Say “No!” to Warez!

Lately, this open letter from Alex Kac (WebIS developer, known from PocketInformant, FlexMail, FlexWallet, etc) to Warez sites, has got quite some attention in the PPC Blog world. So I’d like to share it here too, just in case you missed it on other sites. You can read the open letter after the break. (Source: Topic at WebIS forums).

I’d like to use this place to mention that I have a history to be ashamed about. When I first got my first PPC  early 2006, I also found that there was software that could be installed onto it. Then, I thought “I already spent money on my device and monthly contract with Orange, so I can justify for myself that I won’t pay for additional stuff that I put on my device.” I was just considering my wallet (being a student, I only got money from delivering newspapers), not the people making that software. Of course when it comes to freeware applications, there’s no problem – you can get them for free legally. But then there’s a small step to getting non-free software on the device for free too, illegally.

That’s wrong. It hurts the developer because he is not supported for the work and effort he puts in developing the software, so if everyone would think the same there would be no payments, meaning no resources to keep developing. And don’t think “Ahh what does one person matter, that’s just $10!”, because – again – if everyone would think the same, that could easily run into 100’s and 1000’s of dollars pretty quickly!
How would you like to have a shop where some people would take stuff and then just walk away without paying. If one person would do this, this would not really harm your shop. But if there’s a larger group doing this, you’d have a real problem!

So please, consider this if you are ever tempted to use a cracked version of a program. Developers are not Hollywood actors or world famous music artists who will still be rich, even if people download movies/music from the internet illegaly. As for my ‘mistakes in the past’ – I got in contact with several developers, being a member of the SBSH community, and several other developer forums or PPC blogs. So I started to see the other side of the story, and after purchasing the full SBSH suite (except for iLauncher, which I got for free thanks to betatesting) I felt REALLY good because I could participate in the community without having problems with my concience. In fact, I never dared to post before, I just registered to be able to see images and download skins. It was only when I started to appreciate legally obtained software, that I truely started to enjoy the PPC world which is a lot of fun!

And if you CAN’T pay for software, if you don’t have a credit card, check Mobihand.com. They accept PayPal. I like Mobihand better than Handango anyway! If PayPal is impossible too, check out blogs. JAMM, SolSie and several other websites have regular contests where you can win really cool and high quality stuff. Or, if you have a website, e-mail the developer of the software. They might agree to give you a free copy of the software if you write a review on your site. Another possibility is to participate in the beta-testing process of a piece of software. Some developers give free licenses to the people that give valuable and good feedback on beta versions of the software.
So please realize that even if you can’t PAY with money, you might still be able to EARN a copy, through a review or betatesting, or to WIN a copy! I think 80% of the software I have comes from one of these ways of obtaining software, and the other 20% are paid. Anyway, knowing that 100% of your software is legally obtained, just feels right.

Just DON’T STEAL from the developer, because if you do, you should really have problems with your concience. And, if you have a job or business, you should think how it would make you feel if someone would take your products or use your services without paying for them.

Now, click below if you haven’t read the open letter from Alex Kac yet…

The letter from Alex Kac, CEO/Founder of WebIS:

Piracy is a huge issue for the software industry, but to be quite honest its nowhere near as huge as what the RIAA and MPAA and SBA make it out to be. 50% or more of the software pirated would never have been purchased in the first place. But lets talk a bit more personally here.

Myself and a band of software devs here have found a *very* large pirate warez site which I will not link to. They have cracks for almost everything imaginable. They have our software on there with download ratios in the TENS of THOUSANDS. In many cases I find more downloads of our software on the warez site than I see on our own download servers. I’ve calculated that even if we only lost 10% of those downloads that could have been sales its a pretty major hit.

The fact is that companies like ours and most other WinMobile devs operate on a shoestring budget. Most of our software sells at a break-even point, some at a loss until it breaks even 2-4 years after introduction. For the amount of money I’ve “lost” I could have *easily* created a Pocket Informant for Desktop or BlackBerry or heck other major applications or improvements. I could have hired an extremely high paid developer for a year or two averagely paid ones. For a company that has only 3 full time developers that’s a fairly major loss.

The fact is that piracy hurts those who pirate. They want our software obviously. Some just use it for a “test”, but we offer a two week trial and with a bit of work you can probably get 2-3 months free usage of our products a year. And we don’t sell for a large amount of money. Just wait and you can usually get our software for a steal – without actually stealing. I don’t think paying $9.95 is such a huge issue if you need an app like VoiceMinder. Its barely a lunch and drink. But the reason piracy hurts those who pirate is because they are like vampires slowly killing the company that they are sucking the applications off of.

Who here would care if there was never a VoiceMinder, FlexWallet, FlexMail, or Pocket Informant upgrade again? I have personally had fleeting thoughts of selling WebIS or just closing it down because even as this market has grown the software market has not and while I’m not naive enough to think its *all* about piracy, I know that it just makes me depressed. And no, we’re not closing down and yes there will be major upgrades of everything. And yes, piracy has been part of the software business from the very beginning but that doesn’t mean I can’t ask you to stop.

