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Overture Search Terms Showcase Piracy Desire 177

Posted by timothy
from the most-popular-porn-stars dept.
swfnews guy writes: "swfnews.com (a slashcode based site) today published this article regarding how Overture's search term suggested tool can be used to see the desired piracy of a particular piece of software. I find it disturbing that more people searched for the crack for Flash Mx than for tutorials on how to use it."
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Overture Search Terms Showcase Piracy Desire

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  • everyone knows you're not going to find a hack on some search engine. we are truly living in a sad, sad world.
  • sweet. (Score:2, Funny)

    by r00tarded (553054)
    we get to slashdot a slashcode!
  • It never ceases to amaze me how easy warez is to someone with moderate computer intelligence. I saw the Star Wars Episode 2 VCD on a local, PUBLIC newsgroup 2 weeks before it came out. Total pro job, as well, photoshopped jewel case inlays, professional assembled VCD ISO, the whole nine.

    Man it looks dope chilling on my cd rack, but the point is wrong is wrong.
  • The article author says they are concerned about about a search tool that allows people to search for cracks on software to make it easier to pirate tools.

    Have the user read the slashdot posting about a half a dozen postings behind this one regarding intellectual property, then have him switch to open source.

    This is not a "pro-open source rant." This is a comment about the complete lack of useful discussion this slashdot posting has considering slashdot's audience.
  • Piracy Spiral (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Apreche (239272) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @05:53PM (#3561682) Homepage Journal
    Software piracy is a spiral of doom. Software developers claim that prices on software are high because of large amounts of piracy. They claim they lose lots of money because of it. People pirate software because it is so expensive. "Back in the day" just about every program was 50$. Adobe Photoshop, which is a standard program that lots of people need costs $584 at www.buy.com. That's well over what most people can afford. It's half the price of an extremely decent computer! Flash MX is $198. If these programs were say 50$, I would buy them. But since I am not a pirate, I have to suffer and not have them on my pc. I am lucky that at college I can go to certain labs and use my school's license, but most people can not.
    Programs like WS_FTP have the right idea. If you are a business user or a company looking to use the software you have to pay up. But if you are a home user who isn't profiting off of the use of the software, then its absolutely free.
    If companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Macromedia provided free licenses, or even cheap sub 100$ licenses to individuals not seeking to profit from the use of the software I guarantee they would see an extreme decrease in piracy. There are those cheap people who wont pay 50$ for a very powerful piece of software, but there are a lot of people like me, college students, who can't afford a 500$ program that they need for a class.
    Software price increases because of piracy and vice versa. One day it will either end where all software is pirated because nobody can afford it, or all software is cheap(er). In the end it doesn't look good for the developers.
    • I have to agree... It's great (or so they tell me) that you can get free warez... But ultimately someone has to pay. My rule of thumb is: if you use it, pay for it.

      Sometimes a prolonged test drive is needed, but after you find yourself using it on a regular basis, buy it!

    • If you can't afford Photoshop, you probably don't NEED it. I use it everyday on projects for paying clients. Believe me, it is worth $600.

      Would I like software to be cheaper? Sure, but I only use software that I find value in. Such as Photoshop and Flash. They help me make money, so they're worth it.

      • That logic doesn't work very well if you're just an aspiring artist that wants to play with it. There are a lot of things people don't NEED, but they WANT it because they might NEED it in the future.
        • Please explain how an aspiring artist would NEED Photoshop? I assume you're talking about how to learn techniques and such... most of which can be learned using the Photoshop Elements product, which is much less expensive, or with a product such as Paint Shop Pro or the gimp.
          • Please explain how an aspiring artist would NEED Photoshop?

            Everyone has to have an edge on their peers. People have an affinity towards the fastest CPU, the fastest cars, the snazziest graphics programs, the largest monitors, smallest notebooks, fastest cars, and the list of snobby features goes on ad nauseum.

            Its a perfect economic model. Greed from consumers leak dozens of stolen software products into work, lobbing from the companies introduces disruptive crackdown laws, and lawyers to fan the flames of the battle.

            Piracy may be a thing of the past soon. Free software has the whole piracy battle fascinating to watch. Its not like writing complex software is difficult anymore: especially now that have GHz processors, massive storage space, and unheard of bandwidth that allows gentoo and BSD installations coexist with the source code.

            This encourages rapidly insane development times and bug fixes. Even non-programmers like me can fix a bug: anyone can browse through the code and follow the flow to the trouble and submit a patch. Its easier than ever before and kids are picking up on this too. People want control of their computers. It helps them create a virtual playground of intriguing possiblities.

            Soon there may no longer be "piracy" as the masses learn to develop for themselves and the community around them. Such efforts seem to create superior technologies that are developed behind closed doors. Bye, bye Photoshop!
    • by mblase (200735) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @06:05PM (#3561778)
      Flash, Photoshop, and even MS Office are all products not designed for ordinary consumers. They're just not. They're packed with features and tools for professionals, and those professionals are trying to make money with this software. The least they can do is ante up a few hours worth of their own fees to pay for the tools they use.

      If you're a consumer, and you want a cheap product, the vendors are there for you. MS Office cost too much for your school papers? Get a copy of Works. Photoshop expensive for making web graphics and removing red-eye? Get Photoshop Elements for a fraction of the price.

      Meanwhile, Macromedia Flash is the perfect example of a tool not targetted at consumers, period. The tutorial takes a couple of hours to get through, minimum, when you're starting from scratch, and ActionScript is hardly a walk in the park.

