How Pursuing Software Piracy Hurts Proprietary Software Firms

from the highlights-the-alternatives dept

While organizations like the BSA and the SIIA play silly games and announce bogus numbers about the “costs” of software piracy, it’s nice to see the whole thing beginning to backfire. We’ve already pointed to the backlash against the BSA for its activities, and now we’re seeing how these kinds of crackdowns are doing exactly the opposite of what BSA/SIIA members would want: they’re looking for open source alternatives. Following the ongoing “international crackdown” on software piracy, it appears that the Vietnamese government is the latest to start promoting open source alternatives. Of course, for proprietary software makers, this should be seen as worse than piracy. After all, as Microsoft and others have long admitted, you’re much better off if someone is using an unauthorized version of your software, than if they’re using the competition (especially if that competition is free). If they’re using an unauthorized version of your software, then at least there’s a chance that they’ll either buy it at a later date or convince others to buy it. However, by putting such a big effort into cracking down on software piracy, all the industry has done is highlight why people are better off going with free alternatives. This is a key point we’ve tried to highlight in the past. The issue isn’t piracy at all, but the fact that the competition will eventually learn to embrace “free.” Focusing on “piracy” only helps accelerate that process.

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Companies: bsa, siia

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Comments on “How Pursuing Software Piracy Hurts Proprietary Software Firms”

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Cynic says:

I recently bought a new PC which, of course, had Vista on it. As I migrated off my old PC I took the opportunity to evaluate each install and look for Open Source, or at least freeware, alternatives. I was surprised to find how little in the way of proprietary software I needed, how superior many of the Open Source offerings were, and how I also seemed to have less trouble with Vista and the Open Source than with the proprietary software. Since I am the person in my family and neighborhood people look to for PC advice, the impact of my discovery is being magnified as I tell others. This does not speak well for proprietary software companies.

By the way, don’t panic, I have multiple PCs…the Mac Mini and Kubuntu machines are still fine…I just have to keep a Microsoft PC around for job related stuff.

Fact Check says:

Open Source does not equal Free

Umm you can violate licenses on Open Source too.. odd that after all these years this site would improperly use the term open source in its on going one sides coverage of the industry.

Having an open source business model does not assume a free license to use the software.

Anyone wonder what other mistakes these guys make if they can’t even talk about thier own “passion” accurately.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Open Source does not equal Free

Of course you can violate licenses on open source/free software. Practically everybody know that.

Free software, by the definition, does not restrict your ability to use the software in any way you want.

So yes, I have an essentially free license to use free software any way I want.

What it does not mean that free software are alway available for free. Distributors can set any prices that they want.

It also does not mean that I can just distribute the software without giving the source code or not deliver the source code if the recipient request it.

A free software license is concerned with distribution, not usage.

Laurent GUERBY (profile) says:


Pete, the free software alternative to flight simulator is FlightGear.

You can order a DVD for $15 on the web site that will run it on your windows machine, the latest version was released on December 18th, 2007 so it cannot be more recent. If you like it, it will run the same on Linux and I believe there’s also a MacOS X port.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: FlightGear

Why run en emulator to be inconvenienced for no actual gain when you can just run windows and be done with it? I’m sure I would love the 6 or so Mac games but I think I’ll stick with the multitudes that run on XP.

boot camp isn’t an emulator, you are running XP on your mac the same way you would on a dell, natively on the hardware.

some of the emulators, like parallels, just let you run windows apps in mac OS without launching a full version of XP, reducing the overhead.

not being confined to a single platform lets you use the best tool for a given task. you can game in windows, since that’s what most games are targeted for, and you can do media and design work on a mac, since that’s what the best tools run on. adding linux to the mix (also possible on an intel mac) means you can code and hack using the best tools for those jobs as well.

the real danger to proprietary software is the fact that most open source software is either platform independent (one program runs anywhere) or multi-platform (there are versions of the program available on many platforms). this makes bouncing between platforms easier because many of your tools are consistent and may eliminate the need for switching platforms all together.

sam says:

hi mike…

glad to see you’re still beating your same horses…

bill gates has never stated that he’s for someone stealing his apps. what he did say, ~10 years ago, had to do (somewhat tongue in cheek) is that if someone would steal, then if they were stealing msoft’s apps, then msoft would maybe have a way to make $$$ from the guy in the future)

but rather than really look at what was said in the context of the remarks/situation, you’d rather distort it for your own use…

look.. if someone doesn’t want to buy an app, or some content.. then don’t buy it.. but it doesn’t give you the right to go ahead and take it!!

and yeah.. you (mike) still have the right to bloviate about how the software/content industry doesn’t get it!!

damn.. hates to be you!!

peace, and good luck in 2008…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

hi mike…

Hi Sam!

glad to see you’re still beating your same horses…

And I’m not so glad to see that you’re continuing to misread what we say. I’d have thought, by now, you would have been more careful, but it seems you keep making the same mistakes. In the future, I’d suggest you learn to read what we actually say, rather than what the strawman you *hoped* we said. Otherwise, these discussions get rather silly.

bill gates has never stated that he’s for someone stealing his apps

Nor did we say he did. First of all, we linked to a report of a different Microsoft exec, not Bill Gates, and secondly, if you read the whole sentence, we never say that Microsoft anything about stealing — only making an unauthorized copy. Secondly, we never say that Microsoft said they’re for people making unauthorized copies. We said that they’re for someone making an unauthorized copy RATHER THAN using someone else’s software.

but rather than really look at what was said in the context of the remarks/situation, you’d rather distort it for your own use…

Fascinating that you accuse me of taking something out of context, when the only person who took something out of context was you. We were quite clear on the context of the statements from Microsoft. Go read the post again. We’ve always been clear on it. It’s you who seems to accuse us of saying something we didn’t by taking it out of context.

look.. if someone doesn’t want to buy an app, or some content.. then don’t buy it.. but it doesn’t give you the right to go ahead and take it!!

I’m not sure how many times I’ve said this directly to you, so I’m positively baffled that you would repeat it again. It makes no sense. Yet, I’ll repeat it again. NOWHERE do we say that it’s ok to “go ahead and take” software that the creator does not want to give away in that manner. This post is pretty clearly about how going after pirates is harming the actual market. That doesn’t mean that the piracy is okay. Just focusing on how going after them is backfiring.

Is it really so difficult for you to understand the difference?

Sam, in the future, please take the time to understand what we have actually said rather than pretending what you hoped we said.

Otherwise, you are wasting your own time, as well as my time.

Frank says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Angry Dude, do you do ANYthing besides aimlessly rant on this blog? My god man, it’s beyond funny. It’s beyond pathetic. Seriously, it’s sad. I’m not trying to insult you, but merely letting you know how you look to the majority of the readership.

Are you looking for attention in the form of responses like this? If so, I’m happy to give you the attention in this post, because anyone who derives interpersonal satisfaction in this manner is well-deserving of my pity.

angry dude says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:


unlike you I am employed full time in a high-salaried (for IT) position

I just vent out here not spending more than 20 sec per each rant and make fun of all of you retards

And NO I do not deserve your pity – I am a middle-aged middle-class dude with all the attributes and in good health
Save yur pity for somebody else
have a nice day now

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