Originally Posted by HarryT
Someone in another thread has just informed me that I haven't lost income from pirates "because I never had the money in the first place". I would liken this to me giving someone a pot of paint and saying "paint my fence and I'll give you $100". Then, when my fence is painted, I turn around and say "no, I'm not going to pay you." What's the problem? The painter hasn't lost any money because he never had it in the first place (according to my friend in the other thread)...
The problem of course is that I've taken advantage of the painter's labour and then reneged on my part of the contract - to pay for the painter's time in doing the painting. This is exactly analogous to piracy. You're taking advantage of the creator's labour, but refusing to pay for the work that you've benefited from.
What I was commenting on however, is that there's a distinction between copyright infringement and theft.
e.g If I nip onto a file sharing site and download a copy of your software, you have not lost any ability to sell your software to others, so it cannot be theft. You _may_ have lost money from me not paying for the usage of the software, I agree on that, however not every download is a loss, some are some aren't. That imho is why piracy and theft must remain distinct laws.
Regarding the fence analogy, once the person has painted the fence and been paid that's it. They've been paid $100 for the 10 hours work they just put in. They do not get paid anything further for time they didn't paint the fence.
With software, if you put in 100 hours and get paid $10 per copy for 100 copies. You've now made a similar rate to the fence painter who painted at $10/h.
In writing software you may have received recompense for the amount of labour you put in just as the fence painter did by hitting 100 copies (or whatever is needed to reach a suitable rate to compensate for the hours worked, certainly much higher than $10, but this is just a for arguments sake*value). To receive any more money under that same analogy, you would have to paint a new fence (i.e put the hours in writing a new product).
Software isn't treated like labour (the end product), hourly rates don't really apply, whilst the people producing it may charge an hourly rate, the final owner who sells it wants much more than to cover the costs of labour. Hence the analogy is imo incorrect. To count _every_ download/use of your product as a loss, then you have to treat the software as a labour only endeavour which would imply a cut off point any sales.
Once you've reached the hourly rate to cover your labour costs should you then expect to be paid again and again? Should the fence painter turn around the following day and say, I want another $100 but won't be painting your fence today as it's still got paint on from yesterday?
So, I return to my original point, there is no clearly defined loss for software piracy. Certainly not as clear as the case of theft or even breach of contract (i.e the fence painting payment withholding)