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Flaws In a BSA Software Piracy Report?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the everyone-has-an-agenda dept.

Software 288

Ian Lamont writes "The Business Software Alliance has just released its state piracy study (full PDF also available). The BSA says that one in five pieces of software in use in the United States is unlicensed, and notes that piracy rates are highest in Ohio (27%). However, as noted by the Industry Standard, there are problems with the state study, and the way the BSA is presenting the data: the study only includes eight states, and it is making some questionable connections, including the claim that lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to 'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'"

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Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (0, Flamebait)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245571)

Well, they're not as bad as the RIAA, but they certainly don't support customer interests.

The only use I've ever had for the business software alliance is to report a bad employer to them, and get 'paid' for the tip.

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245673)

Not as bad as the RIAA?

Does the RIAA have jack booted thugs that can walk into your office with body armor and machine guns? Do they fine you millions of dollars if you can not produce the receipt for every version of software ever purchased or installed on a machine? Etc.

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (2, Interesting)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245753)

Jack booted thugs with body armor and machine guns? I would seriously doubt that. If they did, I would love to report myself with a false tip and have them walk face-first into a claymore.

Welcome to Florida, where I can lawfully defend my home and private business with lethal force!

Realize this is software used by BUSINESS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245989)

Piracy among home users is much higher. Proof? Look at yourself !! you thieving leach !!

Re:Realize this is software used by BUSINESS (3, Funny)

TheRudle (1029188) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246075)

I don't have a home, you insentive clod!

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245691)

I think it's time for the Boy Scouts of America to file suit and get their acronym back.

Hey, the World Wide Fund for Nature [wikipedia.org] did it...

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (3, Interesting)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246295)

I think it's time for the Boy Scouts of America to file suit and get their acronym back.

Yeah, right. You think they want to piss off the BSA? They'll be back to cutting notches in sticks to calculate their finances instead of using software. The BSA can find issues with anyone's accounting of their licenses.

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245819)

How can you criticize them if you are complicit in their actions?

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (1)

Joeyspecial (740731) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245905)

Did you really get paid?

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246203)

They are equally bad as the RIAA. Not sure how they operate in the US, but here in Belgium and the Netherlands, they don't have the best reputation. If they "suspect" piracy, they'll come knocking on your door and demand to have access to all computer-systems (though in some cases, they do announce their visit one or two weeks in advance). Everyone is ordered to move away from any computer system and they'll start snooping around while you dig up all license information. People not working costs money, but then again, it is not the BSA's money.

What's worse is that if you are not able to find all proper licenses in time, you have two options. Let the BSA confiscate your equipment and go to trial, or sign a settlement. Most business will do the latter. In Belgium, a Printing Shop recently won a case against the BSA which had opted to do the latter (sign the settlement, for 60.000,-, which was cheaper than losing their workstations for an unspecified time) because they were unable to locate all licenses in time (visit wasn't announced). But when did locate all the licenses and asked the BSA their money back, the BSA refused to undo the settlement. In the end the Printing Shop got back their money though the courts, 60.000,00 plus interest plus expenses, but AFAIK, cases like this show that the BSA is nothing more than another money grabbing machine.

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (2, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246287)

This is one major reason to buy retail and not a corporate license.

The only thing that allows them to do this is your consent to inspection.

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (1)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246467)

That cannot be legal. Sounds more like the Mafia tbh. Who or what gives the BSA legal power to do any of that?

Re:Flaw? With the BSA? What a surprise... (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246501)

This sounds like a case for Detective John Kimball. Hope you leave enough room for his fist because he's going to ram it into your stomach.

I doubt there are flaws (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245587)

because the bsa has really nothing to gain by providing numbers that don't accurately reflect the true situation with regards to the use of unlicensed software.

Re:I doubt there are flaws (4, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245649)

I had been under the impression that the BSA data was faulty due to their business plan rather than anything else. No car salesman is ever going to tell you the transmission is about to crap out. Of course this car is a great deal!

The BS Alliance has a history of some shady tactics, many worthy of SCO fame. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=bsa+complaint+software&btnG=Search [google.com] gets about 133,000 hits. That usually means there are plenty of people in the world ready to tell you they are unhappy about the BSA.

Yep, no flaws in that data. It's showing you exactly what they want you to see.

Re:I doubt there are flaws (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246087)

The BS Alliance has a history of some shady tactics, many worthy of SCO fame. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=bsa+complaint+software&btnG=Search [google.com] gets about 133,000 hits. That usually means there are plenty of people in the world ready to tell you they are unhappy about the BSA.

Bad search terms. Did you look through the results? Even the top few?

