Would you pay for software you can legally get for free?

Fleer

Feeding the Trolls
This is my thought too, also if you pay the developer there is a better chance of customer support and quick access to updates/fixes
^^^ This.
If you would allow people to download for free, they may just do that to check things out, similar to an elaborate demo.
Then, if they like it, they would prefer to pay if they get continuous customer support and access to regular updates.
I do believe such a strategy might work. The great thing about software is that continuous support and updates are easily distributed. This may be software's most important advantage. So, if you focus on adding content and updates, people would have all the more reasons to pay. Even if you allow them to get the base package for free.
 

bbunker

Senior Member
Play a little thought experiment with me. On this hypothetical webpage, how would you explain the situation? Would you say to feel free to share, or not? Advertise that it is perfectly legal to share, or not? Maybe recommend sites that you could download it for free? If it's legal to download elsewhere, why wouldn't you just provide an option of downloading it for free? Would you have a 'pay what you like' feature, or something like that?

Really, though, isn't the question this: "If you say that you're 'sharing' something, and then sell it too, isn't there something ethically wrong with THAT?" How can the people sharing what you've said to share possibly be thought of as doing anything wrong? The real question is how presenting your distribution of it as some noble gesture and then charging people for it isn't exploitative?
 

zvenx

Senior Member
There is something inherently wrong (in my logic/thought process) of expecting clients to pay licensing fees to use my music whilst I rob others who create some of the tools that I use to create said music, of their licensing fees.
rsp
 
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Maxime Luft

Senior Member
Could you please give me an example of someone/a company selling his/their software, while allowing it to be downloaded somewhere else for free?
That would be pretty bizarre in my opinion...
 
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d.healey

d.healey

Senior Member
Could you please give me one example of someone/a company selling his/their software, while allowing it to be downloaded somewhere else for free?.
Wordpress, WooCommerce, JUCE, Awesome Support, HISE, Musescore.com. Some of these companies dual license, for example HISE and JUCE are available under a GPL license and cost nothing however if you wish to use them to make proprietary software you have to pay a fee. Others like Wordpress and musescore.com charge a fee for related services. WooCommerce is a great example, they sell plugins for building websites, there are other sites that take WooCommerce plugins and sell them for a fraction of the cost, I still buy from WooCommerce though because I want to support the developers, I get timely updates delivered straight from their servers, and I get their customer support.

Play a little thought experiment with me. On this hypothetical webpage, how would you explain the situation? Would you say to feel free to share, or not? Advertise that it is perfectly legal to share, or not? Maybe recommend sites that you could download it for free? If it's legal to download elsewhere, why wouldn't you just provide an option of downloading it for free? Would you have a 'pay what you like' feature, or something like that?
Well it's not entirely hypothetical, the webpage is http://librewave.com but it's not accessible to the public yet. I would simply state the license that the software is released under and how the software can and cannot be used (just like any other sample library you might buy). I wouldn't give my products away for nothing because they cost thousands to make but there is no way I want to restrict the freedom of my users so I'm trying to find the best way to do both. I'm also considering a pay what you want type thing but I would have to charge a minimum simply because I use high-speed and secure servers and the data transfer and storage costs need to be covered.

"If you say that you're 'sharing' something, and then sell it too, isn't there something ethically wrong with THAT?"
Selling is sharing... unless you are meaning that sharing is only when something costs nothing.

How can the people sharing what you've said to share possibly be thought of as doing anything wrong?
I think we're misunderstanding each other here. If someone shares something that the copyright holder has given them permission to share then that is not wrong at all, as I said before, sharing is good, very good and very easy to do with software. Just think, with a simple copy and paste you can give someone an entire orchestra, I think that's a really nice thing to do.

The real question is how presenting your distribution of it as some noble gesture and then charging people for it isn't exploitative?
The noble gesture, if you want to call it that, is that I'm providing software that respects the user's freedom. I charge for it because I need money. Requesting money for a product I've made and put my own time and money into developing is not unreasonable. Look at it this way, usually when you buy a software product you are not allowed to edit it, modify it, check it for bugs, add features, check for malware, share it, resell it, loan it, etc. but when you acquire free/libre software (whether you pay for it or not) you are able to do all those things, isn't that worth something? And when the developer no longer wants to maintain the product someone else can take it on and carry on developing it.
 

wst3

Lunatic - it's really that simple
Moderator
why pay for software? I can only explain why I choose to pay for software, and to answer your question directly, I might download a free version to see if it met my needs, but if it did I'd pay for it. All the good ones have been mentioned, but my reasons include (in no particular order):

1) developers need to realize a return for their efforts or they will stop, there are examples to support that.
2) no hassles, no looking over my shoulder.
3) I like to treat others as I'd like to be treated.
4) most of the developers I've met are cool folks.
5) I am eligible for support and updates.

Music production is not my primary source of income, so my library collection is modest when compared to full time professionals. That might be an influence on my choice.

