Subject: Re: Latest on CPRM at the Register
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 14:27:49 +0100

On Fri, Dec 29, 2000 at 05:59:56PM -0800, wrote:
> on Sat, Dec 30, 2000 at 01:33:10AM +0100, Bernard Lang ( wrote:
> > 
> > Hi,
> > 
> >   for my bibliography, what is the proper reference for:
> >    On Software "Piracy", Lies, BSA, Microsoft, Rocks, and Hard Penguins
> >

> Um.  It's still in progress, call it a working draft.  Title as given.
> Author would be me.  First date of publication:  Date: 02 Jul 1998
> 00:00:00 GMT, posted to
> I'd like to add a few things to it, including:
>   - Followup conversation with Hal Varian, UC Berkeley, who opined that
>     it wasn't completely out in left field (actually, I think the phrase
>     was "looks about right to me"). 
>   - Followup of news developments.  There have been reports largely
>     validating what I'd predicted in the inital posting -- cost of
>     software in Hong Kong and other high-piracy markets, various
>     enforcement actions (usually of the sweetheart deal mentioned in the
>     post), emergence of (and apparent official adoption of) GNU/Linux in
>     China ("Red Flag Linux").
> > 
> > Bernard
> > 
> > PS I fully agree with the conclusion (no time yet to read the whole
> > paper)
> Well, I'm interested in feedback on the arguments as well.  Hey,
> Stephen, care to bash my head against *another* wall this week?

My experience has been that in developing countries, it is difficult
to promote Linux, because they say they have Windows for the same
price (experience in Africa and Vietnam).  Often, people think that
Linux must be a lower grade product since it is free, while Windows is
a real bargain, since it is a valuable product they do not pay.  Since
they cannot afford it anyway, there is no loss for Microsoft.
   So piracy actually hurts free software more than proprietary
   The same can be said for low income people in richer countries.
   Also, for very expensive professional software, private piracy is a
way of getting people trained who will then develop the market when
they get employed.

   One frequent remark made by free software companies is that free
software is an efficient way of getting the marketing for free (and
sell service or adjunct products).  For pirated proprietary software,
there is a similar situation, and preservation of a market for a later
   The case of China is interesting, they started supporting Linux
when they started enforcing copyright, to better commerce with western

One last point.  I did write to BSA, following one of their reports on
piracy.  I said that their figures on piracy in each county were only
estimates.  On the other hand, I assumed they had very precise figures
on actual litigation of piracy, on the number of law suits in each
country and the amounts of piracy involved in each (since it is their
job to begin with).  I was told that these statistics did not exist !
  I drew my own conclusions.

  (I can probably retrieve these mails, given enough time)

Happy Holidays


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