Do You Think Digital Pirates Purchase More Products Than Non-Pirates? [MakeUseOf Poll]

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Last week we asked everyone to tell us how many tech books you have. The bulk of people seem to have between 1-9 tech books in their collection.

We collected a total of 210 votes, which were distributed as follows: 24% have 1-9 tech books; 22% have between 20-49 tech books; the option for 50-99 was left out accidentally, but if it had been there it probably would have rested between the 20-49 and 100-249 responses or much higher (judging by the bell curve); 17% have between 100-249 tech books; 15% have an amazing 250+ tech books; 13% have between 10-19 tech books; while 9% have no tech books at all.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

This week’s poll question is: Do You Think Digital Pirates Purchase More Products Than Non-Pirates?

A recent study has deemed that people pirating movies are actually the same people who purchase the most movies. A similar study concluded that people who pirate digital music actually purchased more digital music than non-pirates (although fewer physical CDs). I’ve heard many people actually consider pirating products as a try-before-you-buy deal. The entertainment industry obviously sees it differently. How do you see things from where you stand? How do the pirates you know of behave? Do they purchase things or not? More importantly, do they purchase more than the non-pirates you know of?

A simple yes/no/maybe poll isn’t going to cut it if you’re keen to elaborate. Feel free to let us know more about your pirating friends’ purchasing habits in the comments!

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Comments (20)
  • Guest

    I think pirates end up buying more because they obviously have more money left over from *not* buying so much stuff they’re either unable to return (like software) or would only get a fraction of the full price back once sold secondhand (like games, music, movies, etc.). But the question of “buying more,” I think, deals with quantity (and often quality) of purchases rather than total dollars spent.

    This is going to run well into TL;DR territory so I’ve decided to split my response into multiple parts. (Like a…dare I say it, *sequel* of sorts.)

    • Guest

      First, quantity.

      A copy of Windows sells for about $250-$350 (even the student discounts
      are no less than $100). M$ Office is about the same depending on which
      edition you buy. And Adobe Suites run in the four-figure range. $2,500
      for the full Adobe Suite will not only buy about 10 licenses of Windows
      but 2,500 songs from iTunes at ~$1/song. Alternatively if you have the
      cash to pay for a $2,500 Adobe Suite you can pirate the music you’d put
      on your mp3 player. Or vice versa if you’ve got $2,500 for iTunes and
      still want the Adobe Suite. Last I checked, having your cake and eating
      it too was not “illegal” per se.

    • Guest

      NB: That last part is true unless you’re a certain Mademoiselle Antoinette. XD

    • Guest

      Next, quality, especially in terms of entertainment:

      1. A cable or satellite TV subscription can run in the mid-hundreds to upwards of a thousand bucks per year depending on what lineup you have. Netflix is still expensive (and just got more so this past week), but it’s nothing compared to the C-notes some people shell out every month for crappy pay TV. At my house we got suckered into a full-featured lineup with Concast (that’s not a typo), and are struggling to get rid of what amounts to NINETY BUCKS a month — and we don’t even get *any* premium channels like HBO or Cinemax. RedBox is a nice idea (like an ATM for Blockbuster — ah, how I miss the old “be kind, rewind”), but the movies they have are total crap, all stuff released within the past 3-5 years or so. Nothing but Twilight this and sequel that.

      2. The price of a single movie ticket is just not worth the crap that Hollywood releases these days. Plus, why pay money for a DVD or Blu-Ray or watch OnDemand or Hulu, chock full of stupid previews and advertisements that you’re not allowed to fast-forward through, when you can just hop on BitTorrent or Rapidshare and download a high-quality rip cut down to the nitty-gritty elements — you know, the *movie*? With videotapes you could fast forward through the previews/ads. With copy-protected discs and pay TV you can’t. It’s like showing up at the theater after the previews or leaving the room during the commercial breaks. You just want the movie/show. You don’t care about the dancing popcorn cartoon or what’s coming up next fall. Especially since what’s being offered isn’t really any good.

