Big Software Rolls Out Piracy Frame
During the last half of last week, I read at least four news items related to an IDC study that claims unlicensed uses cost the computer software industry billion of dollars per year. The coverage has continued into this week. (Note that I didn’t say “piracy.” Whenever possible, I eschew the term “piracy” because in my mind, using that word commits one to accepting some of Big Content’s frames, namely that (a) all unlicensed uses of computer software are illegal, and (b) all unlicensed uses of computer software are harmful. The first premise is absolutely untrue, while the second premise is reasonably debatable.)
I find it interesting that most of the media coverage about the IDC study focuses on perpetuating the message the study’s sponsor, the Business Software Alliance, wants to perpetuate: unlicensed use of computer software is hurting the global economy, while fully licensed use of computer software could greatly improve the global economy. Despite the public relations blast, however, there always is more than one side to a story, and programmer Karsten Self has published a piece that investigates these economic claims with a bit more rigor than BSA’s slanted story.
News of the BSA study was released at about the same time the Associated Press reported that Big Film is lobbying the New York legislature to increase bootlegging penalties films to a felony level offense.
Grant Gross. Could Squashing Piracy Boost Economies? PC World. Dec. 14, 2005.
Business Software Alliance. Expanding the Frontiers of Our Digital Future. Reducing Software Piracy to Accelerate Global IT Benefits. No date.
Roy Mark. Software Industry Shifts Piracy Strategy. Enterprise IT Planet.com. Dec. 12, 2005.
SiliconValley.com. Tougher Penalties Sought for Pirates Who Brazenly Bootleg Movies. Dec. 8, 2005.
Karsten Self. On Software “Piracy”, Lies, BSA, Microsoft, Rocks, and Hard Penguins. April 11, 2004.
CopyCense™: K. Matthew Dames on the intersection of business, law and technology. A business venture of Seso Digital LLC.