

NeXus6, Speed, you both need to chill. If the other is trolling, everyone else will realize that without you name-calling.
technophile
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 11:30 am

Speed:
"Not if you've already consumed it, which is the analogy you're making. And the excuse that you don't care for it is totally different from a legitimate reason, like it's not cooked."

Here, I'll explain it real slow for you: I didn't say I'd consumed the entire donut I said I had taken a bite out of it and discovered it was half-baked and then returned it for a refund and, whether it's the six or six thousandth, upon returning the remains Safeway happily gives me a full refund. If something can't be returned for a full refund, like software can't be, then it has to be perfect out of the box. (And don't say, "gee, you can't return a car for a full refund". As probably the only person in North America to force Honda to give me a full refund on a 'lemon' vehicle I know full well that you can get a full refund on almost anything if the product is truly half-baked, except software.) When software is so glitch-free, so thoroughly well-written that it actually lives up to the hyperbolye on the packaging then it will be perfect and worth paying for. Until then paying for half-baked software only encourages companies to continue releasing alpha-ware crap.

Speed:
"So let me get this straight -- you're passing judgement on "the music industry" for doing more or less what you do yourself? And your way to "@#$% them" is to participate in a process that validates their calls for more draconian protective measures?"

Man, do you have a problem gleening meaning from simple sentences? What I said was I feel the artists/creators (Black Sabbath) of the original song (Iron Man) should be compensated for their efforts and that, having purchased a number of copies of the original album (Paranoid) I have already fulfilled my obligation to compensate them. From this point on I personally feel quite comfortable downloading a free mp3 copy of Iron Man and limiting my compensation to what I have already paid. And if record companies and or anybody else has a problem with that @#$% them.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: VooBass on 2002-03-25 10:34 ]</font>
VooBass
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Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2002 2:24 pm

kudos to Technophile. I agree with Speed, and i realize that while it is so easy to become heated over this topic, it still behooves us to maintain some level of decorum else our argument deteriorate to mere heat, with no truth.
rikki tikki tavi
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