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Turning Chinese Piracy Into Revenue

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-call-this-the-photoshop-model dept.

China 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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170 comments

"Reach Out" (3, Insightful)

CSFFlame (761318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248768)

Like the BSA?

Re:"Reach Out" (-1)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248820)

BSA is a good organization. It generally doesn't go against private persons, but only companies. If you're profiting, you need to pay for the tools and software you use in your work. BSA going after those who pirate and profit off of others work is just the correct thing to do.

Re:"Reach Out" (3, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#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" (0)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249178)

You are doing business. You need to look up the rules governing it. I understand that reading EULA's and other requirements are too much hassle for games and other personal things, but when you do business you need to read it. They are things that matter, so I do too. Same goes for proper handling of your business - be that documents (and dockets) governing your business, the filing of taxes or for example in medical industry making sure you have the correct certificates and that you are allowed to do what you do. Pure ignorance is not a valid reason.

Re:"Reach Out" (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 2 years ago | (#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" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249300)

then what is one supposed to do when you know an organization is pirating software you created? I had a Chinese company steal my photos (I am a photographer), and after nicely contacting them, I was ignored and my images continued to be used. My client was pissed that they had paid for *exclusive* licensing and now someone else on the web was using it. For free, nonetheless. It was an image of a specialized/ proprietary product.

Anyways, approaching nicely like the story indicates doesn't always work either.

Re:"Reach Out" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249316)

The first question is how they got the photos to start with.

Re:"Reach Out" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249392)

Right click -> Save as....

Re:"Reach Out" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250286)

That was pretty stupid of you to promise your client "exclusive" use of any work that would end up on the public internet. Like it or not US law does not cover the entire Earth's sphere, and there are people who can and will copy everything and anything you make without remorse. Yeah, it's a dick move on their part, but that doesn't mean there's anything you can do about it. You're going to have to just accept it, and in the future, don't make promises that are impossible to keep.

Re:"Reach Out" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249410)

exactly, we are in the middle of an audit.
We have lots and lots of licences.... but no proof of purchase due to most machines being second handed (remarketing as ibm calls them)...
The machines come with OEM licences which are non-transferables between machines but it seems they are also non-transferables between bussiness...
Add to that that this is the only country where the dollar actually gets stronger and you can figure that 20k usd in licences is a bit steep for a pretty small shop...

Re:"Reach Out" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249464)

So's your local mafia strong man.

And many people are quite happy with the Mafia, and welcome it as protection from the perceived threat offered by others who won't stand up for them.

Re:"Reach Out" (3, Informative)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249164)

If you're profiting, you need to pay for the tools and software you use in your work

And keep every receipt (dated receipts - undated ones don't count) for every piece of software you possess, along with records on each individual computer linking that particular license to that particular receipt.

Once you've done that, you're ready to start getting ready for the BSA.

Re:"Reach Out" (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249200)

And don't even think about losing the receipt for your fancy new licence tracking and compliance software 'solution'. Getting busted for pirating one of those is just adding insult to injury...

Re:"Reach Out" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:"Reach Out" (3, Funny)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249732)

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.

I'm pretty sure I used that spell once or twice back in the DnD days.

Re:"Reach Out" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250688)

Fuck you. The BSA uses dirty tactics and goes after companies after they receive information from disloyal or disgruntled employees. Most of the time the "informant" just wants to fuck over their (ex)employer and the company is doing nothing wrong, but fuck if that stops the BSA! In order to prove to them you own the license you need to do things like provide the original receipts and go through long obnoxious audits, then if they find anything they can try to have considered evidence of misdoing they'll threaten to make you pay enormous penalties or take you to court and sue you into the ground.

Seriously, the BSA is a massive pile of shit. Judging from your post I'll bet you reported some ex-employer because you're a little bitch who feels like they need special attention or some shit and you're trying to rationalize your actions by saying "it was the correct thing to do". Companies are built on their founders dreams, they take a lot of effort and money to run, and the last thing they need is shithead backstabbing employees like you. If they're pirating software that they need and they can afford it then you should bring that up with the boss, not with the BSA.

