[RC5] Re: [rc5] Win32 GUI client is a trojan?
gindrup at okway.okstate.edu
Sun Nov 16 16:46:10 EST 1997
Meanwhile, despite two and a half days of drifting on this topic. The
*original* post was counter to me. I've noticed an ominous drift
toward political speech on this topic and I would speak against
holding that forum in this forum.
There have been arguments about how much piracy hurts the developers
These two topics go (sort of) together. If you accept Capitalism, you
have to accept contract enforcement which means that you have to
censure and restrict actions contrary to contract. Theft of software
is strictly a violation of contract and therefore a (tangential)
attack on pure Capitalism.
No. I don't suffer from the delusion that pure Capitalism is
procticed anywhere, including the classic counter-examples which I can
shoot down without too much trouble.
However, despite all this, the original attack against me has been
distorted. I find this amusing because the original attack was a
The post to which I responded said, in part:
Oh come on, Software Police? what are you talking about?
You and I both know you are talking out of your ass.
My post was merely a refutation to the idea that there are no software
police. I called no one. I intended to call no one. I have better
things to do than to police illegal activities by others. This is why
I indirectly through taxes support several organizations to do this
prosecuting for me. If there weren't so many violators, however, I
wouldn't have to support so heavily.
I am a programmer. I've never met a programmer that had a Porsche.
There've been a few examples mentioned. All of these examples are
exceptional. This is similar to the old pipe dream of coming to
America and making it big. A few did. You heard about them. The
millions who came and starved didn't get as many inches on the
propaganda rags and waves.
Most programers are not paid anywhere near the value of the product
they produce. Do you think the programmers who developed Windows 95
got a significant cut of the several billion in (gross) income that
product provided to Microsoft? They did not. If they had been
shareware programmers, they would have. But shareware programmers
have very short productive lives because too many people pirate their
software so that can't support themselves on it.
I know dozens of ex-shareware programmers for each successful
shareware programmer I know. And, predominantly, the distinguishing
factor is the degree of piracy each of them faced when starting up.
So, I oppose software piracy. I oppose it on several grounds:
personal benefit, social benefit, moral, and efficient.
I have heard the arguments in favor of piracy. I don't pirate. I own
every piece of software I install personally. My employer owns every
piece of software I install as an employee. I ensure this. It would
be unprofessional and illegal for me to not do so. I also am a
programmer. I will, as long as I have bills to pay, work to prevent
the piracy of the labor of *any* programmer.
Others will claim that after the program is written once, the
programmer has gotten everything the programmer deserves from the
product. This is an illusion. The illusion derives from the
assumption that intellectual goods are interchangeable with hard
goods. If I build a hard good and give it to you, you wil have to
employ someone semi-skilled to produce a copy of my work. So,
*someone* derives benefit from the duplication of my work. If I
produce intellectual property, you can duplicate it without cost.
This means that you can derive unbounded utility from the purchase of
my intellectual property, but only bounded utility from the purchase
of my hard goods.
This is the root of the problem. There is a way to keep people from
making pirated copies of, say, cars. Build it out of real stuff. The
cost of duplication is usually so high that it is cheaper for them to
buy a duplicate from the manufacturer. Software piracy adequately
demonstrates that the cost of duplicating software is not sufficiently
high to result in similar action on the part of the consumers.
So, the only way to make the comparison between hard and ntellectual
goods work is to assume that the illegal duplication of software is
identical to the illegal theft of hard property. Illegally copying
software is the same as stealing a car from a dealer's lot (since no
consumer is being inconvenienced, only the producers of the goods).
What is the result of this theft? Small dealers go out of business
frequently, because they can't absorb the losses. This is what we see
in the shareware business. One has to have an exceptional series of
lucky breaks with very little piracy to succeed. This is one of the
reasons that most shareware groups loudly and actively support the
It'd be great if there were more shareware. However, the developers
have to live in a pseudo-capitalist environment. Therefore, if piracy
leads them to not be able to survive, then they will do something
else. Piracy directly counteracts the force that it intends. Piracy
is in favor of cheaper, good software. Piracy drives the actual
makers of cheap, good software out of business. Piracy is
self-defeating or from another point of view, self-fulfilling.
Software will always be overpriced as long as piracy makes the entry
opportunity cost of software development higher.
Nonetheless. None of this addresses your actual point. I called no
one. I sent e-Mail to no one. I directly indicated that the poster
was talking out of *his* ass by denying that there are no software
police. Careful reading of my post will show that I said:
Anybody want to call up and have the DOJ seize this person's
This does not indicate that I have taken any action other than posting
information about how someone can report piracy.
According to the value system you have espoused in your reply, if I
choose to report this person's piracy, it is none of *your* business.
You say, "It's *none* of your business. EVER. Period." Let me remind
you that this opinion is a two-edged sword. You hold that his piracy
is none of my business. Similarly, my reporting it would be neither
yours nor his.