      You say you'd buy Flash MX for $50. Well, what are you going to do with it? Goof around and build crappy animated interfaces for your web site? Or learn to use it properly and sell yourself as a Flash professional? If it's the latter, then take a class or pay for the full product, and justify the $50/hour your peers are charging. If it's the former, just learn JavaScript. It's still free.
      • Flash is not difficult to learn. Got a job in the .com industry for a while with a game company (they're dead now :) (gamebrain.com)

        I for one hate flash's proverbial guts.. (now anyways) but I do think they're should be an easy/cheap way to get ahold of software to learn. (most productive learning i've done is by myself) There's a lot of software people could do well in an industry. ie.(3d studio max, maya, flash)

        Kind of a moot point anyways, There IS a cheap (read free) way to get ahold of the software :)
        Anyways I got a good (50,000 a year) job at the age of 19 because a pirated the flash5 author tool and made a decent game.

      • Blockquoth the poster:

        If you're a consumer, and you want a cheap product, the vendors are there for you. MS Office cost too much for your school papers? Get a copy of Works. Photoshop expensive for making web graphics and removing red-eye? Get Photoshop Elements for a fraction of the price.

        Or OpenOffice rather than Works, and the GIMP rather than Photoshop...

        Well, what are you going to do with it? Goof around and build crappy animated interfaces for your web site?

        That's right. Building crappy animated interfaces for web sites is clearly the prerogative of professional web designers... At least, that's my conclusion after viewing the truly awful sites out there.
      • The problem with the theory of if someone can't afford a piece of software you don't need it is that the file formats for these products are pervasive and proprietary. If one is to function even in a non-professional (read: not getting paid for doing professional work) manner, one must have the software to even be able to communicate with ones peers. I left the graphic design busines amidst the spiraling costs of software. Every new version broke compatibility and it became a loss leader business.
      • It is often said that 80% of users need 20% of the features. The problem with that saying is that they all need a different set of 20% of features, so making lite versions never works. The basic truth is that there are impoverished (by the NA standard) people who need Photoshop and Microsoft Office and (unfortunately) Visual Studio for their hobbies. They will always pirate even though professionals always pay up the $500 or $3000 or whatever is being charged.
    • by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@NoSpam.pacbell.net> on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @06:05PM (#3561783) Homepage
      But these companies do have a right to set the price they want to do a transaction at;

      If that means $584 for Photoshop, then that's what you need to fork over. If you don't like it... doesn't mean you have the right or privilege to download or use it.

      Then there's the $89 version of Photoshop Elements.

      Or you can get an older, cheaper version of Photoshop. Photoshop 5.5, 5.0, 4.0. 3.0, all worked, and continue to work today.

      Or you can use gimp.

      If you can't afford to use the program, you can't afford to use the program, and that's how simple it is.

      If you *need* the program, then you can afford it. If a $584 copy of Photoshop allows you to earn $30,000 a year in consultation fees, you can afford Photoshop.

      If you just want to put pictures on the web... use the $89 of Photoshop.
      • Or you can get an older, cheaper version of Photoshop. Photoshop 5.5, 5.0, 4.0. 3.0, all worked, and continue to work today.

        Not quite, Sparky. Under the EULA, those licenses are non-transferable. You can't buy those older versions new, nor is it strictly kosher to buy an older version. Although most courts won't bother to hear a case for a user-to-user transaction, that doesn't mean it's legal.

        Don't believe me? Set up a used software store in Silicon Valley and advertise California wide. See how long your doors are open before the lawyers come... I dare ya'

        As for your snobbish arrogant attitude of "You are a weenie, un-talented little loser" to those who want the programs cheaper, my response to that is you haven't seen what amatures do with Flash and Photoshop. Those are the only tools out there for them to do the kind of stuff they want. Not everyone who pirates the full Photoshop are just getting rid of red-eye.

        One of the best Flash animations I ever saw was from a highschool student in Germany who got started with a "borrowed" copy of Flash. Luckily, his work was so good a local web design company hired him. Last I heard, Macromedia doesn't offer good student discounts (like Adobe does). Don't be so surprised at the number of student pirates out there.

        One of the earlier posters said it right: drop the price, kill piracy. Photoshop Elements is a step in the right direction. Now Adobe just needs to make it easier (i.e., cheaper) for those users to graduate to the full version. $80 from a user who would have pirated is better than nothing from a user who did.

        HINT TO ADOBE ET AL: Legalize the secondary market for software!

      • But it's not healthy for a society to arrange things so there is such a large advantage to disobeying unenforceable rules.

        It breeds disrespect for the rule of law.

        People stop just obeying the law, and start calculating the odds of being caught. In competitive situations they have no choice but to weigh the chance of being caught against the chance of losing out to those who have no respect for the law.

        It doesn't help that the laws are basically arbitrary and unproductive. It's cheaper to clone software than to develop it in the first place, and that's a completely legal way to destroy someone else's incentive to innovate.

        So what's your ethical motivation to pay for cloneware? To encourage the useless duplication of effort? Sounds like a negative value proposition to me.

        It's not good for laws to be at odds with ethics, either, for the stronger versions of the same reasons.
    • People pirate software because it is so expensive. "Back in the day" just about every program was 50$. Adobe Photoshop, which is a standard program that lots of people need costs $584 at www.buy.com. That's well over what most people can afford. It's half the price of an extremely decent computer!

      "Back in the day", you didn't have Photoshop. As it's been said in the countless piracy threads on /., if you can't afford the software, don't use it; Adobe loses a sale (unless you pirate, of course). Software is like any other business: it's all about supply and demand. Photoshop is priced at $584 because people are willing to pay for it! If people didn't need all the whizbang functionality and support (including books) for Photoshop, they could use something like The GIMP [gimp.org] legally, for free. If people didn't think Photoshop was worth $584, they would not buy it, and Adobe would be forced to lower the price (which may also mean fewer features in the next release: commerce software by its nature is not cheap to produce).
    • Software should be open. Stallman was right. No, really. . . bear with me on this.

      Piracy will end when programming is seen as a service in itself. Programmers provide a service and move on to the next job, like a lawyer, doctor, or engineer. Each of these professions, along with countless other service providers, use an established set of industry-standard guidelines, principles and tools to provide the service the customer requires.