Seriously, fuck you.

BSA: "Reach Out and Smite Someone" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248860)

I fear they're terribly delusional if they think a company in China would pay for software when they can pirate it for free.

Re:BSA: "Reach Out and Smite Someone" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249098)

Although I'm completely scheptical that they're going to turn a profit asking for money after the software's already been pirated, It's worth a risk. If the software is calling home, and you just happen to have a list of the companies that have not paid for the software, why not try to sell them a more stable and uncracked version?

I'll admit, before I started learning linux I ran a few different Win XP copies where I had to change the CD key before I used them, and never used them for anything more serious than homework (or further downloading). These distros were buggy, and I would have died to have been able to afford a $50.00 XP license then. If Redmond had a way to reach back out to me and say, "Here's a 50% off coupon, go buy yourself a legit copy of home basic," I'd have taken it. Had I done so, I would not have found Ubuntu so attractive to learn.

Re:BSA: "Reach Out and Smite Someone" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250226)

Funny, I'm the only person in my social circle to have purchased a Windows OS since XP (I made the Vista plunge out of curiosity) and we're all running "microsoft stable" windows 7 installations for gaming :P

Re:BSA: "Reach Out and Smite Someone" (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249108)

Or think that somehow the Chinese government would assist them in doing this. The Chinese government would probably point out to the trillion-dollar stack of US Treasury notes and say "paid in advance"...

Re:"Reach Out" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249048)

You're thinking "Reach Around"

Re:"Reach Out" (2)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250648)

I'm the guy who wrote the Ask Slashdot about the BSA about a month ago. This sounds very reminiscent of that. In my case I had no unlicensed software and the BSA gave up, but just being approached in this way really pissed me off. The BSA approached me because they thought I had money and assumed I was using unlicensed software - the were wrong on both counts but had they been right being cornered like that would in no way earn my favor for the software or companies they represent.

If they think this is a good way to reduce piracy, they may be correct. If this is a way to earn more than one sale of their software they're dead wrong. As soon as they win a case in China and force some company to pay (good luck assholes) I hope they see their software fall out of favor very quickly.

This makes a ton of sense (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248796)

If only the RIAA paid attention: treating pirates as potential customers: why not (upon finding them) send them marketing emails and specials? "We noticed you've been listening to a lot of Radiohead lately, their latest album just came out, act now for 30% off. Help support a great band, and be a part of their art". It wouldn't work for everyone, but it would soften the RIAA's image and potential bring in some new sales in one clever move.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248844)

If only the RIAA paid attention: treating pirates as potential customers: why not (because we're already guilty) send everyone millions of spam?

FTFY

Re:This makes a ton of sense (1)

guppysap13 (1225926) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249004)

I'm sure the US Postal Service wouldn't object to delivering millions of paper advertisements (especially before you have a chance to opt out). Lots of postage fees.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248878)

If they had only gotten the memo... [slashdot.org]

but it would soften the RIAA's image

Does the RIAA even care about their image? Most people don't go out choose whether to buy RIAA music or not. You buy a song that isn't indie, it's RIAA, right? They could run ads saying "RIAA: we hate the following ethnic groups..." and tell racist jokes, and unless a boycott of all non-indie was organized, I'm guessing they'd still profit just as much.

And I'll be DAMNED if I listen to some hipster indie crap...

(I kid, but in all honesty, I'm going to buy the next Avril Lavigne single that comes out as soon as it comes out...)

Re:This makes a ton of sense (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249978)

in all honesty, I'm going to buy the next Avril Lavigne single that comes out as soon as it comes out...

Please, don't. If you can't upgrade your taste in music, at least pirate the stuff. Nearly all of the money goes to organizations that make things worse.

If you insist on some "moral" stuff, you can mail the artist (or an awful screamer in your case :p) some cash directly. Just don't feed the RIAA.

RIAA did their job. (2)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250002)

RIAA did their job well.

I have no idea who Avril Lavigne is or what she sounds like.

