People Beginning To Question The BSA's Vindictive Campaign Against Companies Using Unauthorized Software

from the a-bit-out-of-touch-with-the-times dept

The BSA is famous for overhyping its claims. It puts out completely bogus stats about how much unauthorized software "costs" the industry -- which count pretty much every unauthorized copy as a lost sale and doesn't count back in any of the benefits software firms get from people using copied versions of their software. The BSA is also the firm that hypes up how you can get a million dollars for turning in your boss for using unauthorized software, even though the details suggest that the firm rarely pays out more than $5,000. Now more people are hitting back at this program, not just for the bogus numbers, but because the BSA seems to take great joy from squeezing small businesses for thousands of dollars when they often simply couldn't figure out the terms of the software licenses they purchased. The Associated Press looked into the BSA's tactics and found that the organization makes a ton of money from going after these small firms, and also notes that its advertisements telling people to rat out their bosses for unauthorized software usage push employees to turn in their employers rather than actually fix the problem by making sure the firm properly licenses its software. Of course, when squeezing small firms is so lucrative, why would the BSA and its big software backers want more legitimate licenses? That just takes away from the ability to squeeze much more money out of small firms than they ever would have paid for in purchased software. And people wonder why more small businesses are looking to make use of open source products whenever possible? Update: Changed the link to a longer version of the AP story that includes even more details about problems with the BSA's tactics, including a couple of interesting points. First, it notes that the BSA keeps the money it gets, rather than distributing it to the software companies who support the BSA. In other words, the group has every incentive to keep squeezing money out of companies, rather than actually reducing unauthorized use. Second, the article points out that the BSA's actions are, indeed, driving more people to swear off the software of the BSA's supporters.

Filed Under: bsa, copyright, software

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2007 @ 10:20am

    Re: All software sucks

    Open source is free to get but costs a bundle when you have problems.
    So is proprietary software support. Ever bought support from Oracle? It isn't cheap. Even Microsoft doesn't give it away.

    Pay as you go (Windows, Mac) costs up front but they support the product after you buy it.
    Not for free. Unless you're on a contract with them they charge per incident for support.

    Windows/Macs are easier to use and have standards associated.
    Microsoft loves to use non-standard file formats and to do other things in non-standard ways. It's called "lock-in" and is a favorite tactic among proprietary software vendors.

    Open Source roll your own has no standards an tech support is almost nonexistent.
    Just the opposite. Open source software is far more likely to follow standards that proprietary software. "Lock-in" isn't a goal with open source. And if you want paid support there are companies offering that for open source as well.

    With Windows/Mac you are assured that your hardware will work with the OS
    There is a lot of hardware out there that no longer works under the newer versions of Windows. A friend of mine for example has to keep an old Windows 98 box around just because the video capture card in it will not work with anything later than 98. Tell me who assures that it will work under XP so that I can send him to them for a fix. Yeah, thought so.

    I can trust Microsoft/Apple that the drivers are clean but third party drivers can be written by bad guys.
    How do you know? Have independent experts had a chance to look at the source? Of course not. That's what makes open source more trustworthy.

    Compatibality between PC's/workstations software is guaranteed with Windows/Macs but it can be a real pain in the neck to get Open Source to play friendly.
    Who gives that guarantee? Certainly not Microsoft or Apple.

    Dont get me wrong I use all three and do not have a favorite.
    Could have fooled me. By the way you've been bashing open source I would've sworn you were a proprietary software shill.

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