Software Industry Misleads China On Economics Of Piracy

from the tired-fallacies dept

Earlier this week we looked at Microsoft's unconvincing argument that software piracy is hurting the Indonesian economy, in their bid to win stricter anti-piracy laws. It seems that the industry has now moved on to China, trying to use the soft sell in convincing the government that they'd be better off cracking down on piracy, using many of the same arguments. While there may be a legitimate case that piracy hurts the economy, they seem to think they're dealing with fools. As Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, stepping up to the plate for the software makers, put it, "One study projects that if China cut its software piracy rate down from 90 percent to 80 percent by 2009, it would generate the equivalent of $6.5 billion in taxes, in tax revenues that could be reinvested back in society." Riiiight, except that why is it better to give tax money to the government and have them re-invest it, than to let businesses keep it and invest it themselves? You'd think the US was the socialist country. He also uses the specious argument that cracking down on piracy would lead to more jobs in software. If they wanted to, they could achieve the same thing by starting a massive state run software company. The goal should be to have an efficient IT sector, not necessarily one that employees a lot of people. Perhaps instead of trying to trick foreign countries using loaded data, the software industry would be better off focusing on products and services that present a compelling value for overseas businesses. Just a thought. Update: Seems the software industry and the Commerce Department are getting pretty cozy, as a former VP of the BSA has been confirmed as the department's new Undersecretary for Technology.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 1:29pm

    as a formver VP of the BSA has been confirmed as the department's new Undersecretary for Technology.

    yeah, why aren't we appointing someone that knows nothing about technology!? What's Michael Brown doing these days?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 1:32pm

    Riiiight, except that why is it better to give tax money to the government and have them re-invest it, than to let businesses keep it and invest it themselves? You'd think the US was the socialist country.

    What form of government is it, then, that allows businesses to steal from one another so they can "reinvest" the proceeds?

     

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  3.  
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    Doug G., Apr 7th, 2006 @ 1:51pm

    Riiiight, except that why is it better to give tax money to the government and have them re-invest it, than to let businesses keep it and invest it themselves? You'd think the US was the socialist country.

    Huh? Where does tax money go other than to the government? And the businesses don't have the money to keep, seeing as how 90% of the software is apparently being stolen instead of paid for.

    Then you insuate some sort of conflict of interest with your report that the Commerce Dept. actually hired someone with qualifications to be Undersecretary of Technology. The BSA operates much like a political organization; it seems to me that a VP from there would be ideal for a gov't position.

     

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    Jimbo, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 1:57pm

    Reinvestment

    Who's to say that the Chinese government would actually reinvest all of the money? I bet the police and military would get a large chunk, and the rest maybe for some raises for the rulers/leaders? Of course, Microsoft wouldn't say that directly ;)

     

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  5.  
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    tom, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 2:18pm

    Re: businesses really save around 100 billion

    If "it would generate the equivalent of $6.5 billion in taxes, in tax revenues that could be reinvested back in society."
    The real $ amount would be be around $100 billion they have to invest.
    China will only do something about it when they have something worth stealing...

     

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  6.  
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    Mike (profile), Apr 7th, 2006 @ 2:38pm

    Re:


    Huh? Where does tax money go other than to the government? And the businesses don't have the money to keep, seeing as how 90% of the software is apparently being stolen instead of paid for.


    Where does the money come from for those taxes? From businesses paying for the software. The point Joe is making is that there's at least some offset here. Businesses that don't spend the money on software can reinvest it in their own businesses -- which could be better for the economy than letting the government invest it.

    Then you insuate some sort of conflict of interest with your report that the Commerce Dept. actually hired someone with qualifications to be Undersecretary of Technology. The BSA operates much like a political organization; it seems to me that a VP from there would be ideal for a gov't position.

    The BSA has a history of taking a very one-sided viewpoint. It's a lobbying organization, and so the worry here is that this guy doesn't bring "the best interests of the people" to the job, but the best interests of the software industry.

     

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    UpNorth, Apr 7th, 2006 @ 9:28pm

    Re: by Mike

    "The BSA has a history of taking a very one-sided viewpoint. It's a lobbying organization, and so the worry here is that this guy doesn't bring "the best interests of the people" to the job, but the best interests of the software industry."

    Americans are way too polite and accepting of business to government relations. Up here, a political candidate lost her election after the scandal broke out that she was hosting a fund raising dinner with entertainment lobbyists as guests. I know, I know, your Repubs will tell you Canadians are a bunch of crazy socialists, but from up here it sure looks like America is fast becoming a corporate sponsored police state.

     

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  8.  
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    Patrick, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 8:54am

    90% of software being stolen

    If 90% of software is being stolen then I'm apparently one of the retarded people in the 10% who hasn't figured out how to do it yet...

     

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  9.  
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    Marshall Kirkpatrick, Apr 8th, 2006 @ 9:40am

    Could you please add paragraph breaks to your post

    They are really hard to read. Always great content, but so hard on the eyes! All of your commenters add paragraph breaks after your posts, please consider doing the same with the posts themselves. They look so bulky in my feed reader that I often can't bring myself to read them instead of just scanning by to look for something else.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 1:53am

    just so so

     

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  11.  
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    wiplost123, Apr 9th, 2006 @ 6:49pm

    To Microsoft,
    Not everybody can pay $200 for an operating system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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