Reply to Steve (Piracy isn't Stealing, but...)
Talk about double standards:
2. Microsoft doesn't encourage piracy?! Well, let me quote from Bill Gates' address to B-school students at the University of Washington way back in 1998:
"Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don't pay for the software," he said. "Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."
You'll find the full text here: http://news.com.com/2100-1023-212942.html
So, Mr. Steve, does that debunk the myth YOU are trying to propogate? Do you
know how easy it would be write a program that checks an online Windows
computer to find out if the OS is not pirated? You can also record the IP
address, and with the ISP's help, find out the exact person to whom that IP
belongs. You can not only launch remote code to disable or destroy the system, (especially with the amount of viruses freely availble to do this on windows!)
you can also directly sue the offender for copyright violation. Catch a few
hundred offenders like this, and you can have just one all-encompassing lawsuit
against them. Remember american music companies doing this? Was it not too
costly for them? No, because it was a matter of desperation, as they were
suddenly staring at bankrupcy in the face of sweeping changes in technology.
For someone with pockets as deep as Microsoft, surely this won't cost more than
"the amount of money they would possibly recover if all the people they pursued
actually paid up in full." Especially considering the shivers it would send
down the spines of future pirates.
And yes, i definitely cannot agree with the dealers' on this. It is stealing no
doubt. Probably what many Indian pharma companies do is stealing as well (it's
a different matter that reverse engineering costly patented drugs and selling
them cheap has probably helped save thousands of lives in poor countries). And
yes, the example about the difference in prices of books is apt ("The C
Progamming Language" by K&R, indian edition costs Rs. 95. The original US
edition? About Rs. 2700). If not for publishing companies selling very cheap
technical books in countries like India, the developing world wouldn't have
produced so many skilled engineers at 10% of the cost of the "developed" world.
And companies like Microsoft would not have so many employees in these
countries as cheap labour. In fact, if not for pirated Windows they used as
teenagers, most of them would not have been skilled enough for any IT job!
And yes, what royalty does Microsoft pay to AT & T for using C/ C++ ? Is there
*any* guarantee that microsoft itself doesn't freely copy code from free
software and violate the GPL? Even if it is just a conspiracy theory, can there
ever be an independent code audit of microsoft products to verify this?
Sorry, but i can't agree with either party on this; especially because the american capitalistic model doesn't look for just "adequate compensation" of effort, it looks more for creating *one* good thing and then milking it till eternity.