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[P]
Piracy Legal In Italy

By flamingcow in News
Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:57:28 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

CNN is reporting that an Italian judge has ruled that copying software is legal as long as the copies are not sold for profit. Microsoft (which is having a bad day anyway) and the Business Software Alliance are complaining, and are going as far as calling Italy "a third world country". Its like forced open-source!


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Piracy Legal In Italy | 46 comments (46 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
This is hilarious.... (1.00 / 1) (#11)
by ishbak on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 12:34:14 PM EST

ishbak voted 1 on this story.

This is hilarious.

It's nothing like forced Open Sourc... (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by eann on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 12:52:02 PM EST

eann voted 1 on this story.

It's nothing like forced Open Source. But it's still worth discussing.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


No, this ISN'T a good thing. It wou... (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by Ozymandias on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 12:56:05 PM EST

Ozymandias voted 1 on this story.

No, this ISN'T a good thing. It would be acceptable if it were a "fair use" sort of thing; you can make copies of the software for your own use, but not for someone else. Reasonable restrictions might apply, such as defining "your own use" to mean any machine permanently located in your home, even if it might be owned by someone else. Unrestricted piracy is not a good thing. Open Source is, generally speaking, a good thing; but that's with the full knowledge and consent of the creator of the software, and even it has restrictions on it. This doesn't.
- Ozymandias

Re: No, this ISN'T a good thing. It wou... (2.00 / 2) (#19)
by Paradox on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 05:32:29 PM EST

It's stupid to expect to make money on the inital sale of software. It is so easy to copy that there is no security, and the piracy thing happens millions of times a day without any appreciable loss to profits. What is "fair use" for software anyways? Uhh, to run it. Companies need to learn to sell support, not software.

I agree that resale of software is a Bad Thing. But giving away copies is fine. Software is different from almost everything else, in terms of what is permissible.

The real money in software is in matinence. Think about how much money M$ must make off its tech support division, which is horrendously expensive. How much does an MSCE make? Good money just for doing tech support.

People need to stop being so afraid of the reality of software, and start finding ways to adapt to it.

Computer games are a slightly different matter, because they DO make money from inital sales and not support. A better idea in these cases is copyright the art. Art is a very legitimate thing to restrict the trade of, and will keep your product from being distributed rampantly.
Dave "Paradox" Fayram

print print join q( ), split(q,q,,reverse qq;#qsti
qq)\;qlre;.q.pqevolqiqdog.);#1 reason to grin at Perl
print "\n";
[ Parent ]

Re: No, this ISN'T a good thing. It wou... (none / 0) (#22)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 06:17:02 PM EST

I agree that resale of software is a Bad Thing. But giving away copies is fine. Software is different from almost everything else, in terms of what is permissible.

Says who? You?

Legally, no. imo, not morally either. If you want software to be free (beer), then you set an example. You make a company "selling support". If it works, the world will follow (me included; I'd go for free (beer) anyday, as long as it's legitimate and (especially) endorsed by the creators). But effectively forcing companies to give away their works by legally allowing users to ignore bits of their license agreements, that's not only unfair, but fucking lazy. If you want free software (both meanings), you can make it yourself, but don't impose your rules on legitimate businesses who actually sell their software.

And please explain why art can be restrictively licensed and not software. RMS knows this is a double standard, that's why he encourages books documenting free software to also be free (speech). Content is content; the same arguments to software can be applied to game art as well.

[ Parent ]

Re: No, this ISN'T a good thing. It wou... (none / 0) (#31)
by rusty on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 12:31:08 AM EST

I don't really agree with the original poster, but I also don't agree with your distinction between art and software. I don't think there's a distinction either, which is why it irks me that software has such bizarre licensing. I give this example elsewhere in this thread, but saying I bought a program and I can only use it for ten "seats" in my company is like saying my company bought a movie and I can only show it to ten employees, or we bought a game, and only ten people can play it, without paying extra. For what? What is it I'm paying extra *for*? In general, I'll pay for something, but if I've already paid for it, and you want me to pay for it again, for no actual added product (I'm paying for you not to sic your lawyers on me), that sounds like extortion to me. I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it. Current software licensing schemes are in general very much like protection rackets. And people go to jail for extortion, but new laws are created to extend the software rackets. I should stop now, because this is one of those things that really bothers me. :-)

Just keep repeating... "I use the GPL... this doesn't affect me..."

