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Software firms want copyright law rewrite

By Jaqui ·
A group of large software companies has taken the first step toward inciting a tussle with the telecommunications industry by asking Congress to rewrite copyright law so alleged Internet pirates can be more easily targeted by lawsuits.

The group of companies, which is known as the Business Software Alliance, counts as members Microsoft, Autodesk, Borland, Intuit, Sybase and Symantec, among others. The group released a general outline of its suggestions on Thursday in a white paper that effectively describes its legislative proposals for 2005. The companies say they fear a revenue-sapping future in which software programs are traded as frequently and readily on peer-to-peer networks as MP3 music files are today."

interesting concept, doubt even clarifying the laws will stop the piracy though.

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by dafe2 In reply to bar? ME?

I thought that went away years ago....In business at least.

Gotta wonder about a business that runs illegal software though. I wouldn't want to work for somebody that can't or won't pay for the tools they use.

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I Agree

by Jaqui In reply to Screwballs...........

these companies are risking everything for a few bucks, not sound business practice.

buy your tools, get support, updates, and security of legality.
it's worth it.

a business in a small community ( < 15,000 ) may not see the point though.
after all they are in a small town / city no way is the software manufacturer going to find out. ( the rationale used )

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You know......I never thought of that

by dafe2 In reply to I Agree

Good point.

Your right....the small town stuff out there. The rational would be about right.

At the same time (at least for now) this stuff just flies under the radar too.
It would cost (more) to capture that revenue.

Mmmmm scary part too is we're saying that there are probably 'dealers' out there that don't give a s.hit either. Yikes.

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by Jaqui In reply to I Agree

I heard an unconfirmed story about a ms rep helping someone in a cafe with thier computer, during his time on it he checked a couple of things ( oem etc..)
found that the software was pirated, including os.
talked with cafe owner found out it was all pre-installed, went out called ms, and had dealer shut down.
in a small town.

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Big companies in big cities do it too

by Oz_Media In reply to I Agree

It is more the mindest of the employer I find. The older the employer, the less they like to spend on IT.

I have seen VERY large companies, including the one that wrote the popular Maximizer CRM product that use pirate copies of Windws on desktops, burned graphics software etc.

They let the techs run as they want, many tehs will get software however they can. The whole world isn't corporate America I suppose.

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Jaqui - Dealers2

by dafe2 In reply to I Agree

Now that I think about in NB there was an one of those 'Put Together PC' dealers here in a small town who was caught loading up his PC's with one copy of WFWG and selling them all over the province via magazine adds... without the OS/Manuals/License. (Back in the late 80's)

CAAST caught up with them. In the end he was fined about 350K.
The next week, he changed the company name and moved in next door to his old Warehouse. No fine was ever paid, he owed about 5.5 Mil & about 50 people who worked there were locked out when he just shut the doors........they weren't paid either no doubt.

I don't wish bad things for anyone but I hope this guys selling used cars somewhere today......A lot of people worked for this clown.

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by Jaqui In reply to I Agree


yup it comes from accountant's running the business.
they think cutting costs is ok, no matter what damages it can cause.


yup, guys like that should get what they give out.
unfortunately, they frequently get away with it, and continue to screw people.

but it is a prime example of the question for this discussion:
will this type of thing be stopped with tighter copyright laws, making it easier for the software companies to go after the twits?

or should the legal system simply find a better way to enforce existsing laws?

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Big Cities & Accounting

by dafe2 In reply to I Agree

If, as Oz suggests, illegal software is used on a large scale & with INTENT in large Corporate environments it won't take long for it to catch up. Once again, I wouldn't want to be employed by a company that can't or won't pay for software.

Really, all it takes is a phone call from a 'disgruntled' employee to triger an audit. (I hope) most of the IT groups make an attempt at assett management. It's true that techs will do whatever to get the tools they need........but you need to keep them in line just like the accountants.

50, 60 or 600 hundred illegal copies of an OS or word processor is different than one or two copies of some techies tool of choice.

In business, the only way to deal with this is strong assett management.........if accounting doesn't line up with your policies & principles or the law, then we should leave.

Of course there's also a BIG diference between intentional use of illegal software & an inadvertent breach of license.

The remedy for all this (as far as CAAST & the BSA) is continuing to promote awareness.......I guess then it's up to (us) to ensure our customers/employers use legal software & promote good license management principles. The 'so what' attitude we see in many support people has to go away too.

