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Piracy Google Software

Android Software Piracy Rampant 510

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the run-for-your-lives dept.
bednarz writes "Pirating Android apps is a longstanding problem. But it seems to be getting worse, even as Google begins to respond much more aggressively. The dilemma: protecting developers' investments, and revenue stream, while keeping an open platform. Some have argued that piracy is rampant in those countries where the online Android Market is not yet available. But a recent KeyesLabs research project suggests that may not be true: 'Over the course of 90 days, the [KeyesLabs] app was installed a total of 8,659 times. Of those installations only 2,831 were legitimate purchases, representing an overall piracy rate of over 67%.... The largest contributor to piracy, by far, is the United States providing 4,054 or about 70% of all pirated installations...'"
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Android Software Piracy Rampant

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:14AM (#33735578)

    If you release a binary, it will be copied. The very act of releasing it is tacit acknowledgement that you have given up absolute control over it. Companies that develop software should accept this and consider alternative income methods like support contracts and priority upgrade access.

    As long as software companies think that their software has any monetary worth, they will continue to fight a losing battle to technology itself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:16AM (#33735614)

    Hire Americans, and they can afford things...

    Right, like Android Smartphones, which they will then pirate apps on!

    Sounds like hiring Americans will just increase the piracy rates.

  • Do they? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KillaGouge (973562) <<moc.nsm> <ta> <71ceguog>> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:16AM (#33735616)
    Do they mention the price of the app, what the app did, where they phones in the US with US numbers, where they foreign phones in the US, did they see how long the users leaved the app installed after they pirated, did any of the pirates later purchase the app, how long they did the study, or anything else that might actually be useful information?
  • Re:So (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:19AM (#33735664)
    Sure, but what if they are using server resources for their App? What then? Oh, they would have never purchased it anyway! So that bandwidth doesn't matter!
  • by f0dder (570496) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:20AM (#33735674)
    Obligatory when talking about app prices: http://theoatmeal.com/blog/apps [theoatmeal.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:20AM (#33735680)

    If you own a jewelry store, it will be robbed. the very act of owning a jewelry store is tacit acknowledgment that you accept being robbed. companies that sell jewelry should accept this and consider alternative income methods like polishing jewelry or beet farming.

    as long as jewelry stores think that their jewelry has monetary worth, they will continue to fight a losing battle to gun technology itself.

    / in other words, you are an idiot.

  • Kids these days? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by courtarro (786894) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#33735708) Homepage

    Android Market apps are mostly super cheap. Who can't afford $1 on a game they'll play for a few days non-stop? Or a few bucks on a ROM management app? Prices for most paid apps are so low that I imagine that the largest barrier to entry is not price, but the effort required to set up one or more credit cards. My hypothesis, for that reason, is that a large portion of the piracy comes from the age 15-20 crowd who have fancy phones and lots of free time to figure out piracy options, but no credit card(s).

    Google can greatly reduce this kind of piracy by working out pricing deals with the carriers to allow charges to appear on phone bills. How else would the ringtone industry thrive as it has? Verizon certainly doesn't offer a direct-bill Android Market option. Maybe this is already the case on other carriers? How does piracy compare in those cases?

    Another annoyance of the Market is currency conversion. I've bought apps for sale in both Yen and Euros, and for those purchases I had to set up a Visa card since my AMEX didn't support foreign purchases (on the Market, at least). Most users don't want to deal with that kind of crap ... again, piracy is easier. Can't Google Checkout handle currency conversion on the developer's end without hassling end-users?

  • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#33735714)
    I read the article and still have no idea how piracy rate is determined. Over at Keyslabs there is a writeup which covers licensing, but nothing showing how pirates are detected. Maybe it's to prevent the pirates from getting smart, but being closed about your statistics is worse than having no statistics at all. We have no way of validating the numbers against false positives so to counter I have embedded a script in this post which detects theft and have found that 95% of the people who read this are plagiarizing it for their own posts. There now we can all have statistics.
  • Otherwise, expect us to live our lives by any means necessary.

    In what way is pirating an app necessary to living your life?

  • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:25AM (#33735744) Journal

    It seems to come down to the inescapable fact that if you sell your code, it will be stolen and/or passed along to others. On the other hand, if you simpy put a paywall in front of your code and charge people for a subscription, you can avoid getting financially ass-raped by all of the cheap bastards out there.

