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Should I pirate CAM software? (hypothetical question)

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  • #76
    "Theft" of software is NOT theft. It is copyright infringement. You are infringing upon the author's right to be the only one that is permitted to make copies.

    Providing copies to someone else is a different matter. However, If someone loans you an original disk and you make a copy and then give back the original they have not broken any law* and you have not committed a criminal act regardless of how much the software LICENCE sells for.

    What you have done in this situation is to commit an actionable civil offence under tort law. You cannot be arrested or charged, only sued. The amount of damages that may be recovered are directly related to the actual damages you cause to the holder of the copyright. In the case of an individual that normally amounts to the purchase price of the software. In reality it isn't worth the time and money for most companies to pursue an individual.

    *Note: If making a copy requires the breaking of any sort of encryption then you have violated the DMCA and the penalties may be very severe. It can be a felony to break encryption no matter how easy or simplistic it is to break. Note also that different laws apply to software than to music and video content. The friend could be judged an accomplice. These laws were bought and paid for by the record and movie industry with the main players being Sony, Disney, the RIAA and the MPAA.

    What bothers me aside from the items I listed in a previous post is that the software industry has managed to bring into effect case law that would never be permitted under contract law in any other area of business. "Click through licensing" is a major item that means you agree to the license even if you don't realize that you just went past the chance to read it.

    Some areas have not been explored in court as far as I know. In particular, the fitness of software for the advertised purpose is usually disclaimed in the licence agreement. While this might be held a valid limitation on software costing $100 there is a good chance that it would be thrown out on a package costing thousands. Also, if an engineer uses a CAD program to design a bridge and the bridge falls down because of a subtle mistake in the software that created a hazard the software company disavows all liability for such errors and omissions. That may have been tested but I am not aware of such cases.


    Back to the main recurring theme here: Is it theft to copy something? Nothing is removed from the possession of the owner. Information is not a tangible asset. Only the media that contains it is tangible and in fact that point is usually made in the licence agreement.

    If I take a picture of a work of art have I stolen it? The legal concensus is no. May a software manufacturer place limits on how you use the software? They do but I don't think that has been tested either.

    What if I have a freely distributable copy of software as a trial and I unlock the trial copy. Exactly what offence have I committed? Certainly not copyright violation. Perhaps a violation of the implied contract in the licence agreement? But I am in Canada and the Agreement says that the licence is governed by the laws of the State of California. Since I have a legal trial copy of the software and all I have done is to unlock the functions that are already in that copy AND I do not live in California or even the USA then what effect does California law have on me?

    The answer is none at all. State laws are not a matter of international law and tort law in particular is not. In that particular and common instance I have broken no law. I cannot commit a tort offence in California if I am not in Calfornia. I can not be sued in Canada for a breach of contract in Calfornia.

    Also, is it ethical to consider someone a party to a contract that you cannot prove they read or even understand, let alone sign?
    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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    • #77
      The value of the software (to the paying end-user), is in part, it's expense. What motivation is there for end-users to pay big $$ for a Cad/Cam product when every other shop in town is using the same, free, pirated version? It's not just being legitimate, or the 24 hour support center they're paying for. It's the exclusivity of a high end, state-of-the-art software product, that hopefully provides them a quality and production advantage over their competitors.

      Every pirated copy in use depreciates the value of the underlying product, and , in a sense, does "effect everyone" in smaller margins for businesses.

      Like what someone posted earlier, imagine someone sneaking into your shop at night and using the lathe free of charge. Helps him, doesn't help you; you paid for the capital investment. It's not just the makers of Mastercam that lose out. As an ethical question, let's say you, with a pirated Mastercam setup get approached by Mr. Cheapie who wants a complex part fabbed. Do you say "yeah, that's really easy for me ! I'll do it for the cost of materials 'cause it's just a hobby for me and I know the shop across town charges $200 an hour for the same work." ?


      Gary
      Gary


      Appearance is Everything...

