Sunday, January 24, 2016

A History Of Piracy

Back in the late 80's and early 90's I had a few computers - first a Commodore 64c and then an Amiga 500. With both computers, I pirated the hell out of whatever software I could find. Games were very expensive back then, on average costing $29 or so. That's a lot of money for someone making minimum wage ($4.75).

Back then, I ran an old BBS called "Fire & Brimstone BBS" and had it hooked up to my C64, then to my A500. I had some software on it but the 2400 baud modem was never that quick compared to today's internet speeds.

Piracy back then consisted of "swapping" parties. You grab your monitor, computer, disk drives, software library, and blank disks (usually bought from futureshop for 99 cents a floppy -- 3.5 inch diskettes. We'd meet at some friend's basement and hook our computers on a saturday afternoon, eating chips, trading games and copying a ton of them. It was a great way to meet people you'd never meet otherwise.

Sure, I used to go to computer-model meetings (eg. Manitoba Multi-Computer Users Group, now defunct), and that was fun.

We had special programs and even hardware dongles that allowed us to byte and sector copy almost anything. We even had to photocopy manuals and stupid copy protection "wheels".

I ended up selling my Amiga back in 1993 and never got another computer until 2003. Piracy now is really just going to a torrent site, and downloading whatever you want.

I certainly pay for my content. I pay for cable and the movie channel. I even pay for PPV events like boxing and the occasional UFC fight.

I stopped renting DVD's from movie rental places in 2003. Now with the advent of Netflix and other streaming services out there, it doesn't really make sense to use DVD-rental services like "Redbox".

I don't know anyone who pays for porn anymore. Back in the 1980's, you had to order and pay for VHS or Betamax tapes with porn on it. Now you can practically find porn on any search engine with little problem.

I do have a problem with some technology advances. It made it easier for child predators to reach out to children and sexually assault them. I am glad Microsoft has teamed up with the police to track down on child pornography. When even people like Jared from Subway gets busted, you know it's a big problem.

You won't be able to stop piracy. Truth be told, I pay for all my games now. It doesn't make sense to take the risk and install a suspect "cracked" game with trojans / malware in it. Steam sales are great, and it's quite fun.

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