[This was originally published on attrition.org.]
Crime pays. Those who question this only need to look at recent events surrounding a software company and one of their products. A company called Curious Labs currently develops and sells a graphic software package called Poser. It is widely used and respected by hobby graphic artists and professionals alike.
Recently, Curious Labs announced a new Poser 4 Amnesty Deal. From their announcecment:
If you have a questionable Poser serial number of any origin or a copy of Poser that was part of a special promotion (such as a magazine cover CD), you may purchase a fully legal upgrade to Poser 4 here. The cost is $ 129 US plus shipping, and you will be entitled to registration, technical support, upgrades, and all other benefits available to Poser users. Thanks again, and welcome to the Poser community!
So if you are a law abiding citizen who does not own any copy/version of Poser that wishes to purchase it, you must pay $219 dollars for it. If you are someone who partakes in software piracy (often times a felony), you can purchase the upgrade for $129 dollars.
This course of action clearly supports criminal activity and encourages legitimate users to resort to piracy to get a cost break on a new copy of the software. What is interesting is the wording of the Curious Labs announcement in which they say:
“.. government agencies routinely offer amnesty programs allowing people with outstanding items such as parking tickets, taxes, etc. to settle these issues without penalty.”
The choice of wording here suggests Curious Labs is not aware of what amnesty means. For example, agencies such as the IRS offer amnesty for those who have not paid their taxes. In offering amnesty, it does not mean there is no penalty for paying during the amnesty period. It means there will be no additional charges/penalties. “Pay your back taxes and penalties now, and we won’t send you to jail.” Curious Lab’s analogy is poorly worded and attempts to cover the fact that they are screwing over their legitimate customers.. who spoke out on graphic art forums read by everyone involved.
I paid *TWO HUNDRED NINETEEN DOLLARS* for the full version of Poser 4, like a good citizen. I have supported Curious Labs stance against warez. And now… now, you’re going to reward the little warezers by giving them what I legitimately paid for at a hundred dollar discount! Unbelievable. Well, you’ve just lost a supporter. You and your program and your company can go to hell.
In case any of the CL folks have forgotten, we are customers, you are merchants. That means you convince us to buy your product, so we will give you our money, and you have jobs. Guess what? Insulting people like this is not the way to do it.
I am simply adamantly against criminal behavior being rewarded, and saddened to see a reputable company take such a stance.
More to the point is the precedent this begins to set. Crime pays, and they are handing out the check. Another responded:
I’ll go one futher – as I stated in poser forum, and as other people have, this is a bad precedent. You don’t reward criminals. Period. And software pirates don’t buy software – as SeaRose stated: someone who pirates a $5 model and posts it on the web isn’t going to pay you $129 for a legit copy. And a different note [she said the bit on piracy more eloquently than I care to right now]: Software CUSTOMERS have real damn long memories. What’s wrong with amnesty is that you’re rewarding theft and you’re slapping your customer base across the chops.
For readers of the forums at renderosity.com, they are greeted with the following:
Welcome to the Poser Forum!
Please support Curious Labs and the Poser community by reporting any suspected illegal use of Poser and Poser Pro Pack to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This brought on the more amusing replies:
Does this mean that I can buy a 2nd poser 4.0 at that price for my son??
Or do I need to have an illegal copy first??
Should we know report illegal use of Poser.
Ahhh, sorry i forget.
Now all criminals become legal users.
Jack D. Kammerer:
please report all knowledge of warez to Curious Labs so that they can solicate them with special deals… heheh…
In short, it comes down to one thing it seems.
Sounds like CL is running out of money maybe, why else would they betray one of the most supportive software communities?
It is clear that Curious Labs has no regard for their full paying customers. Even if they offered to refund the difference for full paying customers, this move still has serious concerns. Supporting those who pirate software by giving them discounted rates on software is absurd. Not only does it betray the customer base, it doesn’t take into account that software pirates who weren’t willing to pay full price for the software aren’t likely willing to pay half price for it. Software pirates often don’t engage in piracy because they can’t afford a piece of software they need. It is strictly a target of opportunity. That in mind, Curious Labs has shot themselves in the foot here.
Warez Pups 1, Legit Software Buyers 0