Most of the time here I speak about movies and music that I have downloaded, but there is also quite a lot of computer software that I need on a daily basis. Some of those are free from the producers, such as Firefox for web surfing and Open Office for documents and spreadsheets, but as a guy who likes to do a variety of things on his computer, there are plenty of commercial softwares that I need, and have downloaded them or copied retail discs.
I dabble in audio, graphic design, video editing and internet stuff, so the following softwares are used almost daily:
Nero Burning ROM
Norton Internet Security
TMPGEnc DVD Author
Acoustica Mixcraft Pro
The reason why I have a clear concience about downloading and using these softwares is that I can not afford to pay for them all. I did pay for my Windows OS because it came with my computer as an OEM, but generally I cannot afford softwares that cost thousands of kroner or the least a hundred dollar or so. If the above programmes didn’t exist on the net at all, but only as box versions in shops, I would have to find free software that did the same things. In other words, another case that proves that the option is not to buy, but to get something else that is free from the producer. If Adobe offered Photoshop to a poor guy in India who makes two dollars a day, he would say no thanks and take a piece of paper and a pen, and advertise that way. Same with me. The guy in India can not choose payment as an option, and likewise I do not choose payment as that is not an option. It thus follows that Adobe does not loose any money, even if I do pirate.
On the other hand, should I be hired to do a job or start a company where any of these softwares were needed, I would buy licences. Not only are expenses like these deductable, but companies have budgets. I don’t. Simple as that. And when I don’t hurt anyone, I have a clear concience.