17th level Hacker

Piracy Hurts Open Source

There’s an article at Gadgetopia in response to a discussion about piracy and the general economic effects. The discussion centers around the inflated numbers that are thrown around by commercial developers in order to justify the laws they need to get passed. Some interesting points are raised, especially that most pirate users probably wouldn’t pay full price no matter what. The conclusion I draw from this is that the people hurt the most by piracy might actually be open source projects. Piracy draws potential interest away from free/open source alternatives when users are able to pick up pirated versions of commercial apps. The open source projects lose the marketing effect the user might have, a potential tester and developer, and the pride brought about by swelling ranks of users. Maybe we should help corporations crack down on piracy. They would just end up driving users to the competition and help to fill out the open source projects they compete with. I for one would love to see that.