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Sunday, 29 November, 2020

He Must Be Joking

Date: 15 August, 2006

By: Chief

Imageill Gates, Chairman of the Board of Microsoft Corporation, which just happens to be the largest, most powerful and wealthiest software company in the world also happens to be, according to Forbes magazine at least, the single wealthiest human being on the face of the planet. No news there. Well, watch out boys cause here it comes. This same Bill Gates, according to the Wall Street Journal and the Sydney Morning Herald watches pirated movies.

You must be joking, says y'all. Indeed, I most certainly am not. Though truth be told I rather wish I was.

Quoting the Sydney Morning Herald:

"On June 19, Bill Gates, Microsoft's founder and one of the key defenders of the old 20th-century style of software development (where private companies develop proprietary software for personal gain), admitted in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he watches pirated videos.

"When The Journal pointed out to Mr Gates that the material he was watching was stolen, Mr Gates said, 'Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for'."

I told you I wasn't joking. But he must be joking. Mustn't he? Well, I hate to break the news to you but it sure doesn't sound that way to me. Not when he is foaming at the mouth to reporters.

Let us have an example here to try and put this whole thing into a proper context. I'll even be the example. Now if I were to waltz into the local Hastings book and video store, grab a DVD movie, shove the thing into my pocket and then merrily waltz right back out the door without paying for the blasted thing, am I a thief? Did I steal something? Did I commit shoplifting? Did I commit a crime? Am I a criminal?

The people I know, including me, would answer each of those questions with an unqualified yes.

But Bill Gates can watch pirated or bootlegged video and, according to him, it is not theft.

So why can't Bill admit video piracy is theft? Because he is rich, powerful and shameless. That's why.

The man is personally worth multiple billions of dollars. Yet he stoops to theft. Oops, excuse me, Bill Gates doesn't steal. He merely views "copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for."

Have you ever heard such a line of crap in your life? Well me neither.

To begin with he cannot own something he stole. It is called being in possession of stolen (there is that nasty 's' word) property. Did you see the word ownership or owner anywhere? Neither did I. I do not care in the least if that stolen property is worth a gazillion dollars or worthless as a dog turd. The property is still stolen. Furthermore, a person cannot legally 'own' what he obtained through illicit means. And said possession can be — revoked at anytime by criminal or civil judgment.

Other than in the Wall Street Journal and the Sydney Morning Herald what major news organization reported this story? Did the Washington Post? Or the San Francisco Chronicle? How about the BBC? Or the Drudge Report? I read those and others every single day and I most certainly did not see anything about Bill Gates watching stolen — oops, there is that nasty word again — watching "copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for" kind of story. Interesting is it not?

On the other hand Microsoft (M$) has just sued 26 companies for purportedly selling pirated M$ software. According to Fox news:

"The world's largest software maker filed the lawsuits Friday in federal courts in Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina, New York and New Jersey. The lawsuits accuse the companies of selling illegal copies of its Windows operating system and Office business software.

"The lawsuits are the latest in Microsoft's increasingly aggressive steps to curb piracy of its two flagship products — and cash cows — Windows and Office."

Can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e? It is 'okay' for Bill Gates to do it but not for anyone else. I'd be willing to bet that Gates can't spell either hypocrite or ethics. Let alone morals.

Okay, being that Gates admitted to watching stolen — there I did it again — watching "copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for" to reporters of the Wall Street Journal why hasn't the FBI paid a visit to old Bill? After all copyright infringement is a federal crime and the FBI investigates copyright infringement cases. That is except when the person who is doing the stealing or infringing just so happens to be a very powerful man and also happens to be the wealthiest man in the world. So as far as the FBI is concerned — case closed. It is back to busting street walkers.

But where oh where is the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)? Why, pray tell, haven't they filed suit against Bill Gates for watching stolen — sheesh there I go again — watching "copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for?" The MPAA has sued other people for copyright infringement. To be sure the MPAA has sued far less powerful, influential and wealthy people. People like you and I. But they won't go after Gates. Why?


The MPAA needs Microsoft as much as Microsoft needs the MPAA. Revenue streams, in other words. Money does indeed make for strange bedfellows. Hence the MPAA is not going to upset that particular apple cart and I suspect Gates knows that all too well.

The real travesty is the ethical and moral issues. Not to mention honesty and trustworthiness. Hey if Bill Gates can steal — er — watch "copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for" why can't I? I can just hear some kid bringing that up to his or her parents at the supper table. Real good leadership Bill — you blithering moron. Crime does pay, just ask him.

Power and wealth breed arrogance and contempt for the law. And it appears that Gates has a terminal case of all four. It seems to me that people of that ilk tend to think and act as though they are above the law. Gates desperately needs to be knocked down several dozen pegs. To put it another way, he needs in the worst possible way to be given a severe attitude adjustment by a clue-by-four right upside his thick, thieving — oops — watching "copyrighted content that the owner hasn't paid for" head. Maybe then he will learn, but I am not going to hold my breath.

I shall not dispute that Gates is a very powerful man and the wealthiest, in terms of dollars and cents, man on the planet. At the same time I shall not dispute that ethically and morally Bill Gates is utterly, completely and irrevocably — bankrupt.

You cannot pass the hat to fix that kind of bankruptcy either.

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