1

I'm perfectly happy to put up with product activation technology, as long as a quick and effective mechanism is provided whereby I can get round it if things go a bit haywire. I pay for my software, I do not like like in any way being treated like a criminal when things go awry, as they are wont, and I certainly don't want to be stuffed around because of someone else's problem.

I don't accept that software publishers should have a free hand in using any 'protection' technology they can devise. If it interfere's with my legitimate usage of the product it's simply not good enough. That includes my ability to make backup copies of the software when it is delivered on fragile removable media!

I am sympathetic to the plight of software publishers, but I don't accept in any way shape or form that the presence or absence of copyright protection mechanisms is a 'part' of the piracy act. It's a completely separate issue entirely.

Doesn't matter if it's a direct copy of a software Cd being installed or if it's a product illegally used by way of the cleverest 'crack' floating round in existence. Theft is still theft, and the act itself is the same. You didn't purchase it. you didn't obtain a right to use it. you obtained and used it anyway. That's the act of a thief and you can't start crying that it was someone else's fault!

zeroth is perfectly correct. There are double standards being applied here!

0

I'm perfectly happy to put up with product activation technology, as long as a quick and effective mechanism is provided whereby I can get round it if things go a bit haywire. I pay for my software, I do not like like in any way being treated like a criminal when things go awry, as they are wont, and I certainly don't want to be stuffed around because of someone else's problem.

I don't accept that software publishers should have a free hand in using any 'protection' technology they can devise. If it interfere's with my legitimate usage of the product it's simply not good enough. That includes my ability to make backup copies of the software when it is delivered on fragile removable media!

I am sympathetic to the plight of software publishers, but I don't accept in any way shape or form that the presence or absence of copyright protection mechanisms is a 'part' of the piracy act. It's a completely separate issue entirely.

Doesn't matter if it's a direct copy of a software Cd being installed or if it's a product illegally used by way of the cleverest 'crack' floating round in existence. Theft is still theft, and the act itself is the same. You didn't purchase it. you didn't obtain a right to use it. you obtained and used it anyway. That's the act of a thief and you can't start crying that it was someone else's fault!

zeroth is perfectly correct. There are double standards being applied here!

well said. as a fully trained and qualified security officer (at present) i do not stand for theft or abuse of any kind.

In england, commercial theft is punishable by upto at least 10 years inside but again its being caught doing it first. ppl who think they can illegally copy software evidently think that they cant or wont be caught. RUBBISH. they'll be caught eventually and when they are its good.

0

I don't understand why there's not more lawsuits like there is for music. I mean, I know that people have been caught installing software on mulitiple computers when not liscensed to, but should'nt they do something about P2P?

0

I have to agree with Catweazle here - and I have to point out that you can´t argue both sides of the debate at the same time, Toulinwoek. First you say that you don´t think stealing is right:

Then you claim you don´t do it yourself:

Then you say that if you think the software is a bit high-priced that you will find a way around the trial limits.

I´m really not picking on you Toulinwoek, I´m just illustrating a point that I wanted to make in the original poll. Even though most people think copying software is not a good thing (only one respondent so far says its OK) almost 40% of all the votes so far say they´ve done it at some time.

It shows that there is a moral dilemna in the computer world which doesn´t really exist anywhere else in society (other than the out and out crooks that don´t care about morals. I find the whole thing interesting...

Well, zeroth, I don't think you fully understood what I said. I'm not arguing both sides of the point (and even if I was, who says I CAN'T?) I did in fact say stealing software is not right, but when I said I don't engage in piracy, you have to read the ENTIRE STATEMENT, otherwise you take what was said out of context, which your response indicates you have done. What I said was I don't engage in piracy in the sense that I make publisher's products available to others. The statement was not intended to imply that I have never used software beyond it's trial limit. I also said in more ways than one that nothing I purport makes it "right".

0

That was a bit uncalled for.


Toulinwoek, if you make the companies totally lock down there programs and make it to where they have to proof it against every insecurity out there, and then predict future insecurities, the prices for the software will go threw the roof. Then if that happens, your going to have more people trying to get around it and not paying for it, then the few who do get around it will just distribute it freely. Then there ya go, it will be on your computer and it will be "yours" and you will be making the same argument.