    • Guest

      Finally, closing comments:

      1. I agree with whateverthecause above that 1) all of this is nothing new, just the medium has changed; 2) the movies/music from years ago were infinitely better than the junk thrown at us today; and 3) the Internet has become (or maybe was to begin with?) just a vehicle of industry/social control. (Although I do own a lot of ’80s albums, if I’m correct in him/her saying ’80s music wasn’t/isn’t worth buying!) :-)

      2. The same reason people apply ad blockers when surfing the Internet is because we are sick and tired of corporate $$$ being force-fed to us on a daily basis. You can’t even watch a baseball game without being subject to America’s real pastime, which is making money — why do you think we have things like “U.S. Cellular Field” (ex-Comiskey Park) and “McAfee Coliseum” (where the Oakland A’s play)? Sheesh, they could’ve at least picked a better buyout than some crappy unreliable antivirus software. I mean, if Yankee Stadium gets re-dubbed McDonald’s Stadium in the next 10 years, does a future Hall-of-Famer like Derek Jeter get traded for “breach of contract” if he orders a Whopper? (Or orders jumbo-size Roid Wings at Roger Clemens’ chicken restaurant?) ^_^

      3. In conclusion, “piracy,” to me, is about giving the consumer a choice and cutting Hollywood/Redmond and/or the ad agencies “out of the picture” (pun intended) and therefore out of the budget, which undoubtedly bothers the big-time billionaires but does wonders for the average consumer. I feel like the shafted paperboy in that movie Better Off Dead (a classic, and one I DO own because it’s well worth buying!). Someday I’d like to march up to the front door of One Microsoft Way and pound on Gates’ door and shout “I want my two hundred dollars!”

      (For now, just my $.02…adjusted for inflation.) ;-)

    • Guest

      NB: That paperboy is probably going to be foaming mad now that the New York Times has gone paywall and Rupert Murdoch’s entire media empire might very well be shut down.

      But oh, well, there’s always flipping burgers at the Everybody Wants Some fast food joint. (Not affiliated with the Yankees or the Brooklyn Dodgers of Anaheim AFAIK.) XD

    • Guest

      (My comments appeared out of sequence, so if you can, try to work backwards from the bottom up.)

  • whateverthecase

    Let me put it this way.

    They say pirating hurts the music and movie industry, I say bull completely.

    Back before there was “downloading” or even the standard internet, before there were VCRs, DVDs, a movie made it’s money the same way it does now, at the theater and from merchandising. There were no DVDs or downloads and you couldn’t even buy the movie, most had to wait until it aired on TV to ever see it again.

    Music was no different, except you could buy cassettes, prior 8 tracks or records but even then, it was the concerts that fueled the cash flow mainly and there weren’t blathering idiots throwing up albums every two seconds for a bit hit. If you liked a song, you bought a 45, even at that, 80’s down, you could expect a damn good album out of most and was worth buying the cassette or full Album. I wouldn’t buy a CD these days (except for groups from prior times). Or groups like Disturbed, good album, bought the CD, going to see the concert soon. But that’s a rare thing due to most singers being pop-tart idiots or out for a quick record hit, make their fame by laying on their backs and sleeping with everything under the sun. It’s Madonna all over again. No thanks, give me good damn music.

    That’s beside the point. Hardly anyone I knew bought actual cassette tapes, usually all recorded from another source, or even radio. I think more people purchase music now than prior, yet where was all this pirating hurts crap back then? They did just fine didn’t they?

    Come on, wake up people, the internet was a means for the industries to use pirating as a control agent, nothing more.

  • Anonymous

    It depends from which country the pirates are ;)

  • Stefan Green

    Can the next poll be “Do overly broad generalisations in poll questions serve any purpose other than to drive traffic?”

    Of course “Digital Pirates” don’t purchase more products than non-pirates. They also don’t purchase less, because “Digital Pirates” isn’t a homogenous group. Some pirates purchase more, some purchase less.

    Personally I purchase more than most non-pirates do when I have the means to do so – just yesterday I bought all the Mass Effect 2 DLC even though it’s very easy to pirate. the main difference is that I’ll buy things I think are worth it, and because I pirate so much stuff, my bar is raised a little higher than most people

  • Steven Witherspoon

    I often pull stuff from the ether based on name, title, review or rumour.  Although I rarely keep any of it longer than one listen. I really don’t mind paying £7.00 for the downloaded album. 

    I used to spend £30 on albums pre-pirating and spend roughly £35 post-pirating.

    This is not more I guess – just inflation playing it’s role.

    Just please watch bands/artists on tour – that way, they get solid revenue, and you get a good time.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.