One of the questions that is thrown around is ‘why do people pirate software or MP3s?’ when there are perfectly good alternatives that are legal.
Well one reason might be these ‘legal’ alternatives mostly have license agreements you don’t actually OWN any of it. You rent it with a license that can be taken away at any point, for no reason, and that license forbids resale. So those MP3s you bought? You cannot resell them. Those promo CDs you got given for free? According to the big 4, you cannot sell them, or beware the Fate of Hyman.
That software you just bought? Probably ditto as the US ruling of a Ebay seller who sued Autodesk for pulling his sales – his argument was he never even opened the packages so how could he be bound by the EULA? Well the appeal has overturned his previous win.
So really when your ‘posessions’ are all to support the rentier capitalists I can see why people stick the middle finger and pirate…I think the software companies need to sort this out, because who other than big companies is going to pay £1,000-£2,000 for something like Creative Suite, or many thousands more for 3D software, and then be told you can’t recoup investment down the line by selling it on when you don’t need it anymore? (obviously these systems tend to check serial usage anyway, or register/de-register per machine with ‘keys’, so usually multiple usage without some ‘crack’ is not possible anyway).
The whole idea of licensing is to get around the ‘first sale doctrine‘ of 1909 – and other similar laws in other countries.
A good legal (I am not a lawyer etc.) question might be: if you never actually own it, but rent it – can you really be sued for piracy/’theft’ when you never really officially owned it in the first place? Obviously you currently can, but I think companies going down this license route better beware – not only are the Ninja Librarians on your arse about the issues of DRM and keeping such digital media for future generations and being able to rent it out – and really I’d not fuck with a librarian – but also if someone does prove the whole ‘you never own it and multiple copies can be made without any damage so I haven’t stolen anything’ line of argument in court, well then they (MPAA, software associations) is truly fucked.
If you’re forced at the end of a plank (well the ability to not to be able to use the software, but that doesn’t read better ;-)) to submit to their terms on pain of being sued or worse, who exactly IS the pirate here? I think the EU and US government needs to look at some of the practices here, it seems very anti-competitive and not good for the consumer…
Also nice to know the EFF is on the case,with it’s ‘You bought it, you own it’ campaign, along with Consumer Federation of America, Public Knowledge, and U.S. PIRG. Good work (which is why I support the EFF and ORG financially)
As an aside, Microsoft in Russia is supporting intimidation of protest groups in the search for pirated software – even when the groups are using legitimate software, the evidence is being faked to claim they are not. Microsoft refuses to condemn such tactics and the fact these selective raids have little to do with piracy – and has ignored the groups like Baikal Wave sending their receipts and proof of purchase.
So yes you read that right, Microsoft like Google was in China is complicit with restricting democratic protest and advocacy groups in Russia…still want to buy their software which you don’t actually own?