Software Piracy – The Untold Tales [INFOGRAPHIC]
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Software Piracy - The Untold Tales [INFOGRAPHIC] pirate Piracy and illegal file sharing is a curse for any developer and software company. As soon as the new version of a popular piece of software hits the streets, it is pretty much being pirated before you can say “o-arrr!”. Same with games, music and movies. For every person who buys something legally, there’s probably 10 who are taking the risk of stealing it.

Our infographic this week is on this very subject and comes courtesy of Starmedia. It goes all the way back to the swinging 60’s when the first software patent was granted and to 1975 when the first software piracy cases occurred. Even before the Internet was around, piracy was a huge problem but with the introduction of the net, the problem just exploded.

Finally, the infographic looks at some illegal download stats. Did you know the most pirated piece of software is Photoshop, and that Adobe loses potential revenue of more than $18.5 million a day due to piracy?

Let us know in the comments what you think of the infographic. Does piracy have any hidden advantages for companies or is it just plain stealing no matter which way you look at it?

Software Piracy - The Untold Tales [INFOGRAPHIC] softwarepiracytalesjpg ok

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  1. samson
    January 27, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I came upon your most wonderful lessons only recently. even so I find them VERY VERY useful. Thank you so much. I don't know if this page is still active, but I hope this will reach you.

  2. James Bruce
    September 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    An interesting idea, but I don't really think it would prevent piracy. It also wouldn't really be feasible with products like Adobe Photoshop that don't change an awful lot from verison to version. 

    I'm pretty sure there is no 'solution' to piracy at the end of the day. In fact, I doubt there's even a 'problem' in the first place. 

  3. Johnpendlebury15
    September 27, 2011 at 5:38 am

    All Retail Outlet's (Shops etc.) , allow for the Five-Finger discount (Shoplifting) , in the
    prices they charge . 'Lost revenue' has already been covered by those that pay for the
    goods . Digital piracy is just another form of Shoplifting .

  4. Aibek
    September 19, 2011 at 8:34 am

    there are some good premium software that doesn't have free counterparts. Mosly these are products for small businesses.
    These are Basecamp, Aweber, Pingdom, some Zoho offerings etc etc


  5. Nala_kcirtap
    September 16, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I get ramped on this so excuse me while I go off a tad bit.

    Piracy is theft, plain and fancy. Somebody spent a lot of time and effort developing something worth all that time and energy.
    Some developers give it as freeware, some as donorware, some as shareware, some give you a trial period, which is cool all the way around, and some want $$ right off the getgo - so? time is money, so 'They' tell me. 

    How much time do you think was spent putting something like that together so it would work?

    What's right with stealing? If I planted a garden, did all the gardening stuff all growing season, by my self and the 'sweat of my brow', and caught your sneaky lil' butt ripping off my goodies I'd get PO'd and you might get a rocksalt energy boost.  

    Piracy is stealing. Do you you feel is right.

    • James Bruce
      September 18, 2011 at 7:19 am

      Bad analogy, sorry. If someone was taking the fruits of your labor from your garden, you would be losing them. Not true with piracy. You cannot equate piracy with 'stealing'. It isn't, so stop basing your whole argument on it. 

      Here's a better 'gardening' example for you. A multinational company creates a super high yield wheat crop, but sells the seeds at ridiculously high rates that put it out of the hands of third world subsistence farmers. A lot of work went into the product, and they deserve to make money for their creations. A white-hat hacker from India breaks into the servers and 'copies' (notice I said copy, not steal) the genetic code for the high yield crop, then releases it on the various local third world sites. Enterprising young fellows there make use of the new low-cost genetic code adjusters to create these high yield seeds and give them away to impoverished farmers there. 

      Do you count that as stealing? They couldn't have possibly paid for those seeds in the first place, and they didn't actually steal anything in the sense that the company never lost any revenue nor physical product. In fact, once the farmers in the rest of the world saw how amazing the crop was for these third world countries, they decided to pony up the cash and finally buy some of them for themselves. Of course, they paid because they *could* afford it, thanks to EU subsidies on farming that made the purchase a viable option. 

      There, I fixed your analogy. ;)

  6. Terry
    September 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    $999 Software pirated != $999 "Lost Revenue"!