Even if I could pirate a copy, the name does not stand out enough to me to make it worth the time to download.

RIAA, you wanted us to not share. I did not. Nor did anyone share with me. I am quite ignorant of the music scene these days.

I still enjoy my old stuff, but its been several years since I have spent a dime on music, cause quite frankly, buying music these days is like me going into some strange ethnic restaurant and being offered various bowls of goo, most of which taste bad.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (2)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249360)

If only the RIAA paid attention

Or lawmakers! There is a quote in the summary:

'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.'"

This basically sums up how copyright law should be enacted. Make it commercial-only. There would still be plenty of incentive to create for artists, and regular people wouldn't need to have a deep understanding of the law to find out if they are legally entitled to sing happy birthday to their kid or not.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249894)

The big mistake is assuming that every artist deserve to become a millionaire.

I agree with you, but I still think that copyright is important for artists. Sure, musicians can do what they did before copyright - perform. But what of a fiction author? I suppose they could get paid for signings and whatnot, but I think having exclusive commercial rights to their work would be reasonable.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250308)

It isn't a popular sentiment but are the vast majority of books of any constructive use beyond keeping the publishing industry afloat? While I'll never glance at the inside of a Harry Potter book, I'm happy they were written if they get children interested in reading, but I would not hold JK Rowlings works up and argue that they show the value of copyright. Alongside that I truly believe that between digital distribution, hardcover special printings and what have you authors could still support themselves comfortably if they could learn to cut out the middlemen.

Re:This makes a ton of sense (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250484)

Sure, for 7, 14, or even 20 years.

Up to 200? Fuck that. There's something seriously wrong with a system that won't release copyright on anything before my great-grandchildren are dead (and I don't have kids yet!).

Its China. (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248832)

nough said

Re:Its China. (1)

brim4brim (2343300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249126)

Most of the time I read titles like this as "Turning Chinese into Westerners". Applying western values to a Chinese culture (especially business culture) and expecting it to stick is naive at best. Western companies need to adapt to Chinese way of doing things to operate in China.

Re:Its China. (0)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249666)

So it would be okay to steal a bunch of Chinese business assets, I'm thinking of chip designs from FoxConn, motherboard designs from Lenovo, military rocket designs, etc. And sell them all to businesses in Taiwan where they can profit with no research effort at all? How about if I found a way to steal the Olympic Ice Skating and Gymnastics routines from China and then performed them a week before the Games? Would that be how the Chinese culture works?

Stealing is not culture. It is the opposite of culture.

Re:Its China. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249814)

So it would be okay to steal a bunch of Chinese business assets?

Yes, it would be ok. Unfortunately, we don't have the balls to actually do it.

Re:Its China. (3, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Its China. (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249794)

Most of the time I read titles like this as "Turning Chinese into Westerners". Applying western values to a Chinese culture (especially business culture) and expecting it to stick is naive at best. Western companies need to adapt to Chinese way of doing things to operate in China.

And how exactly would they do that? It's impossible to compete with somebody giving out free copies of your software when you're footing the cost for development.

Hold them hostage (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248866)

If it's detected, make it so that you hold their computers and data hostage by forcibly locking them out and threatening to erase their data if the proper verifications don't occur.

Yeah, it's strongarm tactics, but if you're living outside the law, you can't exactly complain to the cops to help you out that someone's bullying you.

Re:Hold them hostage (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249054)

Then the lawsuits will fly. There was a time where every single Windows install failed WGA due to MS's servers being down for a few hours. If MS had decided to have machines shut down and encrypt data to lock users out, Congress would be having an inquiry and lawsuits would be flying.

Instead, the best antipiracy mechanism is to use CD keys and deny access to network based services (multiplayer games, online updates, backups to a core server). Trying to do Draconian tactics may just bring lawsuits, or at best people spamming review sites (a la Spore 3 and Amazon) saying how horrible the product is.