Most of those results are references to the BSA lodging a complaint against an infringer, not the other way around.

This doesn't mean your point isn't valid... but it does mean that you need some better evidence.

Re:I doubt there are flaws (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245879)

The flaw is the in the definition. Buy a new computer move your programs. Leave the old ones on even if they are not used = Piracy. Have the wrong Disk, Box, license, receipt = Piracy. Have 1 copy of MS Office = Piracy * 5; one for each program.
The companies supporting BSA should have a uniform proof of ownership rule. And and easy way to move the license to a new machine. But that would cost THEM Money.

I just can't imagine how they figured this out (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245591)

"Do you pirate software?"
"Yes."
"Okay, thanks. Have a good night."

Re:I just can't imagine how they figured this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245693)

They wouldn't say "Yes." They'd say "Aye, matey"

Re:I just can't imagine how they figured this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245839)

Aye, ne'er will words be spoken tru'arrr

Re:I just can't imagine how they figured this out (4, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246033)

"Do you pirate software?"
"No."
"Well obviously a filthy pirate like you would lie about it, I'll put you down as a 'Yes'."

Re:I just can't imagine how they figured this out (2, Insightful)

bluesk1d (982728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246169)

Yeah this is the same flawed logic the RIAA uses. They make the assumption that you would have bought Photoshop, had you not pirated it. Therefore, any pirated program is a loss of revenue in a 1:1 ratio. That simply ISN'T the case. About 11tybillion people downloaded applications that they never would have paid for in the first place. Actual revenue losses are much less than 1:1.

Re:I just can't imagine how they figured this out (1)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246693)

Of course. I'm not going to pay $600 for a piece of software, but I'll most definitely pirate it. Piracy is the new scapegoat. Used to be physical theft, now it's unauthorized copying. What's next, masturbating?

Re:I just can't imagine how they figured this out (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246701)

The BSA does not make this assumption. Many people make the ASSUMPTION that they make this assumption, but that's not the same thing.

When the BSA does their calculations, they use indices based on the percentage of pirated software that their studies tell them truly represents a lost sale (and -- again -- they don't use 100% for this figure). Of course, this index isn't something that they like to talk about publicly, as it lends credence to the fact that not every pirated copy is a lost sale. But they're smart enough to understand that it's not 1:1.

How they managed to find law-abiding businesses... (1)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246507)

BSA: "Do you pirate software?" Pointy-haired Boss: "I'm not sure we even own any ships." BSA: "Have a nice day."

As a Buckeye all I can say is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246667)

We're number one! We're number one! Woooo!

hmm (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245593)

'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'

By definition, won't most experienced police officers already have jobs? Say, as police officers?

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245717)

You're forgetting about gritty ex-cops who retired in protest of the widespread corruption in the system, only to take up the badge again one last time when duty called, because they're the best damn cop the state has seen and the only man alive who can get the job done. There are a lot of those.

Re:hmm (5, Funny)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245945)

Guys like that are loose cannons. I won't have people like that on my force! Except, I must admit, they get results. Otherwise, I'd have their badges so fast, it would make their heads spin!

Re:hmm (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246001)

[insert Chuck Norris joke here]

Re:hmm (4, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246271)

Hey man, don't get so worked up! Remember how close you are to retiring!

A-Team (1)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246223)

Heck, even the A-team could be in a valid paying job.

Re:hmm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245757)

I guess they forgot to use additional experienced. What is more important they missed to report is how many more additional experienced police officers a state could hire if they replaced MS software with FOSS. I bet it would be enough for every one in the state to be hired as and officer.

Re:hmm (1)

neo8750 (566137) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246437)

This point is a good one but at same time you have to consider that if they did that they would have to spend the money the saved on teaching officer bob or desk clerk sally how to use/fix the software. That is at least what the microsoft sales man told me...

Re:hmm (1)

i_liek_turtles (1110703) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245903)

Never mind the fact that this money would likely be utilized in other ways, where the state would still be able to collect revenue.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245919)

'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'

By definition, won't most experienced police officers already have jobs? Say, as police officers?

And how would they raise taxes from something that a pirate would not buy? How do they draw a conclusion that, if forced to choose, a pirate would PAY for the software instead of not use it?

Thats ridiculous. Purely ridiculous.

The reasons a pirate doesn't pay for software can be various, but I can assure you that only a small portion of pirates would actually pay/buy the software if forced to choose. They would instead not use it.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245991)

Which is the major flaw in any of these "studies." They all gloss over it and throw out insanely inflated numbers. Just like the MAFIAAs did a while back where they computed the loss from piracy was greater than the GDP of France.

