Will Software As Services Wipe Out The Software Piracy Question?

from the one-way-for-it-to-work dept

Last week, at the CATO event on copyrights, I mentioned that the oddest presentation came from a lawyer from the BSA, the software industry association best known for putting out bogus numbers every year on software piracy that even the company that manages the study admits the BSA is misrepresenting their results. Lately, the BSA and its member companies have been targeting misleading attacks on places like Indonesia and China — in both cases, where the use of counterfeit software may be high, but the industry wants to ignore that there may be benefits to such unauthorized use (including building in the network effects necessary to make that software the de facto standard as well as helping some small businesses get off the ground with lower initial costs — helping them to later succeed and build up the economy). So, it was no surprise to hear the BSA give a misleading talk at the event last week. However, after the event, I had an interesting conversation with a friend, wondering why the BSA isn’t a much stronger supporter of web-based “software as services” initiatives, since the whole question of counterfeit software pretty much goes away when the software company in question manages the computers on which the software is installed. It appears that Ian Sefferman is thinking along the same lines, pointing out that as more firms go to software as services setups, the whole question of software “piracy” goes away. Of course, so would the side-benefits of that “piracy” as well — which could explain one element holding this back. In the past, even Bill Gates has admitted that all of that software copying helped get Microsoft’s software entrenched. Completely giving up those benefits may not be in their best interests… even if it gets rid of the “problem.”

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Comments on “Will Software As Services Wipe Out The Software Piracy Question?”

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suv4x4 (user link) says:

It does, but not every software can run as a remote service. Also not all piracy is bad, piracy has done wonders for spreading Windows in poor countries where Microsoft can later come and harvest the crops with anti-piracy campaigns and so on.

So is it better to run software as a service money-wise? Yes and no, just another environment the technology allows. Not a revolution.

Flamsmark (profile) says:

Re: theft != unauthorised copying != piracy

theft [n] [abs]

the act of unlawfully taking the property of another with intent to permanently deprive the other of such property.

piracy [n] [abs]

taking a seafaring vessel, by force, on the high seas, without the authority of a soverign state.

it is not *possible* to commit software theft or piracy. they simply cannot exist.

when was the last time you heard of a group of merciless armed men overpowering the crew of a piece of software, and sailing it to an unknown port?

Grumpy old man says:

Re: Re: theft != unauthorised copying != piracy

get a clue geeze, I agree that copyright violation does not equal theft, however piracy is the proper term for the other, straight from Websters web site,

Main Entry: pi·ra·cy

Pronunciation: ‘pI-r&-sE

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural -cies
Etymology: Medieval Latin piratia, from Late Greek peirateia, from Greek peiratEs pirate

1 : an act of robbery on the high seas; also : an act resembling such robbery

2 : robbery on the high seas

3 : the unauthorized use of another’s production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright

Anonymous Coward says:

Boy, Those Apples Sure Aren't Like Oranges...

As someone else mentioned, some software can’t run as an online service. Other sorts of software aren’t as convenient or practical as an online service. Most types of software aren’t terribly *secure* as an online service.

In any case, software use is probably analogous to internet use — control/censorship is treated as an error, and the system shunts around it. If I’m given a choice between using software for free and using an online service for a charge, I’ll use the free software. If I’m only given the choice to use the online service, I’ll perform my tasks some other way or not at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Adobe Photoshop

A long time ago, when those skinny little Macs with the tiny screens were all over corporate America Adobe used to check on the LAN for anyone else running the Mac version of Photoshop. If it found one and it had the same serial number as the one you were staring up it would give you an informational dialog and then not allow you to run it.

Seems that this use of a client side program would also fit into software as a service / anti-piracy. If you are connected to the web the app pings home with the IP address, and serial number (or something along those lines).

That way you do not have to concern yourself with the physical sofwtare, just the use of it.

(FWIW I would rather just use Linux than software as a service.)

Topher3105 (profile) says:

No, it won't stop piracy

Software as a service will require subscriptions or some kind of registration program. I doubt companies like Microsoft or Apple will simply offer free online versions of Office or iLife without some pay for use senario.

So, while a person cannot physically copy and install the application as a service, they WILL find ways to cicumvent the registration and subscription logic. I.e. give away free registrations to users or find ways of unlocking the service for unpaid usage, or simply share registration usernames and passwords.

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