How-To Geek

Software Piracy: The Untold Tales [Infographic]

The first software piracy was paper-based? Adobe profits from the widespread pirating of Photoshop? Learn about these and other fascinating piracy-related trivia in today’s infographic.

Hit up the link below for a full-res version courtesy of Star Media.

Software Piracy: The untold Tales [Star Media via Visual Loop]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/25/11

Comments (19)

  1. Andy

    Free filesharing. Free filesharing. Free filesharing. Just because of some highly questionable laws and outdated patent system exists you cannot associate filesharers with pirates stealing shit from ships! It’s filesharing, not piracy!

  2. Grant

    @Andy It is copyright infringement, though, and MAY deprive the legitimate copyright holder of a sale. Solution: Use software licensed in a way as to allow you to use it without this restriction, and pay for support as needed.

  3. AbbaDabba

    So, if the loss to software and music industry is estimated on how many estimated copies are stolen in a day, what is the loss to the Auto industry? Don’t they have thousands stolen every day? How come you don’t see them whining about their lost revenue and trying to get sympathy? How come they don’t have an Automotive Industry Association suing car thieves? How come they don’t have Congress in their pocket passing all sorts of new laws, like the AMCA (automobile millenium cartheft act)???

  4. brad

    I think that the price on the Adobe Photoshop says it all. 95% of the people downloading that application don’t actually have the money to go out and purchase their own copy, thus they turn to the file sharing. With that in mind the revenue lost stat is highly bloated.

    Honeslty, if a company has a decent product, the “priacy” of file sharing actually makes them more money. More people that have it, the more that it becomes the standard, the more licences that companies will purchase. If I were the president of Adobe I would look at the download stats and smile, then send a letter to the security development team and make sure that they put the newset updated key generators on TPB.

  5. Nat

    Adobe richly deserves piracy of its products. Their prices are obscene!

  6. dave

    Economics 101:

    when the price set is higher than what the market calls for, then you have illegal markets or loss in sales as the demand for the product remains there.

    so the amount of sales lost when looking at the number of illegal downloads isnt really accurate. the supply is always maxed out when the price is free!

  7. BobO

    AbbaDabba, When you make a pirate copy of software the supplier still has the original copy. The only loser is the author or copyright holder who may be deprived of a sale.If you steal a car the previous owner now has no car and will probably buy another. The auto industry must love car thieves.

  8. esam

    when people raise up using a certain software they get used to it. when they get employed they will demand their company to purchase the software.

    i think that many software should be free for home users.

  9. wangxy

    For those of you who think Adobe Photoshop is too expensive, there is one effective answer: GIMP(or Paint.NET as another option). If you find GIMP/Paint.NET is not sophisticate enough to accomplish your tasks, then it is the right time to pay for PS and you indeed should. And I believe it is the right time that you have accumulated enough experience to use PS effectively with the help of GIMP/Paint.NET.

    Nowadays, almost every piece of commercial software can be substituted with opensource software or freeware to achieve the same goal. If you really have to use a commercial one to be professional-looking, you should pay for it no matter what. There is no need to pirate software in this age.

  10. Spence

    The biggest joke is MS Office… The number of people that THINK they need that, especially MS WORD, is obscene compared to how many ACTUALLY need a sophisticated word processor that utilizes style sheets, macros, embeds graphs and spreadsheets, etc etc. I feel sorry for all the ordinary home-user folks that pay for, and use, MS Word to write a paragraph or two of plain text to send off to friends… for that matter there are likely quite a few small business and corporate users who also don’t need MS Word but think that they do. I always advise folks to use WordPad until they find that it cannot do what they need it to do… because most ordinary home-user folks would be satisfied knowing WordPad documents can include rich formatting (bold, underline, italics, etc) and graphics, and you can link to or embed objects, such as pictures or other documents. I’m not positive at what point a home or small business user would find WordPad inadequate for their needs, but myself, I’ve never received a .doc that couldn’t very easily have been created as .rtf in WordPad. What I’m saying is that verrrrry few people have the need to pay for MS OFFICE or MS WORD… OR to fileshare either one. That they are led to believe they need it is only because of lack of understanding… they were hoodwinked!!

  11. Dogan

    Copyright laws, disrupt the free market by legalizing monopoly gains on a price rather than market determined prices. This gives birth to “so called” piracy.

  12. jeb

    if you sell 100 ‘things’ for $100 or 10,000 at $10 which produces the most profit?

  13. Spence

    In case you thought the answer to your question was too obvious to state, I just hope you know that there are costs to making sales… so 100 sales incurs less overhead than 10,000 sales, thus produces more profit.
    On the other hand… I don’t understand why you asked the question.


  14. Mike


    I am sure Jeb can speak for himself. But If you read it in the spirit in which I understand it to be written in, The exact numbers he used and you quoted really don’t matter. The point is If you lower the price to gain a wider customer base, the profits can still be maintained. If more of a mass market approach is chosen then not near as much money need be spent on advertising, packaging or delivery. If after a fishing trip you totaled all the expenses to a total of $500 and realized you only caught one fish, would you be grateful you only caught one fish believing two would have cost you $1000? No, you wouldn’t. The second fish would only cost you the additional bait.

    As far as the additional over head is concerned, most times it is cheaper in volume. So carton printing or disk stamping may be cheaper per unit. Online sales are prevalent today. make it available for download and let the customer print the user guide or burn the disk. If you are still worried about cost for bandwidth, make available a torrent and send out via email a registration key.

    Just to let you know where I am coming from, I do sell. It is not the additional costs involved with making a sale that keep me up during the late night hours, it is the idea of not making the sale at all.


  15. Monicoj

    It’s a classic question: sell more for less or less for more. I wish Adobe could change it’s way of thinking. Their prices are insane!

  16. gary

    Microsoft is just as bad as adobe. windows 7 has how many variants? At least 7 different versions which, as they step up, include a few extra features which are accompanied by a steep price increase. Windows 7 ultimate costs 220 usd just for the upgrade. Linux I far more secure

  17. gary

    (Cont. Accidentally hit submit)

    Linux is far more secure, does all the same things windows does and sometimes a lot more efficiently. There is a little learning curve when switching but anytime you use something new that’s to be expected. Plus Linux is free. Just as much hard work goes into Linux as windows or Mac os. As the other Guy said, there’s open source version to everything. Spending ungodly amounts of money on an os that is a magnet for malware and viruses is just plain stupid. You wouldn’t spend 50 grand on a car that began having problems within a week of owning it. Why spend all that money on software that is flawed by design? The programmers know of the problems, know how to fix them yet leave the problem to the end user who may or may not know how protect themselves from malware and the like. If I pay $300 for software I expect it to be airtight.

  18. Mo

    I’ve been using computers and isntallating different application for about 9 years.. u know the funny thing i’ve never never never purchased an application. i’ve like 1 TB of downloads. Honestly i would have paid but i’m in Somalia we don’t have credit cards in here :)

  19. Leonick

    Again with the potential revenue… Very few of those 16990 who pirated Photoshop would ever buy the product, specially not at full price…

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