      We need to get away from the idea that we will write the perfect program, and sell a million copies and get rich. What is needed is a way to give the customer what they want using a complete, interoperable set of tools.

    • Two words:

      Educational Discount

      Adobe Educational Discount [google.com]
      Macromedia Education Discount [google.com]
    • Programs like WS_FTP have the right idea. If you are a business user or a company looking to use the software you have to pay up. But if you are a home user who isn't profiting off of the use of the software, then its absolutely free.

      This is precisely what the large software companies have achieved through their astronomical pricing schemes, and you can be assured that it is intentional. They don't expect you to pay $300 for Office, they expect you to get it for free on a new computer or bum it off a friend. Large companies with thousands of users and software audits have to pay for their licenses, and thus, subsidize the pirates. This is not to say piracy is OK, but it is expected and accounted for. The folks who lose are the righteously honest who actually need Office, and thus dish out the large pile of cash. You'll notice that today, the vast number of "reasonably priced" products (games, pims, etc.) are those that don't have a place in the office environment, and thus must make their money off the small fry.

      Adobe Photoshop, which is a standard program that lots of people need costs $584 at www.buy.com. That's well over what most people can afford. It's half the price of an extremely decent computer!

      I take issue with your choice of Photoshop as an example. Perhaps it is just my personal love of the application, but I have no problems with their pricing. They sells to a much smaller market than the office-centric products, yet the development effort required is just as large. Additionally, for the vast majority of Photoshop users, Photoshop is their most valuable piece of property (equal to that of their computer, since their computer would be pointless without Photoshop). For most of these folks, Photoshop pays itself off immediately, which is why you rarely hear them complain about its cost. For the folks who pirate Photoshop citing its pricetag, my guess is that you don't remotely need Photoshop, and there are plenty of free/cheap image editors that would more than serve your actual needs. In fact, by pirating Photoshop you're doing much less to harm Adobe than you are the small developer groups that produce the app you actually need and could really use your $30 shareware fee. I'm fairly certain that you'd get a similar argument from a true Flash developer, although not being in that area I cannot guarantee it.
      • Large companies with thousands of users and software audits have to pay for their licenses, and thus, subsidize the pirates. This is not to say piracy is OK, but it is expected and accounted for.

        That statement contains such a logical flaw that I can't let it pass unnoticed.

        College student Bob, who can only afford to eat macaroni and cheese for dinner, cannot afford to pay $300 for MS Office. He is not a potential customer. No matter what choice he makes, he has cost Microsoft nothing. So, suppose he pirates MS Office. He has not cost Microsoft a sale or otherwise deprived them of revenue they would have had. If Bob pirates MS Office, Microsoft has no fewer copies than they did prior to Bob pirating a copy.

        You can argue the ethics, legality, and morality of Bob's actions until you are blue in the face, but claiming that someone has to "subsidize" his piracy of Microsoft Office is based on fallacious reasoning.
        • Your argument is quite flawed itself:
          He has not cost Microsoft a sale or otherwise deprived them of revenue they would have had. If Bob pirates MS Office, Microsoft has no fewer copies than they did prior to Bob pirating a copy.
          Let's say that I'm an author. I decide to copy Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" and put my name on it and sell it. Hemingway isn't losing any money neither.

          The issue is what gives you the right to use someone else's work. Money is not the issue here and should not be made the issue. The issue is always, someone invested a lot of time/money into it and they should be compensated for the work. If you want to use it, you have to pay. If you can't pay, you shouldn't use it. There are plenty of alternatives to these pricy software.
          • If you copy Hemingway and sell it, you are depriving Hemingway of revenue if and only if the people who bought your copy would have bought the original instead, had yours been unavailable.
          • Let's say that I'm an author. I decide to copy Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" and put my name on it and sell it. Hemingway isn't losing any money neither[sic].

            The person or group who owns the copyright to Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" makes money from the sale of that book. If someone buys your book rather than the "legal" copy, you have deprived the rightful copyright owner of income.

            Your analogy is also flawed in that you are referring to piracy to resell rather than piracy for private use (as I was in the example of the impoverished college student who pirates Office).

            The issue is what gives you the right to use someone else's work.

            "The issue" of my post is whatever I deem it to be. And, as I said in the original post (which you apparently did not read): You can argue the ethics, legality, and morality of Bob's actions until you are blue in the face, but claiming that someone has to "subsidize" his piracy of Microsoft Office is based on fallacious reasoning.

            I was not debating the ethics of software piracy. I was debating the use of the term "subsidize" when applied to software piracy.

            Let's say I publish software package X which has a shelf price of $1000.

            * You purchase it.

            * Bob, who has a net worth of $7, pirates it.

            * Tom, who has a net worth of $500,000 pirates it in lieu of buying it.

            * No Aboriginal Tribesmen purchase it or pirate it.

            Your purchase is subsidizing Tom's piracy because he could have afforded it and would have bought it.

            Your purchase is not subsidizing Bob's piracy, because Bob could not have purchased it.

            Your purchase is not subsidizing Aboriginal Tribesmen because they were not potential customers.

        • > Large companies with thousands of users and software audits have to pay
          > for their licenses, and thus, subsidize the pirates. This is not to say piracy
          > is OK, but it is expected and accounted for.

          That statement contains such a logical flaw that I can't let it pass unnoticed.


          Perhaps I missed something, but as far as you can tell you didn't point out a logical flaw. I didn't say that anyone has to subsidize Bob's use of pirated Office, I'm simply saying that they are, if he does. A subsidy (by the accepted general use, not the government-based definition) is the covering of costs by one group (the enterprises' massive license costs) for another (the pirates). Software firms (although debatably not M$ ;-)) have to make a certain amount of money from somewhere. They can try to make a little bit of it off every person who uses their software, or larger amounts off a certain chunk of those users. Depending on your company, one strategy is better than the other. Hence, the pricetag disparity under discussion.

