PIRACY HURTS US ALL
In the past several months, Atari-specific trade shows, particularly World of Atari in Anaheim, Calif., and the PACE show in Pittsburgh, Pa., have received a lot of bad press. Not only did both shows attract smaller-than-expected crowds, but some heavy software pirating ruined the shows for many vendors.
Trade shows are a traditional spot for companies to show off their latest releases and these two shows were no exception. But something went wrong. At World of Atari, for instance, Codehead was there to hawk the latest versions of Maxifile and Hotwire. On the second day of the show, both programs had managed to find their way to a local pirate board.
At the PACE show, things really got out of hand. MichTron was there to sell a new paint program for the STE called Canvas--so new, in fact, that it hadn't yet made it to dealers. According to George Miller of MichTron, on the second day of the show someone returned the program to himunopened and demanded his money back, because, he claimed, "My buddy got it off a bulletin board, and I'll just get it there." To add insult to injury, the gentleman told Miller he felt he was being "ripped off" by MichTron.
Every machine format experiences piracy, but it's even worse in a market as small as the ST's because the losses can't be absorbed as easily. Quite simply, when someone copies and freely distributes a commercial program, they're committing a crime--copyright laws are very clear in this respect.
The legitimate buyer--and that's the vast majority of users--must be aware that piracy is a problem. The ST community needs the talents of its programmers to maintain a thriving market. It's unfortunate that pirating rather than poor sales may be the force that drives them to other markets.
One thing the Atari developers have done to combat piracy is to form the Independent Association of Atari Developers. The IAAD is not affiliated with Atari Corp. and membership is open to any registered developer. The IAAD is also a great place for developers to trade program ideas and marketing strategies. To join, log onto GEnie and type PERMIT$.
Reader Survey Results
Initial response to the reader survey in the May 1990 issue has been astounding. Many thanks to those who took the time to fill it out--you're giving us the best proof that you take your reading seriously. We'll publish the results in the October 1990 issue.