    When I was a kid heavily involved in the warez scene, I didn't really understand what the big deal was when people complained about piracy. Now that I work for a living and earn money using computers, I get it. Life is too short to go to work every day and crank out code, only to have it ripped off by some cheap bastard.

    People seem to miss the fact that it takes time and effort to write code. If a person feels it isn't that difficult, they should do it themselves rather than steal from someone else. All of the defenses along the lines of, "It doesn't cost anything to reproduce, therefore it should be free for me." are a big fat load of crap. It amazes me how morally corrupt a good sized segment of our society is.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:27AM (#33735774)

    If someone steals a jewel from a jewelry store, the physical item is no longer in the store's hands. Likewise, if someone buys a jewel from a jewelry store, the property transfers to the customer.

    But software is infinitely reproducible for next to no cost. A copy "stolen" has no value, and a copy sold does not reduce the ability of the software producer to continue making copies.

    Your analogy isn't bad. It's completely incorrect.

  • Re:So (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:31AM (#33735848) Homepage Journal

    That is an excellent point.

    However if an app depends on a server, authentication can pretty much remove that concern.

  • Re:Do they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:32AM (#33735880) Homepage

    Translation: Did they give us any information that will give us any excuse to excuse the pirates?

  • by mjbkinx (800231) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:33AM (#33735884)
    Thank you for your advice. Since I don't believe I can interest you in a support contract for my jump and run game, I'm going to plaster it with ads as an alternative source of income.
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:33AM (#33735886) Journal

    Piracy rate is meaningless. You can have a 0% piracy rate easily, just don't release your app. The only thing that matters is revenue. You're better off having 1000 paying customers and 1,000,000,000 pirates than you are having 100 customers and no pirates at all.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#33735914) Journal

    But software is infinitely reproducible for next to no cost

    Too bad it's not "infinitely developable" for next to no cost.

  • by zombieChan51 (1862028) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:35AM (#33735930) Homepage
    There's no way to get my quarter back after buying bubble gum, if I didn't like the flavor or it was to hard I'm screwed. Doesn't mean I should go and break the machine and steal all the bubble gum.
  • by kidgenius (704962) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:36AM (#33735954)
    How is a ROM management app encouraging piracy? I use Koush's ROM Manager to install (and keep up to date), my install of Cyanogen Mod for my droid. Where's the piracy? Cyanogen had an issue with Google a while back, but they've both come to a reconciliation that works well for both parties, and no piracy of google's apps are taking place.
  • by airfoobar (1853132) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:38AM (#33735970)

    Instead of looking at how many pirated copies there are, how about looking at how many non-pirated copies there are? Is your product making a profit, in spite of these figures?

    Not every pirated copy is a lost sale. I can't stress that enough. Make the most of what you have instead of making mountains out of molehills.

  • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#33736002)

    One word: Permissions. There's a reason they're displayed every time you install an app...

  • by Paradise Pete (33184) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:48AM (#33736084) Journal

    Doesn't mean I should go and break the machine and steal all the bubble gum.

    No, but if you could somehow taste the gum before you buy it I'll bet you would.

  • by KillaGouge (973562) <<moc.nsm> <ta> <71ceguog>> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:52AM (#33736134)
    If the apps are as broken as people have said, then 24 hours should be more than enough time to see that they are broken.
  • Re:Do they? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:54AM (#33736152)

    Translation: Did they give us any information that will give us any excuse to excuse the pirates?

    This is not a fair statement. If the article had any facts to back up it's numbers then it would be a lot more believable. Just defending the article without questioning it is as bad as defending the pirates without looking at the cost to the developer. Lets agree to this: It's a bad article and proves nothing on it's own.

  • by KingFrog (1888802) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:57AM (#33736204)
    Wow...I don't have the money to buy a yacht. I guess going out and stealing one is a necessity? Please, the number of excuses the internet generation uses to justify its thieving ways is just mind-boggling.
  • by Shrike82 (1471633) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:58AM (#33736212)

    Not every pirated copy is a lost sale. I can't stress that enough.

    What about the ones that are lost sales though? Should they be ignored? What about the ethics of it? Should people enjoy the fruits of your labour for free when you've made it clear that you want to be paid for them?

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:58AM (#33736216)

    In what way is pirating an app necessary to living your life?