I submit to you that this is already happening. Software prices are already far higher than the effort to create them justifies (this is of course my opinion), and that cost is already driving theft. I'm not saying publishers have to predict future insecurities, but the extent to which they using already existing measures is proportional to their seriousness about protecting their products. You can't just float really useful software out there and hope nobody steals it, unless it's freeware, which, as has already been said, is becoming a more viable alternative all the time.
In a sense, at the root of it all is greed. I want $500 for my software, even though after about a hundred copies it's about 90% profit, and you want the program because it has value to you (or you want to make BM copies and sell them) so you steal it...both of us are just expressing a form of greed.

0

Apparently you know nothing about the cost of building software, which for a small kid is somewhat understandable.

Most software companies have margins of no more than 10% on their products. At the high end the margin on a successful product may be 30% but that's offset by only one out of 3-5 products turning a profit at all.

If you don't like the free market, I suggest you emigrate to North Korea, the PRC, or Cuba and experience firsthand what the alternative means.

If freeware were really a viable alternative it would have long since driven all other software out of the market.

1

Well, zeroth, I don't think you fully understood what I said. I'm not arguing both sides of the point (and even if I was, who says I CAN'T?) I did in fact say stealing software is not right, but when I said I don't engage in piracy, you have to read the ENTIRE STATEMENT, otherwise you take what was said out of context, which your response indicates you have done. What I said was I don't engage in piracy in the sense that I make publisher's products available to others. The statement was not intended to imply that I have never used software beyond it's trial limit. I also said in more ways than one that nothing I purport makes it "right".

First of all, thanks, Toulinwoek, for keeping this discussion on a higher plane, you are obviously an intelligent debater.

Now - I may have missed the extrememly fine points of your post. And I admire your courage for having told the story like it is. One of the ideas behind the poll in the first place was that most people, while they know that using an illegal copy of software is wrong, do it anyway at one time or another. I am of the opinion that virtually all have done it at least once.

I am not passing any judgements here, far from it. It´s a moral dilemna, as I have said. I´m glad the poll has produced a lot of ideas and discussion, as I believe this topic is an important one.

Software is expensive. And all companies market their products differently. The costs for a large company to produce viable products are prohibitive. Not only do they have to spend large amounts of capital on advertising, but they have to do quite a bit of market research to determine what products will actually turn a profit, so that they can stay in business. The return on products is not what you think at first glance. And the profit that is generated is a finite amount, over time. At that point, the company had better have another viable product or they will not be able to stay in the black. On top of all this, many of these companies are now public and the stock market factors its ugly head in the mix. Unfortunately, the bigger a company gets, the harder the balancing act becomes.

In the final analysis, most companies factor in a fair amount of illegal copies into their marketing budget. If this number gets to be too high, then they lose money. If that happens too much, the company will go under. It that happens, we all lose the future of computing. Without great programming, with it´s global usefullness, the hardware is worthless.

I personally believe that the best way to handle the situation is for a company to put out an evaluation copy with a time factor, which many do. That way you can play with the product until you decide whether or not it´s worth enough to you to pay for it. But I also believe that it should be paid for if one continues to use it. Once the time period has expired, that copy becomes an illegal copy, subject to the law of the land according to the license that is signed when the copy is made.

OK, enough pontification, I still say that whether or not you make the illegal copy available to others or use it yourself, it´s just a matter of scale.

On with the debate...:)

Votes + Comments
good points
0

Don't see the difference myself, except in the penalty it'd attract. It's still pinching the stuff!

That´s what I was trying to say, thanks for the clarification...:idea:

0

Realworld example:
We have 5 people working fulltime for 2 years creating an application.
On average those people make about €35000 a year, which in our country means they cost the company about €80000 a year EACH.
So we have an investment in that product of €800.000 just for development. This doesn't include marketing, customer support, etc. Total cost is likely to have been over a million Euro before the first customer takes delivery.
At an estimated market of maybe 50 customers over 3 years, that means just to break even we have to price the product at €20.000 per customer. Our actual price is about €25.000 per customer, plus a support contract.
I'd not call that massive margins, and certainly not an indication that software doesn't cost anything to create.

And that's in a market where there is NO piracy. Each customer gets a highly customised product which is specific to their situation and won't work anywhere else.
Had we to figure in piracy into the equation at the rate which is common in the consumer software industry we'd have to charge 10 times that amount as piracy causes a loss in sales of up to 90%.

