Just a few quick notes...
It may look like a victimless crime, and really, there are situations where it is. But that doesn't make it any less legal, and if something were to happen like an errant copy of Photoshop 3 LE were to end up in http://68kmla.org/~coryw/
somewhere, or anywhere on the forum, then I would still be liable and Adobe would have every bit as much right to sue my face off, as they would if I were pressing physical pirated copies of Photosh[url][/url]op $CURRENT_VERSION and selling them for money.
The whole thing is about context, and a big important thing ot note is that it's not necessarily adviseable for us to all start running old (pirated or not) copies of various pieces of software in professional roles, or to advocate that on a large scale.
It's one thing if a few children on an Internet forum don't buy it -- it's another if the whole "abandonware" movement gains traction, especially in, say, [urlhttp://lowendmac.com/myturn/2k0615.html]the form that Knez describes it[/url], where software companies would need to start providing support for software after either a certain number of years, or one or two major versions.
These days, that means that Adobe CS3 and CS4 would be fair game, presuming Adobe took the "number of versions" route. This could actually kill Adobe. Plus, some of the stuff that comes in new software versions is actually useful, and I would hate to have to say to someone, "oh, sorry, there won't ever be a new version of X, because all of X's users abandoned the idea of ever paying for it again, because the five year old version "worked just fine." -- It sounds like hyperbole, but you just KNOW that there's a healthy contingent of (let's just say...) Microsoft's customer base who would totally run back to Office 2003 on Windows XP hanging off of Windows 2000/2003 domain controllers running Exchange'03. Microsoft can take the hit, Adobe probably could, Apple almost certainly could -- but could Panic
or Omni Group
? Each of these companies sells various pieces of software, and has almost certainly talked about tight financial times on their blogs. They're doing well today, but in a universe where OmniGraffle 3 is free, and you can convince everyone you need to work with to have OmniGraffle 3 on hand -- OmniGraffle6 is unlikely ever to exist, purely because there's suddenly no money in creating commercial software at all.
The idea is nice in that romantic "look, I have all of the software!" way, but let's look at it another way -- having a 68k Mac (or even many PowerPC Macs) completely loaded with era-appropriate software is incredibly unrealistic, experience-wise. When the $10,000 or so Mac IIfx was new, the average administrative assistant probably pulled in $12,000 or so (if I'm remembering correctly), and the rule of computing was that the more expensive your computer was, the fewer pieces of software it had. Expensive machines of the time were very much single-purpose. Your computer was there to collect data off an instrument, or run calculations, or host a database, or host e-mail, not be an email server, run Excel, browse FaceBook, and play a game or do chatting all at once.
The big question is whether or not any of these companies (smaller ones, especially) would transition to an open source software model in an effort ot make their operations more lean and find different ways of making money from software. Support contracts and selling end user support (for "unsupported" versions) could potentially be a big way to make money in an industry whose biggest profit center has been taken away.
Or, the whole thing could be hyperbole and the only effect could be that it's now legal to put PhotoShop 5 on your PM6100.
The other noteworthy thing is that it is NOT true that something a company posts online for free can be re-posted without repercussions. Microsoft has licensed Microsoft to post the Windows 7 ISO on the Internet for free. Microsoft has NOT licensed you or megaupload to post the Windows 7 ISO on the Internet for free.