    What? You're on slashdot, and don't understand that software can become necessary, and that some people might not be able to afford it? Here's a tip: you're in the information age, and this need is exactly why a lot of us donate software to the free software community.

    I'd probably be an alcoholic in the slum I grew up in, if not dead, if it wasn't for free software (and yes, pirated software) giving me opportunities I never had otherwise. There's a reason why people on sites like TPB rally together when attacked. Yes, software is necessary in modern life. Yes, sometimes pirating it is necessary too. Although thankfully a lot less lately, thanks to Open Source.

    Really, sites like TPB are the modern equivalent of libraries that lend books to people would couldn't afford to buy them. They should be praised and donated to, not targetted. And that's why people DO donate to them.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .r3v37s.> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33736258)

    However, this also ignores the simple fact that most of the people who pirated an app wouldn't have shelled out money for it.

    If they weren't willing to pay for it, why should they get to enjoy/use it?

  • by PylonHead (61401) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:00PM (#33736268) Homepage Journal

    This is amazingly disingenuous.

    Commercial software that gets pirated is useful by definition... otherwise it would not be pirated.
    Commercial software that gets pirated has no open source replacement of the same quality.. or people would simply use that instead.

    So it is clearly not true that all useful software will be developed for free. This is the value of a commercial software market. By letting people copyright their work and sell licenses to use it, we as consumers have far more choices than we would if no such system existed.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:09PM (#33736412)

    Right.

    The permissions listings are about as opaque as they come. I've some experience with the soft white underbelly of technology, so I can make a good guess about what a particular permission entails and why it might be necessary, but I still can't quite figure whether an app is actually secure or not. And for many apps the list is quite long - not exactly user friendly or convenient. If I (after 20+ years of experience with computer technology) can barely make heads nor tails of the permissions, heaven help the butcher/backer/candlestickmaker who just wants to feels safe when installing an app on their phone. And I have the SDK installed and can actually read the details.

    In a word, the permissions listings tell a person fuck-all about whether an app is actually safe or not. With a few exceptions. Apps that require no special permissions or just a very few, rare though they are, give one some sense of confidence. Internet connection required for a stock ticker app? Ok, can't be much harm in that. I'll install. Beyond that, as the list of required permissions grow, the difficulty in evaluating the safety of an app grows exponentially. Access to SD storage, personal contacts list, state of phone, location, yada yada. Most apps seem to require most of these. Access to SD storage is needed for reading/writing personal settings, caching data and the like. Fine. But is access to other data on the SD card limited? I have no clue. As far as I can tell, once an app has access the SD card, a full wipe is possible. There is little information to suggest otherwise.

    So basically, for apps that require a non-trivial list of permissions to function, one is left with trust in the developer as the only security. The rest is a roll of the dice.

    To be honest, I think most people treat the list of permissions much as they treat an EULA: a list of incomprehensible gibberish that one must ignore to get to the actual goal (an installed app, in this case). It's in the Google market, so it must be safe, right? Click, click, install.

    Android app permissions as a way to assess the safety of an app? You've got to be kidding. Epic fail.

  • Revenue Stream (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omniscientist (806841) <{moc.ohcedab} {ta} {ttam}> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:10PM (#33736426) Homepage

    If pirating software is anything but an impossible endeavor for users, then it is going to happen.

    If a solid revenue stream is your primary concern as a developer, and piracy is something that is keeping you up at night, then you should be making apps that cater to businesses instead of individual users.

    If the platform is such that targeting anything but individual users is not feasible, then unless your app is extremely popular, it is a poor platform to use for generating revenue.

  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross.yahoo@ca> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:11PM (#33736444)

    Cool dude...

    I really dislike people like you! Want to know why? Because you are the jerks that make this entire situation unbearable.

    Let me illustrate...

    GPL... What is it? It is law based on copyright! So if you are violating via piracy you are violating the GPL. Where people like you are jerks is because you will be the first ones yelling and screaming on how evil corporations are when they violate the GPL.

    Well you can't have it both ways! Either you accept the copyright or you don't. Because if you don't accept copyright then you better accept the fact that vendors are completely free to take any GPL code and not share it. And let me tell you corporations can be more clever than you with respect to DRM. An example, take a look at how Bloomberg protects its IP. Absolutely stunning and very very very very difficult to crack. If you say, "hey it can be cracked..." Think again many have tried because Bloomberg is very expensive and people would love to have it for free. I actually challenge you to break into the Bloomberg system and get their terminals for free!

