Study Finds Software Piracy is “Better Described as Global Pricing Problem”
The Social Science Research Council published a report called The Media Piracy Project last week, a key finding of which is that software piracy is “better described as a global pricing problem” with the only solution being copyright holders charging less for their expensive software. The study lasted for three years and focused on regions of the world such as India, Mexico and Russia, where piracy is rampant, and found that the people of those regions are no more immoral compared to people of other regions, but the reason why piracy is so rampant over there is due to the price of software being higher relative to the local incomes.
The report claims that there is no evidence that any attempt of curbing software piracy has ever stopped the frequency of it, and that the frequency of software piracy has actually grown over the past decade. The Media Piracy Project also claims that piracy doesn’t have to do as much with a strong moral debate, as it has to do with pricing and consumer demand.
If these findings were true the world over, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise, as many college students who were required to buy Photoshop or Maya for classes discovered, once upon a time. There are also many other smaller factors contributing to piracy, such as people not wanting to take the risk of purchasing a game without being able to try it enough before buying it to decide whether or not it deserves their money, or the fact that certain piracy protection methods have harmed legitimate customers more than the pirates, or even that pirated software is frequently easier to use (doesn’t required a disc in the drive or dongle hanging out of a USB slot to run the software).
There will always be pirates, though. There will always be college students who are bored and too poor to buy video games or music, or people too afraid to make a purchase without a demo, or even people who just plain don’t want to spend money. Would lowering the cost of software curb piracy? Probably by some amount, sure. Is it the answer to defeat piracy entirely? Nope. There probably isn’t one.
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