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#1
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I run a small mapping company and I've always maintained legal software licenses for my small shop. From Avenza's MapPublisher, LabelPro, MapInfo, PCI, Adobe's Illy, PS, Indesign, Acrobat, Flash and all. I have paid thousand of dollars over the years to use and maintain those software to LEGALLY run my business.

Today anybody can obtained a pirated copy on the web of these software. I would tend to believe that some people are using pirated software to make money (edit). In return I have heard of very little legal actions (correct me if I am wrong) from the above companies directed towards these illegal users.

Software licenses, maintenance programs are not getting any cheaper for all of us legal users. I feel like I am PAYING (in part) for the revenues these companies are losing to illegal users of software. The bottom line, is that I am not rich and keeping a small business afloat is not always easy. In other words I would like my investment to make a difference. I feel more and more that software licenses costs are getting the best of me (and not the other way around).

Does this bother others on this forum?

I REALLY would like to see these companies issue 'Legal user logos' that we can put on our site, our proposals etc... to encourage us to maintain our LEGAL status. I would also like to see (hear of) more prosecutions from software companies.

Any other input on this issue.

Regards,
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#2
The Doomed Mapper

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I REALLY would like to see these companies issue 'Legal user logos' that we can put on our site, our proposals etc... to encourage us to maintain our LEGAL status. I would also like to see (hear of) more prosecutions from software companies.


That's an interesting point that I haven't really considered before (although it makes a great deal of sense). One problem I see with the idea of "Legal user logos" (which I like a lot!) is what's to stop the pirates from pirating the logos? <_<

Plus, all my experiences have been working at larger companies, and I get the impression that the sting of a lawsuit would be much more painful there (i.e why go after the poor student for illegal song downloads when you can nail a yuppie with a full savings account and multiple investments). And where I've worked, everyone has kept their licenses up to date, so I'm not really sure how widespread a problem this is, at least in the professional sphere?

#3
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is what's to stop the pirates from pirating the logos?


You are correct. However if they were to post pirated logos on their site it might allow software companies to check on them. Not posting them could also be cause for investigating. Just a though.

As for professionals you are probably correct they probably would not risk using illegal software.
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#4
David Medeiros

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is what's to stop the pirates from pirating the logos?


You are correct. However if they were to post pirated logos on their site it might allow software companies to check on them. Not posting them could also be cause for investigating. Just a though.


Ooo, iffy territory, smacks of McCarthyism a bit... if I hang a US flag on my door but I'm not on your registry I'm a commie, if I don't hang a flag I'm a commie... either way Im a commie!

What about legal users who don't really care to be forced to participate in a labeling scheme? I don't think I'd add the certificate logo to my site or work.

GIS Reference and Instruction Specialist, Stanford Geospatial Center.

 

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#5
The Doomed Mapper

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is what's to stop the pirates from pirating the logos?


You are correct. However if they were to post pirated logos on their site it might allow software companies to check on them. Not posting them could also be cause for investigating. Just a though.


Ooo, iffy territory, smacks of McCarthyism a bit... if I hang a US flag on my door but I'm not on your registry I'm a commie, if I don't hang a flag I'm a commie... either way Im a commie!

What about legal users who don't really care to be forced to participate in a labeling scheme? I don't think I'd add the certificate logo to my site or work.


Also a good point... but what is a an alternative solution in this case? What's to reward people for following the rules and supporting software developers and the industry? Please note that I'm not suggesting that labels or whatever are necessary in this case, but there is a valid point raised here.

To be honest, I'm not all that sure what the best solution is myself.....?


Of course, if professionals are already buying software and the like already, it sorta renders the labeling scheme redundant.

#6
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Ooo, iffy territory, smacks of McCarthyism a bit... if I hang a US flag on my door but I'm not on your registry I'm a commie, if I don't hang a flag I'm a commie... either way Im a commie!


David,

Good point. On my end I would not necessarily want to hang a flag at my door. But if your are NOT in their registry as a valid user your are stealing...

But one question I would like to know the answer. Are software companies making honest people pay for the 'stolen' equation of their revenues.
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#7
David Medeiros

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But one question I would like to know the answer. Are software companies making honest people pay for the 'stolen' equation of their revenues.


Probably a little, but in Avenza's case I can't see pirating being a big loss, not like the chuck taken out of more widely used software. I think specialist products like MAPublisher are priced as they are more because of the limited market. They have to pay for their production with fewer users and, because they are the only game in town for their type of application they don't have to compete on price.

But it would be interesting to see real numbers on this if they exist.

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#8
Adam Wilbert

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Verification sites like eTrust use a graphic that links back to their website where a unique page displays the referring site's credentials. This prevents people from simply swiping the graphic for their own site. The idea of having maybe a row of small chicklet sized icons at the bottom of your "about" page that links to the registration status of your software is kind of a cool idea. It would be a simple value-added thing that companies could provide to their legal end-users.

In the end however, it all comes down to your personal ethics without regard for the actions of others. You're right that nothing will probably happen to you if you use pirated software or fonts. But I would bet that if piracy was completely eliminated that the price of the software wouldn't change. It's the market of paying users that sets the price, not some calculation of "this is how much we SHOULD make, so how do we get there with the units that will actually sell." Virtual goods don't really follow the same supply-demand curve that physical products do, since supply could essentially be infinity if the software company desired with no additional cost. At least in my mind it doesn't!