    I for one accept the copyright and stand by the copyright. Not because I like content owners like the big studios. But because I like the rights of the open source community. I know with open source and my fair use with it, and my paying for each and every piece of binary only software I have the right to bitch and complain on dumb binary only vendors! And yes I do donate to open source. Regularly as a matter of fact.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:20PM (#33736550) Journal

    Thing is, you already mentioned why it's not as big of a deal on the iPhone... jailbreaking isn't something you see a whole lot of (tech media notwithstanding).

    Most folks either don't know how to jailbreak an iPhone, or don't want to risk bricking the thing (and therefore blowing the $$$ they have tied up in phone and contract). Sure - you and I know it's fairly easy and safe to do, but Joe PhoneUser doesn't know that, and they have actual money tied up in the beastie before they even get it out of the box it came in.

    Given this, the majority will buy the apps from the store. Now if jailbreaking were uber-common, then yeah - pirating apps would be just as common. Otherwise, overall? It's pretty self-evident that piracy is going to be an Android (and WinMo, and Symbian) thing.

    From a developer's POV, yeah - the piracy rate w/ iPhones is going to be a lot lower, and therefore more lucrative for the dev. OTOH, the dev will miss out on folks trying the product out, and on any of the marketing bennies that piracy can give his products.

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:23PM (#33736596) Journal
    I'm not saying they should. What I *am* saying is that the "pirated app" numbers don't translate directly to anything else - not lost revenue, not even potential lost customers - some people pirate stuff just because they can, without even bothering to check first to see if it's something they might want.

    Case in point - way back in the DOS days, a friend insisted I try simcity. I though the game concept was silly, but gave it a whirl. I went on to buy Simcity 2000, Simcity 3000 Deluxe, Simcity 4 + Rush hour, and Simcity for the Wii. I also bought a few other maxis games, all stemming from that one floppy.

    However, if I had had to buy the original game first, none of those sales would have happened. Not one.

    Some of us *do* want to reward publishers who produce good stuff - we just don't want to get sucked in by nice artwork and a bogus description that turns into an almost-immediate lunchbag letdown.

  • supply and demand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leehwtsohg (618675) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:27PM (#33736636)

    When will developers/artists/journalists/courts learn about supply and demand curves?

    Number of pirated copies tells you about how many copies of your art/software you would sell (to people who pirate) if the price was $0 per copy.
    Number of sold items tells you how many you would sell at $x, the price that you actually sell your art/program for (to people who don't pirate).

    At a price of $0 per copy, indeed thousands or millions of copies of software would be downloaded. But that says nothing about how many would be sold without piracy, when the price is greater than 0.

    If I could have cars for $0, I'd have 50 cars in my driveway, one for every occasion. But that says nothing about how many cars I'd be willing to buy for $10000.
    Even without piracy you can see the same phenomenon:
    I have probably around 50 free apps installed on my android, but only 2 or 3 paid apps. You think that if developers stopped giving away apps for free I'd have 53 paid apps on my phone? No way! I'd probably have even less. All my paid apps are ones that I could testdrive and really liked. There are many paid apps that have no free version, and I never touched them.

  • by bieber (998013) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:36PM (#33736770)

    Well you can't have it both ways! Either you accept the copyright or you don't.

    Oh sorry, I didn't realize that I wasn't allowed to hold nuanced opinions :/

    Now, if you'll return to reality with me for a moment, you'll find that there are very few people out there asserting that copyright should be abolished, and I'm certainly not one of them. What I stated was that I think private copying should be legal under any circumstances...that does not include commercial distribution or the creation of derivative works, which are the keys to the GPL. I'm not stupid. I use and write GPL software and I thoroughly understand how it works. I'm also in favor of drastically reduced copyright terms (five years seems reasonable enough), and of course that would mean that corporations would be free to incorporate my code (albeit from five years ago) into proprietary software. As far as I'm concerned, that's an acceptable compromise for the greater societal good that more realistic copyright terms would accomplish.

    ...but please, ignore everything I say, I'm just a jerk that makes the entire situation unbearable...

  • by D Ninja (825055) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:41PM (#33736870)

    What? You're on slashdot, and don't understand that software can become necessary, and that some people might not be able to afford it? Here's a tip: you're in the information age, and this need is exactly why a lot of us donate software to the free software community.