0

I don't understand why there's not more lawsuits like there is for music. I mean, I know that people have been caught installing software on mulitiple computers when not liscensed to, but should'nt they do something about P2P?

yes!!!:mrgreen:

0

Apparently you know nothing about the cost of building software, which for a small kid is somewhat understandable.

Most software companies have margins of no more than 10% on their products. At the high end the margin on a successful product may be 30% but that's offset by only one out of 3-5 products turning a profit at all.

If you don't like the free market, I suggest you emigrate to North Korea, the PRC, or Cuba and experience firsthand what the alternative means.

If freeware were really a viable alternative it would have long since driven all other software out of the market.

It is hardly possible that you could possibly know enough about me to make or snidely imply any personal statements about me with any accuracy at all, so I must assume you are attacking me personally because you disagree with my viewpoint, which I find sad and distasteful. I love a spirited debate, but I detest arguing, and I will not engage you is such a manner.

0

It is hardly possible that you could possibly know enough about me to make or snidely imply any personal statements about me with any accuracy at all, so I must assume you are attacking me personally because you disagree with my viewpoint, which I find sad and distasteful. I love a spirited debate, but I detest arguing, and I will not engage you is such a manner.

please people.:mad: Toulinwoek, nobody is intending to make you feel bad or attacking your viewpoint and i hate arguing and fighting too. As i said in an earlier post we are all free to have our own feelings and to say how we feel about a matter. some people wont want to agree with us but thats down to them. they are free to believe in whatever they want to believe in. the whole purpose of debating is to let others put across their point too. we might not like or agree with what we hear but... i think you get my point. lets stop this conflict before it gets too out of hand yeah.:)

0


I personally believe that the best way to handle the situation is for a company to put out an evaluation copy with a time factor, which many do. That way you can play with the product until you decide whether or not it´s worth enough to you to pay for it. But I also believe that it should be paid for if one continues to use it. Once the time period has expired, that copy becomes an illegal copy, subject to the law of the land according to the license that is signed when the copy is made.

OK, enough pontification, I still say that whether or not you make the illegal copy available to others or use it yourself, it´s just a matter of scale.

On with the debate...:)

I don't disagree, and I'm sure I have a less-then-full idea of the actual costs of bringing a product to market, but it seems to me it's not much different from the car market. The cost of manufacturing say, a Toyota, compared to the equivalent Lexus model nowhere near accounts for the difference in the retail prices of those cars. In fact, the average cost of building a new car, all-inclusive, is less than $10,000. I have to doubt (though I don't know for certain) that it costs Adobe seven times more to produce Photoshop ($600) than it costs Ulead to produce PhotoImpact. ($90), including research, distribution, advertising and coding or whatever else. There are some differences in those two products, mainly at the higher end, but does it really take seven times the work to produce Photoshop? I find that hard to accept, but I do know that companies tend charge whatever the market will bear (interpreted, "whatever they can goad people into paying"); this has always been true in just about any enterprise.
But, disagreeing with pricing doesn't excuse unlicensed use of a company's software, so I guess everyone must evaluate the morality/risk on their own terms. And you are correct, I'm not doing the publishers any big favors just because I don't crack and distribute their software; the scale might be different, but the act is the same.

0

please people.:mad: Toulinwoek, nobody is intending to make you feel bad or attacking your viewpoint and i hate arguing and fighting too. As i said in an earlier post we are all free to have our own feelings and to say how we feel about a matter. some people wont want to agree with us but thats down to them. they are free to believe in whatever they want to believe in. the whole purpose of debating is to let others put across their point too. we might not like or agree with what we hear but... i think you get my point. lets stop this conflict before it gets too out of hand yeah.:)

Please let the person speak for his/herself. I don't mind having my viewpoint attacked, but there was an ad hominem comment that was out of place. That's how flaming gets started, and I wanted it to be clear that I don't engage in such. Don't worry, I have/had no intention of responding in kind to that person again.

1

I don't disagree, and I'm sure I have a less-then-full idea of the actual costs of bringing a product to market, but it seems to me it's not much different from the car market. The cost of manufacturing say, a Toyota, compared to the equivalent Lexus model nowhere near accounts for the difference in the retail prices of those cars.

