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Proprietary Software Encourages Breaking of the Law

Ballmer money
Steve Ballmer in Windows 1.0 advertisement



Summary: How non-Free software can criminalise a lot of people, whereas Free software begs to be used by people and even spread further

LAST week we explained why Microsoft's use of words like "piracy" is a simple case of hypocrisy. We also showed in some previous posts that Microsoft actually admits benefiting from counterfeiting of its software. The following posts cover the subject with examples:



Several days ago we provided links about the IIPA's or BSA's latest smear campaign against Free software, which they try to characterise as criminal [1, 2]. Here are some more articles on the subject (not cited before):

Is Open Source 'Anti-Enterprise'?

Ignoring all the crap that gets spewed, FOSS has done more good for more people in more parts of the planet than any of those legalised money-grabbing groups ever have.


IIPA's Section 301 Filing Shows It's Really Not At All Interested In Reducing Copyright Infringement

But if your goal is to actually reduce infringement, then wouldn't you want to encourage the use of legal software? And by encouraging the use of open source software, you are making it that much less likely that infringement will be a problem, since the software will be cheaper. Basically, the IIPA is flat out admitting that it's not actually interested in reduced copyright infringement. It's abusing the USTR's Special 301 process to set up protectionist policies for the companies and organizations it represents -- and trying to use that process to deny efforts to actually reduce infringement.


Big Content condemns foreign governments that endorse FOSS

Turning open source users into criminals

A powerful US lobby group is trying to have pro-open source countries listed as being "anti-capitalism"


International Intellectual Property Alliance - The Disconnect

Well, needless to say, the IIPA/BSA is lying. It's just a front group (a group of groups) that promotes the agenda of sponsors including companies like Microsoft, which is facing financial problems [1, 2, 3, 4] and taking it out on unauthorised sellers of Windows and other Microsoft products that cost nothing to spread, starting with Oman last week (although it goes a while back).

As part of its ongoing efforts to curb the spread of pirated software, to protect customers and ensure a level playing field for the region's legitimate resellers, Microsoft Gulf announced recently that it had filed a criminal complaint which led to three anti-piracy raids on resellers across the Sultanate of Oman, conducted by the Economic Crime Department at Royal Oman Police.


The Associated Press wrote about similar action in the United States. This was posted with slightly different headlines in ABC and in the Seattle Times.

A 44-year-old man accused of selling counterfeit Microsoft software over the Internet for 10 years has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle.

Wayne Shu of Battle Ground, Clark County, was charged Thursday with six counts of mail fraud, trafficking in counterfeit goods and trafficking in illicit labels.


From some other sources:

A Battle Ground man was indicted in federal court in Seattle on Thursday for allegedly selling counterfeit Microsoft software on the Internet over a period of 10 years, collecting $1.75 million in one three-year period.


He should have sold Free software, which is legal and usually better (just not better advertised). Needless to say, none of the articles would dare to chastise Microsoft for criminalising shops by putting them in such a sad position. Many shops are doing this. The 'proper' line is that Microsoft is a victim and everyone who does not pay the 'Microsoft tax' is considered a "thief" (equatable to people who murder on boats).

Here is an example of a news article from Tuesday. It is full of euphemisms and spin and it's total rubbish which totally neglects to mention that BizSpark is proprietary software with strings attached to it, intended to compete with or replace Free software that truly respects the users.

ENTREPRENEURS looking to set-up in the software sector in Coventry and Warwickshire can take advantage of help from industry giant Microsoft.

The international company is signing up network partners on its Microsoft BizSpark programme, which offers start-up companies the chance to use a range of tools and platforms for free as long as they are less than three years old and are turning over less than $1 million.


What happens when it expires? As Bill Gates famously put it, “they’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.” And speaking of which, here is another mindless article from Saturday. It speaks about the Michigan dumping [1, 2, 3] and does not tell readers that Microsoft just trying to get people "addicted", to use Gates' own words.

Elevating America: Free vouchers available for Microsoft training



[...]

As Michigan's manufacturing jobs take a back seat to information-age positions, more and more workers across the state are expected to have proficient computer skills and knowledge of current programs.


What's truly disgraceful about these "American EDGI" [1, 2] deals is that they receive endorsement from state authorities. They probably think that they do the right thing, yet they do exactly the opposite.

“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.”

--ECT

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