[RC5] Re[4]: [rc5] Win32 GUI client is a trojan?

Eric Gindrup 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 
     and counter-arguments.
     
     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 
     distortion.
     
     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 
     SPA.
     
     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 
          equipment?
     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 
     will occur.
     
     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 
     reasoned introspection.
     
     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 
     civilization.
     
     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 
     populace.
     The trouble with pure democracy is not technical.  It is one of 
     execution.
     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 
     easily manipulated.
     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[2]: [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 
>this 
>     person's equipment?  Alternatively, mailto:piracy at spa.org or 
>     http://www.spa.org/piracy/report.htm
     
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 
strike first.
----
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