Media fail to accurately report IT matters

I was reading an online paper today (GVA, in Dutch). I immediately noticed an article titled "Windows Vista cannot be cracked" (translation of "Windows Vista niet te kraken").

I opened the article, and not only does it not cover the topic at hand (the security of the OS), but it fails several accuracy checks, giving the general public a false idea about what is going on.

The article deals with MS new plan to put piracy controls in Vista that will disable (or at least severly cripple) systems that are detected as illegal. It makes no mention off course about the security of the OS.

The article reports fairly accurate that illegal copies will not be functional any more after 30 days pass since installation. It goes on to say that after that period only surfing is still possible. Though a small one, that is the first inaccuracy. After 30 days, you can still surf, but not all the time (random shut-outs ).

Now, the real problem is in the last sentence. It claims that illegal copying cost the industry an estimated 36.5 billion euro.

What they fail to make clear is that this number is an estimate of said industry itself, not the result of an independent evaluation.

The industry has an agenda in cranking up this kinds of numbers as high as possible to use them to push for tougher piracy laws and the likes. It also comes from counting every single pirated copy as a lost sale, meaning that they think that every single copy would have been sold if pirating was not possible.

That is off course not the case as buying full copies is not possible for some and for a lot of others, not worth the money.

Sure, it makes sense to replace windows 2000 with XP at zero cost, but would everyone do it if they had to put up the retail price? Would they still want to buy Windows XP at full retail price if they could have Linux for free? Right now, the last question is tricky, because in fact for most end-users, Windows is as free in monetary terms as Linux is.

But my main point is that the paper should have made it clear that this figure was an estimate by the industry itself, not serve it up as a fact.

Link to the article (in Dutch).

Written by Guy Van Sanden
Licensed under a creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.