Wednesday, August 08, 2001

On Buying Software Online

We recently bought the software Photojam from Yahoo Sales at the considerable price of US29.95. That's equivalent to three-fourths of our maid's monthly salary (considering that we are in a third world country). After the download, we checked the terms and conditions of the license and we saw the provision that we are allowed only one back up copy to be stored somewhere. In view of the fact that our PC is due for an upgrade, we stored ours at mydocsonline. where we can put this pricey software away from the vulnerability of a computer crash. It's hard earned dollars so we cannot take a chance.

We realized, however, that before we did the prudent thing, several things popped in our heads being the scheming lawyer that we are. To begin with, enforcement of intellectual property laws in the Philippines will probably take time (probably in the next century) before it catches us with an extra unlicensed copy of Photojam. So what's the fuss? In addition to that, the fragility of the product that we bought (it did not come in a CD and is available only for download) made us think of the hundred ways that this thing could be bugged, lost, erased, and burned along with the dollars that we bought them with. Surely one back up copy is not enough. Furthermore, the wonders of this product (it allows us to make pro looking MTV's out of the pictures in our hard disk)have surely attracted more than a million photojunkies like us. Thus, the Macromedia Group have made more than enough money on this one and will probably not feel the pinch of a single unlicensed back up copy of Photojam. It is likewise downright oppression for third world lawyers to be charged first world prices for software.

Yet, we prevailed upon the Mephistopheles within us. We realized that the legal recognition of intellectual property rights was a tough battle that artists and artisans had fought for centuries. It is only in this century that intellectual property rights have finally been recognized and rewarded with economic value. Imagine if Mozart only had Bill Gates's shrewdness. Mozart would have been richer than any king in his time! As for us, we have to follow the contract with Macromedia and have kept only a single back up copy. Then, we tested the product. It was really worth it. Look it up, our son Hans is on MTV. Click here.

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