This post originally appeared on my old blog in 2013, but is still relevant.
I did it. I just subscribed to the Adobe Creative Cloud, and as I type this, I’m downloading Illustrator and Photoshop.
For what I have done, computer gurus and broke graphic designers everywhere will scoff and criticize me. They will turn their nose up at me and say:
“Why pay for Adobe when you can torrent it for free?”
ndeed, their question is relevant. Why would I, an already struggling college student, voluntarily choose to pay for software? Out of the people I know who use Adobe, literally all of them have pirated versions.
So yes, why would I choose to pay for Adobe?
I didn’t do it just because I wanted the best design software on the market, I did it because I stand for something. Below I justify my decision.
Someday, I want to be paid for what I create. A few years ago, I used to sell class notes online through a now-defunct service, and I was actually making some money. It helped defer my living fees and relax a bit – students who didn’t attend class could buy the study guides I made. For the final exam, I spent hours creating a 15-page guide and sold them online for $3, advertising them through emails to classmates.
The day after I put the study guide online, a guy bought it, attached it to an email, and sent it out to everyone in our 400-person class. The email said:
“Some douchebag is trying to charge us for notes, so you’ll find them attached.”
I was crushed. I made no money off that final study guide. Upset, I emailed him and attempted to explain his wrongdoing, but he didn’t care. He held me responsible, saying I was trying to “screw over the class for money.”
It was after that I realized: this is how artists must feel when they see their music pirated. After that I swore off pirating music – now I use Spotify to get all my music and stay legal. I do the same with my software. (The argument about Spotify being good for artists is one for another time.)
I respect Adobe. Adobe has been in the game a long time, and there’s a reason they’re the best – they work hard. For their intense influence on the business (and my own work) I have the utmost respect. To continue to produce their software regularly with a relatively lax approach to internet pirates is impressive and admirable. I’m glad to see they’ve finally taken a step and offered financially-challenged people a hand.
I want to obey the law. More and more of our lives are spent online, and the lines between our corporeal identities and our digital ones are blurring. In that respect, we are becoming more transparent thanks to the internet. I will not steal something on the internet – soon, it will have the same impact as theft in real life.
Yeah, laugh at me. But see what happens after you download that last season of Breaking Bad and your Internet Service Provider knocks on your door with a subpoena. I think you’ll change your tune.
I believe in a respectful internet economy. Since Napster took off in the 90s, the internet has been a hive of illicit software trading, from music to movies and the aforementioned Adobe software. The people who share these files think nothing of the original creators, the true heroes who wrote songs, filmed movies, developed software. Sharing files adds a sense of rebellion, of refusal to participate in the Fat Cat’s scheme – I know, I’ve felt it. Adobe software typically costs thousands of dollars – beating the system and getting them for free wasn’t just a rush, it was practical.
But times have changed. The rampant downloading of illegal software has caused corporations to crack down on downloading. One only needs to look at SOPA and CISPA to see that the entertainment industry’s copyright lobby is hard at work in Washington. Thus we’ve created a warring dichotomy – the torrenters keep finding new ways to hide themselves and share their files, and the corporations are battling to shut down the free internet almost entirely.
But I believe in something different. I believe in an internet where, out of respect for the creators, people pay for software, music and entertainment. It’s not that they can’t pirate something – it’s that they don’t want to. The future internet purchaser understands how much time it took to develop software, film a movie, or create a piece of art. They empathize with the creators because they too probably create and sell things it online.
If the internet was full of more people like this who respect the law and respect the economy, the dichotomy between copyright warriors and renegade torrenters wouldn’t exist, and the free-internet-dissolving talks of industry leaders wouldn’t be happening.
I believe in a future where we can trade information freely and pay respectfully for the hard work of others.
— Bryan Bumgardner (@BryanBLive) September 26, 2013
@BryanBumgardner Congrats Bryan! Can’t wait to see what you create! ^Mike — Adobe (@Adobe) September 26, 2013