Software is a business asset like any other. It should be treated no diferently than a desk or an office chair.

You (usually) just can't walk out of a store with a chair and put it at your desk.....another reason for the delete key and good change management boards. ;-)

So........copyright laws don't do anything for us..they don't hurt angry employee will do more by picking up the phone than more laws could ever do.

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by Jaqui In reply to I Agree

it's not so much the accounting Department as the Accountants in charge of entire company.
C.M.A. is where you get a policy maker that is an accountant. they decide tools for free, increased productivity with no $ cost = good.

these are also the twits that decide lets reduce number of people employed to save money so that fewer people have the income to buy more than neccesities, and make more money selling out luxury product. ( downsizing and outsourcing [ internationally ] )

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by Oz_Media In reply to I Agree

After reading your post wondering how software companies may get a better angle for prosecuting offenders it came to mind the immense number of offenders that such laws would allow access to and HOW exactly would they be caught.
As DAFE2 says by a simplephone call, well that MAY get the licencee interested but there still the iissue of prosecution that simply doesn't fly inder current laws, especially against corporate lawyers.
"No we had no idea it wasn't legal software, IT didn't inform us, they are no longer with the company and who do I make the licence cheque out to?"

Sounds too simple, but my brother represents similar corporate cases and it really is THAT easy most of the time.

Just like P2P file sharing, when they were FIRST starting to publicly 'nail' offenders (which hasn't really gone anwehere due to many issues now), the issue was "ok, well now we can stop these people....there's over 2 million users online 24/7!" How do you prosecute a selected individual and get around the legal issues regarding entrapment? If 2 million users are doing it, how do you legally justify choosing WHO to prosecute. You can't simply pick randomly, like flipping a phone book and just sticking a finger on a name.

They decided to go after offenders with more than 500 songs being shared. THen when they realized how any there were, they went up to 1000 songs being shared and so on. They can't afford to prosecute 2 million people in 7 continents, all have different laws and you can't simply select them based on who's laws you will be able to proscute with either. It's not the EULA it's the arrest that matters in many cases and constitutional and civil rights impede this in many cases. Just how you can't prosecute for downloading music with P2P programs, in Canada but can in the USA (even though NEARLY impossible there too).

SO it is like that old Sex Pistols album,"The great Rock and Roll Swindle" The great P2P swindle, many people stopped to see what was happening and then they all jumped back in again.

At this time the P2P networks are as busy, if not more, than before.

They couldn't seuccessfully prosecute anyone due to constitutional rights disallowing the release of IP traces by the ISP. They are simply looking to change that so that they have access to these people's personal information. Unfortunately it also applies to many other countries too and is a nreach of rights (no matter wat thelicence says you still have to legally catch and prosecute offenders or they simply HAVEN'T offended), so once again they are up against WHO do they prosecute without it becoming entrapment or a breach of rights?

Entrapment can be fought because of DVD burners CDRW's etc that make it possible to record this information, some licences MAY allow a personal copy's to be made, who actually reads the EULA etc. It is too easy to play dumb and have the publishers spend money on lawsuits for nothing.

You click and agree to a EULA you don't sign it, who installed and activated the software etc. Did the person who is using the copy actually agree to the licence and install it?

So to prosecute MASS hoards of people is just ridiculous and they are better off losing the money from the copys.

Where I think they MIGHT raise some noise is people SELLING hundreds of copys of pirated software. There are ads in newspapers, pinned to telephone poles in shopping centerparking lots etc. that actually advertise XP, Office, Adobe Photoshop etc. 100's of titles for $20.00.

This would be a heavily hammered market LONG before prosecuting end users.

Like drugs, they want the dealers not the users. We all know just how unsuccessful THAT has been, it's larger than life and they simply can't stop it.

I think they'd have a better chance of curing AIDS with a kids chemistry set than stopping file sharing or companies using pirated software at this time and without tromping on civil and constitutional right of the individuals, thus they are TRYING to have licences ammended so they have a better chance, but without changing the constitutions they will again be SOL.

Plus we would all be well aware of literally thousands of pirate resllers being stopped long before it ever got down to your burned copy of Photoshop, or even as Dafe suggets, 50, 60 or 600 licences ina business, that audit issue has been done a few times but it really doesn't go anywhere in the big scheme of things, just raises some fears from some people.

Hype on the issue causes fear in some, once the hammer doesn't fall, people stop cowering and start all over again.

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