The history of this blog post is kinda unusual. The thing is that since last Summer I “ve been recording and publishing audio podcasts in Russian (I ‘m known there under the nickname budam ). I talk about anything in everything there ndash; from “How to look for a job rdquo; to “What happened to me last week rdquo;.
Last week, my older son came over and they had a band practice in the basement. The name of his band is The Diplomat. I put a mike in the middle of the basement, recorded several of their songs and published the recording as a podcast. I also provided a link to their myspace page where people could listened to his songs for free or purchase tracks or CD if interested.
People left positive feedback, but one of the listeners posted a comment asking people how to download the songs for free. I responded, “My advice may sound obnoxious in the society where everything goes for free, but let me share a secret method with you: just pay 89 cents per song and enjoy them! rdquo;
The guy answered, “Given my financial status and overall crisis, I consider this offer inhuman )). Can someone offer an alternative way of getting the songs for free? rdquo;
I “d cut this discussion short as changing the approach to intellectual property in Russia is not realistic. But coincidentally, I got an email from a home schooling teacher (sounded like an American), asking my permission to make several copies of my book “Java Programming for Kids rdquo;, which is available for free download on the Internet.
I was impressed that this lady decided to ask for my permission even though she could “ve just made as many copies as needed and I “d never knew about it. Yes, I put a notice in this e-book asking to get in touch with me someone wants multiple copies hellip;
To me, these two approaches to intellectual property seemed so orthogonal, that I recorded another podcast called “Having Intellectual Property is Inhuman rdquo;. Here “s the link for those who understand Russian language: http://budam.rpod.ru/106053.html .
In that podcast I stated that trying to get music for free could be qualified as stealing and explained myself as a person who has been on both sided of the fence – in the end of 80th I lived in Ukraine and was illegally modifying binaries of such programs as Norton Commander and SuperCalc translating them into Russian (the source code of these programs was not available). Back then, it was normal and encouraged behavior in the USSR that was mass producing knock offs of the DEC PDP-11 series and other computers without even mentioning their original creators. A Bulgarian firm would translate all documentation removing any mentioning of original authors.
I also told the listeners a 3-year old story of my conversation with an American colleague who rejected using his wife “s copy of Microsoft Excel because she being a teacher, bought it at academic price and he wanted to have his own legal version of this software hellip;
I told about the feelings of the author producing a piece of software based my experience with the first self-published book that, initially, no one would want to purchase and boxes of these books were just sitting in the basement hellip;When you put a piece of your soul and endless evenings working on a book, and then a guy just casually asks me, “I don “t give a fuck about all your efforts. Just tell me how can I steal it from you? Tell what “s the best way of getting it for free hellip; rdquo; This was main message in that podctsts that generated lots of new comments, and here “s the one that gave the title for this blog.
Here “s the summary of rather long comment of the listener from Russia that ‘s known by the nick Meowt (if you want detailed translation, just use Google.com/translate):
“I have a criminal record. I got four years of probation for rejecting to use illegal copies of software. I was hired as an IT manager and started with the offer to replace all illegal development tools with the licensed copies. Negotiation went for a month, the company management didn “t want to do it.
Then, I simply erased all illegal software and notified the company management about it. I also said that neither myself not my team would use illegal software until the management asked me in writing to do so. I also promised that I “d make sure that lots of people would know about it.
As the result, I was charged with exceeding the limits of authority, hooliganism that caused damages to the firm in the amount of 800K rubles hellip;ans sentenced to 4 years. rdquo;
Of course, this person overreacted and did the wrong thing by erasing the software that didn “t belong to him, but at least he tried to fight hellip;
I thought his story deserves your attention, hence this rather long blog entry.