At 10:07 PM 3/9/2004, Brian Guralnick wrote:
Look at what I just received in my in-box...
i need protel 99 se for desingning my projects
so if u have it full working or crack please send
me as possiable

My own response to this person would be

You can get it the latest version free from Altium, full working.

Someone may be able to give you a Protel 99SE demo disk. It's possible that it is also available somewhere for download. This would be a full-function demo, 30 day time limit. After the 30 days, continued use could be a violation of the user agreement and might require a hard drive reformat.

I do know you can get Protel Advanced Schematic and Advanced PCB version 2.5 from various web sources. These are full-function demos. PCB has a size limit.

If I were Altium, I would not invest much in the way of resources trying to track down this sad sack. He's not going to buy the program no matter what, so if he uses an illegal license, Altium will not have lost any income. Making an example of him will probably have little effect on other piracy.

The interesting thing about software piracy, when it comes to a program like Protel, is that the probably effect of it in the long run is an increase of sales. Why? Well, as long as such piracy is illegal and does not become the norm, it will have little effect on sales. And in the event that the illegal user does eventually become part of a successful organization, that organization will need to have legal software. What will this user recommend? A program that he'll have to learn, or one that he knows? Let me guess....

I've never seen any statistics on the effect of strong anti-piracy measures. The experience of the music industry might have some lessons, though music is quite different from engineering software. It would be interesting to know if my theory is correct: Activation, as a strong antipiracy measure, might be hurting sales. Some users, perceiving activation as a planned failure mechanism, avoid buying software that incorporates it. I know this is the case with some programs, it is true for me. (I've been upgrading every year an accounting program that we use. Except this year, because of Activation. That company's major competitor tried activation and abandoned it, I think their sales suffered.) So the question is which is the greater effect: Gain in sales as users who would have used a pirated version use instead buy the program (I don't think this happens very often with expensive software), or loss in sales short-term because of user rebellion plus long-term loss from reduction in the conversion of illegal users to legal ones. I suspect the latter is the case, but it is not easy to test and I certainly have no proof. Activation has a significant cost, especially in support, so a neutral effect on sales would be a net loss.

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