Piracy is just like buying a competitor’s product (you don’t get a sale either way); piracy should be legal, just like buying a competitors product is legal.

Claim: “If company A creates product A and company B creates product B (and these are competing products), I can buy either product A or product B. If I pirate product A or if I buy product B, the result is the same for company A: they don’t get a sale. So, Company A complaining about piracy of their software is like company A complaining about me buying product B. It’s totally illegitimate for company A to complain about the fact that I bought product B (and they didn’t get a sale). Similarly, it’s totally illegitimate for them to complain about me pirating their stuff.”

Response: In this scenario, there’s one major difference: when you pirate, you aren’t supporting either company. If you buy the better product, then (hopefully) the better product and company wins out. Society will have one company making good product, or, if the market is large enough, you can both survive. To put it another way: if 70% of the users buy product B and 30% of the users buy product A, then one or both companies can survive. However, in a society where piracy is the norm, then neither company gets paid, both go out of business, and society doesn’t have anyone around to offer them product A or product B. They will have taught creators that they can’t survive financially if they make products, resulting in no future products. (This is why I often compare piracy to the story of “killing the golden goose”.)

Related Claim: Piracy is like competition: both can drive you out of business; piracy should be legal, just like competition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please note: if your comment doesn't appear right away, it's probably because it was automatically put into the moderation queue.