          I'm not trying to place a value judgement on the situation, I'm simply saying that that's the way it is. Believe me, I spent a fair chunk of my life in Bob's shoes.
          • I didn't say that anyone has to subsidize Bob's use of pirated Office, I'm simply saying that they are, if he does. A subsidy (by the accepted general use, not the government-based definition) is the covering of costs by one group (the enterprises' massive license costs) for another (the pirates).

            Microsoft incurs no cost when someone who could not afford it pirates copy of Office. Microsoft has no fewer copies of the product. Their bank balances are unchanged. My point is that there is a large percentage of pirates who could not, or would not, otherwise be paying customers. If Bob could not be a Microsoft Office customer because of his financial situation, his piracy of Office is not being subsidized by corporate purchases of it. Let's look at it another way: If you walk buy a street musician and drop a dollar in his donation jar, are you "subsidizing" all of the people that heard the music but had no interest in donating?
        • ahh...but "College student Bob" does not need all the tools and tricks contained in MS Office. Star or OpenOffice will serve him just as well.

          The developers of the lower end suites (graphics, office, whatever) could use the minimal fee, rather than "College student Bob" using a pirated copy of MS Office.
          • ahh...but "College student Bob" does not need all the tools and tricks contained in MS Office. Star or OpenOffice will serve him just as well.

            And what does that have to do with whether corporate purchases of Office subsidize Bob's pirating of a copy of it? I didn't ask for your opinion of hypothetical Bob's needs.

            Office was just an example. I could have chosen a package for which there was no lower-end, or free, equivalent. Pretend that I said "Integral Systems EPOCH 2000 Satellite Ground System package."
    • Ah..I wish I could use this argument for my college tuition.

      Yes, I feel that the 34,000 a year is too expensive for my college education. Since I don't want to pay that much, the college should lower the tuition. Since they don't, and I don't want to go to community college, I should get it for free.

      Oh please, can you talk to my financial aid committee for me.. :-)

      But on a serious note, why do we assume that since we can't afford it, we should get it for free. I mean, if I were getting my drivers license, and I don't have a car. And cars are too expensive, should I be allowed to "borrow" one from the dealer because I'm using it for learning purposes?
      • Now you have struck a chord between the difference between a car and software, at least in the mind of a pirate. Copying software is cheap. To copy software all you need is a 50 cent CD-R and a CD burner. It's quick, easy and inexpensive to do.

        Copying a car is more difficult. You need the material, machines and tools to build a car. The amount of work to copy a car is considerable as compared to software. So you won't hear people trying to get a car dealer to give them a car. (Unless you are Bob and David.)

        With something so cheap, inexpensive and easy to copy like software, it becomes easier for people to rationalize. I have heard, "if I ever make money from it, I'll buy it. Until then I'll just play around with it." Because it is so easy to do, it becomes harder to perceive they are doing something wrong. Or their actions are hurtful to the company.

        Although, I could be off my mark here. Any thoughts on this?
    • "Back in the day" just about every program was 50$
      Uh, just what "day" was that back in? Programs in the same class as Photoshop (i.e. apps geared towards professionals) have always been expensive. "Back in the day" dbase was expensive, word perfect was expensive, harvard graphics was expensive, 123 was expensive. That was why a little company called Borland was able to carve out a niche for itself by selling inexpensive software.

      As a matter of fact, if you look at it from the standpoint of price over time, the price of "pro" software has remained stagnant, it's usually around $300-$600, been that way for a good many years now.

      And why shouldn't programs like PS be half the price of the pc, if you _need_ photoshop, then what's more important to you, a chunck of hardware that you can buy from about a million sources, or that piece of software that is going to pay the mortgage and car payment?
      • "Back in the day" just about every program was 50

        Uh, just what "day" was that back in?


        January 3rd, 1982.
        And before back in the day, paying for software /at all/ was a novel idea.

        -- this is not a .sig
    • Adobe Photoshop, which is a standard program that lots of people need

      That is not true. Photoshop is designed for graphics professionals, not the average user. That's why Adobe has Photoshop Elements [adobe.com], which is bundled with many scanners and can be purchased for $84 [buy.com].

      The truth is, almost all sofware is not priced too expensively for the markets they target. The problem is that users are greedy. They want to have lots of programs, more than they would normally use, and they also want to have programs that are high-end just to have them. No, the real reason why people pirate software is because they can.

      Students also get significant discounts on software. I don't know of any major piece of software that costs $500 for a student. For instance, the academic price for Photoshop 7 (full) is $300, which is less than half of the MSRP.

    • It's fine if software prices increase because of theft. That will never affect me, because I will never pay for software at any cost. I have not paid for software in 5 years, and music in 2 years. Call me a jerk, call me a bad guy, but calling me names does not make me more inclined to pay the Stupid People Tax. Your outrage does not make me more accountable, so fling your monkey bone to the sky but don't beat me with it -- I ain't paying.
    • You want to play music, as an amateur, hobby thing, but maybe you're thinking about doing a few gigs.

      Buy an electric guitar. You computer. You can now theoretically make music.

      Next you want an amp, this could be more than your guitar. Add petals. Add replacement stirngs.

      You've spent a lot more than your initial investment.The computer is a platform from which to run tools.
    • A poster in a previous story mentioned that at Purdue the cost to students of any Microsoft product was only $5 USD. At many colleges students are able to get say MS Office XP at a cost far cheaper than Sun's StarOffice 6.0.

      But I find it ironic that the same people who claim that Microsoft is deliberately encouraging illegal copying are the ones decrying when Microsoft makes any effort to enforce their copyright. These people think nothing of constantly arguing that Microsoft's product activation for consumer products is the tool of the devil, and these were the same people who argued that Intel should not automatically enable a processor identification number.

