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Software Piracy

On Thu, 8 Jun 2000, Randall Hofland wrote:

> There is an interesting article that only briefly discusses the issue of
> software piracy at
> If nothing else, those that currently profit
> I have to wonder if such concerns will ever apply to the thievery of
> open sourced code for proprietary distributions (such as MacroShaft's
> misappropriation and misuse of Kerbols and other unknown source code)? I
> have to believe that the Digital Milennium and UTICA legislation will
> eventually result in the inadvertant suicide of closed and proprietary
> software. If nothing else those that currently profit from the
> tremendous growth of our modern technologies have new and interesting
> ways to spend more of our tax dollars!

Interesting, especially their $12 billion dollar estimate of pirated
software.  Of course, they (and the RIAA, MPAA, etc) don't mention how
they arrive at that kind of figure:
1.  Find a couple of little folks with pirated software / music /
video, through the book at them (they also use stores selling pirated
for this step).  Note that you never take on someone with money at
this step, in case they fight back in court.
2.  Take the number of pirated packages they found, multiply by a
guess as to the number of people in the US / world.
3.  Assume that everyone would have, in fact, bought the package.
4.  Assume that everyone would have paid MSRP for each package.
5.  Announce the results as some great loss.  
6.  Try to get laws passed to allow them to crack down hard on
legitimate users, forcing them to buy multiple copies of each package,
so that the stuff can't be "pirated," even though it does nothing to
prevent copying (encryption for example:  go to Bruce Schneier's for his discussion of why DVD encryption was bound to
fail, and does not prevent copying:
7.  Jack prices to cover the "losses" you announced in step 5.
Repeat that these "losses" are the reason for the price increase.
8.  Repeat from step one to jack prices even more.
(of interest, the
recording industry grew this year, setting new records, see:

 Not saying piracy doesn't happen (I've seen it, it does), but their
method of estimating is guarenteed to give a huge number that has no
relationship with reality.  


Jeffry Smith      Technical Sales Consultant     Mission Critical Linux
smith at   phone:603.930.9379   fax:978.446.9470
Thought for today:  "Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..."
		-- Professor in the UCB physics department

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