Summary: Microsoft takes on Web sites that merely provide links to arbitrary files on people’s hard drives
In conjunction with Lithuanian anti-piracy outfit LANVA, software giant Microsoft has sued the alleged operator of the country’s largest BitTorrent site. Microsoft is demanding $43 million from the defendant and his company for assisting in the illegal distribution of Office 2003 and 2007.
Microsoft is attacking sharing as a whole rather than issue takedown requests that prevent sharing of its proprietary software. This puts Microsoft alongside the RIAA and MPAA. The FSF has been fighting to defend file sharing, which needn’t be copyrighted material at all. Microsoft should go after downloaders of its software, not the Web site which was abused by users. Doesn’t Microsoft have registration mechanisms and kill switches with which to track illegal installations? Maybe it’s just not interested in enforcing these.
“No less than Bill Gates himself said in a recent Fortune article that Microsoft competes better against Linux in China when there’s piracy than when there isn’t.
“So, Microsoft actively looks the other way as people pirate its software. It builds its market share that way, and lets people get used to the idea of having Windows at a certain price.”
For those who wonder why Microsoft is a threat to Free software, this is another reason. Microsoft is seeking to bankrupt the very means of Free software distribution, just as SourceForge was once sued for merely hosting software that might be used to share files that might be copyrighted.
“Should we ban pen and paper because they can be used by terrorists to communicate?”To attack P2P as a whole is like attacking USENET as a whole. Just because something can be used illegally does not mean it should be banned. Should we ban kitchen knives too and use our teeth instead? No? Should we also remove our teeth? How about communication? Should we ban pen and paper because they can be used by terrorists to communicate? Should we ban hard drives because they too can be used for filesharing (plugging them to different computers)? How about USB keys? They already happen to be taxed by the copyright cartel in some countries, so buying them is an admission of (and fine for) copyright violation that was not committed. █
“Everybody is connected to everybody else, all data that can be shared will be shared will be shared: get used to it.”