How Pirated Software May Actually Help Strengthen Corporate Monopoly

It is almost unthinkable that multinational software corporations like Adobe and Autodesk are not aware of all the keygens, cracks and other means of illegally licensing and using their software available online. They probably have the resources and technically skilled staff needed to effectively combat software piracy, but what would they gain from this investment?

Assuming they were successful (the pirates are always on step ahead): You might think that they would gain tighter control of their various software markets. What would hobbyists and early career artists/technicians do if software used by sizeable animation, visual effects, architecture and engineering firms was completely unavailable to them?

  • They might buy cheaper alternatives, and help give big corporations’ competitors a fighting chance.
  • They might look into free and open source alternatives like GIMP (raster graphics), Inkscape (Vector graphics) and Blender (3D modelling and animation.) In my experience, Blender seldom, if ever crashes; the same can’t be said for Maya.

Neither of these possible consequences help the big corporations. Without software piracy, there would be a smaller pool of unemployed (or employed in different industries) workers skilled in their software.

If you really want a career as a CAD technician, photo retoucher, graphic designer or 3d artist, the chances are, you’ll do better if you continue to pirate industry standard software sold by giant corporations.  As a university student, you could even get Autodesk software free on an educational licence.

However, if you’re a hobbyist or someone looking to set up a firm who do things a little differently, consider this:

  • You could learn your craft in a way that doesn’t strengthen the monopoly of companies who profit from the software they’ve bought up from multiple developers.
  • You could do so without the constant fear of litigation.
  • You could eventually contribute to the open source projects you’ve benefited from.
  • You won’t feel like a powerless wage labourer, so grateful for a chance to work for someone who can afford the means of production, or to be that someone.

A teenage me might have though it clever and  naughty to use pirate software, but in my twenties, I’m starting to see the bigger picture.

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