Over the last few years, companies have been forced to deal with the problem of piracy. People were pirating for many reasons but for a lot of people, it was because the legal offerings were too expensive, absolutely terrible, or too expensive and absolutely terrible. Finally, however, things have started to change.
While some people are always going to pirate, for most, there is now less reason than ever to do so. Whether it’s because of free operating systems, streaming services, constant updates, or good family sharing, let’s look at why you no longer need to be a pirate.
Free Operating Systems
Smartphone operating systems like iOS and Android have changed what people expect from operating systems. Since their inception, all upgrades to the mobile operating systems have been free — even if you may be waiting a long time on Android. Apple started offering a free upgrade to OS X with Mountain Lion; Microsoft has followed suit with Windows 10.
While neither operating system is truly free — you need to be an existing Mac or Windows customer in order to upgrade to the latest version — they’re no longer an annual expense. Once you’re set up on one operating system, future updates aren’t going to cost you a penny.
The days of seeing “This copy of Windows is not genuine” are numbered. Unless you build your own computer, it’s hard to buy one that doesn’t come with a preinstalled operating system. From here on out, there’ll be no need to pirate an operating system to dodge a massive initial or upgrade fee.
Affordable Streaming Services
One of the biggest reasons you no longer need to pirate content is the availability of great streaming media services.
If you can get access to almost all the music you want for a reasonable monthly fee, then the hassle of managing an actual library stops being worth it. Not every song you could want will be available, but for most people, there is enough music to keep you happy.
Spotify is changing the music industry hugely. It’s cutting into Apple’s iTunes sales so much that they’ve had to launch Apple Music. It’s not just legitimate downloads either, Spotify is gutting piracy. An article from Music Business World earlier this year reports that music piracy has been virtually eliminated in Norway. The article claims that:
“A countrywide survey in December 2014 showed that just 4% of Norwegians under 30 years still used illegal file-sharing platforms to get hold of music. Even better for the worldwide industry, less than 1% of people under 30 years said that file-sharing was their main source of obtaining music.”
A huge number of people have already moved away from music piracy because of Spotify, Google Music, or Apple Music, and you should join them.
There aren’t only music streaming services. For movies and TV shows, there are plenty of streaming channels available.
The situation isn’t quite as good as with music, but there is still a lot of great content out there. Netflix and Amazon Prime are even producing must-watch original content. Over the next few years, things are getting better. Netflix has a deal with Disney coming into effect next year that will bring movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and LucasFilm to the service. The Star Wars movies on Netflix is a big deal.
Even if the latest and greatest films aren’t available on one of the many movie streaming services, you can still rent most of them digitally from iTunes for around $5.
For a long time, piracy was the easiest option. Even if you wanted to get a movie or a song online, the services were too restrictive and the whole situation was awful. That’s just not the case any longer.
Monthly Subscriptions and Constant Updates
One of the most pirated pieces of software ever was Adobe’s Creative Suite. Cracked versions of Photoshop were available on every torrent site imaginable. While Adobe’s software was always worth the investment, for most people it was hard to shell out several thousand dollars in one go for it. Even worse, a few years down the line, Adobe would update everything and you’d need to pay more for the latest versions. It’s no wonder that some people took to The Pirate Bay to get it.
It’s no longer possible to just buy the Creative Suite; it’s been rebranded as a subscription service, the Adobe Creative Cloud. With that, however, Adobe has made it much more affordable. The full suite with every app they make is available from $49.99 a month, while the most popular two apps, Photoshop and Lightroom, cost only $9.99 a month for the pair.
Adobe aren’t the only ones offering software subscriptions; Microsoft’s Office 365 starts at $6.99 a month for the entire Office suite of apps.
Other software vendors are beginning to offer their — once expensive and highly-pirated — software for an entirely reasonable monthly subscription.
While making everything more affordable is great, the other benefit of the software subscriptions services is that the latest updates are included. Adobe regularly pushes out app updates with new features rather than waiting and saving everything up for one big release.
With plans like these available, it’s really hard to justify pirating.
Early digital services locked you — and only you — into using your content. If you were a single person living alone, this was fine; for couples and families, it just didn’t make financial sense. A pirated track could be freely shared between as many people as you liked.
Now most streaming services offer some sort of sharing. Apple Music has family sharing, Spotify has Spotify Family, and Netflix supports multiple user profiles all on one account. Although they’re not unlimited, these give you a lot more freedom to share your media with your loved ones. There’s no longer a need to download media (legally or otherwise) just to share it.
The End of Piracy?
Piracy as we know it is almost at an end. Yes, there will always be some people doing it, but now the legal alternatives are beginning to catch up and offer a great service at a reasonable price. There’s still some way to come before every song and movie is available via subscription services, but for the time being, what we have is more than good enough for people to no longer need to pirate content.
For operating systems and software, the situation is similar. Prices — or at least up-front prices — have fallen dramatically for both. Photoshop isn’t several hundred dollars any more, it’s ten dollars a month. If you refuse to pay that much for one of the most powerful pieces of software available, then nothing will stop you pirating. For most people though, there’s just no need.
Do you still find the need to pirate software and media? Let us know why in the comments.
Image Credit: Walking the Plank by Lorelyn Medina via Shutterstock