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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Staff editorial: Software downloads

A recent study found that 23 percent of college students and 30 percent of professors have downloaded software and many have never paid for it. This should not come to a shock to anyone who knows how popular it is to download music.

The Business Software Alliance, which conducted the survey, hopes that there will be more efforts to teach students and faculty that downloading software is wrong. This lesson is already being taught in AU's information technology classes. While these lessons do not reach everyone at AU, it is a start.

It is important to note that students, professors and others who download software find it easy to justify their actions. They say that software companies charge too much. When they say this, they often think of one figure - Microsoft head Bill Gates. It is easy to forget that Microsoft is made up of plenty of employees besides Gates who also make money when the company's software is actually purchased.

One solution, at least on college campuses, is to offer educational discounts on software programs that students and faculty use. One example is the University of Texas, where students can buy some Microsoft programs for $1. This is an amount that many people would have no problem paying.

However, there is the possibility that people downloading software now could be good for the companies in the long run. If someone downloads a program for free, that person will probably get used to the program and be more likely to pay for it in the future. If common people never get used to using certain programs, they would probably never pay for them.

Another positive side effect from downloading software is what happened to music companies after they charged exorbitant prices for CDs. When people decided that $22 was too much for a CD, alternative means of attaining a CD emerged, such as peer to peer software or pay-per-song programs. While the business and music market are still hurting from decreased sales, markets have proven to be the most effective way to reform the music business.

At this point, downloading pirated software doesn't appear to be a significant problem - at least not on the scale of Napster vs. RIAA - but it could become one without an attentive and innovative industry. We hope that the software industry has more success than the record business.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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