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. icon
    Mike (profile), 1 Jan 2008 @ 6:29pm

    Re:

    hi mike...

    Hi Sam!

    glad to see you're still beating your same horses...

    And I'm not so glad to see that you're continuing to misread what we say. I'd have thought, by now, you would have been more careful, but it seems you keep making the same mistakes. In the future, I'd suggest you learn to read what we actually say, rather than what the strawman you *hoped* we said. Otherwise, these discussions get rather silly.

    bill gates has never stated that he's for someone stealing his apps

    Nor did we say he did. First of all, we linked to a report of a different Microsoft exec, not Bill Gates, and secondly, if you read the whole sentence, we never say that Microsoft anything about stealing -- only making an unauthorized copy. Secondly, we never say that Microsoft said they're for people making unauthorized copies. We said that they're for someone making an unauthorized copy RATHER THAN using someone else's software.

    but rather than really look at what was said in the context of the remarks/situation, you'd rather distort it for your own use...

    Fascinating that you accuse me of taking something out of context, when the only person who took something out of context was you. We were quite clear on the context of the statements from Microsoft. Go read the post again. We've always been clear on it. It's you who seems to accuse us of saying something we didn't by taking it out of context.

    look.. if someone doesn't want to buy an app, or some content.. then don't buy it.. but it doesn't give you the right to go ahead and take it!!

    I'm not sure how many times I've said this directly to you, so I'm positively baffled that you would repeat it again. It makes no sense. Yet, I'll repeat it again. NOWHERE do we say that it's ok to "go ahead and take" software that the creator does not want to give away in that manner. This post is pretty clearly about how going after pirates is harming the actual market. That doesn't mean that the piracy is okay. Just focusing on how going after them is backfiring.

    Is it really so difficult for you to understand the difference?

    Sam, in the future, please take the time to understand what we have actually said rather than pretending what you hoped we said.

    Otherwise, you are wasting your own time, as well as my time.

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