Concepts, Actors and Practices from the Past to the Present
Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Stathis Arapostathis and Graham Dutfield
Chapter 4: Software piracy: Not necessarily evil – or, its role in software development in Greece
October 1983 saw the release of a new magazine in the limited Greek computer press market as a supplement to the already well-established Computer for All magazine. The title of the new publication was Pixel, by Compupress. Pixel, directed at users of 8-bit and 16-bit home computers, was destined to prosper for the best part of a decade during the rise and fall of the home and micro business computer market. In the early 1980s, home computers were mostly based on 8-bit microprocessor technology (ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC 464, Commodore C64, BBC, etc.). In the mid- 1980s home computers that used the 16-bit technology began to appear (for example, Amiga, Atari ST). Pixel contained both standard articles and type-in programs and soon became the ‘bible’ of the home computer users. After just a few issues, Pixel started to cultivate a programming culture that promoted the idea of a user more actively involved in programming; a user that would examine a program and alter it by modifying certain commands, making a game more accessible to himself and others. Since most games were written in machine code, users had to have a grasp of that too and since most home computers are mainly remembered as game machines, this hobby programming posed a significant challenge to many users. The act of copying the original software was integral to this computing practice. In the context of the modern socio-technical environment, in contrast, software piracy is considered a severe crime to be heavily prosecuted in a world where software piracy runs rampant.
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