And therein lies my plea to you. If you actually use our software please pay for it. When you don’t you personally are contributing to the financial downfall of a bunch of people who are working hard to make good quality software for you. If you don’t want to think of piracy as theft, think of it as stiffing us. Would you stiff the waiter of a tip? How about the guy who built your house? How about the plumber or the electrician? Or the Taxi cab driver? And yes, software does cost money to make. I pay electric bills, Microsoft dues, travel expenses to meet with MS devs, trade shows, advertising, not to mention salaries. So if you wouldn’t stiff the waiter at your favorite restaurant his 15% (or 10% if you’re money concious) tip, why stiff us the few bucks we ask?

WebIS has always been extremely liberal in our licensing as well. We don’t use activation (we’ve thought about it), we don’t lock our license to your username, we don’t do anything to make licensing hard. We let you run our software on as many devices that you personally use and we use the honor system. Heck, we even make 2-3 versions of our software in most cases and let you pay for one and get them all.

So that’s all. Hope you guys have a great day!

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7 thoughts on “Say “No!” to Warez!

  1. why we have to say no to warez..there is some people lifes from warez …
    and they can’t life witout it !!!

  2. Hello,

    First of all, I removed your name and website, since I do like go into a discussion about this, but I can’t have you promote your warez website here. I hope you understand my position and arguments for this.
    Then, I hope you are willing to discuss this some more with me, because I have to say that I don’t understand your reasoning. So until you prove me wrong, I will have to disagree with you.

    You say that there are some people who live from warez and can’t live without it.
    That argument contains two things: 1) people live from warez, and 2) people can’t live without it.

    1) Do people live from warez? Isn’t warez about downloading commercial software for free? So doesn’t this mean that there is no money being made by distributing warez? And if money is earned by warez distibutors, isn’t this very unfair since warez distributors take (steal) something that is not theirs, and then make money by distributing it themselves. While it is exactly that (making money by distributing software) that they don’t agree with! So if software developers making money by creating and distributing software is wrong, how then can making money from warez be right?

    2) You say some people can’t live without warez. Do you honestly think that distributing warez is some kind of talent or virtue? Like “John is very good at building houses, Carry is very good at designing clothes, and Mister X is very good at distributing warez”? And even if so, do you honestly think that there would be no other, legal way he could make money with?
    Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that people can make money with warez by having ads on their warez website. Then wouldn’t it be very possible for them to start a website about something else and put ads on that website? And there are lots of places on the internet where you can learn (for free) how to make money with free things on the internet. For example, one could learn how to create graphics using free drawing software, and then become a graphical artist for a website or magazine.

    And one final thing. You say some people can’t live without warez, which implies that they are probably not very rich. But they apparently can afford a computer or pocket pc or whatever device they are running their warez on? How did they get that? In a legal way? (This would mean that they do know what it is to purchase something from the company that created it and deserves money for their effort). Or in an illegal way? Than that would be stealing and against the law. Or are you going to tell me that some people live from stealing and that therefore it is perfectly justifiable?
    Because most thieves know that stealing is illegal, they just choose to do it anyway because they make money out of it.

    Looking forward to your reply,
    Spmwinkel

  3. i know this post old and wanna say i support warez coz some product too expensive like Adobe master suite it cost $2+++,this money will kill most college student……..

  4. I agree that pricing software like that makes it very hard to students. I’m a student as well, which means that software like that is just way to expensive. I got Office 2007 because I purchased it together with someone else which is a way of deviding costs. Or I just use free alternatives, like the GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop.

    But I don’t use warez because in the PPC world developers who try to make a living out of it are really hurt by warez. The same goes for local music artists, which is why I stopped downloading music as well. I believe the artists get a very small share of CD revenues so I want to give them the support they deserve for making the music.

    But in all honesty, when you’d download a blockbuster movie for which actors get payed millions, I still wouldn’t support it but I wouldn’t give you a hard time. It’s often in your own interest to go see a movie in the theaters because it looks way better, but in the end you will be able to watch it for free on your television anyway.

    Anyway, as a general rule I’d say that if something like a +$2000 software suite is too expensive (which it is, for me as well), then I just won’t get it. There are probably cheaper/free alternatives available.

  5. Yeah i agree that some scripts and programs are highly priced…

    And yes, i used to download WAREZ and i still DOWNLOAD.
    Why? There is some softwares that i barrelly use it and the demo version cannot help me. The ones i use and like very much i buy, its the case of Photoshop, Flashden templates, Steam games, Box games, Box movies and shows, etc.

    Its the same way with games. I have a lot of pirate games, but i dont play them, i get them and test and most of them i dont like.
    The real ones i like i buy it, i have a lot of original games, software, etc.

    Its what i aways say to everyone, if you like it, buy it. A lot of people says to me: “oh, use the demo you can see how the stuff is!” But i disagree, there is a lot of demos that dont show what the program has or just make us buy shit.

    One i used to play demos until a day a demo was cool but the game was a shit, since then i only download pirate, test and i buy.

  6. Yes , if you like a comercial software you should buy it, testing it though is a good idea , thats why warez is there !!

    • Hi Alex,

      While I accept your opinion, I disagree that warez is the way to test software. If developers want to give you the oppertunity to test, they give you a trial version. If they don’t want to allow you to test their software, I personally probably wouldn’t consider purchasing it.

      I’ve removed the URL you provided because I prefer not to link to warezsites on my blog.

      Thanks for your comment!

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