I get a lot of technical questions in a lot of different places. Email, telephone and various forums I am a member of. One of the things that I don’t feel comfortable answering questions about avoiding paying for software. In part you can get free software, it is normally called an NFR, and companies sometimes give things away to seed the market. Reviewers often get Not for Resale versions of software to review and share opinions about.
But any other method of getting free software is one I don’t comment about. Artists spend their creative energy creating something; software developers do as well. Taking that without paying for it, either music, software, art or video is wrong. I have argued with some people over the years who say the companies make too much money. But this isn’t about the companies. Stealing creative ideas impact the artists most of all. It impacts the person who writes the code, not the company selling it. My rule with software has always been if I use it, I own it. If I don’t use it a second time, then I don’t upgrade it.
Someone has to write the code. Write the music, the script or shoot the image. That someone is the one you are hurting by stealing software, music, video or other art. The impact isn’t in the big company; they simply take the loss off their taxes. If they catch you, they take you to court, and you lose money. Or worse, if you have enough illegal software, music or other things on your computer, you go to jail.
I don’t answer questions about how to help people acquire illegal software. I don’t let illegal software exist in my house. The one time it did, the person left and hasn’t been back to our house in more than three years.