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18. Software "Piracy": Abuse of a Word

Thomas Bushnell, n/BSG wrote the following interesting commentary that suggests that terming illegal copying of software as "piracy" is an attempt to demonize the activity:

The word "piracy" refers to seizing ships on the high seas, where normal social mechanisms of common defense are unavailable, and killing or kidnapping the sailors on board, and then stealing the ships and the goods they carry.

Piracy is an act a fair bit worse than robbing banks - more is stolen and many more people die.

Incurring civil penalties for copying software is nowhere near as bad as all that, and using the word "piracy" attempts to stir people up into a frenzy of horror.

This, I think, is a bad thing to do. -- tb@mit.edu

" Piracy" is also considered legally related to the slave trade, as it commonly includes seizing passengers and selling them as slaves.

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