With yesterday’s post I tried to show why a high-profile band should want their material to be pirated. This extends to print media such as books, magazines, and comic books. If people like your work they will want to buy it to get the best copy possible. Your pirated material serves as free advertising and good will, causing your stuff to be out there in the public consciousness. Consider the situation where people don’t want your stuff, even for free — that would be tragic! But what of software piracy? The most powerful case can be made for a big expensive package such as Adobe’s Creative Suite, particularly Photoshop. Someone does get hurt when Photoshop is pirated but it is not Adobe.
I have seen many people using pirated versions of Photoshop. They all use only the most basic of features; mainly cropping, but some get as adventurous as adjusting contrast and brightness. The vast majority of people who own illegal copies of Photoshop could easily get by just as well with the simplest of picture-editing software just as the majority of Microsoft Word pirates could get by with the simplest of word processors for the few features they actually use.
Adobe and Microsoft greatly benefit from pirates who would never dream of buying their products. There is no money lost if a purchase was never going to be made. But the awareness is spread that these are the obvious de facto products to be used.
Pirates are the evangelists. Pirates are the free in-home tech support. Pirates cause more “honest” people to choose what they support and to ultimately buy the high end product instead of the software that would best suit their simpler needs.
And there’s the rub.
When you pirate Photoshop and don’t feel guilty because you could never afford or justify buying it because of your light and infrequent use, it prevents you from buying a more affordable program that would be easier to use and thus ultimately be better. The smaller software maker never gets a fair shot at making an honest buck only because people are pirating and promoting a more expensive and difficult-to-use product.
In my particular instance on the Mac that product would be Pixelmator. The Preview app that comes free with every Mac will do everything most people need on a daily basis. You can crop, adjust color saturation, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and a few other things. Why Preview is not highly touted is a mystery to me since it will also edit PDF files. But the big photo editing app on the Mac is Pixelmator. There you can do free rotation and a ton of fancy things most people won’t ever think of wanting to do. The price? $15.00 USD. FIFTEEN BUCKS! It is an awesome program, easy to use, and does a ton more than the vast majority of Photoshop pirates would ever dream of. And it is affordable.
It’s funny. Apple has driven down the price of software and made it so that if one person buys a program they can have it installed on up to five different machines. That goes to four other people whether they are family or friends. What has cheaper prices and limited sharing done? The major pirating sites for Mac software have shut down not for legal reasons, but because people stopped going there. So cheaper prices combined with allowing some sharing has destroyed most of the piracy.
Again. Apple sells songs at a reasonable price. They removed the copy protection so you can pirate your socks off. AND THEY SELL MORE SONGS THAN ANYONE!!!
We should be clear now. When people pirate your material it puts you out there into the public consciousness. If they are aware of you, if they are focusing on you, then they are ignoring your competition. If they like you and you are affordable and portable then they will buy you; otherwise, you never stood a chance to begin with.