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Software Piracy

November 17, 1994

"The Pirates of the Internet" (Nov. 3) contains the claim that software theft represents a $2.2 billion annual loss to the industry. This number is absurd, and represents a logical fallacy that has permeated the entertainment industry for years. Theater owners who catch people sneaking into a screening think they've lost the price of a ticket, record companies who catch someone making a cassette of a CD think they've lost the price of a prerecorded cassette, and now software publishers who catch people making unauthorized copies of software think they're losing the price of their software.

All of these merchants are laboring under the misconception that the perpetrators would have spent the full retail price of the goods if they hadn't gotten them for less. This is ridiculous. Kids who sneak into theaters do so because they can't afford a ticket, music lovers who make cheap copies of music do so because they can't afford CDs, and people who copy software do so because software is unaffordable.

There's no way on earth I would shell out $60 for LucasArts' "TIE Fighter" game, but if I could get it for free, sure I'd give it a try. Since I never would have bought it in the first place, my "pirated" copy of "TIE Fighter" would actually represent a net loss to LucasArts of $0.

MICHAEL DARE

Hollywood

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