What to do when teacher asks you to pirate matlab

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Hi everyone, we have a CS module on which the teacher chose to use Matlab and gave us pirated versions (setup+crack) but the activation process didn't work for me, maybe it has to do with recent windows 10 versions. I applied for free trial and was able to get most assignments done but now I have an exam next week and we'll use Matlab and my trial expired.Is there a way to get a one day free license or something similar? I'm broke so no way I can afford the license now :( NB: The teacher doesn't care so if i complain about license activation not working I'll just get a zero and fail the course.

Accepted Answer

John D'Errico
John D'Errico on 7 Jan 2022
Edited: John D'Errico on 7 Jan 2022
You want us to tell you how to steal the software that we all essentially paid for? Sorry, but we can't help you. Once the free trial is up, it is up. You MAY be able to convince them at Mathworks to extend the license. Whether they will is their choice, not yours. I would talk nicely to your contact at The MathWorks. Perhaps, mentioning about the cracked version you were given to use is a bad idea, as they may have less sympathy for you then.
If not, I'd suggest you figure out how to download and use Octave, a fairly close MATLAB clone, that is free. If not, oh well. Life is not always fair.
  4 Comments
Michelle Hirsch
Michelle Hirsch on 10 Jan 2022
Michelle here - I'm the head of product management for MATLAB. I'm sorry about the situation you are in. It's obviously completely inappropriate for your professor to be encouraging you to use a pirated copy of MATLAB. We try to make it really easy for schools to provide MATLAB for students, teachers, and researchers so that people aren't in this situation. Last I checked over 7 million people have access to MATLAB just via our Campus Wide License program. For the remaining schools that haven't adopted this program we still have other low-cost options like classroom licenses.
In situations like yours where the school isn't providing licenses, the recommended option is to just buy a student version of MATLAB ($49 in US) or the MATLAB & Simulink Student Suite (12 products, $99 US). These are intentionally priced in the same ballpark as textbooks, though unlike most textbooks they can be useful throughout your time as a student.

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More Answers (1)

Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 7 Jan 2022
So open software is great?!?! One word "log4j". Enough said?
Here's some more open software vulerabilities:
Maybe that's enough to scare you.
As far as unlicensed commercial software, there's the legal ramifications. You're young so you didn't go through the massive software license checks that were done like 20 years ago when all big companies had to prove that they had a purchased license for every copy of software on the computer. They're still going on though there is greater complicance now so it's not in the news anymore. Many companies didn't pay for all the copies they had and had to pay huge penalties (basically just buying the software but maybe fines - I don't remember the penalties but it was NOT fun for anyone involved and very costly and time consuming for everyone). John probably remembers that time. The cost was so high and time involved so extensive that companies now tell you that you are not allowed to have unlicensed software on your computer. If the laywers find out, you're toast. It's cheaper to buy the software than try to save a few buck.
No one wants to get a letter from Microsoft:
The High Cost Of Microsoft Audit Penalties
If stress kills, then receiving a notice with the opening line “Your organization has been selected to complete a Microsoft License Verification process” is practically lethal. As unpleasant as software audits are, if you have licenses with heavy-hitting vendors like Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle, it’s likely that software audits and compliance verification are just an unfortunate reality of business. So what are the Microsoft Audit fines and penalties that you could face when you receive an audit request?
So what kind of money are we talking about? Here's snippet from the National Law Review:
The copyright owner may elect to waive actual damages and profits in favor of seeking an award of statutory damages that range from $750 to $30,000 per copyrighted work. If the court finds that the copyright infringement was willful, it can increase the statutory damages to up to $150,000. In sum, an infringer can be found liable for very significant damages, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
Accidental license violations can be expensive
Not only does use of unlicensed software place the infringing company at financial risk, but copyright holders can also seek to impose personal liability against officers and directors of infringing companies when those officers and directors knew of, or encouraged the use of, unlicensed software.
In light of the significant financial risks to a company and its officers and directors, it is critical to have a policy in place that prohibits the use of unlicensed software. The company should review this policy frequently to remind all necessary personnel of the company’s stance on software licensing.
While many companies may already have policies in place that prohibit the use of unlicensed software, those same companies may unknowingly be violating software licensing agreements that apply to socalled “trialware.” Trialware programs allow a user to install a program for a limited period of time, after which the user must either purchase a license for that product or uninstall that product from the computer. These products can result in accidental license violations if there is no follow-up to determine whether a license has been purchased for that product or whether it has been uninstalled. For example, commonly used compression software allows the user to download, install, and use the program for free for 45 days, after which time the user must purchase a license or uninstall it. If the company does not have a policy of tracking software installations and following-up on licensure, that “trialware” software could cause one to accidentally violate the Act.
Did you see the part about officers/leaders of the company personally having substantial financial risk? I'd be shocked if the professor's university was okay with him exposing the university to those kinds of legal judgements.
For more info:
  8 Comments
Image Analyst
Image Analyst on 8 Jan 2022
Yes I did compare MATLAB to log4j. I'm not saying commercial software never has vulerabilities but my company has spent thousands of dollars and many people's time to correct log4j's security problem. We didn't have to do any of that for MATLAB.
Many students who buy heavily discounted software for a course consider it just another required resource, like a textbook. Many textbooks are in the same price range. But I suppose you also (to be consistent) rail against publishers for not providing their textbooks for free.
Many programmers in the real world (Mathworks) included write software and get paid for it. They have to make a living somehow. I'm not sure how you'll make a living once you're out in the real world writing your software and donating it for free. Not everyone can afford to be so generous with their time as you. Maybe you can apply to Mathworks -- they'd probably love to have an employee who writes software for free.
If you went out to a computer contractor and asked to have some custom software written specially for you, do you think they'd charge/milk you for providing that (like Mathworks, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.)? Or should they also provide their software to you for free?
Like Bruno, I seriously doubt the instructor provided you with software plus a license crack. That would be grounds for him to be fired. He probably provided you with the University's academic license and you just misunderstood. You can verify that with him.
But in the end, if he really did provide you with illegal software, you did the right thing in questioning it and you should either ask the university how to get onto their licence or buy the student MATLAB, which is no more than a normal textbook in price.

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