Does The Punishment Fit The Crime For Software Piracy

from the very-harsh dept

A good article from the WSJ (reprinted at MSNBC) looking at whether or not criminal penalties (including jailtime) are too harsh for recreational software pirates. It used to be that pirating software was just a civil offense, but now you can look forward to jailtime if you’re caught. The article points out the problems with a number of different explanations the software industry has put forth about this. There is, of course, my favorite software industry myth, that assumes that any piece of pirated software is a lost sale. That’s ridiculous. Most of the people who ended up with the software never would have bought it in the first place – so there’s no loss involved. It also takes on the assumption about the number of jobs that software piracy costs the industry. That idea comes from the ridiculous assumption that if 20% of all software is really pirated, software companies would need to hire 20% more people. It’s good to know that we base our laws on ridiculous assumptions.

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