Thanks for the Numbers

maddog's Doghouse

Article from Issue 217/2018
Author(s):

Published rates of "pirated" software give an indication of how much most countries lose by investing in proprietary licensing.

As a believer in education, free software, and the principle that a nation should produce as much as possible of what it needs, I read a story this week that broke my heart.

Cândido Mendes University in Rio de Janeiro may have to sell its seven-floor headquarters building (which contains a cinema and theater) to pay off the fines and court costs of R$4.3 million Brazilian real (a little more than one million US dollars) for using a "pirated" copy of Microsoft Windows. The building is valued at R$128 million (about $31.7 million), but it had no buyers in the first round of auctions.

This was an interesting case, because I would imagine a company like Microsoft would not directly sue a university over licensing issues, and particularly for a settlement that was so large. Normally Microsoft and other closed-source proprietary software companies use the Business Software Alliance (BSA) [1]. This should not be confused with the other BSA, the "Boy Scouts of America", a lthough if this BSA comes after you, you should "be prepared" for the worst.

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