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BSA Software Piracy Fight Smacks of RIAA Crackdown 282

Posted by Zonk
from the making-enemies-in-all-places dept.
Ron Paul Dennis Kucinich writes "A Business Software Alliance raid on musical-instrument maker Ernie Ball Inc. cost the company $90,000 in a settlement. Soon after, Microsoft sent other businesses in the region around Ball's a flyer offering discounts on software licenses, along with a reminder not to wind up like Ernie Ball. Enraged, CEO Sterling Ball vowed never to use Microsoft software again, even if 'we have to buy 10,000 abacuses.' Similar BSA raids around the country have been provoking strong reactions from put-upon business owners, echoing similar reactions to music-lovers targeted by the RIAA."
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BSA Software Piracy Fight Smacks of RIAA Crackdown

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  • Maybe the RIAA will take a page out of the BSA play book and start a tip line. I can see it now "Drop the dime on your friends, family, and coworkers and get a free Brittany Spears CD!"
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or the other way around -- give us the name of a music pirate, or we'll flood your mailbox with Britney Spears CDs!

      That should frighten anyone with ears.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      DO call the tip line with company names. Piss off enough of the companies and yes, they will switch to Apple or Linux rather than deal with these nazis. At this time, there is not enough harassment, just intimidation.
    • Re:BSA Tip Line (Score:4, Informative)

      by oboreruhito (925965) on Monday November 26, 2007 @09:37AM (#21478089)
      Submitter sent in the wrong story, I'm assuming. The Associated Press ran a much more recent story yesterday [google.com] about two things that have come to light since Ernie Ball: 1. The BSA does have a tip line now, with a $1 million reward for whistleblowers. 2. 90 percent of the BSA's $13 million in settlements came not from larger businesses with hundreds or thousands of employees, like Ernie Ball, but from much smaller firms that don't have the legal resources to even begin to fight the BSA, and who arguably don't have the legal representation to even understand the licenses to which they're agreeing. $90,000 isn't as much to Ernie Ball as $67,000 is to the 10-employee architectural firm in that AP story. What's scary is that the BSA is going after pittances - one or two violated licenses - on anonymous employee tips. From the AP article:

      BSA enforcement director Jenny Blank disputes the notion that her group is encouraging employees to exploit mere technicalities and "onesy, twosy random noncompliance." That's why, she said, it focuses on the worst offenders. Yet in 2005, her group pursued Mediaport Entertainment Inc. of Salt Lake City, where an audit revealed just two unlicensed copies of Microsoft software. Retail value: $6,500. The BSA pressed for $16,500; the sides reached an undisclosed settlement.
      Bottom line: Don't use BSA software, and don't trust your employees. Even if you do nothing but Linux, there's still ways some disgruntled employee can leave behind pirated, or even legal-but-mismanaged (shared folder, circumvented license administration) copies of a BSA program on a few systems, call the BSA, and get his $1 million while you try to get a $20,000 "fine" down to a $10,000 settlement.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by davidsyes (765062)
        Even MORE now than ever, companies fearful of the riaa/bsa need to:

        -- go with virtualization and terminal servers to remove hard drives and media access port so ANY employees who don't need them

        -- replace with Open Source as MUCH software as they can

        -- pony up money for consultative groups with similar passion for not being pursued by mshaft

        -- come up with new NDA documents that specify that the company will counter-sue ANY employee who discloses licensing violations without FIRST notifying IT, the company
  • 10,000 Abacuses? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matti-han (923613) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:33AM (#21476563)
    My dear sir, let me introduce you to something called 'linux'. I favor Kubuntu myself.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Actually, Ernie Ball uses RedHat [news.com].
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by joebutton (788717)
      Abacuses are extremely reliable. You can always count on them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      From a related article. [yahoo.com]

      "Beyond hunting for dicey characters buying and selling counterfeits, the BSA also devotes significant attention to other forms of what it calls piracy by business users. The money harvested in these company-by-company crackdowns is not parceled to its members whose copyrights were infringed; the funds stay with the BSA to fuel its operations. (BSA's worldwide settlements soared 53 percent last year to $56 million.)"

      I could list a number of reasons why this statement alone pisses

  • Both cheaper, and more powerful.

