I’ve been using computers since the late 70’s, and was part of the original community that called themselves "hackers’, and our basic ethos was, “hacking is an honorable endeavor to pursue knowledge as long as one does no damage and leaves no trace.” We would "get into systems just to prove to each other would could do it, and see what was there, but the pride came from nobody ever knowing they had been breached. There was never any malicious intent (unless we specifically wanted to teach someone a lesson. My old business partner once wrote a script in the mid-seventies and deployed it on a person’s computer who was not abiding by the “hacker code.” He turned the guy’s floppy drive on, and made it so it would not shut off, so overnight, the motor burned itself out.
Now I was no angel. I was young, and I certainly participated in the “pirating of software scene.” But I also bought plenty of programs because as a young programmer, I understood that software was someone’s (very hard) work, and to just pirate every program you could was basically theft. You were taking money out of colleagues pockets. We had an ethos. An ethical code.
Once America “got online” (AOL.) Everything went to shit. The masses, who had no understanding of the history or the unwritten rules of hacking, saw the internet and websites as a free-for-all. Like the mobs of looters who plagued cities like Seattle, Portland, Detroit and Washington last year, the new breed of hackers did not care about getting caught, who they hurt, or the damage they did. That’s why the penalties for cyberhacking have gotten so severe. The world cannot function without the internet. This is no longer a game. Trillions of dollars are at stake, and it’s not just kids pirating $50 games and spreading them around on BBSs. It’s malware, spyware, ransomware, viruses, trojans, worms, and dozens of other malicious programs designed to steal, corrupt and destroy.
There was an attempt (in fact I believe it still exists) by someone to create a Facebook group for BSS. Within 2 weeks, there were already numerous posts by people asking, “where can I download a cracked version of BSS?” Or, “where can I get a serial number for BSS?” Nobody was moderating the Facebook group (probably because it was created by some lowlifes looking to try and sell pirated versions of the program from the start.) I reported the group and quit. Not sure if it’s still there.
Fortunately, .bdesign files are not very useful to anyone unless they have the BSS program, so distributing them is probably not that damaging to the owners of BSS, but if their software is out on torrent sites with cracks or serial# generators (and it may very will be), that’s bad news, because these days, many younger people won’t buy what they can get for free. They are a different generation, and see everything on the internet that’s not nailed down (ie. sold through a legitimate website) as open season for the taking. For a small indie program like BSS become a massive, popular success, it has to be PURCHASED, so the developers can keep improving it. If it’s available on torrent sites, that almost assures it will never become big, because for every copy sold, 5 will be stolen.
Adobe faced massive challenges with Photoshop because it was always very expensive, and it was the most pirated program in history. Now that Adobe has gone to the cloud-based, SAAS model. SAAS has made piracy of software a thousand times more difficult. This is one reason why most new software companies that come out with novel programs these days use the SAAS model. The age of “buying software and installing it on your computer” is coming to an end, thanks to piracy.