The on going fight against piracy
The Jolly Roger raised in an illustration for Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance.
Few years ago Microsoft silently released a Tool via ‘Automatic Updates’ to check and notify the Windows user about the genuineness of the Operating System, an attempt to fight against piracy. It indeed created a chaos for Windows Users and as a result, numerous patches were available to get rid of the nagging notification within no time. The surprising thing is that the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) Validation Tool is so poorly constructed or should I call it “lame” that any user can block and remove it with the help of tiny patching applications and even by manual efforts. I don’t know how many Windows users Microsoft has been able to scare enough and make them actually buy a original copy of Windows OS, it is indeed interesting to know the number.
I live in India and few weeks ago I was standing in a que to renew my railway pass. We have a TV screen installed on the top of the railway ticket counter. It wasn’t for entertainment purposes but was actually an ad slot. What caught my attention was unusual and shocking! The commercials were setup to play from a computer using Windows XP and which was pirated too! During one of the commercials, a WGA window popped in and stated that ‘the installed copy of Windows is illegal and the user should buy an legitimate one.’ (These are not the actual words but something that I perceived). This proved to me that Microsoft or any other company in its pursuit to fight against piracy is way too far from killing the root of it.
Lars Ulrich form Metallica
Piracy has become like a uncontrollable pandemic disease. Remember the shutting down of Napster? Lars Ulrich, a drummer from a heavy metal band – Metallica, filed a suit and brought down Napster, because one of their studio recordings they were working on was already available for free download on Napster P2P. But, what was the result? Thousands of fans protested against Metallica for their action and majority of them were users of Napster P2P. But, this did not scare the pirates at all and numerous other P2P sharing portals were established, soon after Napster was successfully shut down. Even the renowned P2P sharing portals like Demonoid and PirateBay have also “suffered and survived” form major law suits and recently, thirteen Hollywood production companies have filed a new lawsuit to try to get PirateBay.org shut down.
Practically, there is no end to the war and the best way to put an end to it is by doing what smart enemies would do. Teaming up and re-framing the strategies that they have been following. (Reminds me of the recent Microsoft-Yahoo deal) This is the smartest way to make things more productive for everyone. But, who knows what is brewing in the minds of the “big guys” ?
(Post updated as on 14th Aug, 2009)