    While I agree with you that there is definitely good reasons for FOSS, and I am extremely appreciate of efforts of the FOSS community - we're not talking about the same problem. If you are already sporting an Android phone (where the phone costs ~$200 and the price per month is ~$70 - $120), you can afford a $1.00 app. It's not even close to the same situation.

  • by bieber (998013) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:47PM (#33736972)
    The reason the "digital segment of society" refuses to recognize that "intellectual property" isn't the same as regular property is that it is not, in fact, even remotely the same. You can make all the flawed analogies you want (heck, you can't even get in line with the normal trolls who want to analogize software as property, you seem to think that the thing you're trying to rationalize as if it were tangible property is best analogized as a service), but the bottom line is that software is not a physical product, and it is not a service in any conventional sense. It is completely and utterly different from any other economic product that mankind has ever produced. If you start your argument by trying to treat it as such, you're just showing your ignorance from the very start.

    You do realize, don't you, that copyright infringement, theft, and theft of service are completely different, and that copyright infringement in most cases is not a criminal offense but a civil matter? If software is exactly the same as goods and services, then why is it subject to a completely separate set of rules and regulations? Do you really expect anyone to take you seriously when you can't demonstrate even a basic understanding of the way the law considers "intellectual property"?

    Now, if you want to be sensible about this, you should try making some reasonable arguments about economic incentives to justify crippling the ability of society at large to copy data freely amongst themselves for the benefit of the smaller segment of society that produces that data in the first place. It helps if you refrain from making ridiculous analogies and calling everyone who disagrees with you an idiot...
  • by eltonito (910528) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:07PM (#33737358)

    Your comparison of TPB to a library overlooks the fact that the library (each individual library system, actually) purchases/liscenses/contracts the content they lend. TPB finds someone else who has purchased/liscensed/contracted content and takes it without having contributed anything to the authors/owners who created it. They do this at a scale that dwarfs the content cycle of a single library system.

    The assets of a library also come with limitations (return dates, access limitations, DRM, content expiration dates) which would require a user to purchase the content if they want unfettered, indefinite access to the content. A pirated version of software and other pirated content has no such limitations and there is significantly less incentive for a pirate to convert to a legitimate copy.

    You can certainly rationalize and encourage theft by playing the "poor people should have expensive stuff too" card, but most librarians would cringe at your argument. I'm all for helping people out and for free access to information, but if you want to own something (and I'm sorry, but unless you are getting firmware for a pacemaker, software is a want) you buy it. If you can't afford it you don't buy it or you find an alternative you can afford. Amazing how that works, ain't it?

  • by rantomaniac (1876228) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:07PM (#33737376)

    Your analogies are so inappropriate it hurts to read.

    A person who produces something gets to dictate the terms under which it is used.

    Good thing the workers that built my house don't know about that, or I'd be paying them royalties. I wonder if murderers get sued by gun producers for unauthorized shots fired.

    If I pay someone else to dig a ditch for me, I do not have some stupid notion that they are obligated to dig other ditches for me at no further charge.

    There's a big difference between a product and its copy. Ditches take time and effort to dig, a copy doesn't and more importantly, no pirate is asking the original creator to send them a copy. The act of unauthorized copying doesn't cost the creator time, effort or money, they aren't even aware of it happening. Therefore your analogy is invalid.

    The reality of the matter is that real people are spending their lives and brain power writing code that makes life better for everyone who uses it.

    They should also spend some brain power developing business models that don't revolve around selling an infinite resource. Software as a service has its flaws, like the lack of control over your data, but at least it's feasible and it touch with reality.

    If you aren't creating it, you don't own it and you don't have any right to it. How idiotic do you have to be to believe otherwise?

    Copyright was created as an incentive to creators, in the form a temporary monopoly on reproducing and distributing their creations, to boost the number of people making art and releasing it to the public. It was never a law with roots in morality or ethics. These days, when billions of people are connected by the Internet, lots of them creative for the sake of creativity, not for monetary gain, it's more of a hindrance to the propagation of scientific and artistic thought. You don't have to be an idiot to believe in cultural and technological evolution more strongly than in obsolete business models.

    When you copy software, you're ignoring the wishes of the person who created it. You are violating them. You are taking away their right to earn a living for their labor.