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      • #78
        Originally posted by Fastest1
        If I make software commercially for a living and you use it without paying me, you are stealing. Maybe you want to sugar coat it. Does it make you feel better to change the defintion of the word? I do know right from wrong and live by it whenever I can. Btw it doesnt look like you can interpret grey, hence the problem. There are some who think people inherently know right from wrong, I use to think that. Then I asked myself, how would they know if nobody taught them? This thread makes it evident. I am happy that my parents and family taught me right from wrong not the government or a lawyer. Btw I sleep well and dont have any moral battles probably due to a clear vision of the truth.
        Maybe its reading comprehension then that's the issue....you keep posting as if we somehow have a different view of whats right/wrong or that i'm somehow saying its ok to copyright infringe? I don't get it. whatever.
        in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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        • #79
          It's always struck me as odd how little care major software companies take to protect their software. Take AutoCAD; on the market for around 25 years, they've had plenty of time to develop a strong pass code, or - considering how expensive the product is, supply the product with a dongle. It's nothing to do with the bother of shipping a dongle - they're presently sending out "free" thumb drives with tips to purchasers.

          Yet they don't. It seems that a keygen is available from multiple sites to generate a product key almost as soon as an updated version is available.

          It's *almost* as if they don't mind it being pirated...
          Dongle protection is useless against the talented hackers.
          I do not think there is 1 major cam or cad developer that has not had their software protection defeated.
          Steve

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          • #80
            Originally posted by mochinist
            I have a vendor that sends me more "conservative" emails than I care to see(Christmas is being attacked, tea bag stuff, obama jokes, cheesy emails about praying, god on our money etc), he also cant shut up about any of that stuff when he is here at my shop bringing me work(he brings me lots of work, so I just smile and listen). Anyways the guy is the biggest "conservative" I have ever met, and a few years ago he was over at my shop and we got to bull****ting about CAD software, during the convo I mentioned that I was thinking about buying Solidworks. So a few days goes by and he came by again, this time he had a big ol grin and he handed me a DVD RW that had solidworks marked on it with a sharpie, plus all the codes needed to activate it. I told him thanks, but no thanks and the old conservative bastard was almost offended that I didnt want to take the program for free and couldn't understand why I would still go shell out 5k for the real thing.
            What you have run into is what is known as a loudmouth idiot. They exist across all political spectrum and typically will be the staunchest adherents to the chosen side. Mostly because they can't argue their way from a wet paper bag.

            I will not claim to be a total angel in this area either. I have used software knowing it was not completely legal. These days I don't do that much. Sometimes I do look at it as an extended eval. I don't have time to sit and learn one software package over two weeks to decide if it's worth $500 or more to me. Often it takes me several months to get the time to really explore it. Quite often I have later purchased if it was a good app, if not I remove it. There is little point in me trying out a 5K or 10K piece of software. It is not going to happen and there is no point getting dependent on it only to find that you can't get support when that problem crops up or that my machine is now infected and transmitting my passwords to some kid in Denmark.

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            • #81
              Like what someone posted earlier, imagine someone sneaking into your shop at night and using the lathe free of charge.
              Not a valid comparison. In fact anything that involves criminal activity is not valid as an analogy. Copying software is not a crime. It is something that someone can sue you for doing. Any comparison to stealing is invalid. Imagine instead that somebody took a photo of your lathe that you spent years building from scratch and then went home and duplicated it in their own shop. What crime was committed?

              Also, in the context of this original post how does copying and using software harm the provider of that software? I would never consider paying 1000's of dollars for software and if I were to use something like that I would not in any way take business away from the vendor. At the level of a hobbyist it is a victimless act and it isn't criminal either.

              I am not trying to justify doing it but it is important that for the purpose of this discussion to keep the proper perspective in relation to the original question.
              Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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              • #82
                Dongle protection is useless against the talented hackers.
                All protection schemes are useless. It isn't possible to secure a machine or the code on it if someone has physical access to the machine it runs on.
                Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                • #83
                  Copyright infringement certainly can be a crime and the act of circumventing any copy restriction, however laughable or sad it may be is also a crime. I'm not getting into the validity of the DCMA or the copyright laws here but the actions needed to constitue a crime are almost always involved in copying the software and using the crack. You are engaged in illegal activity but the threshhold to get an agency to actually go for a full prosecution are quite high. The companies want the fines and money, and could care less if you go to jail.

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                  • #84
                    Copyright infringement certainly can be a crime
                    Only if you redistribute the copies for profit or profit from the infringement in specific ways.


                    (a) Criminal Infringement. —

                    (1) In general. — Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed —

                    (A) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;

                    (B) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000; or

                    (C) by the distribution of a work being prepared for commercial distribution, by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, if such person knew or should have known that the work was intended for commercial distribution.

