Generation Software Struggle

Act Responsibly

Sub-Board I, Inc. confiscated all of Generation magazine's computer keyboards and mice Monday when its editors failed to remove a pirated copy of Quark Xpress, a publishing program, from their computers. Generation was asked to remove Quark in August, but because such software is necessary to produce their publication they never complied. Both SBI and Generation could have dealt with the magazine's lack of necessary equipment more effectively.

First, and most obviously, Generation should not have pirated the software. Software piracy carries heavy financial penalties for those who are caught. A fine for copyright infringement can run in the thousands of dollars. Additionally, paying for software ensures it will be available, and hopefully improved, in the future.

Generation could have purchased Quark. While it is an expensive item, retailing for $869 in some places, a single purchase will serve its purpose for many years. Additionally, Generation's fiscal ability to purchase such an item is more than demonstrated by their current plans to buy not one, but a lab pack of eight copies.

The magazine is a division of SBI, which approves all their purchases. When SBI discovered that Generation was being produced with stolen software, they should have immediately taken steps to ensure the magazine obtained a valid copy, whether purchased using its own funds or SBI's.

It could be argued that purchasing production equipment such as Quark is the magazine's responsibility, and that not having done so demonstrates financial irresponsibility on the part of its editors. If that were indeed the case, SBI could simply have assumed control of the magazine's finances and ensured they were allocated correctly instead of issuing an ultimatum. Confiscating keyboards and mice simply creates more problems and hardly begins to work toward a solution - in fact, it does the exact opposite.

It is truly shocking that SBI would fail to provide one of its departments with the most basic, necessary equipment and then disable their operation for using tools that are not their own. Since software such as Quark is necessary to produce any publication and SBI is responsible for providing its departments with the necessary equipment, SBI should have purchased the software months ago when it first discovered Generation did not own the copy of Quark it was using.