Strongarm antipiracy measures are not new. In the early 1990s, I knew a software company that was planning to bundle an IDE card that would function as a dongle with their product. If the dongle thought the software was hacked, it would dump a large amount of voltage via a cascade to fry the machine.

Re:Hold them hostage (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249304)

Strongarm antipiracy measures are not new. In the early 1990s, I knew a software company that was planning to bundle an IDE card that would function as a dongle with their product. If the dongle thought the software was hacked, it would dump a large amount of voltage via a cascade to fry the machine.

By "Planning" do you mean "pissed off geeks were fantasizing about it" or did this somehow make it as far as legal before being shot down?

Re:Hold them hostage (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249750)

It actually got on a breadboard as a prototype. The reason it got knocked off the drawing board were not the legal eagles, but the cost of having the board mass produced.

I think company DRM fetishes should be an economic indicator. Software companies dropping DRM? The economy is decent. When Draconian copy protection comes commonplace, it shows things are on the skids.

Re:Hold them hostage (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249124)

If it's detected, make it so that you hold their computers and data hostage

Why not just shoot them in the head. I mean, fight fire with fire, right? Two wrongs make a right and all that.

Re:Hold them hostage (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249260)

If it's detected, make it so that you hold their computers and data hostage by forcibly locking them out and threatening to erase their data if the proper verifications don't occur.

Yeah, it's strongarm tactics, but if you're living outside the law, you can't exactly complain to the cops to help you out that someone's bullying you.

Terrible Plan:

You can, in fact, complain to the cops. With limited exceptions for self defense against imminent threats, most jurisdictions take a very, very dim view of vigilante justice. Even if you are 100% accurate, and never hit a false positive, do you think that the fact that you have legal grounds for a copyright infringement civil suit against somebody is going to save your ass from the slammer after you've committed a bunch of unauthorized-access and extortion related felonies? Don't bet on it. This is particularly the case if the copyright infringement is going on somewhere where the local authorities make a policy of turning a blind eye to that sort of thing; but take a much less indulgent stance on economic disruption by outsiders, whatever their justification.

Re:Hold them hostage (1)

MakinBacon (1476701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249790)

You're forgetting about the potential for false positives. Imagine if you accidentally did this to a legitimate customer.

Re:Hold them hostage (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249886)

Yeah, it's strongarm tactics, but if you're living outside the law, you can't exactly complain to the cops to help you out that someone's bullying you.

TFA:

'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.'

What about the ones that genuinely believed they paid for the product they bought from a fence [wikipedia.org] ? Why should the one pay and not the fence?

Phoning home isn't new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248868)

I've seen plenty of packages do this. Every activation package does this (logs a machine ID, IP address, etc).

Even Macrovision... er, Rovi has this as a bundle deal with InstallShield.

Nothing new here... move along...

Actually this has a subtle twist (1)

PotatoHead (12771) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249662)

The twist is the phone home only happens on unauthorized uses, and it does so by vetting both the license and the software instance running.

Compliant users, authorized to use, have nothing phoned home, ever. Non-compliant, unauthorized users do get the phone home, and it's been quite effective.

They get a letter stating the use, user name, place, time, number of instances and a lot of other stuff. That same letter lets them know they can buy a license and how to do so.

We've seen everything from a quick, "oh shit" and a license purchase, to raving mad letters demanding to know exactly how that info got out of their network! Hilarious actually.

Going forward, the only way to realistically pirate is to do it off line, in a VM.

Re:Actually this has a subtle twist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249830)

Are you 100% sure your software only rats out unauthorized users? I have yet to see a DRM mechanism that good where it has no false positives, ever.

If I had your software installed and found it phoning home with personal info, my company would have their lawyers having a nice discussion with a DA with jurisdiction in your local area about unauthorized use of computers, and the criminal charges those bring.

Ever hear about computer trespass charges? DAs love to find a target to press those. The real hackers escape them, but a business putting backdoors in software? The DA would gain a lot of good press, as the business would be painted as a busted criminal organization who was gathering info some enemy of the US (even though in reality that wouldn't be true.)