                    (2) Evidence. — For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement of a copyright.

                    Further, it is only criminal if they can prove intent to distribute for gain AND if the distribution takes place before the software has been released for sale.

                    http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #85
                      ummm, there's that pesky word "or" at the end of clause B. I think that profit is no longer necessary for criminal actions
                      http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/copy-corner66.htm
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NET_Act

                      Of course, I'm not a lawyer...

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by dockterj
                        ummm, there's that pesky word "or" at the end of clause B. I think that profit is no longer necessary for criminal actions
                        http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/copy-corner66.htm
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NET_Act

                        Of course, I'm not a lawyer...
                        I saw the copyright offices statement on it... now let a federal appeals court and the lawyers loose on the definition of private financial gain. You better not be selling nothing. Anyway the DCMA is not concerned with gain, it's concerned only with circumvention of copy restriction technology. Generate a key to run that puppy? Yep, you just ran afoul. There was a reason software makers were grinning about it.

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                        • #87
                          Could it not be the reason the companies charge so much for the software is because they know they won't sell big quantities ,and know that even the small quantities will be copied by some.Now as I see it if they made each copy say $100 many more people would buy and they would maybe win out much better in the end.The high cost say ten thousand dollars must be an issue for smaller companies and smaller family firms with just several employees to justify the high set up cost .

                          I say the same analogy as I gave with Levi jeans who went to court here or was it Wrangler I forget.
                          Their argument against the big supermarkets buying their product i.e. jeans legally in bulk direct from America where their products sold for much less. They sold over here for say £40 as opposed to the rip off price wrangler Levi were selling to UK consumers for approx £120 per pair.
                          Anyway as said the went to court their argument was they were justified in asking £140 for jeans exactly the same item they sold in USA for $40 .They fought on the argument
                          A
                          That they charged what the market could afford,
                          in other words as long as they had no other competition they could ask what they liked.

                          The argument B was that selling the product in the UK too cheaply was undermining their brand name in other words that the brand tag /label on the jeans was so popular it justified the extra costs and they won.

                          The supermarkets here in the UK had to stop charging such a small price for a product which they had bought legitimately in the USA and brought into UK. Alistair
                          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Evan
                            Any comparison to stealing is invalid.
                            Try thinking FIGURATIVELY, then the comparison is valid.

                            Originally posted by Evan
                            in the context of this original post how does copying and using software harm the provider of that software?
                            1: As I explained earlier, the value of the software is diminished as more unlicensed copies are created. You can rationalize/justify it by claiming only hobbyists are using the pirated copies and they really, really do promise to never use the product in a commercial sense, but are you kidding yourself?

                            2: The software producer takes great pains and costs to protect its product from hacking and illicit distribution (whether effective or not.) These costs add up and take a toll on the companies bottom line and/or are passed onto legitimate users.

                            3. The company has the right to market and position its products in the most favorable light possible, and may be very particular about hacked over, virus ridden, unlicensed versions being passed around on USB drives.

                            4. Perhaps harming the legitimate consumer more so than anyone else, companies, knowing that their product line is constantly under attack by pirating are less apt to support their software going forward, both technologically and practically. By technologically, I mean newer versions with zero backward compatibility to older (lock out the unlicensed users.) By practically, I mean: legitimate user with non-registered product, no software key? Sorry no support.

                            Originally posted by Evan
                            I would never consider paying 1000's of dollars for software and if I were to use something like that I would not in any way take business away from the vendor. At the level of a hobbyist it is a victimless act and it isn't criminal either.
                            You can whine about the thousands of dollars in costs, but a free ride is just that. I suppose I could go down to a BMW dealership and pretend to be interested in buying a Z4 roadster just to take a test drive for fun. After all, victimless crime?

                            Gary
                            Gary


                            Appearance is Everything...

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                            • #89
                              A funny story to tell...
                              In my younger days, I downloaded a video on how to fly a 767 in microsoft flight simulator.

                              Years later I am in flight school and one my class mates was one of the guys on the team of that project. He did all the artwork and some voice overs.
                              I came clean and told him what I did. Talk about awkward.

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                              • #90
                                I suppose I could go down to a BMW dealership and pretend to be interested in buying a Z4 roadster just to take a test drive for fun. After all, victimless crime?
                                Crime???? I would like to know what law was broken.

                                Tom
                                Tom - Spotsylvania, VA

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