BSA, Piracy, Intellectual Property

Macworld: News: Companies adopt activation as software piracy tops $33 billion
Somewhat elaborate article on software piracy. Well, it skims over several issues and doesn’t go into any depth. Still, it’s interesting to look at some ideas of those associated to the Business Software Alliance and compare them with the recording industry’s stance.
One interesting/insightful quote:

“I tend to be somewhat dubious about so-called lost sales estimates, because it’s not reasonable to assume that every pirated copy is a lost sale,” said Jupiter analyst, Joe Wilcox. “Additionally, the estimates assume that nobody pays, which isn’t the case.”

So the question of software piracy might be analyzed in a slightly more clueful fashion than that of music transfers. Although, the “loaf of bread” fallacy is used by the BSA too:

Software piracy is a relatively anonymous experience that can be done from the comfort of your home, but the BSA said it’s no different than walking into the local Best Buy and stealing something from them. While most people would have a problem stealing from a store, downloading a piece of software seems much easier for them.

Still, software developers quoted in this piece (or, at least, their representative) seem much more clueful than the BSA lobby group:

Adobe has heard of workarounds available at some piracy Web sites that [Adobe senior manager Licensing and Anti-Piracy] Nanavati said do appear to work. However, as with the other companies, Adobe’s first concern is for its customers, not stopping every person that wants to steal its software.

Sure, these all contrast with the ideals of the Free Software moverment/groups/philosophy. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that Bill Gates was one of the first to propose a business model on selling PC software. Like music becoming a commodity (as opposed to, say, an art), software code has become the basis for a huge economy. Sure, some people got rich through both processes. But how did humanity become richer through software has little to do with end-user license agreements.

Ah, well…


Author: enkerli

French-speaking ethnographer, homeroaster, anthropologist, musician, coffee enthusiast.

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