      The proper cost of software is not the cost to replicate the product once made, for that completely discounts any research and development used to create and maintain the product. The true cost is some fraction of the utility the software will provide to the customer. $600 USD is about the point at which software's utility makes it a reasonable value for a business to purchase for an employee. If anything perhaps Adobe is underpricing Photoshop.

      To tie this to a previous story today, a commercial user would certainly not be able to purchase a single license for Mathematica for $100. The proper price because of the utility to the customer is more than 10 times that. On the other hand Wolfram Research provides a sharp discount for a student version of Mathematica. Idiots who claim that software should be priced at the marginal cost of making one more CD need to explain how one is supposed to support a company that can create a product such as Mathematica that is 1000 times superior to anything that free software offers.

      Similar conditions apply to software that services niches such as providing accessibility for the disabled. Such software easily runs $600 and over, because that's the value to the customer. Even if there were a software patent-free world I see little chance that free software could ever come up with an equivalent to Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional or Mathematica. The reason is that an army of coders, no matter how many, can never match the expertise of top professionals such as Drs. James and Janet Baker who routinely defeated the competition at DARPA contests of voice recognition software or of Dr. Stephen Wolfram.

      $600 USD priced software is hardly the bane of the industry. A product that truly meets a desperate need in an innovative way has to be priced at least that in order to develop and continuously refine the technology. Countries whose attention to software theft is lax are not where these breakthrough technologies are being developed, and software developers from those countries cannot flee to the US fast enough.
    • Yes... Presumably software vendors have chosen their (high) prices because that's where the peak of the profit/price curve is. But as you point out, the profit curve might have another local maximum at the lower end of the price range, where profits could exceed those at the high end.

      I can see the major software companies varying their prices by say 20% or 50% in search of the high-price local maximum, but they're probably too scared to drop down into the low-price regime (even if the low-price maximum would lead to higher profits overall).

      This seems to be changing, however, in one market I am familiar with - 3D graphics software. Every major vendor (with the exception of Discreet) has announced huge price cuts in the last few months, including free or low-cost "educational" packages, and even some of the "pro" packages are now selling at 10% of their original price. You might say they're all looking for that low-cost sweet spot... (or, they could just be reacting to a saturated market and lack of innovation in their own products, but that's another discussion...)
    • If companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and Macromedia provided free licenses, or even cheap sub 100$ licenses to individuals not seeking to profit from the use of the software I guarantee they would see an extreme decrease in piracy.

      Two words: academic licences. Yes, they are often over $100, but they're still typically 50% or less of the full-version cost. (The one caveat: you can only use the software non-commercially).

      Case in point: Wolfram Research's Mathematica. Invaluable for doing complex computations and making pretty pictures out of equations. I paid $150 for my academic copy last year, but the commercial version costs $1500. Yes, that's one-thousand-five-hundred.

      I do sympathize with you, however-- I would gladly pay a little to dink around with Photoshop 7 Academic, but it's $300 [adobe.com].

      About 7 or 8 years ago, my parents owned a children's toy and software store, so they could order almost any software wholesale. They got me Photoshop 3.0 Academic for-- get this-- $50. *sigh*... those were the days...
    • Adobe Photoshop, which is a standard program that lots of people need costs $584 at www.buy.com. That's well over what most people can afford.

      Lots of people do not need the full version of Adobe Photoshop. There is a "lite" version called Photoshop Elements that has all the features of Photoshop except those related to CMYK separations. Only print artists really need CMYK; those who use Photoshop as a verb [planettribes.com] are happy with RGB and can use PS Elements, Paint Shop Pro, or (better yet) GIMP for Windows [gimp.org].

      but there are a lot of people like me, college students, who can't afford a 500$ program that they need for a class.

      That's why the United States government (and presumably other governments) provide student financial aid, primarily in the form of low-interest deferred-payment loan programs.

  • KEWL! (Score:3, Funny)

    by da' WINS pimp (213867) <dart27 @ g m a i l . com> on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @05:55PM (#3561686) Journal
    Now if they would just tell us which search actually returned the desired results... ;)
  • by arson1 (527855) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @05:55PM (#3561687) Homepage

    This guy did, and there's some amusing results....

    http://www.chiprowe.com/articles/searchterms.html [chiprowe.com]

    +anal +sandwich!?!?!?
    I can't even imagine what that is.

    • Most people who land on my site are looking for something free that other people don't want them to have (frequently, I suspect, a book report). And since I never have it either, people must be disappointed.

      look at my logs [mahlen.org]

      mahlen

      On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong." --Wolfgang Pauli

  • by hbmartin (579860)
    If Macromedia doesn't want to make flash free(as in price), I respect their righ to do so. But it's cool to see free(code and price) alternatives becoming usable. My favorite is the PHP-based FreeMovie [sourceforge.net].
  • software piracy (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by 56ker (566853)
    shh! Don't tell everyone they can search for warez and cracks using the search engines - or they'll all be at it!
  • I'm not concered (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShawnDoc (572959) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @05:58PM (#3561717) Homepage
    Let's be honest. Most of the people looking for the "crack" are most likely teens and preteens w/out a job who are looking to do a bit of flash work for a friends web site or something similar. I don't believe the majority of the people looking for the crack would have bought the software had they not been able to crack the software (And if they are using Overture to search for cracks, they're not going to find them anyway). So the total number of sales lost due to piracy like this are minimal.

    In fact, I've got a hunch that a lot of these guys will turn out to be great Macromedia customers in a few years once they've honed their skills on the cracked version, and enter the real world of web page design where they can A) Afford the software and B) Write it off as a tax deduction.

    Now, I'm not justifying the piracy, and it doesn't make it any less illegal. I just don't think its a big deal when you look at the total picture.

    • I don't believe the majority of the people looking for the crack would have bought the software had they not been able to crack the software
      You are probably right when it comes to a product like Flash. The "fun" quotient of software coupled with its uniqueness is directly related to the desire to pirate it. It speaks to the inner (and outer) child which is, well, childish.
      • The "fun" quotient of software coupled with its uniqueness is directly related to the desire to pirate it.