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Art (none / 0) (#36)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 12:01:30 PM EST

EULA for a painting:

This original oil painting is licensed to you for your own private viewing and
for private displays in your home to no more than 10 people at any one time and
no more than 20 people in any 24 hour period.

You may not display this in a public place. You may not lease it or sell it
without the copyright owner's permission.

Bob Clip - friend of A Nony Mouse


[ Parent ]
Re: No, this ISN'T a good thing. It wou... (none / 0) (#40)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 03:14:05 PM EST

but I was just pointing out that there *shouldn't* be a distinction between art and software. (or any forms of digital media) (but maybe I'm confused about who you were replying to).

[ Parent ]
From the other way around... (none / 0) (#46)
by mahlen on Mon May 01, 2000 at 12:21:04 PM EST

How about this notion: You, who only have, say, ten people using the program, pay the same amount of money that General Motors pays to allow 50,000 people use the program. Wouldn't you, as a user, think that since GM got so much more value out of the program than you, that GM should pay more?

In other words, you're not paying for what the software costs to reproduce (very little). You are paying for the value it brings to you. Said program brings much more value to a large company with many seats than a small one, hence the licensing of seats.

After all, you didn't buy it because you thought it'd be nice to have this shiny pre-printed CD-ROM with the cool logo on it. You bought it for the utility that the software on the CD-ROM would bring to you. The medium is not product, nor is the medium the value. The software is what you're paying for, and as the number of seats increase, the amount of software at your office increases

Now, Rusty, I'm not expecting you to enjoy paying for something, but does this make more sense?

mahlen

The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. --H. P. Lovecraft

[ Parent ]

Just selling support will make software worse. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by mahlen on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 06:30:25 PM EST

Given your notion of just selling support, and not software, what will you expect software companies to do in their best interest (as they are bound to do by law)? Make the software worse. Put or leave in more bugs that have workarounds so that support techs can assist users, leave the documentation confusing (or more so), anything we can do so that people need to call our support line for $X dollars an hour!

I question whether this is really the world you want to live in (unless you're a VP of tech support :) Maximizing sales of something is what companies DO. So software companies will instead stop selling software, and start selling the need for software support calls. Improving the software will not help that cause. As it stands now, tech support is a cost, and helps justify the not inconsiderable cost of improving the software.

If Linux always worked as easily and obviously as, say, Real Player, would Red Hat et al have a chance?

mahlen

Entropy requires no maintenance. --"Markoff Chaney"

[ Parent ]

Re: Just selling support will make software worse. (none / 0) (#32)
by Commienst on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 01:11:46 AM EST

Interesting. Maybe that is why redhat has so many bugs. To help sell their support. It sure would explain a lot.

[ Parent ]
Re: Just selling support will make software worse. (none / 0) (#41)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 03:37:45 PM EST

Or redhat, reading the rhetoric of raymond and stallman, and seeing the general unusability of linux as an end-user system, saw a big fucking business opportunity. I'm pretty cynical about the quality of linux, so I don't really think redhat would need to *introduce* bugs...

A model like that would work better with free-beer, closed source software, though. Users can always fix bugs in linux, and save themselves, to a certain extent, support fees.

[ Parent ]

Re: Just selling support will make software worse. (none / 0) (#38)
by megacz on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 02:14:55 PM EST

Put or leave in more bugs that have workarounds so that support techs can assist users, leave the documentation confusing (or more so), anything we can do so that people need to call our support line for $X dollars an hour!

Nope. Why? Basic economics.

Another company will step in, make a competing product with less bugs. Customers will prefer the bug-free program and use it less. True, the second company will earn less dollars from tech support. What you have is a classic case of price competition. Intentional bug levels will fall to the absolute minimum possible to sustain the company. I would hypothesize (and few would argue) that this level is well below the level at which you need to start adding bugs to your software. Software is buggy enough as it is.



Search pricewatch, streetprices, and others all at once with lowerbound.org (now with discussions!)
[ Parent ]
Hey, this is great!... (1.00 / 1) (#9)
by dlc on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 12:57:44 PM EST

dlc voted 1 on this story.

Hey, this is great!


(darren)

This is interesting to say the leas... (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by slycer on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:12:12 PM EST

slycer voted 1 on this story.

