Last Friday I received a letter from the Philippine National Police, straight from its headquarters, in behalf of the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team, of which it is a member.
In effect, the letter warned me about using unlicensed software and the consequences of such, and to "conduct all necessary software license checks in order to determine if the allegation (that I’m using unlicensed software) holds true or not."
A few minutes later I received a phone call from the local PNP advising me that a random visit may come and for me to ready all my licenses. I told the person that I had no problem with that because my OS is Linux. The person said a quick, "sorry," and promptly hang up.
Sounds more like harrassment, doesn’t it? I don’t know how many business owners got similar letters, but I have an inkling that this operation was instigated more by Microsoft than anyone else. They’re the ones who are gung-ho about piracy.
I’m not advocating piracy, of course, but the anti-piracy authorities should go after the peddlers and not the alleged users. I used to have a licensed Windows XP and other MS products, but I couldn’t find my CD’s nor the licenses that came with it (I moved house twice last year).
Suppose I was still using Microsoft and the anti-piracy cops paid a visit to my office. It would have been a hassle just to prove I had the license. If I couldn’t prove it, or if the cops seriously doubted me, what would happen? Would they require me to delete all my copies?
Even if proving I had a license was quick, I wouldn’t want some cop poring over my business files and other private documents in the guise of checking on licensed software.
So, I have another reason to be glad that I switched to Linux/Ubuntu. It may be free but I OWN the software and can do anything with it. If you think you own Microsoft products when you buy them, you’re deluding yourself. You merely own the license. Microsoft can still dictate what you can or can’t do with its software, and add on or not add on to its product.
If someone can tell you what products you should only use and therefore buy, this certainly limits your options doesn’t it? And it certainly makes only a few richer.
It makes you think: Who then is able to fund these anti-piracy operations and who benefits most?