I came through a interesting article about software piracy, whose subject is: the software editors use the piracy as a way to protect their monopoly. Here is a summary.
- Monopoly (or quasi-monopoly) of Adobe and Microsoft is a vicious circle:
* why do private people use always the same softwares ? Because their employers buy and use them, and exclusively work with it.
* why do the employers exclusively work with these softwares? Because their workers already know how to use them.
Photoshop software suite (by Adobe) appeared afore his open-source counterpart The GIMP; most of designers have learned to use only Photoshop (which is excellent, by the way). Hence, companies do utilize these already-present competencies It is then increasingly more difficult to change this deep-seated practice.
- Second vicious circle:
Learning the software has to happen BEFORE the hiring (or even before the end of your studies). Better practicing at home… But…how to affford those software ? (Photoshop CS 4 costs 1010€, or 500€ if you are a student. Both prices are ex. VAT!)
Wouldn’t it be smarter to favor free software? Hell, sure. But here is the point: editors found how to shed their products among the poor users: piracy: le piratage. Piracy freezes the market and impedes a free choice by companies
Ask yourself: at home with your shiny, brand new computer… but no software on it. This happens everyday, although you will need a word processor and the rest. Three solutions: downloading an open source, rare and unknown software (ex.: OpenOffice: free to download), buying a well-known and recongized software (ex.: Microsoft Office: 100€) or insting Microsoft Office with your neighbour’s CD… I bet most of you will owe your neighbour a drink… (-“Hey check this, I saved 100 bucks!“) And open-source software lose one more user. Copying or unlocking a paying software has become easy, but it benefits to the editors by strengthening their monopoly.
Several factors facilitate the piracy:
– the hosting of online data has become very easy, even for files of big size.
– broadband connections are more affordable than ever.
– softwares are often unlockable with nothing more than a simple password.
– the more popular is the software, the more hackers are going to unlock it.
– nowadays, all software protections can be by-passed.
For the most famous software, it has become common to find a cracked version a few days only after the official release. Unfortunately, the consesquence is that smaller editors have increased difficulties to sell their products.
In the absence of piracy, customers would learn to look for alternatives to expensive softwares: how to use cheaper (or free) software. And it could promote their use by the employers. Without piracy, vicious circles would reverse, turning in the sense of quality and open-source software.
/!\ A riveting article: /!\ “Le piratage au service des monopoles”
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