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Freedown (loads)

<a href="http://nick.typepad.com/">Nick Bradbury</a>, author of <a href="http://www.bradsoft.com/topstyle/">Topstyle</a>, one of the most used CSS-editors around, <a href="http://nick.typepad.com/blog/2004/01/on_piracy.html">writes on software piracy</a> and how it affects him.
<a href="http://www.aaronsw.com/">Aaron Swartz</a>, accomplished teenage coder, <a href="http://www.aaronsw.com/2002/onPiracy">calls Nick an amazing idiot</a>.
The debate on the use of software (legal vs illegal) is interesting, but I must admit that Aaron's arguments don't quite hold water. A full blown-out war (exaggeration &copy;me) ensues on <a href="http://offlineblog.com/mtarchives/2004_01_04__181.php">Schoolblog</a>.
It was tricky when <a href="http://www.mezzoblue.com/archives/2003/09/09/copywrong/">CSS files of Zen Garden submissions were copied wholesale</a> or when <a href="http://leavesrustle.com/articles/122/">Nick Denton "stole" Noel Jackson's Fleshbot CSS experiment</a>. People argued that the construction of CSS files took only "one of two hours in a text editor" (can't remember where I read the comment), and therefore wasn't a big deal.
Topstyle isn't a few hours on a text editor. If it was even vaguely morally wrong to steal CSS files wholesale, there is no question about Topstyle. Some of the arguments on Schoolblog are disappointing, to say the least.
Aaron wrote on Schoolblog:
<blockquote>What�s the moral problem with me downloading Nick�s software when there was no chance of me buying it? I get the software, Nick doesn�t lose any money and possibly gets some free advertising. It seems everyone is better off; how could this be immoral?</blockquote>
It's almost like a guy saying it's ok to walk into the ladies' because he gets some exercise walking about too.There are consequences to certain actions, conditions to some benefits. Like Mama tells us: There ain't no free lunch. To think that you're doing Nick a favour by using his software without paying him is an slap to his face. He has worked hard on creating Topstyle and it is his to do as he pleases. He decides what price-point gives him the best returns. If there's no way in hell his pricing seems reasonable, you have no business using the labour of his hands.
Besides, when will an $n pricetag be more appealing than free?
I'll concede that I use pirated software on occasion. It's no point being hypocritical about it. Much as I like Topstyle Pro, I've not brought myself to buy it. Unemployment makes these purchases hard.
Nick, if you're listening, give me a free copy of Topstyle Pro for Chinese New Year.
Topic inspired by <a href="http://photomatt.net/archives/2004/1/9/assorted-links/">Matt</a>.

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