Microsoft Lobbying Group Forces 'Pirate' To Get 200,000 Views On Anti-Piracy Video… Whole Thing Backfires

from the 'education'-campaign dept

The history of anti-piracy activities by the legacy entertainment and software industries always seems to focus on the mistaken idea that if only the public were “more educated” piracy would magically go away. That’s never been true. In fact, nearly every attempt at an education campaign hasn’t just failed to work, it’s often actively backfired and been mocked and parodied. And yet, if you talk to politicians and industry folks, they still seem to think that “more education” will magically work next time. One can only wonder what the hell the geniuses at the Software Alliance (the BSA — which used to be the “Business Software Alliance” but has dropped the “Business” part, but not the “B” in its name) were thinking when they decided to “settle” with a guy who apparently uploaded some Microsoft software in the Czech Republic. The terms of the settlement required him to take part in a “professionally produced” anti-piracy video and that the video needed to get 200,000 views on YouTube or he might face having to pay damages in court.

The BSA is a well-known front for Microsoft, and has a long history of rather ridiculous claims about “piracy,” so I guess it’s little surprise that it’s now engaged in out and out propaganda, but done so badly that it’s turned the whole thing into a laughingstock. The whole “compelled speech” aspect of the settlement, including the requirement to get so many views, strikes basically everyone as ridiculous and stupid. Press attention has of course propelled the video to well over 200,000 thousand views at this point, and many of the YouTube comments are completely mocking the campaign — and noting that they’re watching the video to help the accused be let off the hook. The video is in Czech, but even so it’s hilarious. It has the same sort of ominous production values as the old “You wouldn’t download a car!” ads that have been mocked for years as well:

It really highlights just how out of touch folks at the BSA are, in that anyone actually thought this kind of thing would help it in any way, rather than making it a continued laughingstock.

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Companies: bsa, microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft Lobbying Group Forces 'Pirate' To Get 200,000 Views On Anti-Piracy Video… Whole Thing Backfires”

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64 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

there is only one train of action that will work and everyone, including the industries, the courts and all the governments (whose members drop trousers for the industries without even being asked to now!) knows that it is to compete with so-called ‘free’. the reason being that the price of media is far too high (better to sell one and sue 99 or sell 100?) and the ridiculous fact that even though something has been bought and paid for, it still doesn’t belong to the purchaser! how fucking ridiculous is that, for Christ sake?? the people who got the stupid judge to agree to this must be laughing their cocks off!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Did pretty much the same, and out of the 3 hard drives in my desktop, I placed LM on my old (but it seems that then, they were less likely to break) WDC WD2000JD-22HBB0 200GB I keep using even if it’s just 1.5 sata. I still have a partition for win7 x64 ultimate, but that is likely the last windows I will ever install…I only use it for games that totally refuse to be emulated in Wine/CrossOver or aren’t on Steam. LM isn’t flawless though, sometimes an update will cause it to break and i’ll have to reinstall my proprietary amd driver, or boot with a usb key and do fsck on the partition where it is (I didn’t know a linux distro could pull a Windows forced scandisk) but yeah…that was strange.

But all hard drive diagnostics programs say it is in great shape, only “bad” quality to it is the number of hours online, SpeedFan in Windows even said a brand new WD Red Caviar 1TB was in less good shape that that hard drive. It’s quite something. I also don’t buy the “WD drives are better than the rest”, I picked a 79 CAD 1TB seagate 6GB/s drive instead of the equivalent red caviar that was for 119 and the tests i’ve done indicate that the Seagate was faster than the OTHER (third drive) red caviar WD drive that was 2 months old.

Hm, yeah, just started ranting about hard drives. I’ll admit to having taken a little Valium and words come to mind smoothly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You’ve got this all wrong. The idea here isn’t to educate anyone. The idea here is that now the BSA can say “See? We tried the education route, and people just mocked us. Now you see why we need to use maximum punitive penalties to curb this abuse of our rights.”