I am certainly no saint, but for whatever reason I've just never felt the need to pirate software. In fact when I first started using sample libraries I assumed the talk of pirating was overblown - who would bother to upload multiple CDs worth of data so others can get it for free? This was back when most folks had dial-up, and 9.6k was considered fast. I discovered I was wrong.
 

bbunker

Senior Member
Selling is sharing... unless you are meaning that sharing is only when something costs nothing.
Well, no. Sharing is not selling. And the actual cost of the item isn't significant to the terms of the transaction - an item being shared can have a cost associated with it or not. Per Merriam-Webster, the definition that is most operative for "to share" is "to grant or give a share in." You can't 'grant' someone a piece of something for a fee. You can't 'give' someone their portion for a suggested retail price. Or if you can, then literally every human interaction is 'sharing' something. Taco Bell shares their burritos to me. Best Buy shared a TV to me.

The 'b' in your first question remains absurd. You ask the question why would you download it and not pay, and the answer is clearly "BECAUSE YOU SAID I COULD." If someone puts out a pie with a sign "PLEASE TAKE" - then they really aren't entitled to sit around and say "why do you feel OK taking it - the only difference between taking that and theft is that I gave you permission."

Here's something to consider: 90% of the posts on this thread have no idea what your original post was asking. I'd wager to guess that it is because it was that self-contradictory and counterintuitive. More power to you to do what you think is right, but personally I'd take every sort-of-off-topic post as a warning shot.
 

JonSolo

Not Han's Brother
The original question is just strange. It is like saying the ONLY difference between consensual sex and rape is one gives you permission... OF COURSE that is the ONLY difference. But that is a HUGE ONLY...one that will land you in jail!

Same with piracy. If someone gives you permission to give something away, it makes no sense to sell it in the first place, so I really have no idea the footing on which your question lies, because I don't know of that happening where copyrights are involved.
 

Quasar

Senior Member
Let's say, for example, that I release a sample library for a nominal fee, and I also give you permission to share it if you wish. Would you (a) buy it from me or (b) find a free download of it? The only difference between this situation and piracy is that I'm giving you permission to share it.

If you say (a) what is your reason for purchasing something you can get for free, legally?
If you say (b) what is the reason you would download my library for free but you wouldn't download a pirated product (one that the developer hadn't given permission for their users to share)?

I have my own thoughts on this but I'd like to see what you guys think.
To answer your original question (rather than get involved in yet another drearily predictable high-handed discussion about piracy), it depends on context. If it's presented as an honor system, one in which a payment is asked for but not demanded, I would absolutely pay for it because I believe in supporting these kinds of approaches. I may download a free version as a trial, but it would then either be paid for or nuked from my drive in pretty short order.

This sounds like the Reaper model, essentially, or at least closer to it than anything else I can think of. I don't carry much of an association between what is ethical and what is legal, because I live in a capitalist society in which social norms regarding economic right and wrong are almost entirely upside-down, and my enthusiasm for doing the "right" thing tends to be inversely proportional to what I perceive to be a zombie-like subservience to capital.

So Reaper is the very LAST piece of software I would ever dream of taking advantage of without paying. Your model, at least insofar as I understand it, would fall into the same category.
 

bigcat1969

Senior Member
He is talking about licensing GPL which is really for software and not VSTs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License
Except he wants to make sure the samples aren't GPL which is a very grey area akin to releasing a game as GPL but the art assets and music as creative commons non-commercial. Basically he wants to be true to open source while still making sure he makes his investment back.

So bluntly would you buy his instruments if I bought them uploaded them to my file storage and gave them away free? That is the question.

Also sidenote if you release the samples CC Non-Commercial they can't legally be used for any commercial purpose so no one who buys your library could use it for selling music that they make with your library. This is why I never use non-comm stuff from Freesound.
 

blougui

Senior Member
I don't get the question. Isn't this what Native Instruments does ? Kontakt player is free and then you pay for the content.

Like the others, I am having trouble seeing exactly what you are saying.
I think Bigcat1969 has explained what’s the original question/queery is all about :)
 

gregh

Senior Member
I don't really care about the legality at all, I prefer to pay people for their work. I click donate buttons, I sometimes buy stuff from small devs just to support them. I think a lot of people act similarly.
 
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d.healey

d.healey

Senior Member
The original question is just strange. It is like saying the ONLY difference between consensual sex and rape is one gives you permission... OF COURSE that is the ONLY difference. But that is a HUGE ONLY...one that will land you in jail!
Whoa, no no no. That is not the only difference! Let's leave rape out of this.

Same with piracy. If someone gives you permission to give something away, it makes no sense to sell it in the first place, so I really have no idea the footing on which your question lies, because I don't know of that happening where copyrights are involved.
Well it does happen and I've given examples. I'm surprised to see here that so few people seem to be aware of what free software is. You know you can take any free software, like GIMP for example and you can sell it.

