by Mike Masnick

Is Copied Software A Threat To Civilization As We Know It?

from the spare-us dept

If you thought the RIAA was bad (and they are), you should read some of what the BSA is now saying. They're basically trying to blame all the world's problems on anyone who dares copy software. They say that pirated software is funding organized crime, drugs and slavery - and that if you dare copy a piece of software, you're contributing to the moral decline of the world. On top of that, they say that such copied software might not work as well and you're only asking for a "catastrophe" that will destroy your business (and perhaps, from the sound of it, kill anyone within a 100 mile radius). While in the retail business, most people know that some of the price of any good is really used to subsidize the losses from theft, the BSA denies that anyone in the software industry has raised their prices for that reason. No, it's the hardworking folks at the software development house who bear the entire costs of this "software piracy". He also doesn't seem to acknowledge the fact that a large percentage of those using copied software are doing so because they can't afford the actual product. While that's not an excuse for the actions - it does mean that they wouldn't buy the actual product if that were their only option. In other words, no money is actually lost on those products (despite the BSA's whining about lost jobs). And, in fact, there's plenty of evidence that suggests copied software has been the key in getting many people hooked on software from companies like Microsoft and Adobe - which they later buy when they're in a position to afford it. So, for all the dire warnings, maybe the BSA should take a step back and display a little more intelligence when it comes to complaining about software copying.

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  • identicon
    squidbob, 26 Sep 2003 @ 11:05am

    no terror funding with p2p

    so then we should download software from kazaa (lite, of course) as

    1) no one gets any money from it and can't fund international terror
    2) money is actually taken *away* from international terror ($40 a month for cable modem :)
    3) we get the software we want that we're not willing to pay for...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2003 @ 12:10pm

      Re: no terror funding with p2p

      I was thinking that too. How can copying software fund anything? It's free. Whether you download it off Kazaa or borrow your friend's install disc, nobody anywhere gets a dime.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2003 @ 12:27pm

    Okay, I've seen how there can be money in this equ

    Any of you(r parents) work at a plant of any kind? Pulp mill, chemicals, etc?

    These people, any dense gathering place of blue-collar Joe Sixpacks, are the prime area where money CAN change hands for this kinda stuff. There are these people who mint CDs of install kits for Office, Adobe, that kind of thing, and they normally go for like $20. Large-scale operations of these, like the ones the Feds bust up every now and then in some highly publicized extravaganza, are from where the money that can feed drugs will come.

    Now, I can't possibly see how P2P can ever be used to directly fund Crime, but hey, don't fault the BSA for being smart enough to really understand stuff. SCO's lawyers, that wildfire that started with a preventative burn, are proof that litigators don't know when to back down or NOT take anything they see.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2003 @ 7:51pm

    here's a simple equation for ya'

    I don't buy software unless I can evaluate it first.

    I don't give out personal information to obtain evaluation copies (in the past too many sales droids have flooded my pristine corprate e-mail with |Stuff I Don't Want"(tm) for me to ever give out a valid e-mail/address).

    So.... where do I go to evaluate software?

    The warez sceene via p2p. Oh, I'm aware of the privacy problems there as well, but at least those are easily sandboxed.

    How much software have I purchased directly as a result of evaluating p2p obtained, cracked software? Probably in the neighborhood of $200k.

    I know the industry doesn't want to hear it, but the unfortunate reality is that p2p helps sell their software as much as it decreases sales for unethical users. The end result is probably very close to nill (espicially if you remove from the equation the unethical users who can't afford to purchas the software to begin with and add back in the clout contributed to a product when people see these users relying on said product), which turns the money engauging the BSA et. al. into a loss.

    The way the BSA runs the show, you'd their they're a fscking charity. Are their expenses tax deductable? Hell no. So, they're out to make money off of stuipd companies who think their sagging sales are due to piracy and not the economey in general. The thing is, when the economey goes into the shitter, people stop spending on material luxury items/start living on the streets/etc. With digital goods (goods that are not material and exist exclusively in the ones and zeros realm), this does not happen.

    If software companies were really serious about getting their sales back on track, they should try supporting things that will jumpstart the economey and stop giving money to blood sucking leaches that do something very temporary to their bottom line and something very damaging to the industry in the long run.

    Of course, there are some inevitable eventualities that are probably bringing the golden age of the American programmer/software company to a close... and there nothing anyone can do about that.

    It's exactly like what DuPont did to the Wool industry...

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

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