Piracy Hurts


A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about the reality of piracy (for
whatever reason). Anyway, the conclusion I drew was that piracy does
hurt, but not in the sense that most companies would have you believe.

Microsoft claims that they lose billions of dollars every year due to piracy,
the RIAA and MPAA both have relatively identical claims. These claims are
obviously rediculous, because a company only loses money if the pirate
would have purchased the product had they not pirated it. Do you think even a
fraction of those pirated version of Windows in developing countries would have
been purchased if not pirated? With the cost of Windows being far more than the
average monthly salery of many of those developing countries, I highly doubt it.

(Of course, that idea does fall apart in a certain sense, because it basically
implies that someone who is poor should have a "morally" free reign to

Now, all that aside, let's imagine for a moment that we live in a world that
piracy doesn't exist, or that Microsoft, the RIAA, and the MPAA, suddenly
divised a method to completely stop piracy. Is your version of Windows or
MS Office pirated? If so, would you go out and buy office for $500? How about
Windows for $300? Or would you download
OpenOffice for free, which contains
99% of the functionality that you use in MS Office?

You might still purchase Windows instead of switching to Linux or another
free alternative. Switching OS's is magnitudes more difficult than switching
office suites. But eventually you'd start asking
yourself, "why am I shelling out $300 every two years for software that is
less reliable and secure than a free alternative!?".

Piracy is actually helping Microsoft maintain market share, without it they
lose their monopoly. Without their monopoly they lose all of their control.
In my eyes, right now piracy is the only major roadblock in Linux's and
open source software's way.

Now, let's extrapolate this a little futher, onto the RIAA. That's right, all
you evil "file sharers", no more sharing for you! At least not of the
"signed" artists song variety (we're still imagining here). You've now got to
shell out a few bucks to get your Britney Spears fix. Sure, you'll still do
it, but only because you really love to piss off your room mates.

The free sharing of pirated songs ends. This paves the
way for an easy to access venue for independant artists. Sure, those artists
have online venues for sharing music right now, but the RIAA still has a
stronghold over what you listen to because those venues are minimal and
not popularised. "Why should I download some Indy band's song (that might suck)
when I could just download the latest Nickelback song (which follows a proven
formula of a standard sound and simple lyrics)?"

If the only free music you could get was from unsigned artists, you'd probably
listen to a lot more indy bands. Any musician with a grasp of reality knows
that a career in music will only last maybe two albums if they're really
lucky. It's not a viable living. They do it because they love music and they
want other people to hear their music.

(Note, by "career in music", I'm referring only to writing and performing

Basically what I'm getting at, is that the line between RIAA controlled music
and indy music becomes a lot more obvious. The RIAA losing a monopoly in the
music industry means that they will no longer have ultimate control over
what gets played on the radio or sold in the store. Just as Microsoft losing
their monopoly means that you no longer have to pay an additional $80 for
your computer because their OS comes preinstalled and you've got no say in the

In conclusion, don't stop pirating because it hurts a multi-billion dollar
multi-national corporation, stop pirating because it hinders the people who
are trying to give you something that's even better than the very thing
that corporation is trying to sell you. Software pirating hurts open
source, and music pirating hurts the independant band.

Peanut Gallery

"In my eyes, right now


"In my eyes, right now piracy is the only major roadblock in Linux's and open source software's way."

Good argument. Bad conclusion.

In terms of server, Linux is there. In terms of embedded devices, Linux is there. In terms of corporate desktop, Linux is almost there. Let's let IBM and Novell finish their deployments before we declare that it is there.

In terms of home desktop, Linux is most certainly not there. All the technology is there. From a usability and polish standpoint, Linux is not there.

Give Linspire, Xandros, Suse, and others a couple more years.

> From a usability and


> From a usability and polish standpoint, Linux is not there.

That's definately not true. If Linux came pre-installed on desktops it would be usable and polished. Getting linux to the polished state takes some work, but no regular user is going to install and setup Linux *or* windows.

You can easily configure linux to be much more friendly than windows. Fuck, I can't even believe you still have to install drivers and software when you add new hardware to windows. What's with that?

I like your take, you make

I like your take, you make some good points.

I'll reconsider your


I'll reconsider your argument when copy-and-paste works correctly across, KDE, GNOME, and emacs.

> I'll reconsider your


> I'll reconsider your argument when copy-and-paste works correctly across, KDE, GNOME, and emacs.

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Why would you want to copy between KDE and GNOME, not to mention how? Or do you mean KDE and GNOME apps?

Besides that, what doesn't work correctly with the copy-and-paste? I've never had a problem with those three apps. OpenOffice is a different story, however.

Yes, I mean KDE and GNOME


Yes, I mean KDE and GNOME apps. KDE has Klipper. Who knows what GNOME uses. Then there is the X clipboard. Then there are applications that have their own clipboards.

Try a wipe/yoink from emacs to firefox. It doesn't work.


OK. I think I see what


OK. I think I see what you're getting at. But your still wrong that a clipboard that doesn't work across multiple DE's makes it not 'corporate desktop' ready, when comparing to windows.

The majority of windows users are going to use only kde or gnome apps if they were to switch to linux, not both. They'll just use what they see in their menu's. It will be rare that a very novice user will be using several gnome apps if they're a kde user.

Also, your argument applies equally to windows. Ever tried to yoink from emacs in windows and paste into firefox? It works even worse, because at least in linux middle click will still work, which is all I ever use when pasting.

Don't blame the OS, blame the apps for not complying with the standard way to copy-and-paste. OpenOffice has the exact same problem on Mac OS too.

Windows has so many more UI issues than Linux that it's laughable for you to state that it's more 'corporate desktop' ready than Linux because of Linux's UI issues. The only thing that makes it seem 'friendlier' is that more people are used to doing things the windows way.

Hi Good debate! I've been


Good debate!

I've been reading alot about this issue on the few places it's been discussed on the net. I made a homepage about the issue. If you want to turn away from piracy, I recommend you check it out: http://freealternative.linux.dk

You will find all free programs you need and information about Linux!

I hope you will it usefull!

Best wishes