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.