I’ll admit it. When I was younger I used to pirate music, movies, games, and software. I was a poor high school and later college student. I had no money. I couldn’t afford to buy those things. If I didn’t find a way to get it for free, I just couldn’t get it, period. It wasn’t a question of wanting to pay or what the market thought was fair. I just didn’t have any.
That was a while ago. Now I have a job. And I don’t pirate any more. Partially, this is because I’ve been a software developer, and I see things more “from the other side.” But mostly, its because I can. I have $50 to my name so that I can go out and buy that game I wanted, or the box set dvd’s, or whatever (not to say I don’t think they are overpriced).
That’s why I’ve always thought that the piracy numbers given out by the movie (MPAA), music (RIAA), and software (BSA) industry groups have been complete garbage. I mean, Billions of dollars? Common, that’s rediculous. Just because someone has pirated your software/song/movie doesn’t mean they are willing to pay for it. That’s always been my assertion, but of course I could never prove it.
Luckily, Russel Carrol, Director of Marketing at Reflexive (a PC game company) has done it for me. In an article posted at Gamasutra, he lays out a very data-driven and scientific analysis of the company’s piracy rates both before and after taking steps which reduced piracy. Read the article. Really.
His conclusion: Only 1 in 1,000 pirates are actually willing to purchase the product.
Does it still seem worth suing college kids, guys?