Im pretty sure I pointed out earlier, but you are going on a literal definition of an act, the boundaries of which were laid out long before theft of Intellectual Property, loss of income/loss of potential sales etc were even fathomable.
I am PROBABLY one of the biggest supporters of truely free software on this forum, I have been using linux ALMOST exclusively, save for photography work, for OVER 10 years. As I generally despise Windows, this lead me into the Mac world for a time. Even then, my exasperation at the closed nature of the software lead me to finally shun the industry standard (photoshop etc). Now, thanks to a lot of hard-working folks, I can actually use a colorimeter under linux, and I can manage and edit my images with some top level, FREE software.
What is my point? Well, if you want to make a statement, you can:
1- take something that is supposed to cost money (argue all you want the legality of that choice) and give nothing back.
2 - you can support those who are putting this stuff out there for free, LEGITIMATELY.
I don't think the right way to fight for "freedom of information" is to just take what you want (I actually think it is more about GIVING or sharing). Believe it or not, you have given the makers of free software something when you chose THEIR product over a proprietary competitor.
By taking the non-free product, you are actually strengthening their numbers, which only helps them keep their product closed.
Those numbers that "the man" hands out to show how "piracy" is killing the industry because of lost potential sales are plain bull****. Of course people that say the industry doesn't loose any potential customers are just as full of ****.
But the numbers "the man" throws around are waaaay out of proportion. In their view, everyone who bought photoshop this year is a potential customer for the new photoshop next year, even though most people that buy photoshop this year won't buy it again for the next 5 years or so. People that own a PC from 1988 are potential customers for Windows 7, etc. .
And it doesn't matter when the definition of stealing was layed out. I argue that theft of intellectual property is impossible and any reasonable human being must agree with that.
I cannot steal your idea because you will always have it. I can use or even abuse ur idea, I can use it to my advantage in a way that you cannot use it to your own advantage (take the idea of a product and put it on the market before you can, which is common business practice by the way but hey, the businesses do that, that's ok of course). But intellectual property, just as the contents of software can never be "owned" once they are presented to the public.
I "own" my ideas about religion, my own explanation of the universe. If I write a book about it, I cannot own it any more. I own the rights to these books but if someone takes the ideas I wrote down in that book, combines them with their own ideas and writes another book, I can't argue with that person that he doesn't have the right to use my ideas from my book to write down his own ideas about religion and his explenation of the universe. I can particularly not accuse that person of stealing my intellectual property when he uses his book (that includes some/all of my ideas) to found a religion that makes him the richest person in the world.
I can't step in and say "you can't use my ideas to shape your own views of religion and the universe and then share your altered ideas/views with others. Those basic ideas on which you based your own ideas belong to me!".
If I did that I'd be a terrible douchebag hindering the evolution of mankind.
You say that if I take something that costs money and don't give anything back that's just wrong.
But it doesn't cost the content industry jack **** if I copy their software for myself. And the fact is that while I was a student it is extremely likely that all the music, all the movies, series and software I copied, I wouldn't have bought otherwise. I wouldn't have been neither willing nor able to purchase all those cultural goodies of entertainment. I wouldn't have been able to broaden my horizon, wouldn't have been able to watch basketball, learn about black culture, listen to so many different types of music the world has to offer (as opposed to what the mainstream feeds me via radio and mtv) etc. etc. .
So I would have not been able to become the individual I am today, my horizon would have been limited severely. And that's just not right, considering they lost no money due to me copying.
I tell you what though, you have a point that there is actually free open source software there and that if you don't want to pay, you should use it, thus strengthening the open source programers instead of playing into the arms of the content industry. You are right on that my man.
I did try open office recently, when my order of Office 2010 was still being shipped. Didn't like it, it was just a hastle to get used to and didn't do stuff the way I wanted it to.
Linux I never used because I game a lot and grew up with windows. Now there is Wine out there and I have a quad core, running Linux and giving it a go is high on my to do list.
Generally I always try to find free software first, before I copy or buy anything. Because as u said there is lots of great free software out there. Bit it isn't always possible. And as I said before: If someone wants photoshop because he/she is striving to become a concept artist for example but cannot really afford the steep price tag for it, then why should that person have to pay for it or feel bad for not doing so when photoshop is available for free without costing the industry anything?
? That makes absolutely no sense.
The only argument "the man" has is that they loose the sale of 1 unit of photoshop. But that student would not even have been able to buy it, so how can it be a lost sale??? Even if the student would have been able to buy photoshop, he certainly wouldn't have been able to buy say Corel Draw as well and compare the two to find out which one is better. Is that desirable?
This way the student can get both programs without any cost to the industry and highly likely without any lost potential sale either. Furthermore, I am very, very, very sure that studies would show this:
If someone copies a software at early age because he can't afford it but wants/needs it, the chances are high that once that person reaches adulthood and earns enough money to purchase the sofware, he will do so.
Why? Because purchased software is free of viruses, you have support for it and peace of mind. Those are some core strengths that actually purchased products have over copied/downloaded software.
But the content industry is just too ignorant, stupid, fat, lazy and slow to make use of those strengths properly. The ridiculous fails of the music and movie industry in the past to utilize the internet have proven that.
They claw themselves to their outdated business models and disrespect, even harm their paying customers while doing so. It is bound to fail. As the inventor of napster said in the movie "The social network": "Would you want to start/own/buy a record label these days?" ............
To conclude, more food for thought:
The usenet is probably something many people here are familiar with. U actually have to PAY for usenet access. In a way you thus PAY for what is offered on the usenet servers, ready for you to download. We all know what you find in the alt.binaries newsgroups besides porn. So why isn't the content industry down on the asses of the usenet providers?
Isn't paying for "pirated" material even worse than getting free access to it? That's even defined by the law!!!! Selling "pirated" material is definitely illegal, everywhere and carries heavy punishments. Only the free sharing of "pirated" material is in that ominous grey zone.
But have you ever heard of the content industry complaining about the usenet? No? I wonder why that is ...
stealing is baaaaaaaad m'kaaay?
Tell me I am not the only one who always imagines Mr. Mackey ones someone stretches the word "baaaaaad"