    Also, I have a lot of respect for Ernie Ball products; their guitar strings are my favorite. I'm relating this story to my local LUG. They deserve some respect for publicly denouncing MS.
    • by Kawahee (901497)

      I'm relating this story to my local LUG. They deserve some respect for publicly denouncing MS
      I don't know what kind of spin you're going to put on it, but a company was rightfully fined for using Microsoft software illegally. Yeah, they might have drawn the short straw for (what it sounds like from the article) accidently running a few too many copies of a piece of software, but what they were doing was illegal.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        And illegal does not mean wrong. In this case, the law is deeply wrong, so they were wrongfully fined. The law does not determine right and wrong. Copyright should be abolished. http://questioncopyright.org/ [questioncopyright.org]
        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          But Linux could not exist in it's current form without copyright. Without copyright, it would basically have a license more like BSD, which last I checked wasn't doing quite as well as Linux on the popularity front, or on the functionality part. Granted BSD is good for what it does, but there are many areas where it is lacking. Even more so than Linux.
      • by ricegf (1059658) on Monday November 26, 2007 @08:26AM (#21477515) Journal

        a company was rightfully fined for using Microsoft software illegally

        No, a company was fined for not being able to prove they were not using Microsoft software illegally.

        Although the EULA doesn't state they must provide a receipt for the software, or that the "Certificate of Authenticity" doesn't certify that the software is authentic (go figure), that is the standard to which Microsoft holds its customers on penalty of lawsuit or (more commonly) extortion.

        I received two letters from the BSA in 2003, both warning me that I could be liable for "hundreds of thousands of dollars" if they audit my business and I am unable to prove that every copy of their member company's software was legally purchased. They helpfully offered, "Can your business afford that risk?"

        Y'know, I couldn't. I switched to free-as-in-freedom software.

      • by rbochan (827946)

        I don't know what kind of spin you're going to put on it, but a company was rightfully fined for using Microsoft software illegally. Yeah, they might have drawn the short straw for (what it sounds like from the article) accidently running a few too many copies of a piece of software, but what they were doing was illegal.

        If you actually read into the matter more thoroughly, you'll find out that they were turned in by a disgruntled former employee. That former employee was responsible for maintaining their li

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:36AM (#21476575)
    Come on you nerds, he said it for dramatic effect. HE IS NOT GOING TO START SLIDING FUCKING NOBS ACROSS STICKS.

    So you can stop saying "no need for abacuses! try linux!"
  • Authority for raids? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shawnmchorse (442605) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:36AM (#21476577) Homepage
    I've never understood this. The BSA is obviously just a trade group with no authority whatsoever to conduct raids and such. If they decide they need to "raid" a business, then generally they would just have a suspicion that this business 'might' have some of their software installed and some of that software 'might' not be fully licensed. Is that really enough for local law enforcement to go along with it? A lot of the coverage I've read about BSA raids seems to imply that the business involved went along with the raid voluntarily, and I have trouble understanding why any business would do so.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DaleGlass (1068434)
      There's an old story on how the BSA works [slashdot.org]
    • by nacturation (646836) <[nacturation] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:31AM (#21476859) Journal
      It goes like this:

      BSA: "We have reliable evidence from a confidential source [read: disgruntled (ex-)employee] that you don't have valid licenses to the software you use."
      Company: "You don't have any authority over us. GTFO."
      BSA: "Fine."

      [BSA starts suit against company, submits evidence to a judge, and during the discovery period requests complete documentation of all software being run on company systems, along with licenses and date of purchase. If company fails to provide, BSA files for a motion to compel or some such legal mumbo-jumbo that basically gives the BSA the judge-approved legal right to take apart every computer and really ruin their day.]

      BSA: "According to what we found, it appears you're liable for tens of millions of dollars of damages according to current copyright fines."
      Company: "Err... gosh, maybe we overlooked purchasing a few hundred software licenses here and there. Our bad. Say, do you have any kind of compliance deal for companies like ours who accidentally used unlicensed software on every computer we own and where we don't have to admit guilt?"
      BSA: "Sure, just fork over $90,000 on top of paying our legal bills and purchasing licenses for all that software we discovered, you admit no wrongdoing, but you also agree to annual audits from here on."
      Company: "Yeah, again, our bad... hey, who should we make this payable to?"

      [Company makes the payment, BSA cashes it, company buys licenses to all software, and BSA files motion to dismiss suit.]
       
    • by rbochan (827946)

      ...Is that really enough for local law enforcement to go along with it?...

      If by "local law enforcement" you mean raided by "armed U.S. Marshals" [infoworld.com], then apparently yes.

