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Posted: 13 October 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: General Blog

Eastern Europe. A land terrorized by blood sucking undead and shady politicians. A land forgotten by time, where old men wearing colored T-shirts speak with a guttural voice, their throats ravaged by homemade alcoholic drinks. Even the names of some countries sound similar to a 50's B-grade movie title: Romania. Belarus. Bulgaria. If that wasn't enough, Eastern Europe is ravaged by pirates. Well, not the "Yarrrr!" type. Software piracy is so common around here that it became something like a tradition or a national sport. People are accustomed to downloading illegal copies of movies and games daily, with no fear of legal repercussions. Around here, everyone has a Facebook page directly linked to a torrent account. We download the shiznit out of everything the West throws at us. But how and why did we Eastern Europeans turn into software buccaneers?


1. Poverty


My monthly income is somewhere around 380$. My wife earns approximately 300$, which is quite okay for Romania, considering the minimal wage is 200$. For those mathematically impaired, that's a total of 680$. We live in a small apartment, with a monthly rent of 200$. We pay almost 130$ for commodities such as electricity, internet subscription, water etc. That's really not that much if you think about it, but keep in mind our total income. Now, Diablo 3 costs 65$. A new computer game costs almost as much as what I would earn if I'd work part time, like most of the students do. If you aren't tired of all this math, imagine that you could buy 100 blank DVD's with the same amount of money, to store your downloaded movies and games FOREVER, till the end of the Internet!


2. Compulsion


We've been doing it for so long it became a reflex, you know, like gagging. When they stick a 60$ price tag down your throat, torrents seem like a good solution. After all, how much damage can one pirated game cause to the Industry? It's not like really stealing something, is it? As a matter of fact, that's exactly how 64% of Romanians think and about 80% of Ukrainians and Belarusians, according to a survey done by the BSA. People point at you and call you names if you buy a genuine copy of Need For Burnout or Crypt Raider. Staying legal is a safe way to condemn yourself to 50 years of exile in some remote gaming communities.



No one told me they came up with a crack for Max Payne 3.




3. Eastern Europe is uncharted territory


Our very existence is still doubted by some big names in the software industry. No one gives a flying duck about Eastern Europe. Sure, they want you to believe they do, but in truth, they don't. Online support service for sinister countries like Serbia or Moldavia is too scared of vampires and The Lich King to actually work properly and there is no such thing as a "special offer" or "bonus content" available for the awkward commie Europeans. Speaking of communism...


Hic sunt pirates




4. Eastern Europeans are a bunch of communists


What is copyright, comrades? After all, do the capitalist pigs deserve our hard earned money? The Internet is for everyone! Equal amounts of [insert bad internet content here] for every man, woman and twisted, evil, sick grandpa! 


Truth be told, our society is still scarred by communism, whether we like it or not. People are reluctant to spend money they could use to buy food or medicine on a piece of software they can so easily download from the comfort of their Transylvanian cold, crypt-like, haunted mansions. Buying a PC implies a huge financial effort around here, so spending even more on software is a ludicrous idea. How is this related to communism? Well, during the commie regime, people had to do their best with limited resources. The ability to make something out of nothing is even nowadays highly regarded, so there's no surprise eastern Europeans are reluctant to put an end to piracy. 



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