For many people in developing countries, pirated software is their only option. Legal copies of popular applications may not be available in their country, or if they are, the price may be unrealistic. Vlad Dudau of Neowin recently blogged about his experiences with pirated copies of Windows while growing up in Romania, writing, "And here’s the thing, it’s because of piracy that most of us have jobs today. Without all those hours spent learning the software, my friends and I would not have become graphic designers, or game developers, or technology writers. I daresay we would have been much less productive members of society."
Tim Cushing from TechDirt argues that piracy isn't only good for the pirates, it's also good for the developers: "If your software is either good enough or ubiquitous enough (and in rare cases, both), early experience with pirated software can lead to paying customers for life."
Cushing also quotes Bill Gates, who once said, "Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though. And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."