        I thought so too, then I found 14,000 pages on Google with the words [google.com]
        "Quickbooks crack"

        So maybe the fun quotient isn't as important as the usefulness quotient?

    • Not only this, but as Ballmer said (paraphrasing here)... I'd rather have them pirating my product than someone elses product, because when we force them to pay up later on, whose product do you think they're going to wanna use?
      The one they are proficient with.
    • >In fact, I've got a hunch that a lot of these guys will turn out to be great Macromedia customers in a few years once they've honed their skills on the cracked version, and enter the real world of web page design where they can A) Afford the software and B) Write it off as a tax deduction.

      Just imagine if all those people got together and made a free program of their own from freely available code pieces. Too bad they enable those who would leave them without control of their computers instead. All that time searching and binary editing and for what? Do you really want to learn how to build an advert filled site that tracks user's search patterns for some big cheezy company?

  • Wanted: (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852)
    swfnews.com seeks swmnews.com for long term relationship. Must like long walks on the beach, holding hands, and kittens. No headgames or posers.
  • I wonder if Adobe could use the number of cracks downloaded for Flash MX to boost the amount they are suing Macromedia for? I don't know however, not being a law student if people who pirate your software count as your uses :-)
  • Nothing new... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tazzy531 (456079) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @05:59PM (#3561727) Homepage
    There's nothing new about this "news" article. We all know piracy runs pretty rampant on the net. We all know that many (including us), justify it by saying that
    • It's too expensive
    • I'm just using it for educational purposes
    • I wouldn't have bought it anyways


    People have been saying this since the mid-90s where we were downloading "warez" from BBS's.
    • Mid-90's?!? Piracy has been going on since the 70's my friend.
      • Probably even before that. What I meant was that it didn't hit the mainstream / mainstream media until the late 80s and early 90s. In addition, the impact during that point (the 70s) wasn't as great as later on. With the BBS, internet, CD burners, etc piracy makes it extremely easier than back in the 70s.

        I remember "copying" dos 5.0 from my friend using 5.25" floppies. I had to run 10 blocks to his house with a box of disks than bring it back to install it. This physical distance between people limit their ability to pirate on a wide scale. With bbs's/internet, the "friction" is dramatically reduced. The impact of piracy hits harder. Software/media/music can be spread to millions of people before it even hits the store shelves.
  • by br0ken by design (576303) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @06:00PM (#3561737)
    By the companies doing one thing:
    Offering noncommercial use licenses on full software products, at a NOMINAL[1] cost,
    while aggressively pursuing companies that violate the noncommerical licenses.
    This would allow the kids who want to play with ($software), make wacky animations, programs and such to do so without breaking the law, while charging the people that make money off of flash the full license fee.
    There's even an added benefit - a lot more people will learn ($software), and will potentially become paying customers in the future (this especially applies to younger people).
    Educational software is not the answer, as it's only open to students, and often times is *still* too highly priced for many people that just want to fool around.

    I think piracy would be greatly reduced if the software companies would recognize that a lot of the warezing is being done because the price is too high for people that just want to 'play' and not actually do any for-profit work.

    :wq
    [1] under $100. Just media with PDF'd docs.
    • The problem with that is this. At one point or another this "kid" that is learning is going to find out that he can make money doing some flash work or photoshop work. Is he going to say that, Oh, I have the "kids" version, I can't do that, I need to buy the full version? Or is he just going to go ahead an use it.

      Secondly, you mention nominal cost (under 100). Do you think people that pirate the software will even pay that much? $100 is still a lot of money for a person that is used to receiving it for free.

      I don't feel that price is the main issue/reason that piracy is so rampant. Whether a program is 500 or 50, people will still pirate it. The main issue here is that people that have been growing up with computers in recent years and in the past 20 years or so have become so accustomed to getting things for free or cheap. Most of the necessary apps come pre-installed on computers. Many of us download music (mp3s) for free. On the internet, most of the sites are free. If we are into open-source, the os, apps, and stuff are all free. How do you get it into someones head that they need to buy something if they or their friends can get it for free.
    • [quote] There's even an added benefit - a lot more people will learn ($software), and will potentially become paying customers in the future (this especially applies to younger people). [/quote]

      Grandpa talks: When I was young, we learned word processing with a really sophisticated piece of software called.... "Word Perfect 5.1"

      I'm sorry. No paying Flash users in the future. Maybe a company like Coca Cola can invest in the future. M-Soft... Hmmm. Possible, but a company like MacroMedia?
    • I know a lot of pirates. If the software cost $5 they'd still pirate it. It doesn't matter.
  • Flash MX (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mathonwy (160184)
    I find it disturbing that more people searched for the crack for Flash Mx than for tutorials on how to use it.

    Maybe there are less people who don't know how to use flash and want to than there are who already know how, but don't have $500 to fork over for the full version. (I know I certainly fall into the second catagory...)

    (and to be fair, flash has one of the better built-in tutorials for learning how to use it.)
  • Would it be too much to ask for the /. editors to read the items submitted and to verify that the links work? Of all things, the slashcode link was broken due to a dumb HTML error.
  • Overture tool (Score:2, Informative)

    by Target Drone (546651)
    You can play with the search tool mentioned in the article by going here [overture.com].

    Its kind of fun to see what people search for. I tried typing in "XXX". The top 4 searches were:

    • free xxx
    • xxx password
    • free xxx picture
    • free xxx movie
    Seems like it's not just Flash Mx that people want for free.
    • It's not so much that everyone wants 'XXX' content for free, it's just that who the hell has to SEARCH for porn on the internet?

      If you need a search engine to find porn online, you shouldn't be allowed to own a computer.

  • I find it disturbing that more people searched for the crack for Flash Mx than for tutorials on how to use it."


