Monday, March 31, 2014

What is piracy?

So recently, I wanted an ISO for Windows 2000 during a pentest and was finding it hard to get. Obviously, the quickest way is to download it from some torrent somewhere and be done with it.

That though, if you know me, is a bit easier said than done :). I started wondering about .. whether that would count as piracy or not. In the end, someone at work happened to have an ISO and I was spared all that pain. But, I did keep thinking about it..and still today's world... with the number of things that are interconnected... is it even possible to avoid using pirated all?

Here are my thoughts on piracy.

-- If it's freely available, and the author has clearly said so, I'm fine using it, irrespective of where I download it from.

-- If it's a trial, I'm fine downloading the trial from anywhere. I'm not open to cracking that software and using it.. even if it is just for myself.

-- If I bought some software but cant find it, but did pay for it sometime, I'm fine downloading similar software with no additional features off a torrent. The logic being, I just misplaced my software and am getting it back from somewhere.

-- If someone bought software and gave it to me for temporary use, I'm fine using it, as long as they are fine giving it to me AND are not using it themselves when they lend it to me. The point here is.. they paid for the software for their personal use (singular) and are not using it themselves. So, they can choose to have anyone else use it instead.

-- Downloading things for free when it's clearly not available for free download IS piracy. You are basically cheating the creator of his/her income. It doesn't matter how badly YOU need it.  That doesn't automatically give you a right to someone's work, without their consent.

-- Youtube videos are tricky. Every video (free or pirated) appears to have a "Standard Youtube license". It's extremely hard to find out which ones are pirated and which are not. I probably view pirated stuff ..unknowingly... all the time. The only clear way to find out is to ask people who uploaded it..I guess. But this isn't practical.. and what if they do not reply? I DONT have an answer for this at all.

I would like to hear the thoughts of anyone who reads this. Do get in touch however you'd like. I'm happy for you to poke giant holes in my arguments, so I can eliminate contradictions in my thought process.. if any.