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03.24.14

Business Software Alliance (BSA) Should Snitch on Itself for So-called ‘Piracy’

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Maze of proprietary licences

License wall

Summary: The BSA helps prove that using proprietary licences is a dumb idea, for even the BSA is not obeying proprietary licences

THE Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a lobbyist against Free software, not just an aggressive enforcer of unethical licences. We wrote quite a lot about the evil actions of the BSA. We have done so for almost a decade (Techrights turns 8 later this year) and focused on its lobbying for software patents, against Free software policies, etc.

“Watch the BSA getting into a mess by illegally (blatant infringement) using a photo and getting caught.”Mr. Pogson explains why he rejected proprietary software when he was a teacher. “I needed to keep track of “stickers” and OS versions when all I wanted to do was use IT in education,” he says. “Is that too much to ask? Then there was the malware. We had to put up with that and pay (blood, sweat, tears, my time) for re-imaging systems every week. The EULA? It wanted to forbid networking of our PCs without a licence for a server…”

Pogson cites this bit of news that says “Microsoft is pledging dramatic improvements to its notoriously complex enterprise licensing, but experts are skeptical about the potential impact of the plan.”

This must be a response to migrations to Free software. It is a lot easier (let alone safer) to procure and manage Free software. The BSA promotes the idea that Free software is somehow “dirty” or “illegal”, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The opposite is true.

Watch the BSA getting into a mess by illegally (blatant infringement) using a photo and getting caught [1,2]. The headlines say it all: “BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its ‘Snitch’ On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign” and “Busted: BSA Steals Photo For “Snitch On a Pirate” Campaign” (published today).

Next time, perhaps but quite improbably, the BSA should use non-proprietary stocks of images. Nobody should ever accept draconian licences in the first place, The BSA proves this rather well itself.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Busted: BSA Steals Photo For “Snitch On a Pirate” Campaign

    The Business Software Alliance, a trade group representing Adobe, Apple and Microsoft, has been caught using a “stolen” photo in one of their anti-piracy campaigns. The group is running various Facebook ads to convince people to snitch on pirates, but this effort has backfired terribly.

  2. BSA Caught Using Infringing Image For Its ‘Snitch’ On Your Colleagues Anti-Piracy Campaign

    For many years, we’ve written about the Business Software Alliance’s (BSA) ridiculous snitch program. This is where the organization (which represents a bunch of software companies, but more or less takes its orders from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple and Autodesk) promises to give people large cash rewards for snitching on friends and colleagues who happen to be using unlicensed software. The BSA insists that this is one of their best tools — which they then use to raid small companies for questionable “audits” that often completely destroy those businesses. The BSA forces those companies to pay huge sums of money — all of which the BSA keeps. As for the claims of big rewards for snitches, the BSA is incredibly misleading on that front. A few years back, they started promising “up to $1 million” for snitching. In exchange, we promised “up to $1 million” if anyone could show the BSA actually paying out $1 million. Someone looking into the BSA’s payments found that the highest they’d paid out to snitches at the time was around $5,000 with many getting less than that. In other words, the BSA has never had much of a reputation for intellectual honesty.

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