I just read an interesting article from Epic Edits Weblog about the piracy rates for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and other programs. They conducted an admittedly unscientific poll of their readers to see how many were users of Photoshop and Lightroom and how many of those users had pirated the software.
87% of their users polled claimed to be Photoshop users and 58% of those users claimed to use a pirated (stolen) copy. 58% of poll respondents claimed to be Lightroom users and 55% of those used pirated copies.
Feel free to read the article and the very long stream of comments that follow to form your own opinion, but here’s mine:
That’s ridiculous! It’s pretty well known that Adobe’s products (Photoshop, in particular) is one of the more pirated software programs out there, and there’s really no excuse for it.
Adobe charges too much for their software, so it’s only right for me to pirate it.
This is the “lashing out at The Man” argument. Adobe makes some pretty amazing software. Sure, it’s not without flaws or bugs, but I’m pretty certain you can’t do any better. Adobe’s software is expensive. It’s designed for professionals (read: People With Jobs) and priced accordingly. If you’re good with Photoshop, buy it, create something with it, and profit from it. If you’re just in it for the fun of it, there are some cheaper and free alternatives, such as GIMP.
I’m just learning the program, so I shouldn’t have to pay for it. I’ll buy it after I learn it.
So…now you know Photoshop. Did you buy it? I doubt it. If you’re learning it, you can take a class (most of them provide machines with Photoshop for your use in class), watch tutorials, or learn with the 30-day trial. If you’re serious about learning Photoshop, what better motivation than to sink a few hundred bucks into the program to keep your “learning” focused and on track?
Students and teenagers can’t afford it, so they should get it for free.
Students and teenagers are usually…you guessed it…students. Adobe offers pretty gracious educational pricing for their software.
Pirating is good for Adobe. It makes their programs more popular, so in the end more people buy them.
It’s pretty clear that Photoshop is the industry-standard for photo-editing and design. I guess we could argue back and forth all day about whether the historical piracy of Photoshop led to its current market position. I certainly don’t think that’s true. True power-users of Photoshop (of whom almost 100% use legal copies) are sharing files with other users of legal copies. The rampant use of pirated versions of the software offer them or Adobe no advantage.
I wasn’t going to buy it anyway, so if I pirate it, the net loss to Adobe is $0.
I wasn’t going to buy your crappy artwork anyway, so if I copy it and display it as my own, your net loss is $0.
I encourage you to experiment with the software, check it out on a friend’s computer, download the 30-day free trials that are available and use them…for 30 days. Take a class and use their computers to practice. Then, bite the bullet and purchase the software. If you’re a student or teacher, you can usually get it at a highly-discounted educational rate.
Lightroom is relatively inexpensive (max of $299). If you need an alternative to Photoshop, why not try the open-source (free) GIMP. It’s not exactly the same thing, but it can get you through until you can afford Photoshop.
For myself, as an educator and Adobe professional, it’s vital that all of my software is legally licensed and purchased. Sure, I can get educational pricing from time-to-time, but I bought my CS3 programs before I was eligible for educational pricing, so I paid full-price for Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks, Illustrator, InDesign, Contribute, etc. Yeah, it was expensive, but it was the right thing to do.
Bottom Line: Would you walk into your local Apple Store, grab a copy of Photoshop off the shelf, tuck it in your puffy jacket, and sneak out of the store without paying? For most of us, the answer is clearly “No.” Then how can you rationalize the exact same behavior over the Internet? You can’t. Don’t try.
- Adobe Online Store
- Adobe Education Store
- Adobe at Amazon.com
- Adobe software at Academic Superstore
- Adobe Graphic Design Software at PC Mall
- TheLightroomLab.com Store
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