I'd just like to congratulate you for having
the courage to post an article on such a controversial
topic, especially since a large part of the audience is
a bunch of programmers that feel very strongly about it :).
It's important to contest generally held ideas like that,
and I think it was a good article despite all the people
who flamed you (and even though, as I said, I don't agree).
I, for one, wouldn't have had the guts to put up such a thing.
Oh, and thanks for responding personally to each of our
comments. That reply was even longer than the article
itself, ne? :)
Difficult to support
It's hard to support a position that piracy actually
benefits the industry (as in, the developers who are trying
to sell software). Yes, you can come up with many convulted
theories but personally, in the absence of proof, I
tend towards the common sense explanation: people will
tend to buy software more if it is impossible for them to
get it for free. There are a few examples to support this
view, also: UO, like someone else mentioned, and console
games. Piracy of console games is comparatively rare (to
my knowledge) yet they sell much better than PC games.
Also, all companies selling proprietary software are flat
out against software piracy. I don't think there would
be such a consensus among the parties with the most
interest in the matter if any piracy was beneficial for
I think a better tack you could have taken is: do the
software developers deserve to be paid at all, just because you are using a copy of the software they wrote? RMS takes
the position that no, they don't, therefore don't hesitate
to make "unauthorized copies" of their software. And it's
an argument that holds together very well if you have his
value system (personally, I don't). If you feel a need
to morally justify your piracy, I suggest you read some
of his essays on free software instead :).