That’s what immediately came to MY mind, anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

That video only told me that the software companies are willing to ruin a guy’s life by claiming insane amounts of damages without proving that he was specifically responsible for them. If this guy has kids or a wife, he won’t be able to support them or give them better futures. Microsoft is like an old testament deity with a usb stick up its ass and it will ruin your family to seven generations to make a petty little point.

Good PR job!

Eldakka (profile) says:

"You wouldn't download a car!"

The way 3d-printing is heading, it won’t be long before I can download a car.

At the very least, we may reach a point in the not too distant future where rather than having a car shipped from Japan to Australia, there may be industrial-scale 3d-printers in major cities that produce the cars to-order in a few days.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: "You wouldn't download a car!"

I’ll believe such a thing is on the distant horizon when one can 3D print a common incandescent light bulb. Glass, aluminum, a coiled tungsten filament, insulator, etc.

Or how about a tire, one with even 10% of the life span of a normally manufactured automobile tire.

I’d leave out the ability to print the microchips controlling the engine, console, air bags etc. In other words, settle for the equivalent of ultra-cheap cars sold only in third world countries.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: "You wouldn't download a car!"

“I’ll believe such a thing is on the distant horizon when one can 3D print a common incandescent light bulb. Glass, aluminum, a coiled tungsten filament, insulator, etc.”

That seems a little silly to me. I mean, sure, I know that what you’re saying is that you’re waiting for things that are currently easy to mass-produce using traditional technology. But, it’s far more likely that someone will either invent a better alternative that’s easy to 3D print, or invent filaments usable with a 3D printer that’s better for the process than trying to shoehorn glass into the 3D printing process. People will come up with a new kind of lightbulb, not try to reinvent the manufacturing process for a type of bulb that people are already trying to phase out.

I don’t know what those alternatives are yet, but that’s the mindset that gets the legacy industries left behind so quickly. By the time they realise that the new ways of doing things aren’t merely going to copy their own results, they’re left trying to catch up with whatever the new reality is. It’s definitely still early days, but no world-changing technology has ever looked immediately viable to those who only look at imitating the past.

Plus, we’re not going to suddenly go from nothing to 3D printing cars overnight. It’s more likely that people will be making spare parts for existing vehicles first – not tyres or anything complicated and/or safety dependent, just the parts that usually have ridiculous markups for no apparent reason. As the technology improves, so will the innovation, and that’s what will be interesting to look at.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

It sounds like Eastern Europe is experiencing what the west went through a couple decades ago:

Some guy – often a teenager – would collect and share professional software. AutoCAD for example. Once caught the BSA or some similar group would declare millions of dollars in losses.

But the guy would NEVER have bought AutoCAD regardless. Those he shared with would never have bought it. They didn’t have the money, nor the skills or job that required it.

Anyone who DID have the skills and job for it, had the money to buy it. And no inclination to waste time or take risks on a pirated copy. (And that’s when there was a much lower risk of viruses, and software didn’t phone home to the manufacturer.)

And so the $millions in damages were pure fantasy. No doubt the same goes for this video’s “astronomical CZK 6,000,000.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There’s only one problem with your story:

Currently, in China, software is being pirated non-stop by the companies building the hardware/software the west is consuming. Just look at the XCode fiasco a while back: Large companies were trading a trojanized XCode because it took too long to download directly from Apple. In the case of AutoCAD, I know a number of engineering shops that purchased a license, but then downloaded and deployed a cracked version so they didn’t have to deal with DRM whenever they spun up a VM.

So while there have always been a lot of people using pirated software who would never have bought it, there have also always been a lot of people pirating software because it was more convenient. Price point is just one of the components of convenience, and in reality, a very small one (because, as you say, if you actually are making a profit using the software, paying a few thousand dollars for it is an easy cost to sink).

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In both your examples it sounds the software manufacturer was still paid for the software. Regardless of broken distribution and DRM issues and end-user attempts to solve them.

The XcodeGhost malware gave companies in China a strong lesson in acquiring their software from a trusted source. And like in the west a couple decades ago, soon those still not doing so will be teenagers an other non-professionals who couldn’t afford to purchase the software anyway.

