Piracy: Who it helps and who it harms
Piracy of Windows, Office, Photoshop, AutoCad and so forth helps Microsoft, Adobe and Autodesk, and harms vendors of inexpensive, competing applications.
Why would someone pay even £20 for a photo editor, when they can get Adobe Photoshop for nothing and "It's what the industry uses" ? And if they ever get a job which requires them to edit photographs, then they have already learned to use Adobe Photoshop in the meantime.
Had Adobe locked down Photoshop more tightly to prevent piracy, then it's likely that Fred in the Shed, no longer able to get a pirate copy of Adobe Photoshop, would gave gone out and bought something else instead. So all those pirate copies of Photoshop are hardly lost sales for Adobe (though they might well be lost sales for Adobe's competitors. Not that that is even a market that any sane person would enter; it's very hard to compete with free -- unless you have some other selling point, such as the ability to run on the user's choice of hardware, or an appeal to some notion of "purity" [whether that be "I'm not breaking the law", "I'm not giving money to baby-poisoning multinational corporations" or "I know exactly what is running on my hardware"]). It's also likely that a whole army of Freds in a whole bunch of Sheds, deprived of free lessons in how to use Adobe Photoshop, might have ended up persuading their future employers that something other than Adobe Photoshop might satisfy their needs, and for a more modest price to boot -- in other words, lost sales for Adobe.
Yes, the big software publishers really do have it all ways up. They get to b!+(h about how they are getting ripped off, aid and abet the people who rip them off, and deprive their competitors of market share by virtue of their product getting ripped off. And although Cheap Photo Editor 2012 by Mom+Pop Software was ultimately killed off by piracy, nobody is ever going to believe that; because no goon squad dawn raid ever turned up a single pirate copy of it.
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