         As a software developer and former graphic artist I don't agree with piracy, however many media companies go way too far. Overly exaggerate their "lost revenue" most of the copies of pirated stuff would NEVER be purchased at full retail by the people who pirate them. This is especially true for software that costs hundreds of dollars pirated by people in third world countries where the price is comparable to the wages they earn in an entire lifetime. There is no "Lost Sale" in most piracy cases and hence no "lost revenue" in most cases. Furthermore piracy is best defeated through changing the social view of it instead of the common method of adding hinderences for the paying customers.

         I don't "share" my purchases and I refuse to buy hardware, software or media including audio books and ebooks where my use is hindered. When it comes to my wallet:
    DRM = "Lost revenue".

  7. Anonymous
    September 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    There was a time when I would "try" software before I bought it. I no longer do this since I started using Linux and open source software. I'm pretty sure that the main reason that programs like Photoshop are pirated so much is because of the exorbitant prices they demand for programs that can be simulated, albeit a bit lightweight, either for free or at a much lower cost. Companies like Adobe and Micro$oft have made BILLIONS in profits already. How is it that someone like Google can do most of their business without charging consumers anything, yet continue to grow and make millions? I'm not really a big proponent of Google, I'm just impressed with their business model.

    Piracy will continue, despite all the efforts to prevent it. It's like the government raising taxes. As long as they go up, people are going to figure out ways to avoid them and revenues go down. If they lower prices, perhaps more people will buy and, WOW, revenues actually go up!

  8. d_dog
    September 11, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Why pirate software when you can get it all free with Linux (ubuntu) and not worry about viruses?  Ubuntu is so easy to use nowadays and all the files can be saved to be compatible with windows software if needed.  My take on this is, why are we having this debate when it is totally not necessary to pirate software?  It's all free in Linux.  Its like stealing cheese from the supermarket, when there is a truck in the parking lot giving out free cheese. 

    • James Bruce
      September 12, 2011 at 8:18 am

      I find it's more like stealing a nice stilton from the supermarket, when there's a block of 3 year-old mouldy own-brand tasteless plastic cheese being given away in the parking lot. 

      My point is - there's a reason software like Linux has yet to take over the home market. It simply doesn't work as well as Windows or OSX. Sure, power the servers that run the entire world with it, but don't try to pretend it's designed for a home user. 

  9. Lizi
    September 11, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I find that, when i need a certain application, the opensource equivalent will often provide me with the tools i need. So, when i actually DO need a certain application, i don't mind paying for it. 
    This way i don't need illegal software and the hidden rootkits or other problems. 
    Sure, it sometimes requires some reading, but it is well worth the efford. 

  10. rahlquist
    September 10, 2011 at 2:50 am

    In the end the market demands whats popular, no matter how it gets there. Kinda like prom queen.

  11. Anonymous
    September 9, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    My problem with Adobe is that don't like the alternative to CS5 - Elements. Why do they add all the crap to Elements (Organizer)? I use Lightroom (paid for) to Organize and I rarely use Elements 8 (paid for, also bought 9, but cancelled my order after discovering the horrible forced Organizer). I find CS5 much easier to use and it runs smoother. I have been running CS5 from time to time, but use it so rarely that it's no longer on my Mac. Only use Elements for some scanning and I wish it had real curves adjustments in stead of the Organizer...

    I wonder if they wouldn't have sold more copies of CS5 if they had reduced the price. In Europe it's around $1700+ retail for CS5. I'd gladly paid $200 for a stripped down CS5 that looked and worked like CS5. Not what Elements is trying to do.

  12. Jorge Rosal
    September 7, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Yeah right, but in most cases, those who pirate it usually do that because they wants lasting software. For them trial version is not satisfying. Some do that because they want to gain some reputation with their friends saying that "hey look at my new software, nice haah, i bought it". Sounds ridiculous? Yeah, one of the ugly truth about pirating.

  13. Zorp
    September 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Adobe has 30 day trials on most of the software. So illegally downloading it to give it a try is not really a valid excuse.

  14. Anonymous
    September 6, 2011 at 4:35 am

    The one thing that come to mind.. and I wanted to share my thought on.

    Adobe is claiming $18.5 million a day, lost to illegal downloads. Here is the thing. I am guessing that some where around 98% (possibly more) of the copies of Photoshop that are illegally downloaded would not have been sold anyway.

