The High Price of Piracy

Unknown, BBC News, Apr 03, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Released by the Business Software Alliance, an industry-fronted lobby group, this report has won wide circulation. It argues that strong copy protection and legislation improves economies and lowers unemployment. According to the BSA, "Strong intellectual property protections spur creativity, which opens new opportunities for businesses, governments and workers." But if this were true, then there would be no creativity in the open source community, which eschews copy protection. Moreover, the argument, reprinted by a mostly uncritical press, requires that readers abandon the principles of causal reasoning, since strong copy protection usually follows the development of a stronger economy. For more on this report, see also News.Com (Software group: Antipiracy helps economies), the Mercury News (Piracy falling, survey reports), and PC World (Is Software Piracy Stealing Jobs?), none of which offer even a pretense of a neutral vocabulary or an alternative point of view.
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