While organizations like the BSA and the SIIA play silly games
and announce bogus numbers
about the "costs" of software piracy, it's nice to see the whole thing beginning to backfire. We've already pointed to the backlash
against the BSA for its activities, and now we're seeing how these kinds of crackdowns are doing exactly the opposite of what BSA/SIIA members would want: they're looking for open source alternatives. Following the ongoing "international crackdown" on software piracy, it appears that the Vietnamese government is the latest to start promoting open source alternatives
. Of course, for proprietary software makers, this should be seen as worse than piracy. After all, as Microsoft and others have long admitted
, you're much better off if someone is using an unauthorized version of your software, than if they're using the competition (especially if that competition is free). If they're using an unauthorized version of your software, then at least there's a chance that they'll either buy it at a later date or convince others to buy it. However, by putting such a big effort into cracking down on software piracy, all the industry has done is highlight why people are better off going with free alternatives. This is a key point we've tried to highlight
in the past. The issue isn't piracy at all, but the fact that the competition will eventually learn to embrace "free." Focusing on "piracy" only helps accelerate that process.