I have a confession to make. In spite of driving a
four door sedan, I'm not tentative with the accelerator pedal. Occasionally,
I've heard the dreaded "license and registration please," from a law enforcement
official, I don't fault the authority for pulling me over and doing their
job. However, I would have a problem if an officer pulled me over with no
provocation and proceeded to threaten me if I didn't confess to some past
transgression. Yet, that's exactly what happened last week.
wasn't a police officer accosting me, but rather the self-appointed software
police known as the BSA (Business Software Alliance). Let me explain - or better
yet, let me quote verbatim from the letter they sent to me.
have heard that the Business Software Alliance is investigating San Diego area
organizations that use unlicensed software."
goes on, "BSA recognizes that, for whatever reason, your company may not have
managed its software assets properly. That's why from August 1-31, 2002, BSA is
offering a Software Grace Period to businesses like yours in San Diego."
penalties for copyright infringement are serious - sometimes totaling hundreds
of thousands of dollars."
they talk about how by repenting immediately, if my "organization becomes the
focus of a BSA investigation, BSA will not seek to impose penalties for any
unauthorized copying that occurred before August 31, 2002".
this is a form letter they blanketed San Diego businesses and will soon hit your
city if they haven't already. I don't fault BSA for attempting to educate
consumers about the laws relating to the purchase and use of software (which
they do in other parts of the letter). What's disturbing is the tact at which
they take which is to put forth unsubstantiated accusations with their "assume
everyone is guilty approach." Can you imagine getting such a letter from the
music industry about your CD collection? Or how about from the movie industry
inquiring about video tapes you might have made or possess? No other industry I
can think of treats their customers as criminals by default.
demonstrates what is wrong with the computer software business. Rather than
getting simpler and more affordable to purchase software, it's getting more
draconian and complex. In an effort to maximize profits, many companies are
resorting to complicated payment and registration schemes all of which are
designed principally to charge consumers more. (Microsoft just enacted License
6.0 which has 24 different payment options, price levels, maintenance plans,
licensing agreements and customer categories, according to a recent
InformationWeek article.) They're paying companies like BSA to be their
attack dogs. It's becoming more complicated to buy computer software when it
should be becoming easier and cheaper. Juggling registration codes makes it
even more costly. (At the same time I received the BSA letter, I received a solicitation from a different company offering to sell me software which keeps track of my other software and licenses - yikes!)
So what can
you do about it? Investigate and embrace alternative ways to acquire software
which are straightforward and affordable. I think one of the best alternatives
is the LindowsOS membership
, or think about purchasing one of those
Walmart computers that comes
with LindowsOS. For an
affordable fee of $99, a user can gain access to a catalog of software to
accomplish just about any general computing task.
Click here for a list of our most
popular titles. Instead of licensing individual titles for hundreds of
dollars each and tracking which users have which ones, a computer user can pay
one fee and install well over 1000 programs - each with a single mouse click .
If you're in an office with multiple people, then simply purchase a LindowsOS
membership for each user and you'll not only be saving a bundle over the traditional
costs of software, but be side stepping complex license tracking issues.
Supporting those companies that don't embrace complex licensing structures and
instead offer low-cost solutions, is the best way to insure that the software
business moves forward in a consumer friendly manner.
As for the
BSA's demand to see my 'license and registration', I'll have to let them know
that I won't be needing their offer of a "Grace Period Participation #55128"
since I'm running LindowsOS and all the software on my computer is from the
P.S. As a special thank you
to all our Insiders who are
helping us shape the direction of LindowsOS, we now include a free TWO-year
membership to the Lindows.com "Click-N-Run Warehouse" ( a $198 value). You'll
want to hurry though, as this offer ends with the General Release of LindowsOS
later this year.
Click here to become an Insider
and download LindowsOS today.The Michael's Minute Meter
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