Microsoft gets it ... why doesn't anyone else or Why I stopped giving out pirated copies of MS-Office and learned to embrace openoffice.org

Well, beat them up enough and they begin to get it. Today on salon.com I read this article on MS's backing down on the piracy battle in China. It points out the MS has finally realized what I have known for a while pirating MS software increases MS market share. Yes, if you want to help MS take over the world and dumb down the population go out there are spread around their stuff. If you are trying to undermind MS well there's another way to go. Create better alternatives. MS losing a license fee hurts them in the short term. Eventually that user will upgrade to an MS solution because they've been enabled by the process. MS losing a customer to a better solution, well, that's another story. A user who jumps from office to openoffice.org becomes educated and empowers the user. They learn about open source and standards. They learn that the computer revolution does not involve talking paperclips.

Of course the RIAA proved that not everyone gets it. They are releasing anti-piracy ads featuring such icons as Brittney Spears. I can hear it now "Piracy is wrong.... if you don't buy my songs I won't be able to afford bigger breasts" (she turned 18 now I'm allowed to notice them now). In the ad she is supposed to be comparing downloading a song to stealing a CD. A closer analogy, IMHO would be to compare it to taping copying it to tape or better yet taping it off the radio (which is how those of us who had pre-MP3/OGG adolesence distributed songs around).

What the RIAA has failes to understand is that sharing music is the best way for folks to try music in other genres. For example although I grew a child of the 80's. Hair metal and 70's rock were my favorite genres of music. A friend once handed me a tape with some New Age music from Manheim Steamroller, which was as far from what I was listening to as could be. You know what. I liked the music. Guess what else... I bought some CDs of theirs. And I've also bought some CDs of other artists in the genre that I never would've bought. Guess what there are at least 50 CDs in my collection that can be attributed to my being give a tape to check out. So I'll yell if for all the RIAAers out there sharing music increases sales it does not decrease them. 

  Posted: Sep 26, 2002