Monday, July 21, 2008

Pirates at the Economist

It looks like the mainstream media might finally be catching on to the benefits of piracy – the Economist has an article this week called "Piracy: Look for the silver lining" in which they document the ways that owners of intellectual "property" are embracing piracy rather than attempting to litigate it out of existence. Though they skimp on some of the more interesting forms of piracy – namely music and video piracy – they quote Bill Gates as saying that piracy helps Microsoft compete against open source software in the developing world. I remember when I was in Romania Gates came to speak to Microsoft's Romanian employees (apparently the biggest nationality in Redmond aside from Americans), and Romania's president said that "[we] built our country on pirated Windows." Gates apparently looked a little uncomfortable after the comment, so I doubt his comfort with piracy is quite as strong as the Economist would make it seem, but nevertheless, still interesting. It's just a shame that pirates have to rely on the good will of content creators to see the benefit in relinquishing their intellectual property rights.

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