Anti-piracy Cops Wanted to Visit Me

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?

4 thoughts on “Anti-piracy Cops Wanted to Visit Me

  1. William Burns

    Personally, I dual boot between Ubuntu and Vista. If it weren’t for a need to use windows specific programs, I would have switched completely to Ubuntu by now without hesitation. When a Linux comparable version of Dreamweaver emerges, I may indeed switch completely.

    Until then, dual booting is the solution for me. As for the anti-piracy cops, there would be no way in hell I would allow them to randomly show up and inventory what I have. That’s just a complete violation of personal liberties – like warrant less search and seizure.

    I do, however, find that simply mentioning Linux as your main OS scared the bejesus out of them and had them hang up.

  2. DFMapa Post author

    William, you’re right about personal liberties. Actually they wouldn’t have been able to set foot inside my office without a warrant. But it would have been fun to see their faces when they realize I have an OS other than Windows.

  3. KevMaverick

    Yet another reason to switch to Linux, as if anyone needed a reason!

    Personally, I would have welcomed them, no, encouraged them to visit me and inspect my computers. I have three – two running Ubuntu, and one which I have set up as a dual boot system running Ubuntu, and a fully licensed, legal version of XP, which is purely for Photoshop use.

    I would have enjoyed the whole thing, and would have offered them tea and cakes as a consolation for not finding anything remotely incriminating.

    Or there’s another scenario…

    Do the MicroCops see Linux as an illegal infringement of their copyright laws? Xp/Vista has a mouse cursor – so does Linux! XP/Vista has menus – so does Linux! XP/Vista can play CD/DVD/Video/music? So can Linux – should we be worried?


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