You can't 'grant' someone a piece of something for a fee.
I think the stock market would disagree with this. But I think we're drifting from the topic, I'm not talking about giving pieces and I'm not talking about physical objects, I'm talking about the ability to give a copy, an identical clone, of something to you and in software we call that sharing whether there is a cost or not.

The 'b' in your first question remains absurd. You ask the question why would you download it and not pay, and the answer is clearly "BECAUSE YOU SAID I COULD." If someone puts out a pie with a sign "PLEASE TAKE" - then they really aren't entitled to sit around and say "why do you feel OK taking it - the only difference between taking that and theft is that I gave you permission."
This is something that is happening every day, which is why I'm interested to learn why people do pay for software they can get for nothing.

Here's something to consider: 90% of the posts on this thread havehttps://duckduckgo.com/ no idea what your original post was asking.
I think you're right, and I think the reason is because very few people understand what free software actually is and they don't realise that this software is all around them and they are using it every day.

I don't get the question. Isn't this what Native Instruments does ? Kontakt player is free and then you pay for the content..
Kontakt player costs nothing but it isn't free software, it's freeware, the two aren't synonymous. You can't for example look at the source code of Kontakt player, make changes, add features etc. and then pass it on to someone else.

So Reaper is the very LAST piece of software I would ever dream of taking advantage of without paying. Your model, at least insofar as I understand it, would fall into the same category.
Yes Reaper is very similar, although it is not free software... yet.

Owning a lot of stuff feels good.
I think you might be right.

He is talking about licensing GPL which is really for software and not VSTs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_General_Public_License
VSTs are software. For example here is the source code for a harp library I'm working on https://github.com/davidhealey/libreHarp - it's free, you can take it and do with it what you want.

Except he wants to make sure the samples aren't GPL
Samples can't be GPL, they don't have source code and the GPL needs source code.

Basically he wants to be true to open source while still making sure he makes his investment back
Yes, 100% correct. I want to make commercial freedom respecting software.

So bluntly would you buy his instruments if I bought them uploaded them to my file storage and gave them away free? That is the question.
Pretty much. Except I know people will buy them, I more interested in why they would buy them.

Also sidenote if you release the samples CC Non-Commercial they can't legally be used for any commercial purpose so no one who buys your library could use it for selling music that they make with your library. This is why I never use non-comm stuff from Freesound.
Yes I'm pretty sure you're right about this which is why I said I'd use something like CCNC, but it would need to allow the user to be able to use the samples to produce music, they just wouldn't be able to resell them as a sample library, at least not without heavy modification.

Oh that was a lot of quote!
 
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mouse

Active Member
The original question is just strange. It is like saying the ONLY difference between consensual sex and rape is one gives you permission... OF COURSE that is the ONLY difference. But that is a HUGE ONLY...one that will land you in jail!

Same with piracy. If someone gives you permission to give something away, it makes no sense to sell it in the first place, so I really have no idea the footing on which your question lies, because I don't know of that happening where copyrights are involved.
You're right, re-selling software that was purchased legally under a GPL license (which means if you buy it you can re-sell it) is akin to rape. Way to blow that out of proportion...
 

bigcat1969

Senior Member
The intent of Linux is be the operating system for your computer and the intent of Reaper is to be a DAW. They are fully functional pieces of software in which the code is what is the important part and the graphics and sound are secondary. The intent of a sample based VST is to play samples. Without the samples a sample based VST is worthless. The samples are the important thing. Raise your hand if you are willing to pay Spitfire thousands of dollars for their engine without the samples. We buy the samples and need the engine to play them. It is like claiming a car body is the same as a house. The engine and drive train are a wee bit important. As you point out samples aren't code. It's like modifying Ifranview and including it with a terrabyte of pictures and claiming the viewer is what you are selling.

Your harp does me no good without the samples. I give away a shell too. I don't claim it is an instrument. Ordinary users don't care about the source code for instruments, they want something that opens in their DAW and makes noise. Seriously does a single person who has replied to this thread care about source?

The reason they don't understand free is because GPL redefines free. They say free as in speech because apparently you can charge me if I want to say something but I have the legal right to say something after I pay a fee. i'm gonna open a restaurant that gives away free food, advertise it on TV as free food and when people try to leave charge them for the food and explain that they were free to eat the food or give it away but they have to pay for it and I meant free as in speech. Yeah that's gonna go well.
 
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d.healey

d.healey

Senior Member
BigCat, you're missing the point. This isn't a discussion about GPL software, I'm interested to know how people feel about being able to share software without being labeled a pirate, and why they would choose to pay for software they can get for free. Just because source code isn't useful to you doesn't mean it isn't useful to other sample library developers. Lots of snippets of code that I've shared are already being used by other developers.

The word free has two meanings, GPL doesn't redefine it, it just uses the other meaning - liberty. It's about respecting people's freedoms, whether or not they make use of those freedoms is up to them.