I have talked before about how my humble beginnings with technology put me in a quandary when I wanted to learn about technology that I could not afford. Fortunately, open-source software has been a boon to me and many others who are very curious about technology. In the past this gap caused a certain amount of piracy.
Of course, piracy is not anywhere near dead. Hugh Gamble pointed me to a wonderful article:What happens when pirates play a game development simulator and then go bankrupt because of piracy?
I won't summarize it for you, you really should go read it. It brings up a lot of points. I especially like the author's wrap up at the end. He doesn't fault people who can't afford the software. He does fault people who steal as a matter of course. I think this whole topic is fascinating. Technology enables good guys and bad guys alike. It creates chances for great sharing and progress and it creates an environment for utter ruin. I think the future of intellectual property will get over the "hoarding" phase and that we'll find the balance between sharing and properly rewarding contributions. Right now the point is really to share this wonderful story.