I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Let’s Think of Piracy As Free Marketing

This whole debate about whether Adobe’s subscription model is a good idea or not brings to mind a lot of arguments I’ve been making for years about all “pirated” media. Trying to ignore the fact that people are going to copy your software (or film, or music) is myopic and insane–that’s just the way the world is. What’s more, today’s pirates are tomorrow’s paying customers. Here’s Rick Webb on the fact that his piracy of Photoshop ended up making Adobe a ton of money:

So, by my calculation, I have now personally overseen the procurement of well over $250,000 of Adobe software through the years. Software I learned through piracy. Piracy that gave me a career.

If we were to draw a Venn disgram of A) people who are learning how to use a given piece of software, and B) people who can afford said software, A and B would most likely not overlap at all. When I learned to edit video, I was a poor college student with poor parents. Anything other than Kraft “Dinner” was a luxurious feast to me. The likelihood of my being able to pay for Premiere or Vegas or Final Cut was nil. I couldn’t have made a single film without pirated software–and I wouldn’t be paying for that software now.

I understand that Adobe wants and needs to make its Creative Suite more profitable–but they may find that while they make a little more money from current customers, their potential new customers end up going in other directions. Rick Webb again:

I wonder how the next suburban 15 year old nerd will learn Photoshop. I guess they’ll become GIMP Jockeys. Sad.

Yup, pretty much.