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Why I Pirate - An Open Letter to Content Creators

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Do you realize how much malware gets bundled with pirated software? It is where most of it comes from, arguably. This isn't a theory, this is a fact. I've analyzed a considerable amount of it myself in prior jobs. The software appears to be fine, installs fine, but you get a little extra, totally hidden, present along with it. THAT is what piracy is today.-db90h (March 09, 2012, 02:03 AM)
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No. This is what the software publishers would have you believe. Oh, that's right. You are a software publisher, aren't you, db90h? I'm sure you're a nice guy, but you have a dog in this fight so anything you say will be (unintentionally) biased.

Sure, if a person goes to those shady web sites that have catalogs of cracks or if they use most of the peer-to-peer file-sharing programs, sure...they are probably going to be infected, but the educated, savvy pirates know where to go to get software that runs buttery smooth with no performance-robbing DRM and is malware-free.

Every release group (those that bring the pirated software to the masses) does so to build up their rep and street cred among the other release groups, always competing to bring the latest, greatest software the quickest & before their rivals. Sticking a piece of malware in their release would wreck their precious reputations. Sure, an unscrupulous third party could later get ahold of that release and inject some malware, but like I said before....the educated, savvy pirates know where to go to avoid that. The dangerous thing for software publishers is a focused Google search is the only thing keeping people from becoming savvy & educated. Fortunately, what works in the software publishers' favor is laziness. People usually want the quickest, easiest, cheapest they'll be doomed to virus-filled Kazaa downloads.

I agree otherwise, but BEWARE. Also, don't think your security software can protect you from malware. That crap is regenerated DAILY and the scanners can't keep up. NO, that does not mean you should install multiple security suites, then you just get a really, really slow PC with lots of problems and more false positives than anything.
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While I agree that new malware is written every single day & there's no way the security suites can protect against it all immediately, there's almost no chance of 0-day malware infecting any illegal software downloads just because of the way that culture works. The 0-day malware writers want to target the largest pool of victims possible. That's not peer-to-peer users. Sure, that malware may make it into the world of piracy eventually, but it'll be long after even McAfee will be able to detect it & neutralize it.

Sure, there are probably non-malware sources of pirated software - but the laymen user doesn't know. So, I wouldn't EVER condone this practice. Not because it is illegal, but because it is unsafe and spreads malware.
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The laymen do spread malware, but fortunately it's the equivalents to Sasser & Blaster. These days I'm far more worried about the malware that comes through PDF exploits & advertising banners on web sites than anything that little Bobby or Suzie download from that cool new peer-to-peer program all the hip kids are using at school.

Do you realize how much malware gets bundled with pirated software? It is where most of it comes from, arguably. This isn't a theory, this is a fact. I've analyzed a considerable amount of it myself in prior jobs. The software appears to be fine, installs fine, but you get a little extra, totally hidden, present along with it. THAT is what piracy is today.
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Must be some reeeeal sneaky low-level shit, just sitting there... biding its time. Or else most home PCs in the third world would have ground to a halt by now. ;)

There was a time when I would have condemned that article. That time is long past. Personally I have never used any pirated software except one - and I still use that one today. (More on that later...) Also I haven't downloaded music or movies illegally. But... I no longer feel as strongly against such things as I did before. The entertainment industries have become so nasty, so overbearing, that I actually enjoy articles like the one linked above. I root for the pirates - they are now my "home team". I am disgusted by the graft paid to pass laws like SOPA, ProtectIP, and so-called treaties like ACTA. I am even more disgusted by the thousands of lawsuits by RIAA and MPAA. Not sure why but I seem to take all of that personally. At some point I imagine that I too will finally feel that last straw as my back breaks and start downloading anything and everything I possibly can!

I said earlier that I have never used pirated software with one exception. That exception is a piece of medical software for CPAP machines that was once available to consumers from Respironics. However they never allowed updates and eventually stopped making it available to non-medical professionals. So that software has become a standard download for almost anyone using a CPAP machine. I still must download pirated updates every time one is released. I don’t feel the least bit guilty about this as the software is not available otherwise. All other software that has ever been on a computer of mine has been purchased, is donationware, or is freeware (in which case I always donate if I find it useful and continue using it). Regarding music and movies, I did download roughly 60 or 70 tracks from Napster before the lawsuit. All were either TV show themes or similar cuts that weren't available any other way. Movies? Every movie I have at home is from a DVD I purchased, though I do rip each and every DVD to a hard drive and strip out the warnings and previews. No way I intend to keep that crap on any DVD I rip! I also subscribe to Netflix (streaming only now) and I have Amazon Prime for more movies.

