RCMP seizes BBS, Piracy Charges Pending

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PiracyOctober 28, 1996Ian SumRecently, The Toronto Star published an article entitled “RCMP seizes BBS,piracy charges pending.” The RCMP have possessed all computer componentsbelonging to the “90 North” bulletin board system in Montreal, Quebec. Theboard is accused of allowing people the opportunity to download (get) commercialand beta (or commercial) software versions. I feel that the RCMP should notcharge people that are linked to computer piracy, because the pirated softwareoffers valuable opportunity to programmers and users. Also, revenue lost to thelarge software companies is such a small amount that the effect won’t be greatlyfelt by them and so it is not worth the policing effort required to track downthe pirates.

When pirates distribute the illegal software, one could say that they arehelping, than hurting the software companies. By distributing the softwareworld wide, it creates great advertisement for the software companies and theirproducts. Although the software company is losing profits from that particularversion, it could generate future sales with other versions. Also, when thepirates distribute the software this could be a great source of test data forthe software companies. This is an effective way to catch any unfounded bugs inthe software program. From debugging to hacking, hackers can benefit the most.

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They can study and learn from the advancements with in the programming.

So what does all this activity tell us? This tells us the people arewilling to go to great lengths to get software at a lower cost, or possibly inexchange for other software and that they are succeeding in their efforts.

Although more than 50% of their software income is from other companies which donot pirate, this poses a problem for the software industries. By fining asingle bulletin board out of the thousands in North America, there would belittle accomplished. Not to mention the fact the it is extremely difficult toprove and convict people under the Copyright Act. In today’s society, revenuefrom software is such a small income source for corporations such as WordPerfectCorp. These companies make their money mainly from individuals purchasing extramanuals, reference material, supplementary hardware, and calling product support.

Software companies are conscious of the pirate world and the changes they havemade. Some companies actually want you to take the software by using theSHAREWARE concept. In SHAREWARE one gets a chance to use demo programs and thenpay for the full purchase if he feels it is worthwhile. It is a bit like testdriving a car, before one buys. In most cases, users are happy and end uppurchasing complete software. Most software companies are still in business,and still bringing up more technological advancements that entice users tocontinually buy newer versions. The companies, in this sense , have outsmartedand beaten the pirates. Violation of the Copyright Act seems to benefitsoftware companies more than it hurts them. Their software gets more exposurewhich leads to more software revenue in the end than revenue that is lostthrough piracy. The opportunity cost is worth it in the end.

Cracking down on software piracy is a waste of societies energy. There ismore benefit for everyone the way things are in the present. Users get to viewand evaluate it before they pay. Hackers get a opportunity to view other worksand learn from the advancements on or find the errors in the beta versions.

Software companies get more exposure which in the long run will lead to morerevenues for them.

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RCMP seizes BBS, Piracy Charges Pending. (2018, Dec 09). Retrieved from


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