Linux News says Digital Rights Management Picking on the Wrong People

Posted by tadelste on Nov 18, 2005 6:21 AM EST
Lxer Day Desk; By Tom Adelstein
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LXer Day Desk: 11-18-2005

The Digital Rights Management (DRM) people think that Open Source Software advocates cause piracy. In my experience, the people pirating their materials use Microsoft Windows. The vast numbers alone should bear that out.

Some astute observers would see that OSS advocates live up to a higher moral standard. If you have ever worked on an OSS project, you would know that pedantic adherence to the rules comes along with self-policing.


I know people who will not buy DVD's because they cannot play them on their Linux desktops. I had one offer to share a pirated copy of a video in ten years on the Internet and that came from a person outside the US who didn't think file sharing was a problem. He uses a pirated copy of Windows XP and has never paid for one piece of software.

The people I know in the world of Free and Open Source Software share a moral high ground. Not to profess that all FOSS users adhere to the same code. I just don't know any that steal. And I know many people.

My experience seems academic. If you simply use common sense, you can see that several issues make persecution and discrimination of FOSS users crazy. First, we don't have an easy way to obtain the facilities to play Digital media. Some enterprising people have managed to find ways to do so. That's a subset of FOSS users.

Secondly, FOSS users make up about 5 percent of the total desktop users in the world. I don't plan to put multi-media software on my web server or my network gateway. I'm a technologist and I don't have much interest in figuring out how to decode your movies. If I want to see a movie, I'll take the opportunity to get out of the office and head to the theater.

Take a Look at Microsoft

Content providers: Who provides free media players for their users? Who combats Linux by allowing wide spread piracy in places where Linux could get a foothold? One writer said Mr. Gates made friends with the President of the Ukraine and put Windows in all the schools there. What age group would have the greatest interest in finding pirated digital works from the west?

Sue Microsoft and blame them for providing free access to your content. They have the deep pockets. You prevent nothing by going after FOSS users. We don't have any money for you to recover your losses and Microsoft doesn't provide us with media players.

The Ukraine serves as an example. The Microsoft guys have globe trotted around the lesser developed world handing out software. Ever heard of Iran? They use Microsoft products for everything and never paid a penny. South Africa? Mark Shuttleworth has made a valiant effort to end piracy in his home country by getting the government to adopt Linux. Meanwhile, Bill and Steve have once again offered great deals on Microsoft for the schools.

Microsoft has engaged Open Source Software advocates the world over. Take a look at Bill Gates' quotes. You will not find Linus Torvalds suggesting that people should steal his software because in ten years they'll have to pay for it and that will give him a foot hold.

Thieves Will Steal

You cannot stop people from stealing, no matter how many hands you chop off. If that worked, then no one would steal. People who can afford to buy your products will spend the money. People who steal represent a small and abberative part of the population. Put that percentage of the population in the ranks of Windows users and the numbers get big.

In the interim, we don't deserve the bad rap.

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
Open source DOES induce piracy chris 1 1,693 Nov 18, 2005 10:34 AM

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