This is interesting to say the least. To call a country "Third World" because it allows free software copying is moronic at best. Just because they are not enforcing a law that give corporations more $$$ does not mean they are "Third World", in fact some would say that this simply makes the country better. I however find some problems with this ruling. "The law states that someone who violates copyright in order to obtain a profit is penally responsible. My client copied the programs not in order to sell them to a third party but just to use them within his company," If the client is not paying for the additional copies of the software that he is installing, doesn't this mean that his profits go up? Yes, he is not selling the software to make a profit, but it still affects his bottom line. Do I have a sig here? I can't remember.. :-)

Re: This is interesting to say the leas... (none / 0) (#27)
by HomeySmurf on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 08:30:19 PM EST

I think that it is very important to note that in the article, most of the commentators fel that this was a misinterpretation of the current Italian laws. It was also mentioned that the Italian federal government was working to clarify this legal point with more restrictive legislation.

I think that it is much more important that the French government is considering making Open Source necessary for any governmental software. This would be much more powerful legislation. In the US, the government is the largest employer, and probably (I am making this up) employs the greatest number of computer USERS. These are the people actually running Windows and using MS Office.

If I know my history, one of the main reasons for the ascendency of MS-DOS and hence Microsoft was because that was the OS the government chose to use in order to keep up interoperability.


"Politics is for the moment, an equation lasts eternity." -A. Einstein
[ Parent ]
No, it's not like forced open-sourc... (1.00 / 1) (#5)
by alisdair on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:33:18 PM EST

alisdair voted 0 on this story.

No, it's not like forced open-source. Rounding down from 0.5.

What are the implications of this? ... (2.00 / 1) (#14)
by Mrs Edna Graustein on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:39:02 PM EST

Mrs Edna Graustein voted 1 on this story.

What are the implications of this? Cue all the ftp ervers being hosted in Italy...
--
And if any of you put that in a .sig, I'll hunt you down and kill you twice. ;-)
Rusty

Um... how does "open source" fit in... (none / 0) (#3)
by evro on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 01:58:47 PM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

Um... how does "open source" fit into the equation? Anyway, I doubt this can last very long if Italy wants to continue to do business with American corporations. It will turn Italy into a haven of piracy and will probably put Italy on the US gov't's shitlist. Software is one of our largest industries, to have it given away for free would not make anyone (ie, commercial software authors, economists, etc) too happy.
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Re: Um... how does "open source" fit in... (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 07:02:57 PM EST

I'm sorry, but can you say stereotype??? "will probably put Italy on the US gov't's shitlist"??? You see, movies aren't real. Countries do not stop diplomatic relations with each other because of software licences. If Italy decided to buy all the software in the world, and mail copies free to the entire computer-having population, the U.S. would never do something like that to Italy. (no, in case you're wondering, I am not Italian.) Especially since Italy is such an enormous trading partner to the U.S. Especially with so many Americans going to Italy these days. Also, "I doubt this can last very long if Italy wants to continue to do business with American corporations." To this is say: a. Italy does not do business, it is a capitalism. Italian businesses, you must mean. b. American clothes businesses will not stop buying Italian silk just because the American computer industry is losing money. and finally: 3. (hehe, a b 3) The ruling will very likely be shot down. soon. so its really no big deal.

[ Parent ]
Well, it's not forced open-source. ... (3.00 / 3) (#1)
by bmetzler on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:17:41 PM EST

bmetzler voted 1 on this story.

Well, it's not forced open-source. However, Open Source would be an excellent solution to the problem.

What interested me that the statement that the software market will never really develop if the piracy is allowed to continue. Well, Microsoft's software market may not really develop, but the Open Source software market may. Not to say that that in itself makes piracy good, of course.

-Brent
www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
Nice article, but wheres the write ... (none / 0) (#8)
by inspire on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:27:14 PM EST

inspire voted -1 on this story.

Nice article, but wheres the write up? I've also seen this on Slashdot before.
--
What is the helix?

No, it's nothing like forced open s... (4.00 / 1) (#10)
by dave0 on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:31:02 PM EST

dave0 voted -1 on this story.

No, it's nothing like forced open source.