Not to mention the criminal aspect, there is the civil. Once it gets out to the public that your software dumps private info, the product will be dumped wholesale. The only people who would use it would be pirates who would have tossed the DRM mechanism, or aliased your phone home site to 127.0.0.1 in the /etc/hosts.

To sum up: Viewing all users as thieves is a poor business model. Better let the pirates do what they do best and focus on the paying customers than to treat everyone like a criminal, and deal with the blowback of those actions.

Solution (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248972)

Hats off to your insight, but here on /. not many have the same mind share.

In fact UK ought to do it for every country it colonized and sodomized. US should do the same for every country it invaded or has a military presence in, and for every African-American for making them slaves and for every Mexican for stealing their lands.

I don't understand why China should cause hardship to her citizens to comply with unfair and illegal policies of the West. Would US change its laws to comply with some Chinese customs or laws?

Re:Solution (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249390)

In fact UK ought to do it for every country it colonized and sodomized. US should do the same for every country it invaded or has a military presence in, and for every African-American for making them slaves and for every Mexican for stealing their lands.

Yeah, right. Then we get Arab countries to pay out to central Africans for slavery as well, and Hungarians will foot the bill for Atilla. And don't even get me started on Mongolia.

I don't understand why China should cause hardship to her citizens to comply with unfair and illegal policies of the West. Would US change its laws to comply with some Chinese customs or laws?

Why China has copyright laws similar to those of the West is a question to the Chinese. No-one exactly held the gun to their head when they signed the Berne convention

Re:Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249610)

Why China has copyright laws similar to those of the West is a question to the Chinese. No-one exactly held the gun to their head when they signed the Berne convention

It is also them who choose how (and if) they will enforce their laws. Give them 20 years and I'm sure they will enforce it.

Re:Solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249654)

In fact, since most slaves were captured and sold to traders by Africans, you could make a case that African governments - being the heirs of those who did the selling - should be paying reparations to African Americans.

And while we're at it, did the Americans ever pay for the British property they expropriated and/or destroyed during the Revolution? What do the Italians owe to Europe for the depredations of the Romans?

Come to think of it, the Africans owe all the rest of us. It was their pesky Cro-Magnons who destroyed the culture and stole the land of our great Neanderthal ancestors.

History is pretty tangled. Don't start pulling unless you're sure what's attached to where.

Re:Solution (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249780)

Hats off to your insight, but here on /. not many have the same mind share.

Bullshit. There's an endless supply of Citizens of the World who think someone else needs to pay for all the depravities they feel guilty about every time they drive down to Buffalo to dodge their taxes.

Re:Solution (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249134)

You mean the BSA will suddenly have great difficulties finding said amount of cash, and will scour all the beaches and 5 star hotels in the world in private jets in an attempt to find it.

entitlement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249428)

The Chinese thinks they're entitled to screw westerners over because how badly they got screwed over in the late 19th and early 20th century. It could be argued the general retarded approach to varies matters of the time by the Chinese government then assisted in getting themselves screwed, but the current mentality is that whatever is done to screw the westerners today is justifiable as reparation.

Double Dipping (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#37248944)

A lot of the time a pirate distributor will go and "sell" this software at deep discounts, pretending its the real deal.

Problem is that a few months later when the software company comes asking for money, the owners get pissed, because in their mind they've already paid. It looks like a shakedown when you've paid $100/license, and then are told, "Oh by the way, you owe us $5000/license."

Re:Double Dipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249244)

If things appear too good to be true, they usually are. I seriously doubt anyone that buys software that normally sells for $5k/seat for $100 believes they're getting the real deal.

Re:Double Dipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249626)

You clearly haven't been to China. It is very, very difficult in China to determine who is a spiv and who is legitimate. There are large franchises in China with ostensibly legitimate software on their shelves in professional looking stores with uniformed staff. Nobody knows the real value of anything in China because prices are frequently negotiated on the spot, and most Chinese businesses run only in China. So there's no way whatsoever for them to know without doubt that the software or even hardware they've bought is OEM or not.

