September 07, 2011, 12:29 PM — We are all pirates.
It's just time to admit it. To 'fess up. Clear the air, come clean and acknowledge that we are all software pirates.
Out of simple respect for the low-paid, philanthropic organizations that selflessly offer us perfectly usable, bugless, secure software to use as we see fit and not be limited to using in only ways the software provider believes will make it the most money – we all have to admit that the simple act of using a personal computer for our own purposes makes us pirates or potential pirates that can be viewed only with the greatest suspicion by the charitable organizations providing our software.
It's the only way to interpret the continuing series of studies from the completely objective Business Software Alliance, which is not biased in either its policy or its studies toward the interests of the software vendors that make up its membership, pay its bills, write the questions and define the correct answers to its studies of software piracy worldwide.
A report released by the BSA yesterday shows that, globally, 47 percent of PC users see nothing wrong in using software they've obtained improperly, costing software vendors a (creatively) estimated $59 billion during 2010 alone.
Much of that piracy came from third-world countries where ancient PCs that sell for less than $100 in the U.S. are considered a luxury and even the drastically reduced prices vendors charge for software is usurious compared to local incomes and available capital.
Nevertheless, we in the developed world have to admit our culpability in the gross violence being committed against the profits of the software industry (which often dip below 20 percent, sometimes for more than one quarter at a time).
We have to admit doing almost nothing to stay within the law, despite a long history of doing things like buying an album five or six times on vinyl, tape, CD, special mix CD and boxed set before finally downloading a lower-quality version than we already own because the CD's Digital Rights Protection won't let us move bits we bought legally to a different medium.