While I know nothing about manufacturing cars, I suspect that the quality of the Lexus has a lot to do with the engineering costs that went into it. Again, since I know not of what I speak, this is just conjecture, however, it fits into the software analogy quite nicely.

In fact, the average cost of building a new car, all-inclusive, is less than $10,000. I have to doubt (though I don't know for certain) that it costs Adobe seven times more to produce Photoshop ($600) than it costs Ulead to produce PhotoImpact. ($90), including research, distribution, advertising and coding or whatever else. There are some differences in those two products, mainly at the higher end, but does it really take seven times the work to produce Photoshop? I find that hard to accept.

Actually, arriving at the price of a software product is very complex. You saw an example in jwenting´s post. There is much more involved, however, and the overall costs to operated the company come into play. It could be that Adobe´s product pricing is a lot higher because it costs that much more to run Adobe than Ulead. The price is also dependent on how many copies of that product the manufacturer believes will be sold, based on marketing research. If they can amortize the cost over more copies, the price will likely be less. You would be surprised, in most cases, that the decision on price is based completely on analyical studies than on a pure desire to be exorbitantly profitable (see caveat below).

but I do know that companies tend charge whatever the market will bear (interpreted, "whatever they can goad people into paying"); this has always been.

This is an ingredient in some software companies´ formula for success. Not all enterprises are born equal and maybe this has something to do with the perceptions the public has of the entire group, maybe unfairly to some.

1

As long as there are people, there will be those that have morals and those that don't. Let's hope the former outnumber the latter.

0

I guess it could be a question of morals, but Piracy has become a common thing for most. Once people do something wrong for so long and it's accepted by the community, then their conscious(spellng?) shrinks. So, some people may feel like their doing nothing wrong.

2

Realworld example:
We have 5 people working fulltime for 2 years creating an application.
On average those people make about €35000 a year, which in our country means they cost the company about €80000 a year EACH.
So we have an investment in that product of €800.000 just for development. This doesn't include marketing, customer support, etc. Total cost is likely to have been over a million Euro before the first customer takes delivery.
At an estimated market of maybe 50 customers over 3 years, that means just to break even we have to price the product at €20.000 per customer. Our actual price is about €25.000 per customer, plus a support contract.
I'd not call that massive margins, and certainly not an indication that software doesn't cost anything to create.

And that's in a market where there is NO piracy. Each customer gets a highly customised product which is specific to their situation and won't work anywhere else.
Had we to figure in piracy into the equation at the rate which is common in the consumer software industry we'd have to charge 10 times that amount as piracy causes a loss in sales of up to 90%.

I hardly think that is indicative of the situation for the software which is being referred to in this discussion. You're describing a very specialised, niche market type of software there. For such a product, profit margins have far more impact than they do for software which is widely sold and used. Let's look at the situation in another way, using as an example the most widely used applications software in the world - Microsoft Office. All prices in Australian dollars.


Microsoft Office Professional $899
Microsoft Office Professional Academic Edition. $349
Microsoft Office Standard Edition $699

Microsoft Word $427
Microsoft Excel $427
Microsoft Powerpoint $427
Microsoft Works Suite $189


I've presented those figures for very good reason. There are many more version and pricing options within the product 'family', but those ones highlight the nonsensical approach to product pricing which gets up people's noses in a big way.

The core development of the product was done long ago, and the initial development costs recouped long ago. Sure, a lot of money is spent on continual development of the product, but is it enough to justify the continued high price of entry to using it? Changes are primarily either cosmetic ones or the 'tacking on' of additional functionality. Over the version history of the product, there has really been only one major change made to the core of the application suite.

The product is now effectively less expensive than it used to be. Factor in inflation and other considerations, and I'd estimate that it would now cost me about 50% of the price I would have been paying to obtain Microsoft Office when I was also using Windows 95. Over that period of time, is that a reasonable reduction in price for such a widely sold product? As a consumer I'd definitely have to say No! Hell, I can recall not so long back when DVD players came out and they were selling for $1000 each. Now I can run down the shops and grab one for $50, and even a high quality brand-name unit costs me less than $150! A PC game, initially retailing at around $100, soon drops to 50% of that price and later most titles drop to 20% of that price. Sorry people, but once the intial development costs have been recouped we expect to see dramatic drops in pricing!


