Why I Pirate Software 🏴‍☠️


It’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all time. Whether that be in real life (i.e. spacial awareness), or online (i.e. digital presence), or your choices of software or software services.

Everyone wants the best value for money, and unless you’re a billionaire or someone who flaunts their parent’s credit card around, you most definitely wouldn’t be purchasing something at a price higher than you needed to pay.

Often with software there are heaps of competing programs, each having their own advantages and disadvantages - whether that be its feature set, customer service, price, or even pricing model. It’s important to assess what is the best solution specific to you, and ultimate pirate those products!

So, have I pirated before? Absolutely!

For example, I pi rate the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite 2 out of 3.14 (so about 65% π). Whilst their products are good, and whilst I do wish to pi rate them better, ultimately their pricing model as a subscription service turns me away (CS6 gang anyone?) in in search for alternative products.

Meanwhile I pi rate DxO PhotoLab a 3 out of 3.14 (nearly 95% π!), as their image denoising algorithms are amazing. It was totally worth purchasing the Elite version over the Essential version!

Disclaimer: Clickbait.. guys it was clickbait. IANAL (I am not a lawyer), but I don’t need to be a lawyer to tell you that software piracy is illegal (well any piracy is illegal). Don’t do it, it’s not a good thing. Again, it was clickbait

A comprehensive list of when it is okay to pirate software








Reasons / Excuses for why people pirate software

Reasons why you shouldn’t pirate software

It hurts developers

Piracy is a big issue

Companies spend alot on DRM protection and anti-piracy technology because they’ve deemed that it is worth the time, effort and money to attempt to mitigate lost sales. It is unfortunate that this is our reality; a company needing to spend money to ensure that they can stay in business.

On the bright side, it creates job opportunities for software developers I guess..

It takes pure genius - or more realistically - countless hours to write and develop good software. You might think that the people who made a certain game are amazing, but think about the other people who wrote the tools that were required to actualise that game development process! (Of course, props to the game devs still!)

I guess that’s sort of why I (a software developer) love delving into the backend and toolchain side of software development.
Yeahhh that’s right you frontend and UI/UX developers, without me you don’t exist. jk jk

Now if we developers don’t earn money from software sales, where else is our source of income for Doritos and Mountain Dew going come from? (FYI - that was a programmer stereotype joke).
But seriously, just like any sort of theft - it hurts the creator. Give enough lost revenue, and who knows, the amazing software or game you loved might suddenly disappear because the company has gone bankrupt. There goes your updates, your after sales support, gone.

Of course now, we don’t need to be too melodramatic about this.
Companies know that piracy is often inevitable - and it means that your software is popular enough for piracy to even happen; if so, good on you!

Some game developers like to have a little fun with these culprits. In fact, Game Dev Tycoon sneakily includes an anti-piracy measure which ironically causes players of pirated game copies to lose because of “increased piracy”, hah!

You can’t trust the source


A malicious person could easily release a ‘pirated’ piece of software that functions perfectly well, but unbeknownst to you, was imbued with virus - and you wouldn’t know it!

I teach computer security at UNSW, and believe me, getting hacked or having your computer system compromised is easier than you think.

“Oooh but I’m not like the others! I use a VPN and Tor browser and I browse with Incognito! I have top men who gave me state-of-the-art unhackable antivirus software powered by blockchain and machine learning and AI. I’m literally a god…"

Let’s shoot down some things real quick.

Sometimes, you’re not the perpetrator, but you sure could be a victim. Let’s be real, most parents aren’t the greatest with technology. It’s 2021 and I still have to tell my dad what is a scam and what is a phishing link - it’s a miracle our home network hasn’t been compromised yet (or perhaps it has, but I haven’t realised!).

The issue with being hacked, is that often you won’t even know. Malicious software can easily propagate through a network, from one computer to another. In fact it doesn’t even need to be malicious software - do you even know what data your smart lightbulb or smart home device has access to?

Who knows maybe even this webpage is doing something funky. Always aim to audit the source, even big companies can be sus.

Dibber Dobbers and Sellouts

Did you know that you can be rewarded for reporting illegal use of software?
If not, now you do.

Some vendors of pirated software might actually be out there to profit from you.

  1. Find pirated software
  2. Redisitribute it
  3. Log the users who download it
  4. Report the users
  5. Profit

These “redistributors” might even be legal or federal bodies - for example, a specific torrent might have peers who are legal agents for a specific production company. Given the nature of P2P technology, these agents would have access to your IP address! If you aren’t hiding behind a trustworthy VPN, these agents could easily file a complaint to your ISP, landing you a nice DMCA warning. One too many of these warnings, and hello lawsuit ~

It’s illegal.

Need I say this?

Also, even pirates have a code of honour, you’re just a criminal.

How to get around software piracy



DIY Piracy

Now instead of downloading pirated software, you could always crack the software yourself.

Now I could certainly explain how to do that, but for the sake of argument: This still illegal, and most likely violates the EULA or T&C of the software that you have downloaded.

Only do this for educational purpose, or if you have legal permission to do so (which you likely do not)

What about mods / extensions?

So this is a grey area. And again, I am not a lawyer.

If a software provides an official method for extensibility, then by all means go for it!
But if not, you may need to contact the software author.

Some types of software (i.e. games) do not have an official extensibility system, but the developers may not be against it - such as Skyrim or Minecraft.
The rationale behind this is two-fold: it gives the original author less work to do since the community would add feature themselves, and that it can attract further game sales as people find interest in extended features

Other developers might not be so happy with this, because at the end of the day you are modifying their code.

Earn Money

The easy way to get around piracy, is to simply pay for the software.
If you don’t have money, earn some money then pay for it.

Psychologically, people value things (more) when there is a cost associated for it.
For example, gym memberships. You would be more inclined to go a gym each week if you had a gym membership, than if you were not paying a cent.


If some piece sofware is too expensive, consider alternatives.

For example (picking on Adobe again)…

Side Note - The only issues with alternatives is inter-software compatability… It’s hard to share project files with others if you don’t use the same software…

There’s often lots of free/cheaper alternatives, albeit possibly less feature rich or less supported - but nonetheless still able to carry out their job

That said, I’ve yet to find a decent Adobe Illustrator competitor

You also need to again consider the pricing model.
Just because a software’s upfront cost is less/more expensive than another product’s subscription based model - consider the duration and time need to break even those costs.

Now, if you still have no money, or can’t find exactly what you want… then…

Learn to Code

Learning how to code is a great skill (if I do say so myself), as it makes you a better problem solver. And that you can make things! (I never understood how people get by in other university degrees without having any tangible product being made throughout their studies) (oh right they’re not studying in the first place 🤡) (wait but neither am I…)

And of course, if you don’t want to reinvent the wheel (or so as to say “reimplement” the wheel), you could always contribute to an open source project.

Personally I’m a big advocate for open source code!

Stay Legal

If you’re using software illegal, please stop :(.
Especially if you’re using software for corporate and business use.

Cheating is bad.
Stay loyal to your partner 👫
Stay legal to your software 💻

Also, fun fact - I paid for WinRAR.

More posts


Design Project A


More WiFi wall switches!

Adding more smart devices to my secure™ IoT network