    I find this more curious than disturbing. I guess the people who crack FlashMX already know how to use it? Or maybe it's just that people who are capable of cracking software consider themselves to be computer savvy and would rather learn it on their own than try to find tutorials. Hmm...or maybe it's a new form of advertising from Macromedia: Buy FlashMX! Easier to learn than it is to crack!

    • No, the reason is that most people who use Flash, are, well.. um lets just say, they went to *art school* if you know what i mean. They think they can use software without Reading-TFM, then they come up with bad designs. They can't afford to pay for Flash so they crack it, i cracked Flash once - but you know what, i did allot of crazy things back in collage that i regret, some involving live animals, others involving wood glue and skirts. I don't use flash, or though i sometimes use 3D-Max (yes i did read the manual), i'm trying to move to free software but its hard (ie the blender incident). I'm not saying that all art students are dumb - i did a-level art, but i've learn't my lesson and gone a more technical path. As everything is dumbed down, its very easy to get stupid (you can see how its affected my spelling) sometimes art students are dumb... god, that sounded dumb
    • Easier to learn than it is to crack!

      Hehe... At first I read that as "Easier to learn than crack!"

      I don't think that would be near as good of a slogan, though much more entertaining.

  • The question to be asked is how many of these pirated downloads are actual lost sales. This is a study to be made. I would guess only a very small fraction. When the industry cries out for "billions" of dollars in lost sales, one can only laugh. Not only they are using full retail price (which no one has to pay), they also count every copy stolen by 13 year-olds in China. Filter out those who would never buy it any way and you may as well end up with "thousands" of dollars instead...
  • Everyone knows that lots of people who pirate software don't even use said software. I've seen people who carry around big binders of CDRs, full of anything you could ever want (even pointless stuff like old versions of Photoshop). These people collect for the sake of collecting. Sure, maybe they toyed around with 3DSMax for a half hour to make a rotating teapot, but that's about it.

    Maybe it's an "elite" or "cool" factor that leads these people to collect?
    • Back in my .. "younger" days, I was one of those people. I'd burn cdrs just for the sake of having it. I mean, you're right, it's part of the "elite" (not l33t, [stupid kids these days!]) factor. It's also as a way to demonstrate that 1) the system doesn't work 2) you can get around the system...etc...
    • Re:Of course (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Vader82 (234990)
      Thats what a lot of it is. In high school a bunch of my friends and I pirated tons of software. I hade photoshop 5.5 before it was released. What did I do with it? I tried to make some buttons for a completely crappy and useless website that I trashed 2 days later cuz it sucked.

      I downloaded and installed the full version of Office 2000 and went to town. What did I do with it? Learned how to use Access by setting up an addressbook, and I used Word to write a few papers. Would I have bought it? No way, if I needed to write the paper that badly I could have done it on the Performa 6300 that I built this machine to replace. It had a legit copy of clarisworks that was fine.

      I was the first one of us to get DSL so I was the super-leech to everyones ftp servers. I burned CDs of everying, win2k advanced server, datacenter server, 3d studio max, bunches of movies, who knows how many gigs of mp3s, etc etc etc. I figure I probably burned somewhere around a thousand CDs in high school. What of all that software do I still use? None of it, I run gentoo, open office, the gimp, etc. I never could/would have bought any of the software I pirated.

      We were just a bunch of computer geeks who didn't have much in the way of social lives trying to prove that we had a bigger dick than the other guy cuz "I had win2k 2 days b4 j00." Everyone who says "pirating BILLIONS!!!!" is off their rocker, every pirate I've ever known has binders and binders of CDs, and they rarely even INSTALL any of it. Besides, the stuff we realy wanted you couldnt pirate well (starcraft, CS, etc)
  • Funny, I _just_ finished reading a large discussion of software licensing and anti-piracy measures over on Joel On Software:

    http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/defau lt . sp?cmd=show&ixPost=8271

    The comments run the gamut from shrewd to moronic to insane to genius. You have to go about a third of the way down to reach the posts on piracy generalities rather than specific measures.

    The most interesting post is from Andrew Cross (3/5 down, no anchors to link to). In part, he says:

    "we certainly don't think that listening to the radio is piracy, for thet matter recording music off the radio is not considered picracy and neither is video-taping MTV ... Clearly music companies see these forms of music distribution as marketting as opposed to piracy, and in some ways I think that the copy protection issue with software is similar."
    • The music and television industries DO see these activities as piracy. Broadcasters have tried on several occasions to get VCRs and cassette tapes banned outright. The US Governemnt declared that taping broadcasts for personal use is covered under the Fair Use doctrine and that the broadcasters needed to STFU. You can bet your testicles that if the Government had not sided with Joe Consumer on this issue that home-taping would be a criminal offense.

    • "in some ways I think that the copy protection issue with software is similar"

      Uhhh.. except that if you're a musician (as opposed to a music label) you make most of your money through live concerts, and you really only make a pittance off the albums themselves.

      I'm just trying to picture the guys at Macromedia live at the Arco Arena hammering out code, panties flying on stage, fans screaming...

  • Big deal (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dh003i (203189) <dh003i.gmail@com> on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @06:36PM (#3561985) Homepage Journal
    Lets stop all the whoopla about Warez. Be realistic -- it doesn't cost businesses a thing. Most people who d/l Warez wouldn't have paid the steep price for the program anyways, so companies lose no money. They're just using it as an excuse to keep prices arbitrarily high. The average person who d/l's a pirated version of PowerPoint would never fork over the absurd $300 that MS is demanding for Power Point. Come on, this is pure bullshit. Like they actually produce any REAL updates anyways. Powerpoint today is basically the same as it was in '97. I'm not willing to pay more than 50 bucks for great games -- and these are pieces of software which actually involved real work to make, which actually did evolve, and which cost a lot of money to make. If you tell me it cost Outrage a lot of money to make Descent 3, I'll buy into that argument. If you tell me it cost MS a lot of money to upgrade PowerPoint 2000 to PowerPoint XP, I say that's a load of fucking bullshit.