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

untrusted <> unlicensed
That is a minor problem easily solved.
Businesses in the west changed because they were forced through auditing, and china will do the same if and when they think it is in their best interest to to start auditing and enforcing. Enforcement for businesses is much easier than for personal, but you are still going to have to force them. Businesses that are paying more than they need to don’t do well.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I sometimes spend over $100 a month on iTunes. There is a very easy way to strip the DRM so I can play it on VLC player instead of their crappy Quick Time. I do not upload the files but I do share them with my son which is permitted by their policy. He is using Linux and is not going to install iTunes. I have disabled all the cloud functions and other things that were hogging a huge amount of resources and bandwidth. I wouldn’t give them a dime if I was stuck with their damned DRM. I am a paying customer and it is my right to play what I buy any way I want for personnel use. Defeating any copy protection is against the law but why should they care as long as I am not uploading it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Should hit 1,000,000 views in the next few hours. You do remember this don’t you.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/08/in-historic-vote-new-zealand-bans-software-patents/

or this?

http://gizmodo.com/5962765/the-police-raided-a-9-year-old-to-confiscate-her-winnie-the-pooh-laptop

‘I realize big money doesn’t appreciate the fact that we the people are still in charge, nor do those politicians they carry around in their hip pockets. As they sow so shall they reap.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I didn’t understand a word but I turned down the sound and played it several times. If you just keep playing the same video in too short of a time YouTube will flag it. I just now checked and he has close to a million hits. What did they think would happen once this story went viral? They really screwed up in not disabling the comments. I wonder if the way this backfired if they aren’t going to try to fuck over this kid.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Why be Honest if they are Not?

It bothers me, that companies demand honesty out of you but they themselves are not willing to be honest in return. As one example, a few years ago I bought a game, it had the usual EULA. I read it and declined. Guess what, there were no instructions on how to return the game for a refund. I contacted the company and they refused to provide a refund.

PS: My credit card company did give me a credit. Good for them at least.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why be Honest if they are Not?

Good example. If I recall correctly Sony even went so far as to claim that the software could not be modified by the user.

Also there have been several music servers, where the companies pulled the plug. I don’t know, however, if the users of those music servers lost their investment of if they were given other opportunities to save what they paid for.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Theivery

Yeah, I know its pointless showing an idjit the error of his waste, but using a copy of software you did not pay for is not theft, or “theivery”.

The use of that copy is “infringement of copyright”, and you likely got it via “file-sharing”, if you did not pay for it, which in some places is also a crime but is still not theft. If it was, you would be charged with theft.

The only way it could be theft is if you actually stole Microsoft’s ONLY COPY of the software and did not give it back.

When you steal something, the owner of that thing loses that thing – it is gone because you took it. It doesn’t matter one wit whether you use it or not. Taking it is the crime of theft, because you deprived the legal owner of the thing.

When you copy something, the owner of that something still has that something, because you did NOT take it. You took a copy of it. When you take a photograph of your girlfriend, you are creating a 2d miniature copy of her likeness, but are you stealing her likeness? Is her likeness gone if you walk away with her picture?

Yeah, I know.
Way too many big words….ok, back in your box.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Theivery

“They decided a price for others to use it. If you don’t pay that price but use it anyway, then you are a thief.”

By this logic, anyone who bought a used, discounted or was gifted a copy is a thief, as is anyone who uses another person’s computer to use the software with their permission.

Do you people have training courses on how to be this stupid, or does it come naturally?

GEMont (profile) says:

The definition of insanity...

What is truly remarkable to me is that apparently, nobody has ever considered the idea that maybe, just maybe, the reason why EVERY SINGLE METHOD ever used by the legacy industries to end “Piracy”, has failed, is because the Legacy Industries need “Piracy” to remain active in order to get the maximal copyright laws passed.

The reason they only use methods guaranteed to fail, is to make it look like they’re actively fighting “Piracy”, without actually doing anything that might diminish the need for stronger anti-“Piracy” legislation.

Think War on Drugs, and you can see the same failure rate, for the same reason, with the same results.

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