Not forced open-source, just forced... (none / 0) (#4)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:49:53 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

Not forced open-source, just forced "shareware" or something. I have no idea how Italy's government can consider this legal, however. As much as I hate Microsoft's EULAs, this goes so far as to violate their basic copyrights as given under the Berne convention.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: Not forced open-source, just forced... (none / 0) (#29)
by mattdm on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 11:01:07 PM EST

Until a few years ago, it was legal to distribute commercial software in the US
if it wasn't for a profit. 
We've got a special new law which makes it illegal.


[ Parent ]
Now if only the Italians could have... (none / 0) (#15)
by otis wildflower on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:49:54 PM EST

otis wildflower voted 1 on this story.

Now if only the Italians could have a government in office long enough for M$ to not buy them out ;)
[root@usmc.mil /]# chmod a+x /bin/laden

I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#2)
by Nyarlathotep on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:05:54 PM EST

Nyarlathotep voted 1 on this story.

I really hope this ruling stands. Microsoft / BSA have been fucking over so many countries by incuraging piracy and then suing everyone with some money. It would be nice to see south america / asia / etc. start ignoring the rights of copyright holders when the copyright holders use their rights to abuse the local population.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#16)
by DemiGodez on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 04:20:07 PM EST

This is a really slipperly slope you're advocating. It's easy when it's Microsoft gettign screwed, but who determines if a corporation is using "their rights to abuse the local population"? (To be fair, I am not even convinced that's why the ruling was made.)

I sure wouldn't like to work hard on something and then have an Italian court decide I am not a nice enough person so violate my copyright. The post that said if they are copying software for free inside a company they are adding to their bottom line is right.

Imagine if this were cars and not software. I buy a nice Buick, and then I take it apart and copy it so I don't have to buy 100 more for all my sales staff. Obviously, its cost prohibitive to "copy" a car, but it is unfair to steal my idea/software/car design.

[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#17)
by rusty on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 04:36:23 PM EST

I don't really buy this argument. If I buy something, as a company, I think that it is then the company's property. If we want to copy it, I don't see why we can't, for internal use. The only thing preventing that are per-seat software licensing schemes, which I just cannot for the life of me see any sense in. It doesn't cost microsoft (or any software company) anything to enable the copy of their software I bought to support an unlimited number of users (as many users as it is possible for the software to support, that is). In fact, it costs them development time to cripple it so that you can only add users when you get another serial number.

A more accurate analogy would be if I bought a Buick, that could potentially seat six, but it only came with one seat inside. If I wanted to get the rest of my family in the car, I'd have to pay *the same amount again* as I paid for the car to begin with, to get each extra seat. This seems egregiously unfair to me, no matter who is doing it. It's the DivX scheme all over again, that we all hated when Circuit City proposed it, but we accept all the time from software. If you want to play this movie that you purchased again, you have to pay again. It's just nonsensical, to me. I'm glad to see that a court finally realized this.

On the other hand, I don't think you ought to be allowed to buy a copy and give it to all of yur friends. It makes sense on a per-"person" basis (where a coproration is legally a "person"). I think software companies should wise up and open everything, but if they choose not to, fine. The issue of per-user licensing fees seems pretty straightforwardly dumb to me, though.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#20)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 06:04:00 PM EST

What's to prevent people from creating mostly fake corporations for the sole purpose of being legally allowed to distribute software within it, to avoid per-user licensing fees?

Your argument that it doesn't cost MS anything to enable software to be used by an unlimited number of "seats" is pretty close to "I don't want to pay $1000 for this software CD cause it only cost the manufacturer $2 to actually produce the physical medium". Which of course, is crap: you're not paying for the CD, your'e paying for a license to use the software they spent millions to produce. I'm not a huge fan of MS's eula either, but the aim (selling software) is legitimate, and if you disagree, you've totally missed Stallmans' point.

And the MS guy didn't call italy a third-world country, he said they'd be seen that way (by the people who have a serious interest in it: software companies economists, and big-biz people) if they followed through with allowing the licenses to be ignored (internal to companies or not). In any case, who's to say that internal copying of software isn't for profit? Music and other art is one thing: you can only really profit from copies by selling them. Software can be used for profit; why should you be allowed to use some program for your business without having legitimately paid for it? And why should a huge company with 10000 people all using the software pay no more than a small company with 10 employees? Why *not* provide per-user licensing fees, as a means for small companies to actually afford the software in the first place, while still making it possible for companies to break even, never mind profit?