Re:Double Dipping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249354)

Are you telling me that sites like oemsoftware gold.com with it's $11599.05 (srsly) discounts is a scam? WOW! TOO CRAZY! UNBELIEVABLE!

Re:Double Dipping (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250492)

> "It looks like a shakedown when you've paid $100/license, and then are told, "Oh by the way, you owe us $5000/license."
"Looks like a shakedown" and "Is a shakedown" are two different things, by the way. There is no "double dipping" (as your title suggests) when you didn't pay the right people in the first place.

Rubber Molds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37248958)

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Re:Rubber Molds (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250398)

...what? Have we finally gotten spambots actually tailored to Slashdot? (I don't know about you, but as a 6' 5" white guy I'm not all that into "cheap Ugg boots".)

What's next?

CHEAP Geiger Counters DISCOUNT beakers BEST QUALITY bread boards HIGH AMPERAGE lasers (sharks not included)

The best thing against piracy is: (2)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249042)

Reasonable prices and don't threat your customers like shit.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (3, Informative)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249170)

No, no it is not. Legitimate DVDs/software released are almost impossible to find in China, just because bootleg DVDs are selling for around sixty cents. The various sellers reduced the cost of them greatly for the Chinese market, for less than $5 (often with a few ads in front), but they're only available in the Potemkin downtown stores made to impress foreigners (every major Chinese city has a Potemkin downtown to impress foreigners).

Recently, even bootleg DVD sales have been hurting, because sixty cents for a disk is too much. People prefer free downloads. When quality DVDs are available on the street corner in front of your house for sixty cents, displayed in attractive packaging, and people still don't want to pay that much, obviously there isn't a mentality of paying for software because you "like" the company. There's a mentality that it would be stupid to waste the money when you can get a free version that's just as good.

By the way, these sixty cent DVDs are either straightforward copies of the legitimate DVD but with added subtitles, or maybe they'll contain a complete season of a TV show on just a few disks. Quality is great, and even street sellers will accept returns with no questions asked if there is a problem with it not playing or the quality is unacceptable for whatever reason.

Talk bad about MS and vista, but a great case study in how little software is actually bought is Windows Vista, which after a huge marketing campaign sold 244 copies. [newlaunches.com] Sure Vista sucked, but it was good enough that everybody still installed it. Linux and Mac are basically unused in China. Every single computer is running Windows.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (1)

pipelayerification (1707222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249558)

"Linux and Mac are basically unused in China. Every single computer is running Windows." That can't be true. I've read several posts lately about the amazing imitation Apple stores in China. Someone is running pirated Apple software on an imitation Apple computer somewhere near a fake Apple store in China.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249646)

I thought this was android on the bootleg iPhones.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249866)

Chinas govt also created a state owned liux distro that went on plenty of internet cafe computers.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249952)

Where the hell do you live? "Potemkin villages"? All the fake DVD and software shops were shut down a couple of years ago. Heck, all I can find is legitimate software these days. Please let me know this mythical city with the DVD market still there, I much desire to visit it.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250504)

HA HA HA HA HA

Get like 2 blocks off the main drag/subsidized foreign office building area/foreign tourist district, whitey. Even in rich districts that have a lot of foreigners (say, Jing'an Si Qu in Shanghai), you can't walk a block without seeing 2 or 3 people selling DVDs out of a cart or a DVD shop. Movies are a lot more common than software but software still isn't hard to find.

It is true that downloading is making it slightly less common, though. Still it's everywhere.

Re:The best thing against piracy is: (1)

mooglez (795643) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250374)

When quality DVDs are available on the street corner in front of your house for sixty cents, displayed in attractive packaging, and people still don't want to pay that much, obviously there isn't a mentality of paying for software because you "like" the company. There's a mentality that it would be stupid to waste the money when you can get a free version that's just as good.

By the way, these sixty cent DVDs are either straightforward copies of the legitimate DVD but with added subtitles, or maybe they'll contain a complete season of a TV show on just a few disks.

The main reason they are not selling is, that there is a superior product available (online download).