  • Dupe (Score:5, Informative)

    by phayes (202222) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:36AM (#21476581) Homepage
    This is the oldest dupe I've seen on slashdot! [slashdot.org]
  • Great news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Slashidiot (1179447) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:43AM (#21476623) Journal
    I think this is great news for FOSS people. Up until now, most software vendors have been quite generous on their piracy tolerance. If these companies start pushing it hard, and making people pay, things will start changing.

    Many people just download photoshop because that's what they know. If they have to pay for it, there will be a HUGE shift to GIMP. And that's even more true with Microsoft stuff, at least in Spain. I know very few people who have bought a copy of Windows (not counting what came with the computer). But it's easy to pirate, so they go for it. If they faced fines of 1000 euro for it (or had to pay 300 to buy it in the first place), a lot of people would consider linux. Now, both are free (in practice), so price is not a problem when choosing. Factor that in, and things look very different.

    So, good news, people will start using what they need, and not the professional (and expensive) tool for home stuff. And that usually means open source.
    • by hidden (135234)
      In my ideal world, you would be correct. However...

      In reality, the computer already has windows installed, so replacing it with linux is a fairly major effort. To use your photoshop example, I suspect rather more people would purchase something like PaintShopPro, than would install GIMP...and it would meet their needs quite nicely, for much less money,
      • by ricegf (1059658)

        replacing it with linux is a fairly major effort

        The real seismic shift is from proprietary Windows-only applications to free and portable applications.

        Once all of your applications are available on both Windows and Linux, "fairly major effort" above becomes "fairly trivial effort".

        • Once all of your applications are available on both Windows and Linux, "fairly major effort" above becomes "fairly trivial effort".

          The problem is not just applications; it is also hardware drivers. Drivers do not come for free because not all manufacturers of PC hardware cooperate with the free software community. Often, someone switching from Windows to Linux outside of a planned hardware upgrade has to repurchase much of the hardware in a PC in order to have hardware for which a freely available driver exists.

          • by ricegf (1059658)

            Often...repurchase much of the hardware in a PC

            I've loaded Linux onto literally hundreds of machines, and I'm quite confident you are overstating the problem, although certain hardware still lacks native drivers. (Of course, Windows video drivers work pretty well on Linux - I'm using one to type this. :-)

            For older hardware, however, driver support in Linux is generally superior to Vista, and a little thought will show why this is inevitable. Manufacturers have all the wrong motivations to support olde

    • you miss the critical thing, the BSA only tends to go after buisnesses.

      So people get hooked on expensive software like photoshop through pirate copies then when they need to use it for work they buy it legit.

      As for windows virtually everyone in the western world pays for it as part of thier computer purchase. Most PC vendors would not dare sell a machine with pirate windows preloaded (especially in theese days of WGA which invites users to rat on thier supplier in exchange for a free windows license) and mo
  • Ahh!!! (Score:4, Funny)

    by NickCatal (865805) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:49AM (#21476647)
    Submitted by 'Ron Paul Dennis Kucinich'

    Oh my god, Slashdot has become Reddit
  • 2002 News? Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by svunt (916464) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:50AM (#21476651) Homepage Journal
    Five years is an awfully long time ago. Heads up, editors :)
  • No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft? ...oh wait. But seriously, this whole licensing crap is really pissing off many people/companies who most likely have legit copies that mysteriously flag as illegal. While this is indeed old news, I'm glad this will bring some new people to the FOSS camp as an alternative to draconian licensing deals, etc. The more positive news for FOSS, the better, no?
    • I do wish BSA would somehow attack Harvard and then get such a whacking by 10,000 trust-fund wanna-be lawyers and their interns, that they give back the name to Boy Scouts of America.
      OTOH, i do buy games like Company of Heroes to promote good games so that the manufacturers make more such excellent games.
      Seriously why can't OS be prices at $39.39 instead of 129...
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:54AM (#21476673) Journal
    If you're the target of the BSA, I don't feel as much remorse...

    If you don't have the money to pay for the software your business use, you shouldn't use the software in the first place.
    • Not so simple. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheLink (130905) on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:03AM (#21477009) Journal
      The problem I see is it's not just that. You don't just need money to pay for the software you use, you need money to pay to keep track of it for X years and all the other associated crap. And some of those license thingies are kinda grey or complicated - per server, per client, concurrent clients, users (this could be vague), concurrent users, host, CPU (socketted), CPU core, MHz etc. Not just that, they can change from year to year. IIRC Windows XP Home was previously not for multiprocessor systems, but when multicore x86 CPUs came out, Microsoft said they meant socketed CPUs.