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CartoGaia.com
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#9
Laura Miles

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I think adding a graphic is a great idea. I worked for a company that used pirated ArcGIS and Illustrator and it REALLY bothered me, especially since they also paid us employees peanuts. And I was told all revenues went into the owner's wife's "furniture fund" to decorate her home. Grrr. A student using pirated software is something quite different than a company with profits in the millions.

#10
Ted Florence

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Given some of the remarks on this thread I feel that a comment from Avenza is warranted here.
Despite the fact that we are seeing more and more illegal and cracked copies of MAPublisher and Geographic Imager available on the Internet these days, Avenza does not penalize licensed users by building a factor into our product pricing for stolen or pirated licenses. Our products are priced based solely on market conditions and all the related factors that ascribe value for function.
Sure, it is upsetting and makes us feel somewhat violated but it also flatters us a little bit as well. ;) But of course we are not at all happy about it.
Some of us take the position that those who pirate our products probably wouldn't buy them anyway but others believe that if someone needs what we have to do a job they would eventually buy it if there were no other way to get it.
But in any event, support (of all kinds) is an important component of what we offer with MAPublisher and Geographic Imager licenses and anyone who is not legally licensed will never get support and would be denied it if they dared to send us even the simplest email. Anyone who has ever approached us for help should know how dedicated and thorough our technical people are and how valuable a service it can be, especially when desperately needed.
Furthermore, as with any product, cracked versions are, by their very nature, modified in some way from the original and as such carry with them the risk of something not working properly. And in fact we have seen that already. So folks who rely on our products (or any for that matter) and need to know that in a production environment they will work as advertised and/or support will be provided as and when needed cannot afford the downtime and possible data corruption that could result from using an illegal copy.
We are very conscious of what is going on in the pirate world and are constantly taking steps to combat and prevent piracy of our products in the defense of ourselves and our very loyal and much appreciated licensed users.

Lastly, I was thinking that the idea of a "legal user logo" could possibly be satisfied by contract issuers requesting a certificate of licensing authenticity or requiring contractors to sign a document certifying that they are using only licensed software, much like the Federal Government requires suppliers to sign that they do not use child labour or discriminate against certain groups. Then, buyers of such contracting services could randomly audit these swearings by contacting suppliers like us and asking if so-and-so is a licensed user.

Thanks for listening.
Ted


I think adding a graphic is a great idea. I worked for a company that used pirated ArcGIS and Illustrator and it REALLY bothered me, especially since they also paid us employees peanuts. And I was told all revenues went into the owner's wife's "furniture fund" to decorate her home. Grrr. A student using pirated software is something quite different than a company with profits in the millions.


Ted Florence

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#11
19° norte

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Perhaps the pressure on this issue should come from the clients: If you, the business, can prove that the used software for the project is legal, then you get the job (or at least you're in the group of the chosen companies to get the order). This already could be done when you submit the quotation, e.g. by adding a copy of the software invoices.

P.S. Oh, I see Ted Florence suggests the same idea... B)

Edited by 19° norte, 12 April 2010 - 01:35 PM.

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#12
David Medeiros

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I think the service and update factor is really what will help keep users legal. In the case of Avenza the service is indeed quick and helpful. I’ve had a number of small issues that would have been major stumbling blocks without the maintenance subscription. I sometimes feel like the smaller updates are things that shouldn’t require the maint. to get but it’s pretty minor. The fact that Avenza pays so much attention to this forum suggests the level to which they go for customer satisfaction.

That said I can understand why many small individual users may take the risk and use a pirated copy. The initial cost of these products is high for individual users especially those just getting going. I’d never have been able to afford it without my contract paying for the software as part of the job I’m doing.

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#13
The Doomed Mapper

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This already could be done when you submit the quotation, e.g. by adding a copy of the software invoices.

P.S. Oh, I see Ted Florence suggests the same idea... B)

So how easy is this to implement in everyday practice? (forgive me if this is off topic!). Might be something we would like to implement if its not too difficult...

Oh, and Mr. Florence, awesome points... what's the point of risking the experience of failure associated with pirated copies, especially when one considers how deadline sensitive jobs in this field can be. I know I would rather spend my time mapping instead of wrestling with a software to behave properly.

#14
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Ted,

Thanks for your input.

... If you really want people to stop 'speeding' you need to be able to give them 'speeding tickets' and have the resources to do it.

In the software business I assume that the resource are simply not there and tickets are rarely handed out? Has Avenza ever prosecuted someone or a company for illegal use of software?
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#15
rudy

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There are certainly pirated versions of software available freely on the Internet but what about those of us (and I am sure there are a few out there) who have "borrowed" installation disks from their employers or others? This is easier and safer to do than installing a bootleg copy downloaded from the Internet. For software such as Illustrator this could be done - other software such as ESRI and Avenza this is harder to do. Perhaps Adobe should be looking into putting tighter restrictions on how their software is installed in a way that is similar to ESRI or Avenza. It would not cure the problem but just make it a little harder to install multiple copies of something.




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