BSA Blaming Professors For Students Downloading Software

from the get-a-grip dept

It appears that the folks at the BSA are getting a little jealous of their colleagues at the RIAA for making fools of themselves and absolutely missing the point of downloadable content. The BSA has now come out with a study warning that college students have no problem downloading software illegally, and that it’s all the fault of professors who encourage this sort of thing. They go on to say, in their standard exaggerated way, that this is going to be a huge “gateway” into software piracy. This is their version of the “escalation” argument. First you learn to download music at college, then software, and then you go on to a life of crime! Let’s help the BSA take a step back and think about what they’re doing. These are college students who don’t have the disposable income to spend $700 on a copy of Photoshop. However, by having them download a copy, they learn how to use it, and when they enter the workforce, they’re much more willing to buy a legitimate copy of the software. I know that’s happened with plenty of applications and people I know. They first discovered the applications at home or at college by getting so-called “pirated” versions – and later ended up buying a legitimate copy for work. The BSA, however, insists that every downloaded copy is a lost sale. In many cases it’s actually a promotion that is leading to a sale that never would have been made otherwise. Cracking down too hard on software downloading on campuses is going to have the opposite effect from what they intend.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “BSA Blaming Professors For Students Downloading Software”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Tony Lawrence (user link) says:

So if you can't afford a car, it's ok to borrow on

OK, the big software vendors are being stupid in not providing low or no cost versions of their products – either less featured, older, limited license, whatever. That’s a given.

But: there are plenty of Open Source alternatives and most of those are either outright free or do have limited use, home use, “lite” etc. versions. Stealing software still is stealing.

korko says:

Re: So if you can't afford a car, it's ok to borro

correct me if i am wrong .. YOU CANNOT STEAL SOFTWARE … it is just copyright infringment …
software isn’t sold it is licensed …

i agree that software should cost considerably less or nothing if it is used for non-commercial purposes .. not for earning money …

the price of software is overblown compared to what garanties the producers offer for their software …

Zonker (user link) says:

Re: So if you can't afford a car, it's ok to borro

Stealing software still is stealing.

If you own a dictionary, please look up the meaning of the word “stealing,” because you obviously have bought into the RIAA/MPAA/BSA definition — which is fundamentally flawed. If I steal from you, I deprive you of the use of your goods — whatever they may be. I’m not arguing that illegal copying of software is moral or correct in any way — but it is not stealing. Trying to equate making an illegal copy of Photoshop with actually taking someone’s physical property is just wrong.

AMetamorphosis says:

Moral dilemma

I really don’t care about what others think of me in the moral sense for choosing to download pirated versions of software. I do not make any profit off of the software I download. I download programs such as Photo Shop & Visual Basic so that I can LEARN how to use these over-priced but very necessary skills, thereby increasing my chances of getting a better paying job.

Companies rarely, if ever offer ” training versions ” of their software. If I am hired by a company for my knowledge of Photo Shop or VB, I have ensured that Adobe or Microsoft can sell another license to the company that employs me.
Just because I did not buy a copy to begin with does NOT mean that there are lost sales.

BTW … I do have a moral dilemma with people who download software, use it for money making purposes and do not pay their fair licensing fees.


Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Wonderful rationalizing by all of you. If you down load copyrighted software you ARE BREAKING THE LAW. Don’t care if you call it stealing, misuse of copyrighted material, etc. Read the bottomline, IT”S AGAINST THE LAW.

A number of companies provide lower cost alternatives to their more expensive products and most are fairly reasonable without being completely feature devoid.

For those who can’t afford them, they should look at legit alternatives, open source software being the most likely solution. IF Enough users choose these alternatives, the companies would likely lower their prices in the name of competition. As it is, with everyone ‘having to have’ photoshop, powerpoint, etc, it allows companies like Adobe and Microsoft to inflate their prices to what ever level they desire.

AMetamorphosis says:

Re: No Subject Given

So what ? So YOU think its breaking the law. Big deal ?

Provide sources or links for companies that provide lower cost alternatives to their product.

By the way, every tech company I have worked for uses Microsoft, Adobe etc.

What alternatives are you suggesting ?

And don’t read a book you borrow from the library because according to your interpretation, use of a copyrighted material is AGAINST THE LAW.

Legality does not equal morality nor does it equal ethical culpability.

Go suck an egg Mitch Brainwol …

Mick says:

Re: Re: Um...

as far back as 15 years ago both Adobe and Microsoft offered steep discounts on software for students.

I picked up a copy of office 2000 for $10 at the University bookstore when it was released.

