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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
    Rich Kulawiec, 26 Nov 2007 @ 2:26pm

    Yet another reason why open-source is superior


    Let's try that with a comment-body and without a stack
    of reference books collapsing on the keyboard, shall we?)

    If you buy closed-source software, you're buying into the
    nightmare of licensing that the vendors will inevitably
    inflict on you. You're also buying into the myriad of
    reliability, bugfix, support, maintenance and security
    issues that go with it. It shouldn't surprise anyone that
    closed-source software's tradeoffs are all one-sided:
    the vendors want it that way, arguably must have it that
    way to survive.

    While open-source has its issues as well, at least it sidesteps
    most of these -- you won't find extortionist thugs like the BSA
    hounding you because you downloaded and used something
    that's GPL'd (or covered under another license). And as numerous
    businesses has shown (I see someone has already cited
    Ernie Ball) it's completely possible to survive without closed-source software. (Those who say it can't be done
    are really saying that they can't figure out how to do
    it. Clearly others already have and are thriving.)

    What we are seeing with the BSA is the same as we're seeing
    with the MPAA/RIAA: the desperate measures of those
    clinging to an obsolete business model, and trying to extract
    as much money from it as possible before it finally expires.
    They're just as disposable.

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