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.”