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A convenient way to fight (software) piracy?

December 19, 2007 Leave a comment

Information Week reports that:

A tech industry group is offering consumers up to $500 for reporting software counterfeiters who sell their goods on online auction sites like eBay.

Throwing money to stop piracy from happening. Who says money can’t buy you happiness? It helps the industry (although a bit of a hefty price, they must be confident they can sue the software pirates for more) by actually going out there after pirates with the help of the digital community.

Now, this is only for those who SELL pirated stuff, but what if this idea is extended to all software pirates? Money sounds like a good incentive to be a snitch, so what about turning people into responsible snitches with the same approach?

“How so?”

Offer people snitching pirates, preferably with concrete proof, a financial reward of either the actual price of the pirated software or some fixed amount. To keep things accountable, ensure that the snitch is not reporting anonymously, or s/he won’t receive the financial reward. This way, one can ensure that they can fine those who simply snitch wrongly, say without any evidence and any truth in it, to shell over the bucks themselves that they’ve accused the so called pirates of. Naturally, their identities shouldn’t be revealed to anyone outside the organization that oversees this process.

“That sounds rather evil. You’re siding with corporations, you corporate dog!”

Well, it’s more the concept of an effective and accountable system here that I’m interested in, rather than siding with whomever. I guess that is the scholar in me speaking.

“Well, the Random IT part of you is crying.”

Well, it still can’t be that easy. I mean, getting concrete proof of pirates can be challenging. And legal issues aside, there’s still the issue of earning enough money from those pirates one way or the other to earn back the cost of financially rewarding the snitcher and gaining something of it.

“Doesn’t that classify as legal issues?”

Ah well, just a random idea I felt like throwing out after reading the article. There’s at least one company interesting in these kind of things, so talking about it would be a half decent way to kill time.

“Arg, my ears are bleeding. For you to be my imaginary alter ego is embarrassing!”

Speaking of pirates, check out these fine lads (as reported by Ars Technica):

Instead of selling the systems with bundles, a chain of Illinois/Missouri gaming stores called Slackers is simply dumping its stock onto eBay for the Buy It Now price of $399.99, an almost $150 markup.

Capitalism at its finest! Yarr Yarr Arghh! Or something like that.

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Categories: IT Security