      "The BSA considers software pirated if a company can't produce a receipt for it, no matter how long ago it was purchased. Software boxes or certificates of authenticity are no help, because the BSA argues the software could have been obtained from an illegitimate source."

      Does that mean even if you have Windows XP and MS Office certs stuck on the PC with a 1:1 cert:install mapping it doesn't count? What idiocy is that? I know lots of businesses will have difficulty retaining receipts and records longer than a few years. Might be in a box somewhere but nobody left in the company will know about it.

      Whether the PC was stolen or not, if the cert+ key is real Microsoft etc already have got paid for it.

      It could even be a gift, believe me people do donate software. I'm sure many churches and charitable organisations get such stuff. You don't always get receipts for that.

      Thing is the BSA might have a different agenda from the companies it represents.

      I heard the Microsoft boss in my country handled piracy cases differently - he told off his staff who apparently were going around taking people to court etc. Basically his opinion was these people were happy users of Microsoft software, all his staff needed to do was to convince them to license. Which shouldn't be too hard - "Hi, would you like to pay the $$$$$ per infringing copy (plus bosses risk imprisonment) or $$$ per licensed copy?". ;)

      Instant sale. Don't even need to send them any fancy media or boxes. Don't even need to send people to help install and configure the software - they've already done all that work themselves.

      Only send in the thugs if they refuse to license after you find out they are noncompliant.
      • IIRC Windows XP Home was previously not for multiprocessor systems, but when multicore x86 CPUs came out, Microsoft said they meant socketed CPUs.
        Sure when ordinary home systems started coming with hyperthreading then multicore MS had to allow the home edition to run on them.

        IIRC that was a technically enforced limitation not a license limitation though.
      • by azrider (918631)

        Thing is the BSA might have a different agenda from the companies it represents.
        The article notes that the BSA keeps the fines, the individual software companies get nothing.

        You bet that the BSA has a different agenda.

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Monday November 26, 2007 @05:55AM (#21476675) Journal
    something with a handgun and a foot?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Rufty (37223)
      Such an icon would have limited applicability.
      Anything concerning the the RIAA could still contain the "foot" part, but the "gun" would have to be large and belt fed.
  • Im REALLY wondering how are you going to rationalize this racketeering 'sales' practice employed by your beloved firm.
  • by t0qer (230538) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:17AM (#21476795) Homepage Journal
    Ball should have paid for their software.

    I've mostly worked in desktop support for over 1/3rd of my life so far. I don't do cubicles or offices anymore unless it's a favor for someone that's not going to be a pain in the ass, or ask me to do back breaking work (like breaking my back lifting an 200lb IBM netfinity server onto a rack). No no, those days are over.

    Over those years though I can't recount how many times a customer would need a windows re-install, or an office re-install, whatever. I'd ask for the original CD and they'd tell me "Don't you have a copy?"

    The "Don't you just have a copy?" people were the same people that would nag and haggle me on my billing, like it was some sort of open air arab market, instead of a indoor air conditioned "professional" workplace.

    These days i've all but quit doing IT type support, cept for a few special cases. My current business/company uses windows, and i've gotten legit copies from various places. A few programmer friends got me copies of XP from the MS employee store for $35 each, which I have running on 2 machines. I also purchased a copy for another machine for $99. The rest of the machines at my business are running Linux.

    Open Office does fine for me.

    Maybe because I started off in IT and knew what type jerks steal stuff, I made a personal choice that I didn't want to be like them.
    • Over those years though I can't recount how many times a customer would need a windows re-install, or an office re-install, whatever. I'd ask for the original CD and they'd tell me "Don't you have a copy?"

      At the same time, did you insist on a copy of the sales reciept?

      The BSA is considering copies with certificates of authenticity as sketchy if they are missing the sales reciepts. At home, anything off warranty is missing the sales reciept. The news of the BSA audits is definately encouraging me to go 100
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by T.E.D. (34228)

      I'd ask for the original CD and they'd tell me "Don't you have a copy?"

      According to TFA, original media doesn't matter to the BSA. What they want is your original reciept. If you don't still have that you just as out of compliance. Meanwhile, if your media-less wonders have their reciepts, they are just peachy.
  • Seriously though (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nighty5 (615965) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:23AM (#21476829)
    we're congratulating a company for copying software from major vendors and they got caught, and they should be treated like some savour? I'm sick to death of hearing companies feel they are the victim when they COPY software without paying for it. You can bet your bottom dollar Ernie Ball wouldn't work for free by giving out guitars so why should a software company?

