The Associated Press has a story on the Bull Shit – er Business Software – Alliance and its bullying tactics titled, Software Group Targets Small Business. This again points out that the rules are terribly broken in favor of software companies. If you buy a music CD (another topic) then you own that music CD. You can sell it, give it away or burn it in protest when Garth Brooks decides to stop making CDs because they can be *gasp* sold to someone else in a second hand store – and poor Garth’s kids will have to go without dinner.
Here’s where it gets interesting. If you buy a box set of Microsoft’s latest operating system, XP (because who would want to buy that abomination Vista?) and install it on a computer that you have sitting around (another reason to not buy Vista – that thing’s a hog on computers older than three months) and then you forget about it. If that computer happens to be in a business setting you are at risk of being “audited” by the BS squad. They come in, look at your Certificate of Authenticity labels that you dutifully put on the outside of the computer case. They look at your hologram protected Microsoft CD and your faded Best Buy receipt and decide that you “stole” the software from Microsoft and now you have to pay up big. You were legal but your receipt faded so you couldn’t prove that you didn’t heist a case of CDs or that you didn’t buy the CD from someone else who stole it. So you must have broken the law, or someone else did in the process. There’s a name for people like you Captain Sparrow and that’s pirate. Don’t bother with innocent until proven guilty, this is the BS squad you’re dealing with. I did find it interesting that the money extorted by the BSA does not go to the companies that are allegedly wronged by your criminal activities, such as Microsoft in this case, it goes back into the BS squad’s budget. Like a rouge regime, the money is used to pay for more goons to extort more money.
I have a thought about keeping track of what you legally installed (and just who those disks belong to once you buy them in the store). How about use the unique serial number on the CD to track ownership? I mean, if you can only install software on one machine then the serial number issued by the company that produces the software should suffice right? How about the Certificate of Authenticity? That tells you that the software you are buying is genuine. It doesn’t tell the goon squad, but maybe it should. The other option is to never use software that comes from BS members. It’s a little tough in some cases, but it can be done. If you haven’t read them here are some stories of people who have jettisoned Microsoft from the pirate ship:
City of Largo Linux success
and a follow-up
Ernie Ball 2002 story
Ernie Ball, 2003 story
And there are plenty more… so back off goon squad. Treat your customers with respect instead of a small country that you can invade and pillage. Oh wait, you don’t know how to do that.