    Actually you aren't taking away their right to earn a living, they're free to choose a feasible business model.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:13PM (#33737488)

    What laughable bullshit. Software is not necessary unless you're talking medical, car safety, etc... There is literally no software that you need on your phone to survive.

    You're drawing some non-existent parallel between jobs in software and optional, "fun" software.

    Like people "need" to download some shitty movie off TPB, or they "need" to download a game.

    Utterly ridiculous, and what makes it more ridiculous is in how earnest you are in shoveling that absolute horse shit.

    What a fucking entitlement society we have turned into.

  • by D Ninja (825055) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:18PM (#33737562)

    First off, generalizations are always wrong. (Yeah, yeah...I know...)

    Secondly, the argument is SOMETIMES bad. Why sometimes?

    Well, if I say, "You can afford a car, so you should be able to afford a house." That's obviously not true.

    However, if you are buying an Android application, you are already assuming the cost of the phone and the monthly plan which you MUST have in order to own and use the phone. Therefore, you are already shelling out quite a bit of money. One more dollar is not going to break the bank.

  • by Kijori (897770) <ward,jake&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:24PM (#33737658)

    Thank you for your advice. Since I don't believe I can interest you in a support contract for my jump and run game, I'm going to plaster it with ads as an alternative source of income.

    And many of the same people that claim that the reason for piracy is that the prices are too high will then download the hacked, ad-free version. Because the problem isn't anything to do with the software - the software is both desirable and desired. The problem is that once people have grown accustomed to the idea that they can get an unlimited amount of digital content for free, without the inconvenience of advertisements and without any real probability of legal consequences, it is almost impossible to get them to start paying again.

  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:32PM (#33737822)

    [potential flame alert! That is NOT my intent!]

    It is also possible that there is a cultural disparity between "antisocial geeks", and their more "normal" peers; That to the geeks like us, fitting in with the crowd is NOT considered a vital aspect of one's life or livelihood; However, to the more socially inclined this may be VERY untrue.

    Take for instance, somebody that HAS to work with the dreaded "Apple Hipsters." They might be able to scrounge up enough dough to get that new iPhone (like everyone else in the workplace, to keep from standing out and being ostracized.) but after doing so coughing up the dough to get $super_awesome_flavor_of_the_week_app that everyone else is raving about becomes much more difficult, but the pressure is still there.

    This is especially true in vocations that revolve exclusively around interpersonal skills, such as lackeys in marketing. (No, not the marketing director that makes bank; I mean the lackey that actually makes the adverts, and probably gets shafted regularly.) Or, perhaps a sales consultant -- etc.

    These people have a legitimate *need* to have that software, even if they dont USE it, because of social pressures that would otherwise exclude them from vital opportunities.

    When you take into consideration the "Culture" being foisted onto the US population by the MSM and multinational corporations, this paints the whole "Filthy Pirates!" thing in a whole new light, at least concerning software that also doubles as a status symbol.

  • by Andorin (1624303) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:44PM (#33738058)

    > GPL... What is it? It is law based on copyright! So if you are violating via piracy you are violating the GPL.
    One, the GPL is not a law. It's a software license.

    Two, your argument doesn't make sense. Most piracy committed is noncommercial copying and redistribution. The GPL expressly permits this. If copyright law were amended to make noncommercial piracy legal, it wouldn't affect the GPL at all.

    > Well you can't have it both ways! Either you accept the copyright or you don't.
    Yeah, that totally isn't a false dichotomy, because it's totally true that the only options are to keep modern copyright law or throw it all out entirely.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:24PM (#33738666)

    I don't understand why you can't deny a given permission for an app. Don't use the internet functionality? I'd like to disable that part, but I can't.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:44PM (#33738958) Homepage

    However, this also ignores the simple fact that most of the people who pirated an app wouldn't have shelled out money for it.

    I'm actually not convinced of that when you start taking micropayments into account.

    Sure, for a game that costs $15, a user who pirates it might be doing it to save some money, and with the pirated copy unavailable, would simply have not bought it. But when you're talking a couple bucks, I find it *far* less credible that users are turning to piracy because they can't afford the purchase, or don't see the product as having sufficient value to justify the price.

    Are you going to buy something if you can't at least kick the tires first?

    Eh, as has been pointed out many times, the android marketplace has a 24-hour refund period. Combine that with user reviews, and I'm sorry, the try-before-you-buy justification for piracy just doesn't hold water.

    And let's be honest - a lot of these utilities should eventually make their way into the OS anyway.

