BSA Blaming Professors For Students Downloading Software

from the get-a-grip dept

It appears that the folks at the BSA are getting a little jealous of their colleagues at the RIAA for making fools of themselves and absolutely missing the point of downloadable content. The BSA has now come out with a study warning that college students have no problem downloading software illegally, and that it's all the fault of professors who encourage this sort of thing. They go on to say, in their standard exaggerated way, that this is going to be a huge "gateway" into software piracy. This is their version of the "escalation" argument. First you learn to download music at college, then software, and then you go on to a life of crime! Let's help the BSA take a step back and think about what they're doing. These are college students who don't have the disposable income to spend $700 on a copy of Photoshop. However, by having them download a copy, they learn how to use it, and when they enter the workforce, they're much more willing to buy a legitimate copy of the software. I know that's happened with plenty of applications and people I know. They first discovered the applications at home or at college by getting so-called "pirated" versions - and later ended up buying a legitimate copy for work. The BSA, however, insists that every downloaded copy is a lost sale. In many cases it's actually a promotion that is leading to a sale that never would have been made otherwise. Cracking down too hard on software downloading on campuses is going to have the opposite effect from what they intend.
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  1. identicon
    dorpus, 17 Sep 2003 @ 1:52am

    IT Nonexceptionalism

    This would disprove the arguments of some techies that the software industry has "gotten over" piracy and learns to live with it, unlike the music industry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tony Lawrence, 17 Sep 2003 @ 4:03am

    So if you can't afford a car, it's ok to borrow on

    OK, the big software vendors are being stupid in not providing low or no cost versions of their products - either less featured, older, limited license, whatever. That's a given.

    But: there are plenty of Open Source alternatives and most of those are either outright free or do have limited use, home use, "lite" etc. versions. Stealing software still is stealing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    korko, 17 Sep 2003 @ 4:22am

    Re: So if you can't afford a car, it's ok to borro

    correct me if i am wrong .. YOU CANNOT STEAL SOFTWARE ... it is just copyright infringment ...
    software isn't sold it is licensed ...
    ...
    i agree that software should cost considerably less or nothing if it is used for non-commercial purposes .. not for earning money ...
    ...
    the price of software is overblown compared to what garanties the producers offer for their software ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Zonker, 17 Sep 2003 @ 5:58am

    Re: So if you can't afford a car, it's ok to borro

    Stealing software still is stealing.

    If you own a dictionary, please look up the meaning of the word "stealing," because you obviously have bought into the RIAA/MPAA/BSA definition -- which is fundamentally flawed. If I steal from you, I deprive you of the use of your goods -- whatever they may be. I'm not arguing that illegal copying of software is moral or correct in any way -- but it is not stealing. Trying to equate making an illegal copy of Photoshop with actually taking someone's physical property is just wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, 17 Sep 2003 @ 6:31am

    Moral dilemma

    I really don't care about what others think of me in the moral sense for choosing to download pirated versions of software. I do not make any profit off of the software I download. I download programs such as Photo Shop & Visual Basic so that I can LEARN how to use these over-priced but very necessary skills, thereby increasing my chances of getting a better paying job.

    Companies rarely, if ever offer " training versions " of their software. If I am hired by a company for my knowledge of Photo Shop or VB, I have ensured that Adobe or Microsoft can sell another license to the company that employs me.
    Just because I did not buy a copy to begin with does NOT mean that there are lost sales.

    BTW ... I do have a moral dilemma with people who download software, use it for money making purposes and do not pay their fair licensing fees.

    That's STEALING

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2003 @ 7:10am

    No Subject Given

    Wonderful rationalizing by all of you. If you down load copyrighted software you ARE BREAKING THE LAW. Don't care if you call it stealing, misuse of copyrighted material, etc. Read the bottomline, IT"S AGAINST THE LAW.

    A number of companies provide lower cost alternatives to their more expensive products and most are fairly reasonable without being completely feature devoid.

    For those who can't afford them, they should look at legit alternatives, open source software being the most likely solution. IF Enough users choose these alternatives, the companies would likely lower their prices in the name of competition. As it is, with everyone 'having to have' photoshop, powerpoint, etc, it allows companies like Adobe and Microsoft to inflate their prices to what ever level they desire.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    AMetamorphosis, 17 Sep 2003 @ 7:48am

    Re: No Subject Given

    So what ? So YOU think its breaking the law. Big deal ?

    Provide sources or links for companies that provide lower cost alternatives to their product.

    By the way, every tech company I have worked for uses Microsoft, Adobe etc.

    What alternatives are you suggesting ?

    And don't read a book you borrow from the library because according to your interpretation, use of a copyrighted material is AGAINST THE LAW.

    Legality does not equal morality nor does it equal ethical culpability.

    Go suck an egg Mitch Brainwol ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Mick, 17 Sep 2003 @ 8:40am

    Um...

    as far back as 15 years ago both Adobe and Microsoft offered steep discounts on software for students.

    I picked up a copy of office 2000 for $10 at the University bookstore when it was released.

    A friend of mine just bought Adobe inDesign, photoshop, goLive and illistrator for $150 from the UC bookstore, so these options are available.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2003 @ 9:10am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Okay, Mitch, so I guess I thought people were able to read and do their own homework; my fault.

