Deconstructing Counterfeit Software Claims

Felix Salmon debunks recent claims of a $500 million seizure of counterfeit software, demonstrating why the claims are enormously overstated.

One Comment

  1. Crosbie Fitch says:

    Counterfeit vs Unauthorised, Perfect Cop
    Let’s also debunk some semantic abuse going on with respect to counterfeits and copies of digital works.

    A counterfeit is an often inferior product manufactured at lower cost (for profits at a very competitive price) designed to deceive the purchaser that it represents the product and manufacturer they are familiar with and expecting.

    When people purchase software, they care little whether the acetate disks will last 5 years or 50 years, as long as they are buying MS software made by MS.

    There are many people very happy to buy unauthorised copies of MS software, as long as they aren’t being deceived. Such copies are not counterfeits, but unauthorised copies. Being digital, the copy is perfect, interchangeable with the original and just as good.

    There’s a comparable issue concerning imitation Gucci bags or imitation Rolex watches, as opposed to counterfeit Gucci bags or Rolex watches. As long as the customer is being sold an imitation rather than a counterfeit, they are quite happy to make the purchase (paying according to their value).

    Imitations unavoidably infringe the original manufacturer’s trademark, but that doesn’t mean the imitation is a counterfeit.

    Unfortunately, because counterfeiting is plainly unethical, whereas copyright infringement is arguably not, the former term is extended as an umbrella term to include the latter – and thus help deceive the public that a greater crime is being committed than is actually the case.