[OT] Pirate software in Germany?

Andre Garzia andre at andregarzia.com
Sat May 21 18:01:46 EDT 2011

Pirated software is not theft, it is fraud. Those are different crimes.
Theft is when the object that is stolen is no longer available to the owner
or whoever was supposed to use it, fraud on the other hand is basically
failing to pay for something you should. So when all the RIAAs and the
software alliances say that pirating is stealing, they are all wrong.
Nothing is stollen but a lot of fraud is made. The fable about fraud is
this, if you are big enough and commit a lot of fraud, the government helps
you (aka check U.S.), now if you are smaller than a bank, and got caught
doing fraud (frauding?!?! we have this verb in portuguese), you are in deep

Your friend and his laptop full of fraud is not the same thing as a van with
stollen picassos. What this kid is exposing himself to is the danger of
being prosecuted where if he looses, he'll have to pay huge insane amounts
of money and in some really insane countries might see jail time or juvenile
correction camps. It is not worth to open yourself to face such dangers for
the oportunity to use Windows + Office. Going with a free solution is the
best thing because the risk/benefit ratio is wrong.

Now, as you may infer here, it appears that I am talking about that in some
cases, I believe that the risk/benefit of software piracy might be positive.
Well, I don't I think it is never a good position to be. Here in Brazil,
piracy is the normal thing to do. I am the only person I know that has ever
paid for software, really. Companies in Brazil will use this as a weapon
since they know that their competition is also using pirated software, they
will make anonymous calls to the federal police and then the police will
raid the company and apprehend all the computers for forensic analysis of
their content, they will take up to four months to return your machines (if
they return), in the meantime, you lost all chances to win any bid or
contract. The police requires no proof to take your computers, they will
simply pack them all, they don't care. Even if your company runs on linux,
they will still grab everything. Once, I've seen a company throw a machine
from the 24th floor not to allow the police to apprehend it. That machine
had pirated copies of 3D Max, they'd rather pay fine on vandalism and almost
hurting someone than pay the fine and licenses for 3D max (could reach half
a million).

In the end, Germany is not Brazil, and thanks God and the Gods, Germany is
way saner than the U.S. regarding software piracy. So, this kid may be
exposing himself unnecessarily to risks of prosecution and  a huge fine.
This should be enough to convince him to install linux, or at least pay for
his windows and office license.

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