Pirates–Without Boats

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Pirates.

What does that word mean to you? You most like think of the smelly men on a boat always saying “Aargh!” The ones that the popular movies are about. The ones that plunder gold. But, there is a different kind of pirate in modern times. These new pirates are the ones that plunder software. The ones that don’t pay for their licenses to use a product. The ones that download movies.

Strictly speaking, a pirate is someone that steals (takes without paying for) software. They may download the software, burn it from a friend, “borrow” it, crack a demo to allow full access, or any other way to get around paying for something. It may be hard to think of someone stealing an item without actually taking a CD or DVD. With piracy, the pirate takes intellectual property. A company can own the bits and bytes that are inside a program. When you buy that program, you’re actually just buying a license to use that software. By downloading it and not paying for it, you are taking those bits and bytes without having a license to allow you to. Thus, you are committing software theft–piracy.

The most popular form of piracy today is illegally downloading music. There is an enormous amount of software that lets you download songs. These songs aren’t “free” like the programs state. They are illegal copies and downloading them is theft. Whether or not you believe in intellectual property, it is still theft as defined in the law.

Another form of popular piracy today is software piracy. Instead of buying a product such as Microsoft Office, a pirate might just download the software instead. The pirate isn’t licensed to use the software, and is committing theft.

Theft is theft. There is no way around it. Even if you are stealing for a good purpose like Robin Hood did in the old stories, it is still theft. Pirates cut the potential profits companies can make. These companies then raise prices to help increase revenue to offset the burden of pirates. No matter how you look at it, piracy is bad. Engineers and coders work long, hard hours to make a great product. Taking this product without paying for it makes their job less profitable and may put their jobs at risk. Next time you think about downloading that song or software without paying for it, please remember that theft is theft, no matter how you look at it. Don’t be a pirate. They’re smelly.

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