Has DRM ever bitten me? Of course - I don’t know if anyone can honestly say it hasn’t gotten them at some point. A two-hour video I downloaded - an instructional video - had DRM and required a password to be entered every time it was started. I watched about 45 minutes and then when I tried to continue later it would not take the password. No help at all from the vendor. I finally was sent an email from another person who had purchased it and experienced the same problem. It said that I had to use the original WMP 9.0 - no updates at all and no newer versions. It instructed users to uninstall WMP and find somewhere to download the original, virgin WMP 9.0. They had stopped sending out that solution by the time I had contacted them. (2 years later I was speaking with a new owner of that company and he sent me that video in DVD format along with several others. But two years?) I also lost the use of about 2,000 music tracks I had ripped from my own CDs. I subscribed to Rhapsody for about a year, the service where you can't download any tracks but just listen to them. It was cheap - through Comcast - and once I had become disabled my computer was the only place I ever listened to my music. So that was OK until Rhapsody apparently ran into some pirating problems, real or perceived, I don’t know, but I had to install several updates because the previous one was screwing up my machine. (A problem for everyone, not just me). The anti-pirating software baked into their player was messing all manner of computers up. So I dropped the subscription. My problems arose with WMP 11 or 12 - not sure which. Rhapsody allowed you to build a database of your preferred music from which you could make playlists, etc. All the tracks stayed on their server; users could just listen to them with this subscription. Also, Rhapsody scanned your computer and listed all tracks found in the database so you could listen :-\ to them on their player too. About a year or so after I uninstalled Rhapsody, WMP (11 or 12) refused to play any of the songs that were ripped from MY DVDs but were listed in the Rhapsody database, saying that I must have the Rhapsody player installed so that WMP could check to see if I needed a license for those tracks or not. Bullshit! Rhapsody had apparently tagged my tracks in a way that Microsoft wasn’t sure if they were mine or not. I have all the CDs but I really didn't feel like re-ripping them all. But that's what I had to do, because I could not find a way to "clean" the Rhapsody info from the tracks, and so many damn players use the WMP engine and thus also refused to play the tracks.

As someone who always purchased my music, movies, and software this stuff has been niggling at me over the last five or six years....

Too tired to continue bitching - I'll bitch more later.   :Thmbsup:



"I'm not going to deny myself the enjoyment of your creation just because you haven't figured out how to collect."

I once felt this way myself, but I kinda grew up. This is extremely immature, but it's also the attitude of someone (again I was like this myself) who probably wasn't going to part with a buck to support your work anyway.
-doctorfrog (March 09, 2012, 02:50 AM)
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AMEN! Whether we AGREE or DISAGREE, content CREATORS have a RIGHT to charge whatever they want and to CONTROL the distribution of THEIR creations. -db90h (March 09, 2012, 02:58 AM)
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There's a very fine line there. Creators? Maybe. But Franz Kafka told his best friend to burn all his writings after his death - instead the guy published them and for a good reason, too. This happens all the time to many authors, both celebrated and entirely unknown while alive.

But then, the whole debate is more about music and film. In music and film, first of all there is almost never a single creator. Second, and more important, the actual creators don't really have a say in any of this, do they? It's not the creators, it's the publishers. Whoever owns the rights, usually bought for a pittance, a sliver of the actual worth.

Remember when Michael Jackson bought rights to all (or most of) the Beatles catalog? It's hard to imagine how this is even possible and legal, but hey, it is. So - theoretically - Michael Jackson could decide (back when he was still with us) that he wasn't going to permit any distribution or public performance of music by the Beatles. Does the "right to control" still apply here? I can't see why not, but I also can't see why anyone should respect that and be denied Beatle music, just because a random person now owns the rights and does with them as they see fit (again, theoretically).

There is no one right that trumps all other rights, not the free speech, not the freedom of assembly, not even the right to life. So why would property and copyright be the only rights to which there are no exceptions? When put like this, the position is untenable.

On edit: Finally, we should be talking about what is, not what we would like to be. What is is that as long as it's so much easier to download then to acquire and play legally, downloading will happen. As the OP/article says, it's not about the price, as long as the price is reasonable. It's about availability. When Amazon sells a printed book or a Kindle book only to US addresses, this is bloody ridiculous, and nobody should respect that limitation.

There was a book, pretty expensive as books go, that I could not order to Poland. Amazon would only ship it to the US. So I bought the book when I was in the US, how about that? I then brought it home with me. If the publisher has the final say, then what I did should somehow be illegal, however ridiculous that sounds. If it's a Kindle book, I can either buy it via a VPN or proxy (misrepresenting myself to Amazon), or I can maybe find a "liberated" copy on the net. I don't care which. The book has been published, hasn't it, and I really couldn't care less if an American publisher can't work out their differences with a European publisher.

This goes triple for movies and especially serial TV shows. In some countries seasons of the most popular shows are broadcast two or more years behind their US premiere. Then sometimes the local broadcaster will only by the rights to season 1 and 2, say, and forget about seasons 3 and 4. This is exactly what motivates people to download the whole thing from bittorrent, and why not? Seriously, the rights owners behave as if they did NOT want to make any money from publishing the stuff that they have. But it's their problem. Maybe they need counseling. No-one of their potential customers should lose any sleep over it.


There is no one right that trumps all other rights, not the free speech, not the freedom of assembly, not even the right to life. So why would property and copyright be the only rights to which there are no exceptions? When put like this, the position is untenable.

-tranglos (March 09, 2012, 02:08 PM)
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Very good point, nicely argued. Well done, tranglos!  :Thmbsup:


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