Just Say No To “Crack”
The Internet is about exposure. It exposes us to more of both the good and the bad. As manufacturers, the Web allows us to find more sources, more buyers, more suppliers, more alternatives and more information more quickly than ever before, which can be good for your business.
Along with a wealth of positive options come many negative ones. Those of us on the Internet these days are exposed to things that assault our sensitivities or standards, no matter how tolerant we are.
On today’s manufacturing-rich Internet, “cracked” software continues to creep into the equation. Cracked versions of software—software whose security has been defeated so as to bypass the protections added by those who develop and sell it—have been around almost as long as software itself. However, the spread of cracked software has quietly, insidiously widened in the past few years, thanks—in no small part—to the Internet. The ease by which people communicate internationally, coupled with the confusion that results from the disparity between one country’s copyright laws and another’s, has created uncontrollable channels of anonymity that are extraordinarily conducive to this type of illegitimate exchange.
- According to the Software & Information Industry Association and Business Software Alliance (two groups that help to enforce software copyright and ownership regulations), more than $5 million worth of software is cracked and uploaded to the Internet per day.
- These same organizations report that the traffic that emanates from the servers run by the crackers of software—including machining-related packages such as CAD/CAM/CAE—account for approximately 35 percent of the total traffic on Usenet (newsgroups).
The dishonest exchange of cracked manufacturing software circumvents the incentives to grow and improve those programs, and it hurts us all in the long run by eroding the quality of products available. Furthermore, cracked software often lacks security features and other characteristics that diminish its effectiveness and dependability.
However, rationalizing a purchase of $5,000 software for $300 is still easy for some people. But while forgery and counterfeiting and dishonesty are as old as people and the economies they’ve created, every economic system requires levels of trust and honesty to be successful. You don’t have to look farther back than a few years to see the horrific effects dishonesty and avarice unchecked can have on an economy.
Although the scale of cracked manufacturing software is certainly smaller than that, the demand for it is no less menacing. It’s what keeps these channels open and flourishing. Keep in mind that those who are distributing the cracked software are not to blame—we are.
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