    People that are illegaly downloading it are not people in the business world using thier application for their dealings which would result in a profit. They are people that are messing around with their pictures for family and personal use and would never drop $1000 on Photoshop because the value to them is not there.

    Is it OK to illagally download it and not pay for it, I would say no.

    But those insanely inflated loses that they are screaming about... They would not have sold them even if they were not available for a free pirate download.

    • muotechguy
      September 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Absolutely agree, and I was just about to post the exact same comment when I noticed you already had. That whole potential lost revenue amount is misleading to say the least.

      I'm pretty sure Adobe aren't doing so badly out of photoshop, especially considering the point that it was only out of piracy that it got to be so widespread popular in the first place. It's is priced accordingly for the professionals who need it for their business practices, and it's also priced way out of the league of any home users - so I think it's pretty obvious that Adobe is able to make the revenue is needs while still allowing for million of pirate copies on home computers - and the high price tag also gives it the "premium" brand image. I'm sure some would argue that the GIMP is just as capable as PS but it's free, so why isn't everyone using that instead? I would say its partially because of the perception that free software could never rival something that costs $1000, so why bother with it?

      • Mike
        September 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm

        I agree that most people downloading Photoshop won't actually buy it if they had to but it still doesn't justify it.

        Along all the other paid and free options Adobe offers Photoshop Elements for home use and Photoshop Lightroom for home, personal & professional use in terms of photo editing and enhancing. Both are within a reasonable price.

        If your needs do require Photoshop it is a good assumption that you are working within the professional line or whatever you publish you do intend to make money with it via selling, ads or other stuff.

        Also as myself and Zorp said Adobe offers fully functional 30 day trials for pretty much all products. If your needs extend that period you should at least take the hard route in removing Photoshop (with some dedicated uninstaller like Revo) and then reinstall it for another 30 day test drive.

        Photoshop costs $700
        Looking at the average time before upgrading which is every second version and the Adobe release cycle of roughly 18 months that gives you $700 over 36 months (or $20 per month or less than $1 per day).

    • Lee Nathan
      September 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      And what's more, this actually helps Adobe. If you had to pay a grand for their software you'd never get a chance to play with it and learn to use it on your own. If you can steal it for free then you can master it on your own and find a job where you can use a payed copy for work. Heck you might even convince your employer to buy it for your entire art department.

  15. pyro226
    September 6, 2011 at 3:32 am

    I always figured that piracy was a
    supply and demand thing. I feel that Adobe (and other more pricey
    software) seem to think that they are the only available supply and
    so they set the prices high for business purchases. The internet
    makes business priced software easily available for personal use by
    avoiding the business prices. I feel that if a person is trying to
    learn CS5 or just having fun with altering photos (for personal use)
    that piracy doesn't cause as much “loss” a freelance web designer
    using CS5.

    Limited versions of software and
    cripple ware also really annoy me (the idea of Windows 7 Starter
    being originally limited to only 3 third party software running at
    time is also a ridiculous idea to me)...

    I rarely purchase software. I have
    found that my personal needs never required me to specifically use of
    the above listed software (with the exception of preinstalled
    Windows, but I have since switched primarily to linux due to the
    costs of staying up to date with Windows). I don't torrent or
    download things. I grew up playing console games and don't really
    play video games much anymore. Even if I were to download old
    console games, it wouldn't financially harm the producers because
    the only way to get the game otherwise would be buying the original
    media which the company already earned its profit from (excluding the
    possibility of releasing the game on a modern platform).I
    believe that the media sort of took a step toward the right direction
    with the online song stores. I like the idea that individuals are no
    longer required to buy the full album in order to purchase the songs
    they like. However, I am not willing to buy media that is
    restricted, especially when is also readily available on youtube. It
    sort of goes back to the supply and demand statement from above.
    Unfortunately for media companies (specifically as internet speeds
    get faster) media is normally pretty easy to duplicate and share. If
    the media is not easy to duplicate and share, it is also difficult to
    view and transcode, two rights that the user should have.

  16. Jeffery Fabish
    September 6, 2011 at 1:09 am

    If software piracy were theft, when someone "stole" it the original copy would be lost. That is obviously not true. Watch the language you use to describe it. The piracy debate will end up in an even larger government and even less liberty, on a network that shouldn't have a central body of authority, if nobody can develop a plan to reduce piracy.