The ease of use of an online download is greater than storing and inserting a pirate DVD to a player, which again is greater than an official DVD with10 minutes of forced commercial before the remote controller can be used.

The sad thing here is, that the original product is worse than what the pirates are offering (both bootleg and online), and no matter how low the prices for the original product go, the sales cannot increase before the quality for the end user goes above the pirated product.

also make site licenses work better (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249614)

also make site licenses work better / easier to work out.

The windows \ CAL rules need to be better.

Other software has license servers.

Re:also make site licenses work better (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249868)

Even better, how about just getting rid of the concept of activation altogether in the VLK versions?

Businesses are not going to be pirating because the BSA will turn them into component quarks as soon as one disgruntled, laid off ex-employee sends an anonymous complaint.

The pirates will have defeated any protection mechanism altogether.

Why even bother antagonizing the enterprise in the first place, as this is the core customer of MS these days?

Re:also make site licenses work better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250572)

Certain software manufacturers have excellent licensing methods that simplify/minimise compliance activties immensely. Some of the big players such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle make it much harder to maintain compliance due to complex licence models and the inability to determine if their software is actually installed or used. Then you have Adobe and their requirement to track base licences, licence upgrades for up to 3 versions previous (but only used once), and maintenance that issues an upgrade for exisitng licences using new serial numbers, rather than migrating the licence to the newer version.

Unfortunately it will be many a long year before we can migrate away from proprietary software. Until then, well at least I'm employed...

Opportunity for linux? (1)

utkonos (2104836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249154)

Perhaps this could be an opportunity for linux or freebsd support companies to reach out to companies who pirate windows.

Re:Opportunity for linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250040)

Yeah, because "free as in speech" is really important in the PRC!

Totally unaware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249160)

"They can then use the data to reach out to those organizations, who might not be aware they are using unlicensed software."
LMAO Unaware my ass. It's a well known fact people in China don't respect copyright whatsoever. What makes these clowns thing they are going to convince them otherwise?

spyware (2)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249286)

The "data collecting" code isn't just collecting data from unlicensed users but licensed users as well. So in exchange for paying the license fee you get software that phone's home about how you use it. In other words your computer now works for them in addition to working for you.

A new approach... (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249292)

Has anybody tried promoting the rumor that Falun Gong sympathizers are particularly fond of pirated software, and that a substantial portion of the Dalai Lama's publicity slush fund is paid for by bootleg software sales?

Plus, allowing the price of a commodity to equal its marginal cost of production is absolutely textbook decadent capitalist behavior...

Rick Santorum head of the GNAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249400)

I have read that Rick Santorum [spreadingsantorum.com] is the head of the GNAA - is this true?

Advertise them to death! (1)

nanospook (521118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249422)

if they can track pirated copies, maybe they should just send out upgrades that start displaying advertisements so that they can generate revenues in a different fashion? Both parties are happy!

Colourful Summer (-1)

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A Story (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37249552)

I may know of a company has a strict policy of licenenced software, but one of their engineers may have used a 30day demo past 30days, and were sent a nastygram saying pay $30k as one of these 'report to home' features were in the software. Now had it been more reasonably priced, or been offered as a rental, they might have seen the use in buying a licence, but even hinting at guilt could open them up to litigation, thus they couldn't even start a negotiation to purchase the software because the risk of a $30k expense was too much for a micro business.

The arguments so far all suck. (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#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? (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37249840)

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

What about all that money that is printed by China (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250058)

Just have them print the money instead of the federal reserve, they already print fake money that is such a good forgery that it takes a mass spectrometer to determine if it is real or not so they can they can pay themselves off and we can save a bundle on printing costs, win-win!!!!!!!!

Someone pirating your software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250070)

Send deMarines

Ok, which is the totalitarian state again? (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#37250142)

Is getting confusing out, when only Americans get sent to the gulag for pissing the ruling elite off.

Thanks for your sharing. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37250510)

Thanks for your sharing. www.soapdispenser.com.cn www.tdlhygiene.com
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