Finally, I am amazed at how people fail to distinguish between free speech and free beer. It's obvious most people who post here, and on slashdot, want free beer. Rusty, the blurb at the bottom of the page here: "The Scoop Engine that runs this site is available for free". Not "freely available" which would be a better indication of what the point of the GPL is, but for free. Fine, you want to give away your software; I'm happy for you. Someday I hope to release neat GPL'd software too (really!). But then you mention the GPL in the same sentence, further associating that with what most people really want, which is software that you don't have to pay for.

[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (4.00 / 1) (#24)
by rusty on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 06:30:47 PM EST

First of all, thank you for pointing out the mis-wording. This was called to my attention before, but I neglected to change it. It now reads "freely available". Mind you, it is also free (beer), but I agree that that's not really the important thing.

Ok, I think you misunderstood my point about per-seat licensing. I don't want to get all my software for free. Well, I personally do, but not by piracy. I have no problem with someone selling software, whatsoever. What I object to is the idea that I'm not buying a product. I sure as hell am buying a product, and if they cannot produce that product for a cost that the market will bear, then they should have to change their business practices. It's that simple. A piece of software is a product. I buy it, I own it. I cannot copy it an infinite number of times, because copyright law prohibits that. This is already a well-established field of law, and has no bearing on this issue.

My point is that when you buy a product under the current standard software license, you do not own it. You "lease" it, sort of. Except you also have no rights to complain if it's defective. Basically, if you sign off on the standard EULA, they could be giving you a blank CD, and you'd have no leg to stand on in court. Does this seem fair to you? Does it seem like something that *needs* to be done for software companies to make a living, or is it, in fact, just a scam to squeeze the maximum amount of money out of any given piece of code?

Take this analogy, if you didn't like my Buick one: I buy a videocassette. The license I agree to before watching it says that only 2 people may view the movie. If I want all four members of my family to view it, I have to call up the company and get a 4-seat license for the video. I'll give them my credit card number, and they will give me a serial to enter into my VCR. Does that make sense to you? Would you agree to these terms for other media? And if so, why?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#35)
by Paul Dunne on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 11:26:25 AM EST

The license on a video cassette does say something like that, doesn't it? Don't you get a screen of legalistic stuff at the very beginning, saying that public performance is prohibited i.e. that this is just for watching in your living-room by you and whoever, not for showing to x people at a time? I could check this, but yeah, you know, the front room is a long way from here...
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/
[ Parent ]
Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#39)
by ramses0 on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 03:06:02 PM EST

I totally disagree with you on this one, rusty.

Software is not "software", as in "source code, binaries, and stuff that makes things go". Software is a "tool". It gets a task done. You don't buy software for software's sake, you buy it because it will make it {better|faster|easier} to do something else.

Since analogies seem to be the order of the day, consider this: basketball teams buy their players fancy shoes because they make them run better, jump faster, etc... They do not buy one pair of shoes, and put those shoes in a Star Trek "matter replicator". If they have 10 players, they buy 10 pairs of shoes.

Software (like shoes) is a tool to a corporation. Even though software does have the mythical "Star Trek Matter Replicator" (called 'cp', or 'copy' depending on your OS of choice), between corporations it is still a tool. MS (and all other software companies) is not making software, it is making tools, and they should be treated as such.

I totally disagree with the EULA's, and UCITCA's, and DCMA's, and all the related garbage. I want a license that says: "This software is a tool. You own this software, but may only use X copies of it, where X is a multiple of the total price you paid. We did our best to make it work, and thank you for your support."

EULA's are insiduous, and bad.

--Robert
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#42)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 03:40:14 PM EST

(i'm the dissenting poster above :)

Ok, I agree such licensing restrictions for a video would suck, really. And many software licenses (MS, Adobe) prevent the basic form of sharing that you can do with, eg. a book. So is it enough to have software licenses that don't prevent that kind of sharing? Only one person can use a book at once, because of the nature of the media (ugh, doesn't quite hold for videos.) You can't copy it, because it's illegal (copyright law, which I hope nobody is disputing). You can, however, give it to your friend, and he can read it too without breaking any laws.

The equivalent, for software: some licenses say you can install and use one program on multiple machines, as long as one copy is only in use at once. Basically, mostly matching what you can do with a book, or a video. The MS license is much more restrictive than that, and I agree is bad.

