I used pirated software

Yes, I admit it – I was a software pirate. I started at a young age. I bought CDs entitled 100 programs for software design (honestly, who needs 100 programs? Duh, I was a dumb Chinese dude – a bit smarter now). Then, when torrent sites emerged, I scoured the Internet for cracks and had access to almost any software in the world.

But those days are over. I have repented. The realisation that I was no better than a snatch thief or bank robber hit home. If I can’t afford it, save up, or use an open source program.

Image source: BBC, impactlab.net

Not only do I get a clear conscience, but I also do get benefits from it. For instance, using original Microsoft software allows me to perform Windows updates to keep my operating system current and free from security problems. Also, what happens when you encounter problems? You can’t ring up the call centre and say, “errr, oooh, ahhhh, let me recheck my serial number for you”.

How many of you have ever downloaded a crack only to find it is laced with malicious software that causes the entire system to slowdown, send out your passwords to goodness-knows-where or totally crash? It’s happened and I’ve lost countless productive hours because of that (okay, I was a poor student back then and my time wasn’t really THAAAT important, but it still was annoying!).

Lastly, I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered the joys of running my fingers over the printed boxes. Feeling the glossy spot UV sections puts a smile on my face. Then finally, displaying the box on the shelf as a proud owner of genuine software. (I’m not weird, am I?)

Today, I run my own business and we definitely have to use legitimate software, or face the music from the authorities. The fines are hefty and the reputation you lose is worth more. I met a prospective interior designer a few months ago, and when he opened his notebook, the first thing that caught my attention was the HUGE sign stating he was possibly using pirated software. Needless to say, he did not get the job.

Before you get caught, do consider legalizing. You might not be able to do it all at once, but do it bit by bit. Take a look at some of these horrific newspaper articles on what happens when you get caught.

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  1. Danny Foo - April 14, 2011

    The fellow using pirated software had no leet skills. :p

  2. jsty3105 - April 14, 2011

    Me and the missus have gone legit ever since we arrived in London. Granted, it’s far easier to do it in London thanks to the purchasing power we have over there. Plus several companies have special home use programmes where you can buy software for use at home for dirt cheap prices. At Deloitte UK, I can get Microsoft Office 2007 to use at home for £10….

    • Alex Lam - April 17, 2011

      Bravo… it is harder to do when purchasing power in Asia isn’t as good as developed nations, but it’s a mindset. When you start off on the right footing, you can then continue on through life “legitly” :)

      Wish they had preferential pricing for Asia, though.

  3. Ruidiphotography.com - April 15, 2011

    Good, that is painful but worth it. I m in this stage now. Can’t do it all for once but I tell myself that all software that I use to generate revenue has to be original.

  4. Adfadg - April 17, 2011

    Totally do not agree. You must be a “software developer” or in league with one to be talking this way as corporations rip off consumers totally.

    Why? Look at the example of Microsoft Office 2003. A perfectly good word-processing software, complete with suite of Word, Excel & Powerpoint. I bought mine original, btw. Cost me a good RM500++ at the time.

    Then what happened? Bill Gates decided he WASN’T making enough money. So, Microsoft released Office 2007. Now, anyone who’s ever worked a day in an office knows Office 2007 = Office 2003 + minor changes and a few upgrades which hardly anyone ever uses. Oh yeah, and those sneaky buggers then added a X behind the extensions – where every previous Office used .doc, its now .docx. Same with .xls to .xlsx. As to WHY I should pay another RM500++ for an “upgrade” I don’t even need, well, they forgot to include that on their sales brochures eh.

    So people who DON’T upgrade cannot open any file extensions done by Office 2007 users. A way of holding a gun to your head and forcing you to upgrade (oh, I know you can always change options to “save in 97-03 compatible format, but you try forcing all your clients to do that!).

    I now am a very happy Pirated software user, I pirate every single piece of software I own, ESPECIALLY Office 2007, and I’m not a n00b so I can easily get around Microshit’s anti-piracy measures. A big middle finger to the greedy corporate scum.

    • Alex Lam - April 17, 2011

      Hi Adfadg (I wish you had put in your real contact details, but I guess I know why you didn’t).

      I am speaking from my experience where I’ve realised it’s not worth the hassle of using pirated software. Sure, I can get around licensing issues easily, but there are legal repercussions of doing so in business, and I’m not prepared to pay the large fines.

      I don’t always agree with the way new releases are, and have actually been using older Office versions despite 2007 being launched (I personally dislike the new “ribbon”) – I just installed the compatibility pack, and was back in business with Office 2003.

      Anyhow, I do value your feedback and opinion. I am also glad you voiced your opinion (and spent a fair bit of time typing it out too!), and we can have a discussion going.

      • Adfadg - April 18, 2011

        The “compatibility pack” has issues, particularly with Excel Macros that I use a lot in my line of work.

        I run a small operation so am not overly concerned with “legal repercussions”, ooh scarry, yeah right.

        Maybe “pirate every piece of software I own” was a bit of an exaggeration, I do pay licensing fees for certain software, normally those from small, independent developers with a good track record who actually release software people would want to use and wouldn’t mind paying for. Good example is WinRAR, I paid for mine years ago, they’ve never forced me to upgrade since.

        Greedy corporations like Micro$oft on the other hand, can **** off.

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