An article on Slate.com argues that firms should sometimes tolerate or encourage the unauthorized copying of intellectual property like music or software. The article argues that piracy can be a form of promotion and that, when it comes to expensive software, it can help a particular product remain well known and widely used in the workforce.
This is definitely true of Adobe’s Photoshop – the world’s premier software for image editing. Buying a copy in a store costs nearly $1000. As such, if everyone using Photoshop actually had to buy a copy, it would rapidly cease to be the industry standard. In order to be a graphical artist these days, you need to know Photoshop. Very few people will buy the software in order to learn enough to get such a job. That said, when amateurs who have developed their skills with pirated versions of Photoshop progress into professional artistic or graphical careers, they will bring both skills and a preference for that specific piece of software along with them.
By creating and maintaining a pool of Photoshop-savvy individuals, Adobe protects its market share among the corporations that actually do buy copies of the software they use. No wonder they have never gone out of their way to make Photoshop difficult to copy and distribute over the web. Adobe seems to be fairly savvy about such decisions, in general. Another example is Acrobat. If you actually had to buy software to open PDF files, it would never have become the industry standard for document distribution. In many cases, those making PDF files are willing to pay Abobe for software that lets them do so easily and well. Once again, giving with one hand allows Adobe to take with the other.