Caveat emptor, a pig in a poke, and let the cat out of the bag! Most individuals are familiar with at least two of these. When dealing with the software industry, all three ought to be remembered.
Sellers have never had sterling reputations for honesty. lf they had, the 3 expressions cited above would by no means have attained a place in widespread usage. Putting a cat in a bag and selling it as a pig gave rise to the latter two expressions. The smart buyer, the buyer who took the caveat to heart, opened the bag just before putting down his funds and let the cat out.
Software manufacturers have foisted the impression on the public that software program is intellectual property, but there are so numerous differences between the paradigms of intellectual property and software that only the naive could ever take such claims seriously.
The paradigms for intellectual property are the non-fiction book, the novel, poetry, musical composition, dramatic scripts, sculpture, paintings, in short, fine art. And these range from the totally distinctive item, like a fantastic painting, that only one individual can own to multiple itemed works, like books, that several folks can own copies of.
Software program is definitely not at all like the former. Is it like the latter? Very first of all, a book has an author or authors, a musical composition a composer, a painting a painter. These are the men and women who collect the royalties. Who authors software program? Do they get the royalties? Ah, don’t they wish it were so.
Secondly, books, except textbooks, musical compositions, paintings, etc., don’t come out in versions. Tolstoy didn’t make a career out of writing War and Peace over and over once again, improving a bit here and a bit there, even though I suspect he would have said that it could have been improved upon had he been asked. Michelangelo didn’t sculpt scores of versions of David and sell them as upgrades.
Thirdly, when I buy a copy of a book, etc., it is mine, not the author’s or the publisher’s. I can do what I want with it. I can sell it, rent it, lend it, rewrite it, even destroy it. The manufacturers of software program want to prohibit all of this. They even claim to retain ownership and sell only the appropriate to use. But even this claim is specious.
If I rent something to a person, I rent it for a certain period of time. When that time period is over, I want it back. When you go to Blockbuster and rent a CD, you don’t get it indefinitely. Blockbuster desires it back. But Microsoft doesn’t want old versions of Windows back, it doesn’t even want new versions of Windows back, so one can ask what kind of ownership do software program manufacturers claim to retain? If I sell something, I have no further claim on it. It I discard something, I have no further claim on it. To retain a claim, I have to want it back, otherwise, I have sold it, discarded it, or given it away. So although software program manufacturers claim to retain ownership, it is ownership of absolutely nothing.
Finally, software is written with the assist of software. An awful lot of it is canned. There are miles of comparable code in programs that perform similar functions. Not so in novels, musical compositions, and other fine art. So if software is intellectual property, it is a strange type of intellectual and a strange type of property.
In reality, software is a item created by employees in a factory. The software program engineer, programmer, coder is no different than the welder or the lathe operator. Every has learned a specific skill. None is involved in an intellectual enterprise, and that is the chief reason software is frequently so bad. There are no bugs in true intellectual property, it has no security gaps. Authors, painters, composers, sculptors, poets do not incorporate statements absolving themselves from damages as all software program producers do.
Then there are the claims of all the income being lost. Perhaps! But not as obvious as a lot of seem to believe. There is an assumption behind this claim that is patently false. The assumption is that every person who pirates software program would have bought it if he couldn’t have gotten it otherwise. But that’s not even remotely true.
Distinctions need to be made between those who pirate software in order to sell it and those who pirate it for their own use. Couple of would disagree that the former are engaged in an improper activity. The exact same can’t be said of the latter, nevertheless. Folks who pirate software for their own uses do it for numerous factors. 1 prevalent reason is putting software program you have legitimately purchased on much more than one laptop or computer in your own home. If I have a desktop and a laptop, why really should I have to buy two copies of a program? If I have two CD players, I do not have to purchase two copies of a CD. I don’t have to get a separate copy of a book for each member of my family members who wants to read it. Why ought to this be wrong for software program but right for CDs and books? The immorality or criminality here eludes me. Are software manufacturers a lot more entitled to protection than authors or artists? Why?
Others frequently pirate software just to look at it or try it out, something that typically results in future sales. The manufacturers of software do not factor these future sales into their loss calculations although, do they? Why not? And what’s wrong with trying something out prior to you acquire it? Don’t you test drive a vehicle just before putting down the cash? Except for those little developers who offer minor programs on the internet, do you know of any way to attempt out software without having buying it?
Folks usually pirate software which they genuinely have no intention of making use of to any degree. Such pirating does not result in any loss of sales, so why need to the manufacturers of software care about it? Such pirating is no distinct than borrowing a CD or a book, and it is perfectly acceptable and legal to do that. So why not software?
So how does software program piracy impact the economy and the technologies industry as a whole? Damned if I know. It is not obvious to me that the Chinese would be buying Windows from Microsoft if it weren’t accessible from the sources they now get it from. I don’t know how several Chinese could afford it at Microsoft’s cost. Would it mean much more jobs for Americans? I have no reason to believe it. We have all heard about off-shored outsourcing and visas for foreign workers. And how does it affect the development of software program? Would there be much more of it if the rewards were higher? God knows, we’re inundated with it now. No developer seems to be terribly discouraged by the piracy that’s been going on, and the manufacturers themselves are continuously engaged in attempts to comer a market and drive competition out. Does that encourage developers?
Software is a pig in a poke. It by no means works as promised, frequently demands more resources than claimed, and is sold under garage sale conditions with a disclaimer absolving the manufacturer of responsibility for any and every thing. And these are the people crying crocodile tears about piracy! 1 can even suspect that software firms deliberately marketplace defective software so they can later marketplace “upgrades.” What do they say about thieves? It takes 1 to know one!
Didn’t Microsoft literally steal DOS? Oh certain, the guys who developed it were dumb enough to sell it low cost and didn’t deserve what they didn’t get. But shouldn’t any person dumb sufficient to put his stake in an business whose products are simply copied and stolen be ready to bear the consequences? Capitalism is an economic program that entails risk. A person investing in this program need to evaluate the risks associated with the enterprise. And do not tell me Bill Gates and other people didn’t know the risks.
So what’s the upshot? The manufacturers claim that they’re losing cash. Possibly, perhaps not. They knew what they were finding into. No one twisted their arms, and they’re all employing tools developed by someone else. They didn’t invent the computer or devise the programming languages, and if they can use other people’s suggestions for their own profit, why shouldn’t other people use their ideas for profit? Bear in mind, a penny saved is a penny earned. Suggestions, right after all, have no owners. Manufacturers lie about their software, why shouldn’t they lie about the effects of piracy?
Would you be so willing to sop up the tears of the seller whose customer let the cat out of the bag that was supposed to contain a pig? Or would you laugh at his embarrassment and say he got what he deserved?
©2009 John Kozy