    I regard piracy as a trial period. If I like what material I've downloaded, I'll purchase. If not, no money wasted. The only true laws I abide by are don't harm and don't cause loss. You don't need any more than that.

    There are plenty of strategies to protect your material from copyright infringement, perhaps these big business assholes should start investing in their own interests. You don't hear any of these musicians bitching about how people are stealing their CD's from retail stores do you? No, because information technology is slowly killing off that industry as well, but they have no problem bitching about it when it effects them negatively.

    • Damon Hermann
      September 16, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      I agree with you.   For many years companies made trial software with full blown features for trial time.  I would download and evaluate. If I liked it I would then purchase.  Now I would say it's 50/50 of either buy outright to try or limited trial.  In these case I may download the pirated version and try it out.  If I like it I will uninstall and the purchase a licensed version.  Sometimes I can even get a beta version for free to test for a company since what is what I do for a living.  My price for testing is licensed production product with full upgrade for life.   Bottom line, people work hard to produce this stuff.  Pay them.  You would want to get paid for the work you do.

      • N2s2k2
        September 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm

        ...and I agree with you. The problem? Why do they charge so much for a software? Companies should make it affordable so that people like you and me with a conscience can buy stuff to our heart's content. For the price of photoshop or MS office, I can buy a used car in India.

        • MicroBuntu
          September 17, 2011 at 8:07 am

          Because Photoshop is designed to be used by people making $40, $50, $60 an hour. It's professional software aimed at professionals. The average schmuck should get Photoshop Elements or some other consumer level product. Same as Office, there are different editions aimed for different levels of usage. Office is a business product, the expensive versions are aimed at businesses.

        • N2s2k2
          October 17, 2011 at 5:43 am

          that's a good point of view. I think I have to agree. But, what if I like to play with the software but don't have talent to make money? Why  should I be denied that pleasure?

  17. Mike
    September 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Why would someone steal McAfee software? I understand Symantec ~ they got Norton Ghost... anyways, back from one personal opinion to another
    I honestly haven't downloaded (illegal) stuff within years mostly because of the thousands of malware infections floating around. People think they are safe using AV software and stuff but there is (almost) nothing that protects them from some rootkit bot found in an illegal download and I don't expect AV developers to have detections for every piece of malware found within illegal downloads.On another off-topic I actually find it amusing how willingly and trustful people download leaked materials from groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec not thinking twice about it.You have trial and shareware versions of software and you have demos for games. I don't see "test driving" as an argument. It's merely an excuse...
    Last but not least there is consumer protection so if you found a software or game not fulfilling your standards you can always bring it back within at least a week from purchase.

    • Anonymous
      September 6, 2011 at 4:29 am

      What country are you from? in the US once you oprn the software, it is yours. No returns allowed.

      • Mike
        September 6, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        Central Europe

        I admit it's not "as easy as going to the store with the software and recipe" since opened software is excluded from the return policy but it doesn't require science either.

        There are stores which give you a simple no as an answer but there are also those that will exchange it for some credit voucher/coupon if you offer an reasonable argument for returning.

        I do have returned opened games in the past because they had major bugs not fixed via updates, flawed copyright protection or because they won't even install.

  18. Wallafoxk
    September 6, 2011 at 12:20 am

     I find piracy is a great way to wade through the crap and find software, games etc.. that are actually worth buying. Photoshop is a great example, I'm glad I got it for free so I could see how crap it is without spending the 999! If I had paid for that shit I would go on a postal worker type rampage at Adobe! And so many games look good on the outside but are just crap to play. I download 1 or 2 a week and most get uninstalled in the first half hour or so. The ones I like, I buy. I must admit though, I haven't fed the coffers of any struggling record companies for awhile...

    • John
      September 10, 2011 at 2:21 am

      "The ones I like, I buy."

      No you don't.

    • MicroBuntu
      September 17, 2011 at 7:59 am

      It's such crap but its by far one of the most legally used graphics programs period. I bet you have no idea wtf you're doing in Ps either. There's a reason it costs $1000, so idiots like you won't waste money buying a Sherman tank when a your average ATV would get the job done.

  19. Rafay Moeen
    September 6, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Wow ........ Intresting .........:P