A friend of mine just bought Adobe inDesign, photoshop, goLive and illistrator for $150 from the UC bookstore, so these options are available.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Okay, Mitch, so I guess I thought people were able to read and do their own homework; my fault.

First, as stated already, both microsoft and adobe offer discounts for student versions. For an easy listing of whats available try

Go read a copyright statement or EULA or whatever and you should be able to interpret what it means as far as legal vs. moral. Unless I’m dealing with a kid (or it’s mental equivalent here).

As for libraries, a book’s copyright provides for that type of provisioning as the book is borrowed and returned to it’s lender. Just like you can borrow a friends (you have friends ?) CD and listen to it to your hearts content; legally , you are not permitted to make and keep a copy for your own use.

Finally, alternatives. Did you mention the part about open source in my original post ? GIMP is a fair alternative to photoshop (and free) and OpenOffice is a fair alternative to Microsoft office (and again free). Databases ? Try Mysql or PostGresSQL (again both free). You’ll find that many progressive companies are seeking individuals with these talents as they to are tired of paying the prices required by the Microsofts and Adobe’s of the World.

The Egg is back to you. Suck away.

Milnesy says:

Re: Re: Re: This is rediculous....

AC, you sound like the poster child for the RIAA/BSA.

If you want to say that Libraries can allow you to borrow the book and return it to the lender, then why can’t they use that same reasoning for software. I mean, if you borrow software from the library, you have to give it back.

“Just like you can borrow a friends … CD and listen to it to your hearts content; legally , you are not permitted to make and keep a copy for your own use.”

What about swap meets. You remember them right? Where avid music listeners would get together and swap tapes, and/or make copies of the media? You mean to tell me that those were/are illegal?

“Finally, alternatives….”

You tell me the name of 10 companies (with employees greater than 500) that use open source software. None. You can’t. The support is not there. How are you going to be able to support software in a user community by learning on open-source software? You can’t.

And my last comment… “For an easy listing of whats available try” …

This is good … if you’re a student. What if you already graduated? What if you never went on to college? How bout reading this page…

So you tell me where someone can go to get “Deep Discounted” software?

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: Re:2 This is rediculous....

This is good … if you’re a student. What if you already graduated? What if you never went on to college? How bout reading this page…

Another point, read the EULAs that accompany most software purchased under the student prices. I had a bunch of software I bought back when I was in school, however I destroyed almost all of the disks after I graduated, as according to the EULA, the student license “expires” once I am no longer a student, and I must destroy the software and purchase it at the regular price.

If you don’t believe me, check the Microsoft Academic EULA or some of the other licenses out there (I found them online, since its been a long time since I’ve been to school.) You can only use the software while you are a student. The moment you are no longer a student, you can no longer use the software.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 This is rediculous....

Not sure why I’m bothering to continue this …

Yes, swap meets where you copied media were/are illegal (what part of copyright law don’t you understand ? )

Software being loaned like a library is prefectly legal. Leasing companies do it all the time.

2 companies that quickly come to mind, know make that 3 to 4, that are actively using Open Source software include : Lucas Arts, Cisco Systems, the United States Post Office, The United States Government, The British Government, Google, Burlington Coat Factory, Oracle, IBM, hmmmm closer to 10 than I thought.

3. If you’ve already graduated, then your company hopefully is purchasing your software and not yourself. If you’re having to purchase your own, I’d suggest looking for another job.

4. And I’m not a poster child for RIAA/BSA. What I am a STRONG ADVOCATE of is capitalism. It’s that thing that let’s us make more money as individuals and therefore be able to afford more toys.

You can hang onto the egg.

To LittleWolf, I hadn’t noted the requirement to return the software but I suspect that’s company EULA specific and doesnt’ surprise me that Microsoft would require it. However, as I mentioned above, I would think upon exiting a school, that whatever business you have chosen to pursue, your employer would provide you the tools to do your job. If it’s for personal development, … then it’s a matter of how much it’s worth to you.

Dave Suthibut says:

I download to fight against the GREED

GREED is the reason I download software and MP3s – naked corporate GREED that is behind the ridiculously high price tag on software such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, etc. If the price came down to an acceptable level (say, $299) then I might consider halting my daily downloads of copyrighted material (I average about 10 gigs a day, y’all!). However, until it does, I’ll continue to fight a rearguard action against these corporations, and against GREED.

We have to teach companies that if they’re going to be GREEDY, then they will suffer the consequences of having their intellectual property PIRATED! It’s that simple.

Oh, and for you idiots who say that open source alternatives exist… bitch, please. I would no sooner install and use an Open Sores program than I would march into a record store and purchase a legal CD!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...