Software licenses?


I know throughout school we all learned on, or even aquired ourselves not-so-legal copies of software, namely the expensive ones (Max/Viz, Maya, Autodesk) along with the smaller and somewhat more affordable ones... my question is, do any firms out there use pirated software for their design/drawings/renderings? How intense or accurate are the checks on that? Does that come up during auditing time or what?
That really sucks for people trying to start their own firms to drop 10-20 grand on software righ off the bat!

Dec 6, 05 2:43 pm

I would guess that small firms use the same stuff students use.

Dec 6, 05 2:47 pm  · 
Louisville Architect

yes, some firms dare to use pirated stuff.

checks don't happen often - but they do happen - and they are random. authorities can come into your office at any time with a warrant, based on just a verbal tip, inspect your computers and impound equipment as they feel might be necessary.

the consequences include fines and possible criminal charges. i wouldn't mess around with it. bite the bullet, write off the purchases as business expenses. better than jail time.

Dec 6, 05 3:01 pm  · 

software companies are getting smarter about licensing, for instance, abode's cs suite now only allows you to install 2 copies of its software unless you purchase more licenses. in order to install on a third computer, you must deinstall from one of the other computers.

as a small firm, my guess is that you won't have to worry about the software police knocking down your door. that said, all of the small firms i've worked for purchased their own software. the firms had been around for awhile though.

Dec 6, 05 3:01 pm  · 
liberty bell

A small-firm-friend in Philly had the AutoDesk police knock on their door. They shared office space with two other small firms and all got hit. It is definitely a risk.

Dec 6, 05 3:11 pm  · 

Adobe put out a fake CS crack a few years ago that wiped out all unlicensed Adobe software when you installed it - PCs only, I think. The only way to reinstall your Adobe software was to reformat.

Dec 6, 05 3:15 pm  · 

i agree with npc. i wouldn't mess around with it either.

Dec 6, 05 3:18 pm  · 

The only firm I worked for that was using pirated software (or at least that got caught) was a very large firm. The Microsoft auditors came in and found lots of redundant copies of MicroSoft Office installed and the firm was fined for each one. The firm insisted that each of these illegal copies was installed - unbeknownst to them - by individual employees without authorization to do so. This claim apparently reduced the fines somewhat. After that they made a big show out of having the tech people change all the settings and passwords on every computer such that it was now impossible for anyone but an administrator to install any software on any computer. Unfortunately while they were at it they also made it impossible to change even the smallest setting on any computer without an administrator's help. I had to fill out a requisition and wait days to have my screen refresh rate changed, for example. I didn't stay there very long.

Dec 6, 05 6:17 pm  · 

as the "technical kid" in studio who was asked to fix all the other kids' fubared cs installations when that happened, I can say that that was not what happened - adobe simply doesn't do that, too much potential to backfire.

what happened was one of the Pirate organizations (paradox) released beta cs software and labled it as final. the betas all have time limits on them (expire on such and such a date), so when everybody passed around that one set of cs disks, they all went to crap at the same time.

I have a friend who worked for a firm that got caught. Pretty sizable firm too, rumor was the fines were steeeeep. if you're not using the software to make money, they won't care so much, but if you are, you're better off being on the up and up.

Dec 6, 05 7:38 pm  · 

watch out for simple phone surveys asking the name of your firm, what kind of work you do (can be misconcieved as a potential client) and what kind of software you use. when all is said and done, you may find a nasty little letter coming your way alerting you that you have been flagged for using illegal software.

(easily shrugged off as a mass campaign to scare firms into purchasing legal licenses, but a bit too threatening if you ask me.)

in a small firm, that is alot of money to fork over for just a few licenses. i believe we paid for 4 licences at a whopping $800 per.

Dec 6, 05 7:49 pm  · 

adobe gets you financialy on their bundled software. to buy either illustrator, indesign, or photoshop costs something like $750. to buy them all together costs $1000.

Dec 6, 05 8:00 pm  · 

manamaan, so the time limit on the crack gave my friend the impression Adobe was wiping out all of his Adobe software? I only heard him complain about it when it happened - didn't look into it. Hmmm... I guess I like the paranoid story better - more exciting.

Dec 7, 05 3:16 pm  · 

Adobe's software is cheap, in comparison. Really, it's quite a deal for a grand - the video suite, too. Macromdia's Studio is a great deal, too.

Autodesk, on the other hand, along with Max, are not. I am still waiting for people to stop buying it, and I've yet to upgrade mine (doesn't take long for the 'reasonable' upgrade fee to become the entire new package price). I guess that's what semi-monopolies can get away with. For one machine we are talking $7k+, just for the basics.

Web designers and graphic artists, even motion graphic artists, have it easy and cheap (as far as software goes). Competition drove down prices in everything but the core architecture softwares (all Autodesk now). Hmmm....

Dec 7, 05 7:42 pm  · 

Has anyone heard of students ever being busted for using pirated software,even while in school?

Nov 24, 11 4:23 pm  · 

I wonder that too, Rasa

Nov 29, 20 12:27 am  · 

I dare say that I’ve never used pirate software. Our uni had the entire Autodesk and Adobe suites, along with SketchUp, Vray and Lumion. We also got the MS Office enterprise package. 

Don’t go the pirate route. 

Affinity have an affordable photo and publishing package, that removes the need for Adobe. Sketch up and vray will cost approximately £500 a year. Perfect setup for smaller practices, or sole traders. 

AutoCAD LT is also cheap. 

Not worth the risk. A bad lawyer and you could be out of a job and hanging your degree certificate above your bunk!

Nov 29, 20 10:41 am  · 

So I should purchase WinRAR?

Dec 3, 20 12:53 pm  · 

Considering the speed of the internet and the plethora of large file hosting sites, I'd ask why are you using rar files? Encryption?

Dec 3, 20 1:04 pm  · 
1  · 
I worked for a fabricator who was using pirated CAD software before I got there. Apparently, they got caught and Autodesk presented them options in a lawsuit or to lock in to a contract for 10 years to keep using their product. Not sure how exactly they got caught but it seems to be real - you can get caught!
Dec 7, 20 9:08 pm  · 

If you are a startup or freelancer and your orders simply cannot cover the cost of purchasing a license. It is quite normal to use demo versions of products. But if your job is highly paid. It is wrong to use pirated content.

Dec 8, 20 5:08 am  · 

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