Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer
But would those individuals have paid if they couldn't pirate? Some maybe, but a lot more probably not. And if they wouldn't have paid anyway, who cares (other than HarryT)?
Those who don't pay for it and honestly (ironic I should use that term
) wouldn't pay for it if it were not available illegally for free, cannot count as a lost sale. That said, I'm sure many claim they'd never buy it anyway when in reality if they only had the option between buying it or not having it at all, they'd often buy.
We can argue about the advantages pirates may bring in spreading word of your software to others who are honest and will/do buy it, but that's a discussion for another day :P
The crux imo is that if those people are not and will never be a source of income, logic would say forget about them. Don't waste money pursuing them. Look after your real customers.
Which does make a degree of sense. However, if nobody anywhere pursued any copyright infringer because they're never going to be a customer anyway. It sends the message to everyone who was borderline that it's ok to pirate, you'll never be caught, you'll never be fined etc Over time I believe (I could be wrong) more and more people would start to pirate because on the face of it, it's a victimless crime. Which I think is true, up until you hit a tipping point where there's insufficient people still buying and at that point, companies close/change their line of business and we end up with fewer and fewer choices of entertainment.
I do think money should be spent going after those running pirate sites and providing the original copies of pirated material. Those people are likely a much much small group of the entire piracy community, so stopping those will have a greater impact on illegal downloads and the costs of ensuring sufficient evidence is gathered to avoid prosecuting innocent people can be justified.
But as with drugs, you can't only ever tackle the high end dealers, sometimes you have to warn/caution the end buyers too. What you shouldn't do is focus entirely on the end users.