    The fact is, they willingly copied software and got caught and they paid the consequences. Although it seems based on the article it was only 8% unauthorised, they only changed over when they were caught, if they were really supportive of open source they would of moved off their propriety systems long ago.

    I work in IT, and I pay for software that I use, if I can't afford it I find something else - its no excuse to copy it.

    Nothing to see here move along.
    • Re:Seriously though (Score:4, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:16AM (#21477091)
      I work in IT, and I pay for software that I use, if I can't afford it I find something else - its no excuse to copy it.

      Do you have a copy of the reciept for every piece of software? That thumb drive that uses an encryption program... which is installed on the PC, where is the reciept for that $10 thumb drive? No reciept is a violation... Just ask the BSA or read the article. There is almost nobody in full compliance. My biggest violation is a lack of reciepts. All my copies of MS Office are in violation except the newest one simply because I haven't kept the reciepts.

      These violations are being weeded out as I migrate to Ubuntu and dispose of the obsolete high liability software.
      • by nighty5 (615965)
        I do, but home users aren't their primary target I'd say. I think the BSA would bend more for home users but businesses make a living off software so they are considered more of a target. Years ago it was hard to track software licenses but these days its not hard too if you really want to. However I do believe companies deserve a chance to mend their ways and you'll probably find the 90k they were "fined" was equal to the software they used without a license. I could be wrong but I think you'll find BSA wi
        • As a side note I use True Crypt on my USB drives - its free, cross platform

          That is a fantastic point. The BSA is taking credit for a reduction in the percent of software piracy from it's high in the 1990's to it's current low level. The total amount pirated is "Quadrupled" simply because there is more software.

          The biggie, is there are many more vendors in the software arena. The prices have come down, so affordable alternatives are easy to get. I don't need Photoshop. I can use Arcsoft which came bundl
    • by ratboy666 (104074)
      Please...

      The BSA does not accept a "proof of license" sticker. You MUST present a receipt for the software. If you go to a trade show, and accept a "free" copy of swagware (say, a copy of Windows) that does NOT have a receipt, you will be counted in violation.

      Under THOSE rules, 8% is (translated) comletely in compliance.

      [and yes, I do not accept that "free" software because it exposes my business to the BSA, and (reading the EULA fine print) at least one commercial software product put audits in! (possibly
  • The BSA is a useful tool for revenge against companies that treat their employees like shit. These are often the same companies that blatantly pirate business software, since they are willing to do anything, legal or illegal, to screw their employees, customers and suppliers out of a buck.

    The IRS also has a tax informant reward program, which is useful if you know that your employer is cheating on their taxes.

    • The IRS also has a tax informant reward program, which is useful if you know that your employer is cheating on their taxes.
      What if you don't know that they are cheating but decide to report them anyway on the hope that they made a small slip up somewhere for which you know they will get disproportionate punishmet?

      Afaict in any company over a certain size it is virtually impossible to ensure that all software is licensed. People who need to get something done ASAP and are fed up with the beuracracy and/or co
  • Been there, done that. There was once an operating system (and I use the term loosely) put out by Microsoft, Windows 3.1, and it was the last dime I gave William.
  • by JakiChan (141719) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:41AM (#21476899)
    When I was looking at Yahoo news today I saw no less than 3 articles in the Technology section about the BSA. Seems like they're tricking the news services into running free scare-tactics PR for them.
    • Seems like they're tricking the news services into running free scare-tactics PR for them.

      Unfortunately for them, it is getting businesses into compliance. High risk high cost software is discontinued as a possible business buster as low risk software becomes good enough.

      Missing reciepts for MS Office and Photoshop are high risk liabilities. Missing reciepts for The Gimp and Open Office is no problem.

      There are several high profile companies using open source.
      http://www.aaxnet.com/design/linux2.html [aaxnet.com]
      http:// [mtechit.com]
  • by meburke (736645) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:55AM (#21476979)
    OK, there are adequate substitutes for Windows, Photoshop, and MSOffice (especially OxygenOffice), but it is real hard to find good OSS substitutes for Visio, AutoCad and MSProject. A few years ago, AutoCad was listed as the second most used application in the World. The OSS substitute would have to be absolutely awesome to compete with AutoCad. This may be one of the best-designed apps in existence, the tech support is pretty good, the legacy is humongous, and everyone is educated in it.