Further, I don't see that you have adequate information to claim that
his piracy is not affecting me. Can you guarantee that this poster is
not one of the users I support? Can you guarantee that as a result
*I* will not be prosecuted as a result of "permitting" his piracy?
Stupider things have been done in this country and yet stupider things
I read your message and I see that you don't practice what you throw
at me and that you have not verified that your opinions are
supportable. And, while I would never speak against a person's right
to hold an opinion, I will certainly take some small pleasure in
popping your self-righteous bubble.
I will further point out that this nihilistic attitude has led to a
certain decline in the safety of living in America. It used to be the
case that you could rely on your neighbors to sort of keep an eye out
for improper of illegal activities. Now, most people don't even know
the people who live next door, much less the people across the street.
Your attitude is a direct result of advanced industrialization and
advanced city building. It is not a direct result of rational and
One poster claimed that most people grow up to become citizens. This
is usually true. The steps are usually associated with periods of
introspection and moral searching. This goes in hand with the desire
to have fewer things to worry about. Another poster pointed out that
civilization is a tool for individuals to increase their efficacy.
This is true. However, the balkanized approach that you propone
immediately undermines that effectiveness of this tool, since now I
can no longer rely on others to uphold their roles in the
Another poster said that we should have everything come before the
people as a vote. This is absurd. The principals of late second
millenium democract were base in part on the "enlightened self
interest" of Locke. Most people aren't enlightened enough to know
that they have a well defined self interest much less the abillity of
facility to express it, even through a vote. The ideas of pure
democracy are usually espoused by above average people when they are
with other above average people. These opinions tend to dry up when
they are subjected to a representative cross section of the total
The trouble with pure democracy is not technical. It is one of
First, it has been adequately demonstrated that drastic changes in
social organizations are considerably less efficacious than gradual
changes. Gradual changes allow decision makers to plan and prepare.
Sudden changes only result in chaos and inefficiency. Suppose the
"Prime Lending Rate" were an entirely random value chosen every random
number of days? The economy would suffer because financial decision
makers would be unable to plan for these changes or be able to suffer
the consequences of erroneous planning.
Second, one has to bring the "enlightment" to all of the voters. It
will not work to have a population of completely disinterested,
unaffected people voting on an issue. I can't see how regulation of
the legal system can possibly be intelligently be voted upon by the
entire populace. Either one would have to inform the entire populace
to the point that each member could cast a vote in their enlightened
self interest, or reduce the number of voters to only those who are
qualified to have an opinion on the issue. Any other method allows
the *random* masses to be swayed by entirely irrelevant concerns an
propaganda and will result in the choice of the option with the best
press, not the option that results in the greates benefit as perceived
by the majority portion of the voting population. The Greeks also
knew this. The Founding Fathers (of the US) knew this. This is one
of the reasons that Justices of the Supreme Court can't be fired.
Temporary passions and incorrect propaganda would make the Court too
Finally, since total education of the population is not possible, one
would have to develop a system of partial enfranchisement -- a method
where only those people qualified to vote on an issue actually do so.
The Republic's representative method actually achieves this last in
some degree. However, it fails miserably in the first two.
Libertarianism has value as a utopian goal. However, there is no
visible path from where we are to there that will actually work.
Note also that Libertarianism does not state that all goods are
equally susceptible to theft; much as this poster claims.
I honestly feel that this issue is misplaced on the rc5 mailing list.
I feel that the details of which programmers have Porsches and which
do not is not an issue of distributed computing. I feel that the
details of the social contract and its enforcement have nothing (yet)
to do with distributed computing (although I can see how, possibly,
something could be made out of it). I don't see how talk about
software piracy is currently an issue for rc5. Perhaps, when the v3
spec is out, the necessity of eliminating piracy will become an issue.
It is not one yet.
The amount of useless traffic that my original post generated bothers
me somewhat, but not nearly as much as the vigor and abandon with
which some of the posters have contributed. I don't find piracy,
Porsches, or government theory to be such divisive issues. The first
is illegal, the second is rare, and the third is generally
inapplicable in the real world. I don't think that anyone will be
able to refute those statements meaningfully.
If you have anything to add about this, e-Mail it to me. If you have
some way to tie this into rc5, then do so. In any event, there is
very little need to duplicate this entire message in your post.
-- Eric Gindrup ! gindrup at Okway.okstate.edu
______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Re: [rc5] Win32 GUI client is a trojan?
Author: <rc5 at llamas.net > at SMTP
Date: 1997/11/11 19:36
> 1-800-388-7478. Anybody want to call up and have the DOJ seize
> person's equipment? Alternatively, mailto:piracy at spa.org or
His piracy is none of your business. I will not try to rationalize that.
It's *none* of your business. EVER. Period.
However, it is irresponsible to use pirated software at work, but Eric,
his irresponsibility does not affect you. Leave him alone, let him learn
from the mistake he makes if he's caught. Don't be an asshole and stick
your nose into his business. Personally, it makes me sick to see you try
to be like the 1984 "Spies". MYOB. Don't attack others unless they
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