In the computer age of today, "pirated" software has become a new collectible. Those that accumulate aren't all bad, but there are issues that must be faced regarding responsible behavior.

Fast connections to the Internet, solar-system-sized hard drives, access to warez (a term for underground software) groups, Napster, binary newsgroups, and the thrill of proverbally getting "something for nothing" has brought about an explosion of interest in collecting software--computer programs, mp3s, and full length movies. In a very short time, one can amass a collection of entertainment that would take months to listen to and view, and programs likely decades to master--all worth thousands of dollars if purchased commercially.

Is this unethical and are these collectors bad? Well, yes and no. The time, R&D, and effort that goes into creating intellectual property needs reward to justify the expense and to motivate artists and programmers toward further development. Many sources for pirated software promote a "try and buy" attitude, clearly stating that if you enjoy the product, then purchase your own copy. I concur, particularly if one uses software in their profession, like I do.

However, most software collectors accumulate for nothing more than "bragging rights", and only have their collections to have them. Some collect to gain knowledge, while a few try to profit from their accumulations, which is truly where the line between collecting "ones and zeros" and breaking the law is crossed.

Those who download are not "dangerous"-- they're not "hackers" or "pirates"; they are simply individuals who enjoy taking advantage of what the electronic world has to offer.

After all, those who collect matchbooks aren't necessarily pyromaniacs.




Copyright 2001 Dennel · All Rights Relinquished