    Now my needs are bit modest, so I get by with SketchUp, and Alibre, (although my versions are not free, they do offer free versions), but a major Engineering company might have a rough time finding an easy-to-use substitute.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by SCHecklerX (229973)
      For visio, you could use OODraw, with some templates. Or use cad software with the same. I'm aware of Dia, but I've used it a couple of times and wasn't overly impressed.
    • After all, if it's good enough to be Boeing's primary 3D CAD tool, it should work for autocad users. Not sure if it's available for Linux yet, but Sun's Solaris will run it.

      Check it out here [wikipedia.org].
    • AutoCad (AutoKut in Dutch) is NOT the #1 CAD program because it's so good. It was simply the first cheap CAD-program that ran on dos/windows. So it is used in many, many companies while gaining a reputation in designing lock-in formats. Everybody uses it, because everybody uses it. Autodesk is just like M$; crappy software and an unhealthy monopoly. Better, unix-based CAD programs have always existed.
    • Obviously you are not a professional photographer, or graphic artist. There is absolutely no substitute for Photoshop. If you think Gimp is a substitute you dont use or know photoshop at the pro level.

      Gimp has a long ways to go.
  • Soon after, Microsoft sent other businesses in the region around Ball's a flyer offering discounts on software licenses, along with a reminder not to wind up like Ernie Ball.
    Linux users could have sent flyers around the region, along with a reminder not to wind up like Ernie Ball. I bet the uptake would have been surprising.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by earthforce_1 (454968)
      Maybe they would want to end up like him.

      I read an interview with Ernie Ball after the raid. He DID switch to Red Hat Linux, and by his estimate saves $100K per year. He thanked microsoft for the money he is now saving.
  • Can we be honest here, how many of us, even the linux users, try out MS latest OS just to see the new shiny? I am guilty of it but not with Vista. Why? I found no reliable way to pirate it. I am NOT going to pay for it. I don't 'want' it, I just want to see it.

    Why should MS care? Because I am also that guy who knows computers and fixes things.

    I fix XP, I told people to move to XP and other upgrades before simply because I was tired of dealing with ancient versions of windows that were even harder to maint

    • by darthflo (1095225)
      I fully agree to all the Vista problems you're citing here, except one: Vista is intended to be easily pirated if all you're going to do is take a few quick looks.
      Vista is, IIRC, distributed in a one-DVD-fits-all (editions) way; what gets installed is determined by what product key you enter at setup. (Exceptions are two different DVDs for x86/x64 architectures. Not quite sure about volume licensed copies, but I think they ought to use the same DVDs, too.) The available choices include, apart from Home Bus
      • volume license buisness and enterprise each have thier own media sets which install just one version.
    • by ricegf (1059658)

      Can we be honest here, how many of us, even the linux users, try out MS latest OS just to see the new shiny?

      Sure, I tried Vista... at Fry's. I was really disappointed, too. None of the windows burned up when I closed them. Not one.

      Perhaps one day Vista will be ready for the desktop, but this is not that day.

  • that a group such as the BSA would model its own campaign upon an unsuccessful campaign waged by a similar organization? Well, unsuccessful in achieving its stated purpose, but very successful in extorting wads of cash.
  • on one hand the story of Ernie Ball is old news, on the other it's one that needs to not be forgotten.
  • It seems to all boil down to software copyright cartels using civil laws and "lock-in" to create monopoly prisons from which it is nearly impossible to extricate yourself.

    If we *truly* want to be free of these criminal organizations we need to create viable competition against them. OpenOffice is a good start, FireFox, etc.

    Gimp needs improvement to even be mentioned with Photoshop, that being said, most people who use Photoshop could use Gimp if its UI were improved and features be more intuitive.

    There is a
  • I don't like the MAFFIAA tactics. But, piracy really isn't fair either. Can somebody suggest a better way for software/music/movie companies to protect their rights?
  • I'd comment on the article, but there is no article, just two ads. Brilliant. Half the comments here are talking about how this story is from 2002, half are making fun of the abacus comment, and the original article doesn't exist!

    Pure class.
  • The BSA considers software pirated if a company can't produce a receipt for it, no matter how long ago it was purchased. Software boxes or certificates of authenticity are no help.
    And some times the certificates of authenticity or the key on your systems case is the only receipt. What about software / hardware makes you send in the receipt for rebate or warranty?

    What even happened to innocent until proven guilty?

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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