Semi-serious thread here.
(And my first - hi!)

Hi, my name is smirky, and I'm a filesharaholic.

In all seriousness, ever since I discovered that I could download Adobe Photoshop 4.0 onto 44 floppy diskettes off of who knows where (IRC, I suspect... Undernet F-Servs), I've sort of had this tendency to sniff out ways to circumvent paying for software. Even before then, I'd spend hours downloading textfiles off of a BBS (&TOTSE), racking up my parents' long-distance bills.

Of course, I was 11 or 12 at the time (the good ol' h/p/v/a/c days), and couldn't have afforded the software in the first place, nor did I really need it... I just wanted to play with the lens flares.

I've always been fascinated by the ability to pirate software - much more software than I would ever need / could use. Even industry standard software, for the sheer thrill of it. I'd horde it on hard drives, I'd eventually lose everything due to crashes, start over with more collections... Napster came around, and I had to have full albums, not just songs... and when the internet sped up, movies were available... somehow, I've always had "connections."

Since college, this compulsive behavior has atrophied, and it never really affected my life outside of the internet...

But, my question to you all is, have you ever found yourself downloading for the sake of downloading?

If so, what do we make of this? Could this manifest as a diagnosable disorder in extreme cases? How do we factor in this compulsive behavior into corporate revenue figures? On the other hand, has piracy in the past led to your future support of certain software?

(I am a legal owner of Photoshop CS now; the skills I acquired by messing around with the software and learning from books throughout the years have influenced my career path... so, it seems, it all came full circle, sort of. With Adobe, anyway.)

What's your story?