    As for people searching for Warez via search engines, that's mostly useless. Even using cross referencing, its difficult to get a good Warez page. 99% of all "warez" pages are really fronts for pop-up porno operations. When it comes to Warez, you really need to "be in" to be able to access it.
  • According to Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by guttentag (313541) on Tuesday May 21, 2002 @07:29PM (#3562368) Journal
    According to Google's Ad-Words Traffic Estimator:

    Keyword Clicks/ Cost-Per- Cost/
    Day Click Day
    ---
    flash 660.0 $0.19 $123.42
    crack 690.0 $0.12 $77.55
    porn 1600.0 $0.24 $368.12
    sex 1600.0 $0.24 $376.00
    cowboy neal 0.1 $0.08 $0.02
    flash mx crack <0.1 $0.11 $0.00

    By that logic, I would have more success buying the keywords "cowboy neal" than with "flash mx crack." That's what scares me. Try it yourself [google.com].

  • But Cowboy Neal comes third!

    10548 britney spear breast
    5235 britney spear tit
    1993 biggest tit in the world
    1076 jennifer love hewitt breast
    51 sarah michelle gellar breast

  • This is really a meaningless article, and may even be purposely misleading. We know that people want software. We know that some of these people only want to have the software. Some of these people want to use it, but not for any commercial purpose. Some unknown percentage actually represents lost sales. The amount of lost sales is the concern.

    These number contain no information, and most of us are sophisticated enough to know this. There was a time when Netscape and Yahoo just counted the number of times it server was hit, and used this number as a their 'user base'. We then found out that a single web page required multiple hits, so their actual user base was a fraction of that number, and in time, such service stopped purposefully reporting bogus numbers.

    So, in this case, here is an article reporting clearly bogus numbers as facts. We are used to this because organizations such as the RIAA and BSA are more interesting in swaying public opinion than clearly representing facts. This article has nothing to do with piracy. It has everything to do with lying with statistics

  • One factor that often goes ignored when speaking about piracy is user expectation. Being the computer nerd at the office, and at home, I have ample oppertunity to observe newbies on their using their computers. What you notice about these new users it that they expect all the software they will ever need to be on their computer. Its happend so often but it always amazes me. A new users learns that office didn't come preinstalled on their computer. Harried they call me and ask why they can't open thier spread sheet from work. I then have to explain that office is seperate piece of software, one that they need to purchase. A related issue arrises when users start burning copies or purchased software to friends. People are social creatures. Cooperation and sharing between people are dictated, at least to an extent, by instinct. People share software, because we always share when the costs of sharing are negligable. You will never know when you need a favor. This is how we are hard-wired to think. Information assests don't conform to our ways of valuing property.
    • What's wrong with that expectation ? Would you like to have a car without an engine ?

      The point is that users buy computers in order to perform certain tasks, just like they buy cars in order to perform certain tasks, and therefore they expect that the thing is ready to be used.

      You may find this amazing, but from a consumers perspective, it is logical to expect that what you buy can actually be used for the intended purpose.

  • "I find it disturbing that more people searched for the crack for Flash Mx than for tutorials on how to use it."

    On the other hand, the company should be proud that their program is so easy to use that no one needs a tutorial, but so good that everyone wants a copy. I'd be flattered. Pissed off, but flattered. :-)

  • It sounds obvious, but who gets hurt if someone obtains a piece of software without paying, when they wouldn't have paid for it anyway? The answer is simple and obvious - nobody does. The software company hasn't "lost" anything, they are no-poorer than they would have been if that person didn't have the software. In fact, given that their software now has a new user, who may in-the-future have the ability to pay for it, it could be viewed as a useful marketing tool.

    This reality is so simple that people easily forget it. Information cannot simply be treated as property, any more than fire can.

    • by macrom (537566)
      I'll tell you who and what piracy hurts : the developer and the developer's spirit. There's nothing shitier in this world that to see copies of your software floating around IRC the day after you sent it off to manufacturing for duplication. You start to wonder if all those nights your wife went to bed alone, if the fact that you watched your kid grow up on a video tape or the fact that your friends stopped calling you to go out and party were all worth it.

      I'll agree that piracy is something hard to quantify; how much money is truly lost from people who have no money to buy the software anyhow? But the wallets of the high-salaried execs aren't the only things affected by piracy -- remember that next time you download and install something you shouldn't be owning.
      • I'll tell you who and what piracy hurts : the developer and the developer's spirit.
        Hey, it hurts my spirit when i try to chat up a girl in a bar (very hard work - annoys wife too), but does that mean that these girls should be forced to sleep with me?
  • IMHO, there is another reason why people go looking for cracks.

    It is because they are FSCK'ed off with the annoying copy protection on the legal version they have already paid for.

    A friend of mine is quite into PC gaming, especial first person shooters, He has brought about 20 games in the last couple of years. (I have seen the retail boxes on his shelves).

    He has also downloaded cracks for most of them.

    His reason is the original copy protection is inconvenient & annoying. Most games insist that the original CD be in the drive to play, Some require all the CDs to be inserted in succession. Some games don't like his SCSI CD-ROM, and insist that it is disabled (1). When he telephoned tech support for one of the publisher's with this problem, they accused him of being a pirate, and refused to help.

    Overall the copy protection detracts from his experience of using the game software, so he improves it by cracking it.

    IMHO, my friend has done nothing wrong by cracking software he already owns, but by doing so he has created demand for cracks, and making it more likely that those who have not paid for games will find the cracks they are looking for.

    In conclusion, the message for software publishers, is to ease up on copy protection. If users want to copy the software they will find a way, and if the protection is to annoying, ordinary users will want to remove it.

    1. Apparently it is possible to create a loop back block device under Win2K using SCSI, and that might be used to emulate a real CD-ROM.

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