Thoughts on Having Your Software Pirated

April 18, 2014

in Engineering, Legal, Pricing

This week I ran across a website that showed our primary product being offered as a pirated “.rar” file. Whoever is responsible for this website and offering our software for download does not have our permission and is breaking the law. In this post I share some of my thoughts on having your startup’s software pirated.



This is not the first time our software has been pirated. Our earlier products were pirated too. Here is where my thoughts now stand with respect to piracy:

  • Piracy is wrong and literally stealing
  • Once something has been pirated, it is a waste of effort to try to shut it down; even BigCos and their legions of lawyers fail at that
  • In a twisted way, it can be flattering to a startup to have their software pirated… a moment of: “wo, someone cares enough about what I’m doing to pirate me!”
  • Oftentimes the download is not actually a pirated version of the software but rather a virus or something malicious

Consider these 3 kinds of people:  1) those that will always be honest and pay, 2) those that will be honest and pay unless it’s too easy to just slip into not paying, and 3) those that will never pay.  Group #1 is served merely by your legal agreement; to them software licensing plays no role other than nuisance. Group #2 needs software licensing in place otherwise they would just buy one copy and install everywhere; but they’re not hunting for pirated versions. Group #3 will never pay a dime no matter what and is not worth attention.

I’ve written about software licensing mechanisms previously.

What are your thoughts on having your software pirated?


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