The difference in price between the Retail and the Academic versions of Office Pro speaks volumes. THEY ARE THE EXACT SAME BLOODY THING! There's a clause in the license agreement that allows me to flash a student card and get it for 38% of the retail price, and there is never any form of checking done to see if I continue using it after the student card expires. They simply don't care about that!

Disbelieve me? Then tell me why, recently, Microsoft decided to have a promotion for MS Office and allowed Academic version to be sold at retail on the open market here in Australia, for a limited promotional period of time, and sold it to anybody regardless of whether they were eligible or not!


The individual components of the product are also sold separately. Are the prices asked realistic ones? Hell, just look at them! Jeebus, the 3 core components, purchased separately, cost 183% of their purchase price when purchased as a 'package'! I can run out and obtain Microsoft Word, which is the most widely used component of all, for 44% of the retail price and get extras included with it. THE VERSION OF WORD INCLUDED WITH WORKS SUITE IS A COMPLETE AND UNRESTRICTED ONE!

This is lunacy. We're not talking 'fair and reasonable' here at all!


But, as I've indicated earlier in this discussion, those factors cannot, and should not, be used to 'justify' piracy. Piracy is theft, pure and simple, and there's no justification for it. But hell, please don't try to convince me that purchase prices are fair!

Votes + Comments
and btw, thnx for cleaning up!! -zeroth
0

Disbelieve me? Then tell me why, recently, Microsoft decided to have a promotion for MS Office and allowed Academic version to be sold at retail on the open market here in Australia, for a limited promotional period of time, and sold it to anybody regardless of whether they were eligible or not!

Ever heard of marketing? Do you claim that the fact that the supermarket has a temporary discount on cans of soup means that cans of soup are overpriced?
It's exactly the same thing.

The development cost of software is huge, which is what I was pointing out. Indeed in case of Microsoft or other companies selling mainly in the mainstream the development cost is a smaller percentage of the purchase price BUT that doesn't mean that price is not "fair" (whatever "fair" means in this).
Their support cost is FAR higher than ours. Microsoft probably has hundreds of supporting staff for every developer, compared to our ratio of about 1:1.
Those people also have to be paid and they cost a lot of money.
We get most of that money from paid for support contracts, Microsoft has to figure all that cost into the purchase price for most of their products. I doubt many people would be willing to pay $50 a year for a mandatory support contract for Windows to allow them to download updates and use the support website. If customers were to accept such contracts the initial purchase price would be a lot lower.

Different pricing for products to different markets is normal and happens in all sectors of the economy.
Visit two stores to look for the same product. One is an small upscale store in a small town, the other a discounter megastore in a large city. You'll find different prices. This isn't because the small store is greedy btw, it's because they have to charge more to break even. In fact the discounter probably has a far higher margin on the product than does the small store.
Case in point: last year I inquired to several stores about purchasing a (appr.) $1000 lens for my SLR camera. the small store could not deliver the lens for under $1500, which would leave them with hardly a margin at all. A large retailer elsewhere in the country could deliver the same lens for about $700.
It's the same with software. If Microsoft packs Word into Works (which is news to me, earlier versions were feature limited) they can charge less because of the higher sales volume of the product.

0

Ever heard of marketing? Do you claim that the fact that the supermarket has a temporary discount on cans of soup means that cans of soup are overpriced?
It's exactly the same thing.

You've quoted me out of context to make that point. Of course it's discount marketting. But that wasn't the point of the comment. The point was that Microsoft REGULARLY sells the product at discounted rate, without either using or caring about checks on the licensing restrictions. Microsoft doesn't need those, because the product isn't being sold at a loss. Academic and OEM licenses for the product comprise a very large part of the overall sales. Crporate licenses comprise an even larger part, and again that's effectively at a 'discounted' rate.

It's the person who privately purchases the software who pays through the nose, and needlessly so!

If Microsoft packs Word into Works (which is news to me, earlier versions were feature limited) they can charge less because of the higher sales volume of the product.

Balderdash! MS Works Suite is a very small market segment in comparison the MS Office. Word gets thrown in for free because MS can afford to throw it in. Doesn't cost them a thing to do so, and they're hoping people will use the eligibility they gain to purchase an Upgrade Edition of Office!