    Oh, well, then that totally justifies piracy... ::rollseyes::

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @03:01PM (#33739256)

    FOSS is a great solution to the piracy problem. Not only will it reduce piracy in third world countries, but many of those who use it will also contribute to the effort.

    I pirate a lot less now that there are free alternatives.

  • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @03:35PM (#33739652) Homepage
    Face it, piracy exists and will exist on every device no matter how much DRM you throw in it. Fact is, not every pirate is a customer. Even if your device is 100% piracy prove, you just won't magically see an explosion of customers. If they can't pirate, they don't use your app. Your customers will buy, but the 67% of the pirates will not. The 67% will just never use your app.

    But if you block out the pirates you are going to block out any potential customer as well. Think of the pirated app as a free demo version. It will promote you, make your app more visible and people that have the money and want to buy stuff for their phone will buy your app.

    Ask you one question, where would Microsoft be, if you absolutely cannot copy Windows or MS Office for free? What would be Russia, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, the students in Europe and USA and small office businesses using? Linux or OO.org? Now ask you, is a waterproof DRM scheme really in the interests of Microsoft? If you answer is No, why should be DRM in your interests?

  • by Americano (920576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @05:10PM (#33740818)

    I understand what you're getting at, though I have to admit that I'm fairly unsympathetic to this argument.

    My desire to have something doesn't automatically confer on me the right to take the product of someone else's efforts without paying.

    I'd also suggest that "keeping up with the Joneses" is not exactly a situation where "NEED" truly applies.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:57PM (#33741914) Homepage Journal

    Thus they PRESUME that person A is more productive than B, because A has more symbols of status than does B. As such A gets the job, and B does not.

    Unless B occasionally jokes about threatening to call in the BSA drones after having learned of A's mass infringement.

    (We presume it is their personal phone, not a company one.)

    Jesus told his disciples: "Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much." (Luke 16:10) So I guess those who pirate on a personal phone are more likely to to pirate on a business PC.

    As for phone habits, I'm very close to the B in your story. Perhaps I keep my job because I'm in a small company, and I've saved the company money with open source.

  • by Americano (920576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:05PM (#33743512)

    What he said: "Hire Americans, and they can afford things. Otherwise, expect us to live our lives by any means necessary."

    This statement was made in the context of an article about piracy of Android apps, and how many of the pirates appeared to be in the US. His response: If you don't want piracy, Americans need jobs. That way they will stop pirating.

    He never mentions that it is possible to, you know, live without the apps, he clearly is stating that he considers them "fundamental," to living, and thus they will be acquired "by any means necessary."

    I'm sorry this is so hard for you to parse, but it's really quite clear. I'm injecting no hidden meaning into his statement, he never even considers the notion that people without the money to buy the app could simply do without.

  • by Americano (920576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:25PM (#33743600)

    What a bunch of hand-waving, generalizing bullshit. Who runs around a corporate office showing off their new phone? And who the fuck gets excited over "Bob's new Android phone?" I've never seen it happen, and I work with a lot of gadget-loving IT guys.

    They judge mostly by appearances, since that is what they know.

    Yes... the problem is, in your example, Person A is the engineer who appears to run around the office showing off his new fart app and getting very little done, while person B is the engineer who appears to be diligent & who is constantly busy getting things done and doesn't spend 3 hours a day dicking around with his personal phone in the office.

    Guess who I'm going to pick to work on that new project? (Hint: Not the dude with the fart app. He's already too busy wasting time to do the job.)

  • by Americano (920576) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:33PM (#33743640)

    (I have created presentation materials that have won multi million dollar contracts for my company. I really dont care about rubbing elbows or driving mazzarattis. I work second shift, and CHOSE it.)

    Then you've disproven your own wild generalizations. You're a self-professed cube troll who isn't focused on your appearance, and yet... you still managed to win multi million dollar contracts. And you managed to get the opportunity to create the materials to win those contracts in the first place, showing that your managers value *performance* and *ability* over *appearance*.

    And I find it amusing how this discussion of piracy on Android phones has suddenly become a "assholes with iPhones need to pirate shit to show off" rant.

    The majority of people get ahead in the world by being scrupulous: making & keeping promises & commitments, behaving courteously, treating others with respect. If "many people" needed to be unscrupulous to just to get ahead, humanity would have killed itself off a long time ago.

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