[futurebasic] Re: software piracy.

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From: Lazlo Toth <ArtVandals@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 97 17:15:03 +1100
Ah... the Sim Lim Building in Singapore. Brings back happy memories... 

Very like Brade Lunner. 'What do you mean, 'Is this a real snake?' Do you 
think I can afford a real snake on my wages?'

In the USA, you are living in one of the richest countries in the world, 
which at last count had already used up 70% of the oil, steel, etc and 
all that...  

Look at it from their point of view for a change. 

Some of these people have never had a refrigerator, and the 'civilised 
world is telling them to stop using fluorocarbons and go to some 
expensive substitute.

I used to work in Malaysia from time to time with trained and clever 
people who earned about $100 US _per month_. How are _they_ going to 
afford MS Word, a program which is sold by the million.

An architect I worked with in Malasia, earned in one year the equivalent 
cost of AutoCad. Was he going to spend a year's income on that 'Program'. 
Was he what! Of course he bought the 'other' version and spent the rest 
of the year trying to figure out how it worked and why they made it so 
difficult.

(He could have also bought the bound photocopy of the manual, but it was 
far more expensive than the discs.) If the real manual didn't help (like 
the MS manuals) he could go to the bookstore and buy a mugs guide manual 
(which was probably published by MS press anyway.)

Most mainstream software is overpriced by any standard... If not how 
would all those MS people become so incredibly rich? (Remember Word 
3.01?) Is Photoshop worth $900? Is Quark worth near $2000? I don't think 
so, and I own them both. So what about the third world? We're happy to 
buy our computers which are made over there because the labour is cheap, 
but not happy when the labourers make the software cheap their own way.

Vertical and niche market software is another issue. I cannot believe 
that anyone who struggled through learning FB _with_ the manuals would 
believe you could do it without. The software we write and or sell is 
either dongle protected, or is used by people I know or who own one of 
our machines so I guess we are not too badly off. But in these smaller 
markets, theft is an issue.

A local software house which produces niche market software, most of it 
dongle protected, was so tired of cheap knock-offs of his program, Naval 
Architecture software, that he finally release a cut-down non-copy 
protected program for less than $200 which he _knew_ would be bootlegged. 
At least they would be using the right software and when and if they were 
ready, they'd come and buy the real thing.

I don't know what the answer is, but it isn't the big software companies 
who are hurting, or they'd be doing a Cartier and squashing the fakes 
with a steamroller. But if the software which is pirated was reasonably 
priced in the relevant markets, piracy would not be an issue. In my 
opinion, FB is reasonably priced, and cannot be run without the manuals. 
If you price the asian photocopies, you'd be paying about the same anyway.

Lazlo Toth.




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