There’s an article about what the Business Software Alliance has been doing lately.
They’re having a North American tour, though a lot of businesses don’t want to face the music.
This consists of two parts:
1) They’re sending letters to any sizable business they can find suggesting that it might be a really good idea to actually own the software they are using, and pointing out what could happen if they don’t.
2) They’re running media ads suggesting to current or former employees that it might be a good idea to inform on companies that don’t run a clean shop.
Whatever you might think about the tactics, they apparently work rather well.
Can You Think Of Something Better?
Sure, you can decry the implied “guilty before proven innocent.” You can dislike the public attempt to get people to snitch. You can be upset about this being a huge bluff.
But what would you prefer? “Let me steal all I want?”
If all you do is complain about the tactics, and that’s it, aren’t you ignoring the rather glaring problem that many are using stolen goods, just as stolen as if they had been heisted out of a store?
Spare me “it’s not stealing when the theft doesn’t cost the company anything.” That might be your “law” but it’s not American law.
Think “MS has enough money, they won’t miss it.” That’s just what the burglar in your house thinks, too.
Being accused of being a thief hurts your feelings? I can see those who are innocent possibly having a problem with that, but for the guilty? Is there a nice way to tell a thief he’s a thief?
If somebody stole something from you and got caught with it, how much would you care about the thief’s feelings? What would you think about any judge who said, “Yeah, he stole it, but Mr. Policeman, you hurt his feelings. Let him go.”
Why are we even having a trial? Judgment is so . . . judgmental. Why don’t we let the thief decide whether it’s really theft or not? I bet we could reduce crime due to theft 99%+ if we did that.
Why just stop at theft? Why don’t we apply this to ALL crime? No more crime. Complete chaos, but no crime.
Oh, you don’t like that? Why not? Why not give everybody the same rights you’re giving yourself? It’s only fair.
The problem is many people think that law is for other people. Sorry, civilization doesn’t work that way.
“The B—- Set Me Up”
If you don’t recall, this is what Washington DC mayor Marion Barry initially said after FBI agents arrested him immediately after they have videotaped him taking a few drags from a crack cocaine pipe.
Now you might think the mayor of a major American city would see the need for obeying the law a little more than the average person.
If nothing else, you think he might have learned from the crack wars ripping through his city at the time that made black neighborhoods in DC far, far more dangerous to live in than quiet, peaceful places like Northern Ireland that this wasn’t a good idea.
But, no. It wasn’t his fault for smoking crack. It was the FBI’s fault for catching him.
This is an amazingly common attitude.
Here’s a quote from somebody in the article:
“We were nailed for tens of thousands of dollars,” said Cary White, an IT manager at a financial services company in San Diego who acted on a letter from Microsoft. “We received a letter addressed to our CEO that they received a tip we were not compliant with Windows, Word and Excel. … That was a fishing expedition.”
“My company is to completely go away from Microsoft,” White said. “We’re not going to buy any more Microsoft products. It’s my decision. They’re alienating their customers. I don’t trust them.”
Now I could be wrong, but just from his comments, this guy either wasn’t minding the shop the way he should have, or knew and didn’t care.
And he got caught by this trap, this bluff. Probably got into trouble, at least in the company, for it.
So what’s he mad about? There doesn’t seem to be the slightest trace of acknowledgement that he and/or his company may have done anything wrong.
He’s mad he and his company got bluffed into being legal.
So what is he going to do? To hell with the company, its employees and their productivity. He’s going to get back at Microsoft for getting him to do the right thing.
And this guy talks about trust?
The BSA b—— set him up.
If You Only Obey At Gunpoint, Don’t Expect Gun Control
There’s one medium-sized American company I know about that was using thousands of copies of Windows for their computer-based core operation. Just about all of them were illegal copies.
The BSA is reporting spikes in software purchases in cities where they’re running their campaign, evidence that there’s plenty of the same going on.
Not like the BSA just got founded. They’ve been around for years trying to persuade companies to obey the law, first, gently, now more roughly.
If you get mad at being bluffed, the gentle stuff obviously didn’t work. So what are they supposed to do? If you have to be forced to obey the law, then guess what? Expect to see a lot more force. Those who won’t pay attention to anything else asked for it.
Don’t like this campaign? Thank the people who made it necessary.
Don’t like things like product activation? Thank those who made anything less not enough.
Law works best when least needed. The less obedience, the more heavy-handed it must become.
Not so good for the innocent, but don’t blame the cop, blame those who made the cop necessary.