Is that good enough? I can see your distaste for MS style licenses (indeed I share it). But can't we find a middle ground that matches better what people are accustomed to be able to do with purchased media? The actual *quality* of the software you pay for, as we know, is a whole other kettle of fish, but one thing at a time...plus I'm not thinking very clearly at the moment, and can't coherently bring that into it.

(sorry if my earlier post was a little hot-headed, I was grumpy about the anti-commercial bias of some of the other comments.)

[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#26)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 07:25:57 PM EST

What's to prevent people from creating mostly fake corporations for the sole purpose of being legally allowed to distribute software within it, to avoid per-user licensing fees?

Nothing at all. Of course, for most software that people use, the cost of setting up and incorporating would probably be greater than the cost of the software to begin with, not to mention the legal responsibilities that come with it, such as boards of directors, mandatory shareholder meetings, tax filings, etc. etc. ad nauseum. That pesky requirement for companies to actually turn a profit every so often would probably get in the way as well, and then you have social security tax, disability insurance, and a number of other fiscal responsibilities... it probably ain't going to happen.

Your point about Microsoft needing to recover the millions they spent to develop their software rings a little hollow when you consider that they have a pretty consistent 85% profit margin; they could end per seat licensing tomorrow and they would still be very profitable. Bill Gates wouldn't be the richest man in the world any more though, and we just know he's got a God given right to be worth 100 billion dollars, right?

The fact is that the incremental cost of producing another copy of a given piece of software is close to zero; if the companies writing software don't like that, they need to quit begging for more artificial restrictions (our profits are only in the millions, not billions; something must be done!) and get into another business. Should they do so, there will be plenty of people waiting in the wings to take up the slack who are willing to live with software's inherent strengths and weaknesses.

[ Parent ]

Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#33)
by Nyarlathotep on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 02:36:31 AM EST

First, I do not know that Italy made this choice for the reason I have stated. They probable made the descision for "fair use" reasons. It really dose not make any sence to allow companies to sue individuals who use the software without making any money. The only real issue is do the stores pay for their shrink wrapped boxes and do the OEM pay for their installations. The court is most likely just saying "Hey, lets not waist Italian tax payer money." Microsoft/BSA don't like this because they want Italy to spend tax payer money to tell it's citizens that "Piracy is morally bad." It's like our war of drugs vs. Holland's war on drugs. We spend 20 billion dollars to have police who only go after small time ciminals abuse our civil rights. Holland tells it's police to ignore the small frys by making the small crimes worthless to prosicute (i,e. not like a felony). Their drug problem is not really significantly worse then ours, they just don't need to put up with as much shit or spend as much money. Next, the point I'm making is purely that Microsoft and the BSA'a tactics are preditory and exploitive. The responce to preditory and exploitive tactics should be a "big ass fucking slap down" period. Who descideds when the tactics are preditory? The couts, ellected officials, and ultimatly voters. Do you think that child labor laws are a bad thing because the company spant a lot of work structuring their buisness arround child laborors? The laws are a necissary part of the general populations control over corperations. The new thing here is the "revokation" of intelectual property. I think "revoking" intelectual property should be a standard part of the punishments governments can dole out for the following reasons: (a) The punishment need to be serious to serve as a deterent, (b) The punishment should be inherently benifitial to the population. Actuall, I would love to see the countries which MS has fucked over nationalize the windows source. It might prevent Microsoft from some nasty future tricks in other countries. The world trade orginisation prevents these type of things, but as it looses credibility some contries may begin breaking ranks with the multinationals.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]
Don't go there (none / 0) (#37)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 12:32:10 PM EST

Imagine if this were cars and not software. I buy a nice Buick, and then I take it apart and copy it so I don't have to buy 100 more for all my sales staff. Obviously, its cost prohibitive to "copy" a car, but it is unfair to steal my idea/software/car design.

Trying to make the crossover from physical property to IP (IP itself might be a misnomer) causes trouble. We would be better off if we based our reasoning in the correct realm. Leaving off the name calling would also be nice.

In many places, piracy is a capital offence. Should software pirates be executed.

In any case, let me give you a few cases which will illustrate why I think 'going there' causes trouble...

I used to buy a magazine called 'Boat Builder' and it contained plans and instructions for building boats. A friend and I even built one once.

