Let’s say the Wal-Mart Corporation could wave a magic wand, putting an end to all shoplifting from their stores. Would they? Let’s say the Microsoft Corporation could wave a magic wand, putting an end to all unauthorized distribution of their software. Would they? Perhaps surprisingly to some, the answers to these two questions are polar opposites. It would seem there’s not much difference between the two suggestions, right? After all, unauthorized distribution of software is “stealing” – just like shoplifting. It is to commit “theft”, so they say. It would be absurd not to stop people stealing from your business.
Organizations like the BSA claim that “piracy” does “harm” to the proprietary software industry. However, it’s “piracy” that keeps their ship from sinking quickly. Without “piracy”, one of the biggest obstacles to Free software adoption would be removed. To claim that “economic viability is threatened” with billions in losses is to twist the truth by ignoring the bigger picture. Without “piracy”, the actual losses would put those numbers to shame. The more Free software gains traction, the more “piracy” becomes proprietary software’s life jacket.