Illegal Software & Multimedia

This post is in response to Sijmen’s article about illegal software, in which he argues against 5 common excuses for using illegal software:

Many people are using illegal software or games. I’ll be mainly talking about the games here. Some of the reasons that drive them to do so are:

  • Games are too expensive, I don’t have the money.
  • Games are too expensive, I don’t want to pay the money.
  • “Trying out a game” before buying it (By downloading).
  • I’d never buy it at all, so I can just download it.
  • I don’t want to take the risk of spending 50 bucks to something that dissapoints.

I agree with him on most of his points.
When I was still young and naïve, and running Microsoft Windows (about 4 years ago), I used to download all kinds of warez and stuff. I hardly ever paid for my PC games, because it all just was too easy, and I really didn’t have any money.
Before that, when I did not have a PC yet but only a SNES and Gameboy console, I remember enjoying my (legally bought) games a lot more than I did afterwards, with the illegal software. “less games is better” really is true, I experienced it myself.
About 3 years ago, I made a complete switch from Windows to Linux, and since then I’ve barely touched any illegal software. Of course that isn’t too hard, considering there barely is any non-free software for the Linux platform :P
Nowadays I run Mac OS X, legally in my possession of course, but I can’t help to admit I downloaded an illegal version of Mac OS X Tiger before my legally purchased version hit the doormat. Just because it was faster to do so :P

I do have to disagree with you on one point: I do try stuff out before I buy it. This goes especially for music, since I’m really addicted to music, and I devour at least one album a week. Most of those albums don’t make it to the end of the month though, and It’d really be a waste to spend money on an album I never listen to after the first month, and I simply can’t buy them all, I want the best one :)
To some extent, online music stores like Apple’s iTunes Music Store have really changed my view on buying music CDs. One album costs € 9,99 via the internet, so why pay more for CDs elsewhere?
I actually rarely buy music in an online music store, because I’m quite old-fashioned with these kind of things: I really like to be able to touch the stuff I buy :) Besides, why pay money for poor-quality (128 kbps) DRM-limited MP3’s, to be downloaded over a relatively slow connection if you can have them in less than a tenth of the time it takes to find and download them locally.
Ironically as it is, online music actually limited me in buying my music, rather than encouraging me.
I now keep a list of all the (illegally downloaded) albums I still listen to after a month, and if I ever see one of those in a store, I buy it without hesitation (and I actually did again, quite recently). On this list are albums I would never even have considered listening too if it were not freely (though illegally) available to me via the internet, so call me a criminal, but warez actually makes me buy more music than I would otherwise.
As online music stores become more and more a commodity, I expect the prices to become increasingly acceptable, and maybe then I will start buying my music there. Until then, my wishlist is all I have.

One Response to “Illegal Software & Multimedia”

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