Now, as I understand how things work, I could build that boat. I could lend the magazine to a succession of friends who could also build the same boat, when they give it back, I could build a few boats for friends who are not so handy. All this legally as the law now stands. (BTW -IANAL) I could not however, build the boats and sell them as a business. I also could not copy the plans and instructions and sell them.

Do you propose that I should be unable to build myself a boat? Should I be unable to lend the magazine to a friend so that he can build himself a boat?

Now, say I buy a nice designer shirt that fits better than any shirt I have ever had. Now it starts to wear out because I wear it so much. When I go to buy another, it is no longer for sale, the next seasons fashions are out. So I take the shirt to my friendly tailor and have him pull it apart for a pattern and make me a few. Is this legal?

Now a photographer takes a picture of a person in front of a new building. They have to get a release from the person, do they need a release from the architect? If not, why not?

These issues are not as cut and dried as the copyright holders like to pretend!

I would like to see the copyright holders held accountable for mis-stating the law when they attempt to 'educate' the public as to their rights.

Bob Clip - friend of A Nony Mouse

[ Parent ]

Re: Don't go there (none / 0) (#44)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 10:01:10 PM EST

well, in the case of software, their rights are usually defined by the license itself, and if you don't like it, don't use the software (assuming you can see the license before opening the box!! :) IANAL either, and I'm not sure to what extent these things have been decided in court...and don't get me wrong, I don't think the situation is terrific either.

[ Parent ]
Re: I really hope this ruling stands. ... (none / 0) (#45)
by Anonymous Hero on Sun Apr 30, 2000 at 09:43:01 AM EST

It is more like every other copyright, music, pictures etc. The software industry has to many privilegues as it is. There's no reason why copyright on software should be stronger then other copyright's

[ Parent ]
Where's the beef!!!... (none / 0) (#12)
by Rasputin on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:10:49 PM EST

Rasputin voted 0 on this story.

Where's the beef!!!
Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.

Re: Piracy Legal In Italy (2.50 / 2) (#18)
by flamingcow on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 04:39:03 PM EST

I actually meant forced free software, and I was sort of joking.  Brain-slip,
sorry.


Re: Piracy Legal In Italy (2.00 / 1) (#21)
by drdink on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 06:07:10 PM EST

That isn't a good ruling.  If you developed commercial software for a living,
you would not be thrilled at all by the fact that any Rob, Jeff, Jonathan, or
Emmett could go around swapping your software.	How would you make money?


Re: Piracy Legal In Italy (none / 0) (#28)
by mattdm on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 10:54:55 PM EST

That's fine and all, but copyrights are artificial property-like rights created by governments. It's not somehow natural that making copies of software is illegal or immoral.

Apparently, the law in Italy doesn't provide as strong of protections as that in the US. The ruling was perfectly good. If you think that it'd be better for the law to be different, that's a whole seperate issue.

I'm not being some sort of commie pinko radical when I say this. Some rights -- life, liberty, pursuit of happiness -- are very likely somehow integral to being human. But laws concerning who can do what with information -- thoughts, data, ideas -- are things we have to decide.



[ Parent ]
Biased Judge (none / 0) (#30)
by Commienst on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 11:24:07 PM EST

I have a good feeling that this Italian judge makes copies of software which would explain his ruling.

Do legal precedents hold as much weight in Italy as they do in the US?

This is the right way to do it (none / 0) (#34)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 04:01:30 AM EST

Since nobody gets paid, it isn't "piracy". Everytime the BSA and the lot talk about "piracy" they imply that someone is gaining financially from it.

Here nobody is gaining financially. People who are going to buy the software (for manuals, for support, for the Real Thing, whatever) will buy it. Those who don't, won't.

This isn't anything new, it's just acknowledging the situation as it is. Everyone copies software. If it's commercial software, too bad. But everyone does it.

I mean, I wouldn't understand this if it were that you could just steal the software and sell it yourself, but this is not the case. As long as you don't charge money for it, you're safe.

Re: Piracy Legal In Italy (none / 0) (#43)
by Anonymous Hero on Sat Apr 29, 2000 at 06:49:12 PM EST

OH NO POKEY! 
THE ITALIANS ARE STEALING OUR ARCTIC-CIRCLE SOFTWARE!!!
(http://www.yellow5.com/pokey/)


Piracy Legal In Italy | 46 comments (46 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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