If They Can't Pass SOPA... Senators Ask FTC To Magically Stop Foreign Software Infringement

from the say-what-now? dept

Having failed to pass SOPA, Congress is apparently looking for other ways to keep the big copyright players happy. The latest is a letter sent by 16 senators to the FTC urging the commission to "protect American manufacturers" by cracking down on the fact that foreign companies often use unauthorized software:
"This unfairness harms the affected companies and their employees, as well as consumers and the broader economy," the senators wrote. "It also stifles innovation by forcing law-abiding American businesses — large and small — to compete against those businesses that reduce their operating costs through the use of pirated IT."
Except that much of that is misleading. First of all, it's unclear that the companies in question would have bought the software otherwise, so arguing that it impacts the software companies isn't necessarily true. It is true that US companies have to compete against those other companies, but is the cost of the software they're using really the difference maker here? Besides, for all types of software there is growing competition from open source alternatives. If US companies want to compete, why not adopt more open source alternatives?

Also, what exactly do these Senators think the FTC can do here? The FTC has no jurisdiction over foreign companies and how they operate at home. Finally, even if the FTC could magically stop these companies from using unauthorized software, the end result is likely that those companies would simply shift to alternatives, such as open source software themselves.
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Filed Under: ftc, it, jurisdiction, software piracy

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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 6 Apr 2012 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: They can barely use their Blackberries

    "in an effort to get countries to enforce their existing laws and trade agreements"

    If they're violating existing agreements, why does the FTC specifically have to get involved? What if the countries most used to infringe aren't a part of any of those organisations and/or are not bound to any agreements? What if the sites involved are perfectly legal in their home countries and shouldn't be held accountable to foreign laws?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot it's an AC. You want to try and force other countries to change their own laws to please your corporate lords and an easy scapegoat who you can point to when this inevitably fails, instead of actually adapting. Nothing to see here, then...

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