There are two ways to increase business profits: cut expenses or increase revenue. Either method will put more money in your bank account.
Most businesses would acknowledge that somewhere in-house, money is being spent unnecessarily. If that’s the case and you can identify the example(s), you can cancel unnecessary monthly expenses as you discover them and devise systems to prevent future overspending.
But it you’re losing out on income because your software is being cracked or illegally copied, it can be a lot harder to get a handle on the situation.
Software has been pirated since Bill Gates created BASIC
After Bill Gates created BASIC, a brilliant programming language for Altair, he discovered that, although it was inspiring wonderful feedback from users, less than 10% had actually purchased BASIC.
The other 90% had pirated it. BASIC was, at the time, the easiest way for hobbyists to create software for their machines.
In his 1976 open letter to pirate hobbyists, Bill Gates addressed the piracy, and asked why people thought it was fair to pay for hardware, but not fair to compensate the creators of the software. He pointed out that pirating software prevents good software from being created because programmers can’t earn their living if nobody buys it.
He also shared that the rate of piracy made BASIC worth less than $2 an hour. That was 1976, and even today, piracy rates are just as high.
For example, the critically acclaimed indie game World of Goo also has a piracy rate of about 90%, according to a blog comment left by one of its authors. The piracy rate was discovered by the revelation that the number of users who had submitted their scores far exceeded the number of sales.
Paying for software means acknowledging its value; a program is not just a disposable item. Payment for software also acknowledges the hard work its creators put into it and expresses respect for their right to earn a living doing what they love to do. Unfortunately, most people may not think of those factors when they pirate software.
Sometimes pirating is about the money
There are plenty of reasons that people pirate software. Sometimes they resent having to pay for anything, perhaps because they don’t enjoy the work they do to earn their money.
When people don’t enjoy their own work, the money they are given in compensation can feel as if it has been earned through intense, painful sacrifice. On the other hand, when folks enjoy their work, money becomes no more than a natural side effect of living their life, and they’re not so desperate to hold onto every penny.
If you’ve ever had a job you didn’t like, then you know what it feels like to have to part with most of your paychecks just to pay your bills. You probably remember making careful, calculated decisions for major purchases and forgoing anything that wasn’t an absolute necessity.
That doesn’t serve as a sufficient excuse for pirating software, but it does offer an insight into why people might be unwilling to part with even $20 to purchase a game legally.
Sometimes pirating isn’t about the money
The reason people pirate software doesn’t always come down to a lack of funds. Many programmers and game developers believe that a large portion of the people who pirate software wouldn’t necessarily have bought it anyway.
Some people pirate software for the same reason they spend $200 on groceries and sneak a $1.25 Snickers bar. Either they feel entitled to get something for nothing, or they resent having to spend so much of their money in the first place (for anything).
Thanks to the Internet, people have become accustomed to obtaining nearly anything they want for free. Twenty years ago, before all computers were capable of connecting to the web, the software was pirated by making copies of disks.
If you’re old enough, you might remember the corny PSA “Don’t copy that floppy,” which was created to dissuade people from choosing to pirate software.