Autodesk CEO Trots Out BSA Line On Software Piracy
from the not-very-useful dept
Following the patent panel discussion at the Tech Policy Summit, Autodesk’s CEO Carl Bass took the stage and was able to trot out the BSA’s BS line about how every pirated copy is a lost sale, claiming that if he could get everyone who used his software to pay for it, he’d double the size of his company. He made this argument as if it’s a policy issue that his company should be doubled in size — ignoring that many pirated copies would never be paid for no matter what or the economic impact of the companies that use unauthorized versions of his software. He also claimed that, while DRM wouldn’t stop unauthorized copies and he didn’t want to make things “inconvenient” for his best customers, he had to make life more difficult for “casual copiers.” It’s not clear how he threads that needle, though. He also claimed that companies using other’s intellectual property and seeing what they could get away with would be like him deciding that he likes the hotel that we’re in now and just started using it as his office and holding a few board meetings here to see if anyone caught him — apparently not recognizing the difference between a scarce resource and a non-scarce resource. The one interesting part of his talk was in discussing what the situation is like in places like China. He says that they tried two different strategies to get China to take IP issues more seriously — and neither worked. The first was appealing to their tax revenue needs, saying that companies that pirated software weren’t paying taxes. The second was to put pressure on them via the WTO. In both cases, China didn’t care. What did make China take IP issues more seriously was the realization that the country wants to have its own software industry — and so suddenly took a more serious interest in intellectual property laws. Of course, again, what no one brings up is whether or not putting in place strict IP protections actually does help the domestic industry — but everyone just assumes it must, even if there’s some evidence that it may not.