    First, as stated already, both microsoft and adobe offer discounts for student versions. For an easy listing of whats available try http://www.academicsuperstore.com/index.html?

    Go read a copyright statement or EULA or whatever and you should be able to interpret what it means as far as legal vs. moral. Unless I'm dealing with a kid (or it's mental equivalent here).

    As for libraries, a book's copyright provides for that type of provisioning as the book is borrowed and returned to it's lender. Just like you can borrow a friends (you have friends ?) CD and listen to it to your hearts content; legally , you are not permitted to make and keep a copy for your own use.

    Finally, alternatives. Did you mention the part about open source in my original post ? GIMP is a fair alternative to photoshop (and free) and OpenOffice is a fair alternative to Microsoft office (and again free). Databases ? Try Mysql or PostGresSQL (again both free). You'll find that many progressive companies are seeking individuals with these talents as they to are tired of paying the prices required by the Microsofts and Adobe's of the World.

    The Egg is back to you. Suck away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Dave Suthibut, 17 Sep 2003 @ 10:12am

    I download to fight against the GREED

    GREED is the reason I download software and MP3s - naked corporate GREED that is behind the ridiculously high price tag on software such as Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, etc. If the price came down to an acceptable level (say, $299) then I might consider halting my daily downloads of copyrighted material (I average about 10 gigs a day, y'all!). However, until it does, I'll continue to fight a rearguard action against these corporations, and against GREED.

    We have to teach companies that if they're going to be GREEDY, then they will suffer the consequences of having their intellectual property PIRATED! It's that simple.

    Oh, and for you idiots who say that open source alternatives exist... bitch, please. I would no sooner install and use an Open Sores program than I would march into a record store and purchase a legal CD!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Milnesy, 17 Sep 2003 @ 10:13am

    This is rediculous....

    AC, you sound like the poster child for the RIAA/BSA.

    If you want to say that Libraries can allow you to borrow the book and return it to the lender, then why can't they use that same reasoning for software. I mean, if you borrow software from the library, you have to give it back.

    "Just like you can borrow a friends ... CD and listen to it to your hearts content; legally , you are not permitted to make and keep a copy for your own use."

    What about swap meets. You remember them right? Where avid music listeners would get together and swap tapes, and/or make copies of the media? You mean to tell me that those were/are illegal?

    "Finally, alternatives...."

    You tell me the name of 10 companies (with employees greater than 500) that use open source software. None. You can't. The support is not there. How are you going to be able to support software in a user community by learning on open-source software? You can't.

    And my last comment... "For an easy listing of whats available try http://www.academicsuperstore.com/index.html?" ...

    This is good ... if you're a student. What if you already graduated? What if you never went on to college? How bout reading this page... http://www.academicsuperstore.com/geninfo/eligibility.html

    So you tell me where someone can go to get "Deep Discounted" software?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    data64, 17 Sep 2003 @ 10:18am

    encourage BSA in driving people to OSS

    I say we should encourage BSA and this policy. If it ends up driving more students to Open Source Software, its in our best interest.
    So instead of learning PhotoShop, students might end up playing with Gimp. What exactly is the drawback here ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    LittleW0lf, 18 Sep 2003 @ 12:20am

    Re: This is rediculous....

    This is good ... if you're a student. What if you already graduated? What if you never went on to college? How bout reading this page... http://www.academicsuperstore.com/geninfo/eligibility.html

    Another point, read the EULAs that accompany most software purchased under the student prices. I had a bunch of software I bought back when I was in school, however I destroyed almost all of the disks after I graduated, as according to the EULA, the student license "expires" once I am no longer a student, and I must destroy the software and purchase it at the regular price.

    If you don't believe me, check the Microsoft Academic EULA or some of the other licenses out there (I found them online, since its been a long time since I've been to school.) You can only use the software while you are a student. The moment you are no longer a student, you can no longer use the software.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2003 @ 7:59am

    Re: This is rediculous....

    Not sure why I'm bothering to continue this ...

    Yes, swap meets where you copied media were/are illegal (what part of copyright law don't you understand ? )

    Software being loaned like a library is prefectly legal. Leasing companies do it all the time.

    2 companies that quickly come to mind, know make that 3 to 4, that are actively using Open Source software include : Lucas Arts, Cisco Systems, the United States Post Office, The United States Government, The British Government, Google, Burlington Coat Factory, Oracle, IBM, hmmmm closer to 10 than I thought.

    3. If you've already graduated, then your company hopefully is purchasing your software and not yourself. If you're having to purchase your own, I'd suggest looking for another job.

    4. And I'm not a poster child for RIAA/BSA. What I am a STRONG ADVOCATE of is capitalism. It's that thing that let's us make more money as individuals and therefore be able to afford more toys.

    You can hang onto the egg.

    To LittleWolf, I hadn't noted the requirement to return the software but I suspect that's company EULA specific and doesnt' surprise me that Microsoft would require it. However, as I mentioned above, I would think upon exiting a school, that whatever business you have chosen to pursue, your employer would provide you the tools to do your job. If it's for personal development, ... then it's a matter of how much it's worth to you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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