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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