As a part of the SAP ecosystem, we try to plug in to the community in as many ways as possible.
That means sponsoring SIT events, attending conferences such as SAPPHIRE and SAP TechEd, perusing websites like the SAP Community, running social media accounts on platforms such as LinkedIn, and joining Facebook and Telegram groups. During our time on social media, however, something has stuck out like a sore thumb—post after post offering up copyrighted content at a discount or even, in some cases, free. This is illegal—and it hurts the community of SAP users all around the world.
How so? For one, it promotes a “get-rich-quick” environment where one group promises guaranteed jobs, SAP certification, or gigabytes of content that can help you in your career. But rarely do these promises get fulfilled, leaving those who purchased pirated content with less money, wasted time, and if things go really awry, without a job.
But pirating content doesn’t just hurt the community. It hurts content creators who take the time to make these products, too. You yourself also risk legal trouble when offering, purchasing, or downloading content through avenues they weren’t meant to be distributed in.
Posts like these are promoting pirated content and should be reported for removal. But perhaps you’re wondering why this is a problem beyond the obvious violation of product usage terms. The following sections will help shed some light.
Pirating Hurts the Community
One of the most popular types of posts in Facebook groups are “dumps,” in which the poster is offering access to scores of pieces of content on a specific topic. This allegedly includes e-books, video courses, lists of interview questions, certification preparation materials, and more—in one case, the poster was promoting over 100 GB of material. Most of these posts offer the packaged materials for a set price, much lower than if one were to buy them all for market price.
Notice, however, the use of the word “allegedly” in the above paragraph. We say this because in many cases, dump posts include comments from people who have been scammed out of their money, with no delivery of the promised materials.
In other cases, people complain of receiving the dump only to find that the materials are incomplete, out of date, or otherwise unhelpful.
No matter the outcome of the dump—no delivery or outdated content—people are being duped out of their money. And with little helpful information being transferred, people’s time is being wasted too. Could you imagine spending time practicing for an interview or certification with this material only to find out it was not helpful in meeting your goal at all?
This harms the community in more ways than lost money and time. When people use dumps to cram for interviews or projects, they aren’t learning in a productive way. Sure, they may get the information needed to pass, but unless they are putting that knowledge to work it’s unlikely it will be retained down the road. How many things do you remember from late-night university cramming sessions?
Ultimately, productivity is harmed as employers hire undertrained employees who find themselves in over their heads on projects. This gives those consultancies and other freelance consultants a sullied reputation.
Pirating Hurts Creators
Creators spend a lot of time on producing content—videos take time to record and edit, and books can sometimes take up to a year to write in their entirety. While most of these creators have day jobs, they expect and deserve to be rewarded for the time put into these projects. Book royalties, course registration fees, or YouTube ad revenue don’t necessarily make or break the bank for creators, but every little bit helps.
Furthermore, when people share copies of material online, it signals to the creator that their time is not valued. They could have been spending time with family or pursuing other hobbies, but they chose to create SAP documentation to help others. They should feel like their effort is worth it.
Think of it like this: as an SAP consultant, you put hours and sweat equity into coming up with workflows that maximize your earning potential. Think of all that work in creating the tools you can offer, not to mention the time and money spent marketing yourself to clients and then getting hired. Wouldn’t it be a travesty if the client took the practices you showed them, turned around, and sold them at a discount to others in the market to make an extra buck? How would you compete?
There are many knowledgeable SAP users who spend time creating free blog content and videos for learning—sharing those sources is encouraged because it was offered for free; there was no expectation to be paid. But when authors sign book contracts or offer to host courses and teach via video, they expect compensation for their work. Each copy of the content that is sold is an indicator that their knowledge is needed and respected. When the content is sold via a third-party or given away for free, it’s a signal to authors that they shouldn’t put the time and effort in. So they forgo future opportunities to create. The result? Less content available for the SAP world to consume.
Pirating Ultimately Hurts Yourself
You still may be wondering how pirated content hurts you, and it ties back in to the community and the content creators mentioned above. You see, if people are less willing to put out content to help others grow their SAP knowledge, then you’ve lost a valuable resource for helping further your career. Yes, it’s a paid resource—but quality things are worth a quality price—think of the high prices of Apple products and you’ll get the idea. By paying for e-books, video courses, interview prep, etc. from the source you’re making sure you’re getting relevant and wholesome content. Maybe one day you’ll be able to put your knowledge to use and create a paid product for others to learn from too!
Sharing illegal copies or selling pirated content also gives the community a bad name—and you’re part of the community. As employers and consultants grow in the belief that the employee pool is “watered down” with those who learned from outdated materials and other unethical means, it ultimately becomes harder for you to get that job you wanted, even if you took all the right ways to get there.
And finally, since pirating is a crime there is the very real threat of legal ramifications. While these vary depending on the country you live in, those who own and share illegal copies of materials can face fines or imprisonment.
The SAP world is a tight knit community, and people generally like to look out for one another—so it makes sense why sharing paid content is a popular posting strategy. But doing so hurts the people that put time and effort into creating such content.
Perhaps you didn’t know about the prohibition against sharing paid content. Regardless, we encourage you to join us in keeping the community accountable and ethical—promote free resources such as the SAP Community, our Knowledge Center, and the SAP PRESS Blog. Call out and report to group administrators things such as dumps, e-books, and paid video courses that are being marketed by third parties. Together, we can work to create a healthier, stronger world of knowledge sharing.