Where's that leave the poor dumb bastard who buys MS Word as a standalone product, not knowing any different?

2

Word gets thrown in for free because MS can afford to throw it in. Doesn't cost them a thing to do so, and they're hoping people will use the eligibility they gain to purchase an Upgrade Edition of Office!

Absolutely correct! And a great marketing idea!

Where's that leave the poor dumb bastard who buys MS Word as a standalone product, not knowing any different?

This is the part that bothers me and a lot of other people about the Microsoft method.

You can´t convince me that Microsoft means this to happen, although I don´t know why they don´t address the problem. I was with Microsoft in the early days when they came out with PC-DOS. (at this point half the readers are throwing tomatoes at me and the other half are cheering) The deal they made with IBM not only solidified their position in the market against their competitors but, unfortunately, proved to them that they could get away with some marginal programs and contracts.

When they came out with IE, they made a remarkably intuitive and brilliant business decision when they tied it in with Windows and forced their OEM customers to sell it with every system made. I´m not saying this was right! I AM saying it was a brilliant business decision because this one decision kept their position in the market almost invulnerable, even though they have suffered in the PR department.

MS power moguls like Steve B. have promulgated this rule of thumb in every facet of the company ever since. It might be because the individual sales of product don´t demand attention in the overall profit scheme that this part of the formula does not get the attention it deserves. I, for one, believe they should give the products away to individuals because that PR would be worth a lot more than the profit they realize on these sales.

Votes + Comments
Very thoughtful and insightful comment
0

Yes. We can discontinue using copyright protection measures, and that would prevent software cracking because cracks would no longer be needed. but it'd defeat the purpose of it all, don't you think?

0

Please let the person speak for his/herself. I don't mind having my viewpoint attacked, but there was an ad hominem comment that was out of place. That's how flaming gets started, and I wanted it to be clear that I don't engage in such. Don't worry, I have/had no intention of responding in kind to that person again.

exactly my point, just put in a different way of saying. there was no need for that comment to be made and it was perfectly clear to me and many others that you dont engage in such activities.:)

0

Back to the original topic...

I think software should be free. Like this, from the Spybot - Search and Destroy license:

I.b. Binary
What do you get if you buy software? Lots of ones and zeros, nothing more. If they were distributed as art, I could understand paying it. But if the main goal of their order is to earn money - by fees or ads - I don't like it!

http://www.safer-networking.org/en/license/

If Microsoft, Adobe, and several others thought more like that guy, the computer world would be a better place.

0

Back to the original topic...

I think software should be free. Like this, from the Spybot - Search and Destroy license:


http://www.safer-networking.org/en/license/

If Microsoft, Adobe, and several others thought more like that guy, the computer world would be a better place.

If it were free, there would be no incentives for the company to make it better, or even make it at all, it wouldnt work. That is just like saying, cars, food, and tv's or just anything else that you buy should be free, its ridiculous to say that.

-1

Software is stupidly expensive, and I'll admit I have copied/given cd keys to friends. Microsoft is a major problem with it, because they charge outrageous prices. However a lot of it does go to charity....

0

yes, you can have mechanisms that prevent piracy.

You can have software that runs solely on a remote machine maintained by the selling company. Customers log into that machine with their password and username and are charged by the hour with a minimum fee per logged in user.
It's called ASP (application server provider) with subscription based services.

Imagine your computer having just a stub of an operating system and connecting to a central server at Microsoft headquarters when you turn it on.
It logs in and the meter starts ticking. If you have a good creditrating on your account (creditcard, prepaid, whatever) your machine starts to load Windows 2010.
You get your desktop (your profile is stored at your own machine or maybe at a server elsewhere where you rent some space).
You start Photoshop XCL. The loader contacts a server from Adobe who checks your credit rating. If it's good Photoshop loads (with only the plugins you have indicated you want a permanent subscription to) from the server.

Both Windows and Photoshop regularly contact their owners over a secure connection to see if you're still OK on your credits and warn you if you're running out of money.

Now, if you give your license codes to someone else he logs in using your account details and you get charged for their use as well as your own.

0

And if that day ever comes, jwenting, I'm happy to say that I have systems here which will happily chug along meeting my needs with Windows 2005 until the end of my days!

The scenario you describe will probably eventuate sooner or later, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

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