How Pursuing Software Piracy Hurts Proprietary Software Firms

from the highlights-the-alternatives dept

While organizations like the BSA and the SIIA play silly games and announce bogus numbers about the "costs" of software piracy, it's nice to see the whole thing beginning to backfire. We've already pointed to the backlash against the BSA for its activities, and now we're seeing how these kinds of crackdowns are doing exactly the opposite of what BSA/SIIA members would want: they're looking for open source alternatives. Following the ongoing "international crackdown" on software piracy, it appears that the Vietnamese government is the latest to start promoting open source alternatives. Of course, for proprietary software makers, this should be seen as worse than piracy. After all, as Microsoft and others have long admitted, you're much better off if someone is using an unauthorized version of your software, than if they're using the competition (especially if that competition is free). If they're using an unauthorized version of your software, then at least there's a chance that they'll either buy it at a later date or convince others to buy it. However, by putting such a big effort into cracking down on software piracy, all the industry has done is highlight why people are better off going with free alternatives. This is a key point we've tried to highlight in the past. The issue isn't piracy at all, but the fact that the competition will eventually learn to embrace "free." Focusing on "piracy" only helps accelerate that process.
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Filed Under: open source, software piracy, vietnam
Companies: bsa, siia


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Dec 2007 @ 11:54am

    Re: Open Source does not equal Free

    Of course you can violate licenses on open source/free software. Practically everybody know that.


    Free software, by the definition, does not restrict your ability to use the software in any way you want.

    So yes, I have an essentially free license to use free software any way I want.

    What it does not mean that free software are alway available for free. Distributors can set any prices that they want.

    It also does not mean that I can just distribute the software without giving the source code or not deliver the source code if the recipient request it.

    A free software license is concerned with distribution, not usage.

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