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China Piracy Software The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Turning Chinese Piracy Into Revenue 170

itwbennett writes "Weak penalties and a lack of enforcement have made China a hotspot for software piracy, but it is possible to turn some pirated software into sales, says Vic DeMarines, vice president of products for V.i. Labs, a company that helps makers of engineering and design software track the unlicensed use of their products. Forty of V.i. Labs' clients use code to track when an installed application shows signs it's a pirated copy. The data collected makes a record of what organizations in China are using unlicensed copies across how many different PCs. They can then use the data to reach out to those organizations, who might not be aware they are using unlicensed software. 'We think that's a better way to reduce piracy overall,' says DeMarines. 'You need to target the organizations that should have the ability to pay license versus going after individual users or the people who crack the software.'"
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Turning Chinese Piracy Into Revenue

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  • "Reach Out" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CSFFlame ( 761318 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @08:54PM (#37248768)
    Like the BSA?
  • Solution (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:08PM (#37248876)
    The United Kingdom can just pay £1,000,000,000 every year to the BSA on behalf of the Chinese people as reparations for the colonization, dealing drugs in China the Opium War, etc. And the BSA will distribute the cash equitably among impacted software development companies.
  • Re:"Reach Out" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:25PM (#37249044)

    BSA is a good organization.

    So's your local mafia strong man.

    Many of the victims of the BSA aren't people who maliciously copied software - they're people who paid for it, then lost the docket. Seriously, look up the requirements the BSA have for your software to be deemed "legitimate".

  • Re:"Reach Out" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:50PM (#37249238)

    Change of tune much? Firstly you said that the BSA are the good guys because they only go after nasty, evil pirating companies. Now you say that they're the good guys because they only go after the nasty, evil not-conforming-to-EULA companies.

    Sorry, no. BSA are an extortion racket, and EULAs are the tools they use to squeeze unearned money from their marks. They are in no way, shape or form "good guys".

  • Re:"Reach Out" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 29, 2011 @09:54PM (#37249278)

    And hope to hell that nobody has installed anything on their systems.

    Now try doing that in a small business, especially an IT-related small business. Good fucking luck.

    The BSA should be driven from the land, their offices razed, the ruins burned, the very earth salted; their children cursed, their souls damned, their ill-gotten gold melted and poured down their throats.

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @10:50PM (#37249544)

    There would still be plenty of incentive to create for artists

    Artists already have plenty of incentive to create, the do what they love to do and, if they are good, they can earn a comfortable income from live performances.

    The big mistake is assuming that every artist deserve to become a millionaire. Let them earn their daily bread from their daily work, like everybody else.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:25PM (#37249698)

    Company: We've rigged our software to phone home information so we can identify you as an individual and/or the company you work for... but don't worry, it's only to help them become "legitimate" customers.

    The arguments in summary;

    It's an invasion of privacy.
    Counter #1: "Then don't install it."
    a. Most people install the software they do because it does what they want it to, it has a familiar interface, and it is cost effective.

    b. IP laws exist solely to create artificial markets and categories of consumers, which in turn increase the cost of entry into markets where IP is prevalent. China, as a developing country, would never develop as quickly, if at all, if it "went legit" and that is an intentional effect of intellectual property. It keeps rich people rich, and poor people poor.

    I can buy a functional computer with the same capabilities that was top of the line 7 years ago for $35. I can't buy a commercial software license for just about anything at that price. A hundred years from now, that software license will still cost me the same, long after the hardware to run it is in a museum and even emulators for said hardware can't run on modern systems. This is not accidental.

    Conclusion: For some lines of business, there is literally not a choice: You either use Product X or cease to exist. Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple are leaders in the area of vendor lock-in. Legality for many businesses is secondary to survivability. And in the third world, enforcing IP is a death sentence for economic development.

    Counter #2: The company is doing something illegal.
    End User Licensing Agreements are actually quite legal, but mostly because nobody's had enough money to topple the businesses that write them. The majority of these EULAs are so restrictive that to use them only in the fashion prescribed by these contracts would make the software useless (or nearly so) for the purposes it is routinely used for. But... it's perfectly legal to sell something that is largely or totally useless, and invades your privacy as well.

    I would suggest using a software firewall. They're designed to keep stuff from getting out more than in these days.

    Damn you RIAA...
    Counter: facepalm* RIAA isn't interested in your software, they're interested in your music. And the MPAA isn't interested in either of those two, just movies. Know your enemy.

    Just ignore them
    Because that's been so successful online. There was a time (it was called the 90s) when people thought the internet was anonymous, information would be free, and it would be the vehicle to promote democracy and free speech worldwide; And all these things would be impossible to stop. So when authorities started trying, people who were in a position to fight back did nothing out of arrogance that their opponent lacked the intelligence or resources to do so. Look how that turned out.

    There's nothing you can do to fight them, so don't.
    There is in fact a lot you can do. For starters, chances are good that if you are reading this post you have the necessary skills to dissect a piece of software and disarm the bombs its developers have put in it, bypass or remove the mechanisms preventing portability and enforcing copy protection. They're enhanced by the fact that the majority of developers don't put their best effort into these schemes. They always leave a hole somewhere, maybe as a form of sabotage. Historical footnote: Sabotage used to be workers flinging their shoes into the machines to shut them down. These days, it's writing shitty code and leaving debug codes in the finished product, which is basically a big neon sign saying -- "Cut on dotted line here to remove protection."

    Contrary to popular media, most of us who work in this industry know it's wrong and few people are willing to do anything more than go through the motions for a paycheck when they're contracted to do this kind of thing. Don't buy into the propaganda; Lots of people are on your side, they just can't say so.

  • Tracking code? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday August 29, 2011 @11:57PM (#37249840) Journal

    My programs should only be talking to the internet when I ask them to.
    I block software that phones home at the router.

  • Re:Its China. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Tuesday August 30, 2011 @12:12AM (#37249940)
    we're not talking of stealing, merely making copies of information. That's "copyright infringement", if you happen to live in a place that believes in it. Historically, the notion would be considered absurd until very recently in history.

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