Re:hmm (1)

lordofwhee (1187719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246707)

...France HAS a GDP?

Re:hmm (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246017)

Perhaps we need a better unit of measure. How about "make ___ photocopies of the library of congress". It somehow seems appropriate.

Re:hmm (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246055)

You're missing the point. Read between the lines: when the BSA says

"...hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers. "

They mean

" Larger 'donations' for politicians. "

Sadly my cousin died while being a pirate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245601)

Please pray for his speedy recovery.

Re:Sadly my cousin died while being a pirate (1)

gooseupfront (1120847) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246061)

How does a dead person recover?

Re:Sadly my cousin died while being a pirate (1)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246595)

Emphasis mine

CART MASTER: [clang] Bring out your dead!
CUSTOMER: Here's one.
CART MASTER: Ninepence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CART MASTER: What?
CUSTOMER: Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CART MASTER: 'Ere. He says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not!
CART MASTER: He isn't?
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
CART MASTER: Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go on the cart!
CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
CART MASTER: I can't take him.
DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
CUSTOMER: Well, do us a favour.
CART MASTER: I can't.
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
CART MASTER: No, I've got to go to the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
CUSTOMER: Well, when's your next round?
CART MASTER: Thursday.
DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.
CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: [singing] I feel happy. I feel happy. [whop]
CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
CART MASTER: Not at all. See you on Thursday.

Tax revenue? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245611)

So, according to the BSA, when you don't buy software, you put the cash you didn't spend under your mattress so the city doesn't get any tax revenue from it (past income taxes, I assume).

Man, I'd better check under my mattress when I get home! I might just be RICH!

Re:Tax revenue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245859)

the only thing under my mattress are dirty magazines :D

Re:Tax revenue? (4, Insightful)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246069)

Now I did quick mental check of the non-licensed software and must say that i can only think of three products. I could do without it, I am hardly using it. The other hundereds of software are validly licensed and not paid for in dollars and cents.

Regarding the economic principles, money can only be spent once. If people are not spending their money on software, they are spending it on food, clothes, ipods etc. Which would produce tax income for the states.

Unless everyone who does not pay for some software product puts the equivalent in the bank, the assumption that it would generate heaps of additional cash for the states is simply False. Check the current balance on the average persons credit card.

So this person(s) who produced this report have tunnel vision, have different interests or are copying the things they see daily on tv (political tunnel vision).

Re:Tax revenue? (1)

lapagecp (914156) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246139)

Its really worse than that. Of course all of my software is licensed but lets say that half of it is unlicensed. You have to take into account that I don't ever use over half of the programs installed on my computer so chances are if they were not pirated I would have used an open source option or not gotten it at all. But even assuming I bought the software, what if I bought it online? Who gets the tax money then? Of course I didn't sock the money away for a rainy day. I went out and bought a coffee with it at a non chain coffee shop or used it on a rainy day and paid tax then. People are not saving or making money by pirating software. At worst they are saving money on software and spending it on gas or groceries.

Re:Tax revenue? (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246251)

Nice work, bringing the "let's raise taxes on the rich!" class welfare argument up.

Re:Tax revenue? (1)

hostyle (773991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246629)

And I thought i was posh with a .sig and all, but this guy! Look, he's got two of them. Filthy rich! Better tax him quick smart!

Re:Tax revenue? (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246321)

So, according to the BSA, when you don't buy software, you put the cash you didn't spend under your mattress so the city doesn't get any tax revenue from it (past income taxes, I assume).

Evidently yes. I mean what else would they do with it? Spending on expanding the business? Surely not!

Of course, that assumes they ever had the money in the first place. I mean, if I have 0$ and I chose to pirate MS Office... well.. sure that counts as a lost sale, and lost tax revenue to the BSA... but since I had 0$ left in the budget, I was never going to buy the software or anything else for that matter.

But what REALLY bugs me about the BSA is that they consider upgrades for which you can't prove a complete chain for as a 'unlicenses/unauthorized/pirated'.

I mean, I have Vista Ultimate Upgrade on my PC. I obtained that legally, by upgrading my copy of Windows XP Professional Upgrade, which I obtained legally by upgrading my Windows 98 upgrade, which I obtained legally when I upgraded my Windows 95 retail which was purchased on 25 floppy disks over a decade ago. I do not have those floppy discs or license anymore from the original 95 purchase. (And it might even have been an upgrade to Windows 3.11 for Workgroups... I don't even remember.)

If I were audited by the BSA they would find my copy of Vista as 'unlicensed'.

This sort of scenario happens all the time in BSA audits where companies that bought a 5 user VLA in 1992, then in 98 upgraded them to a 10 user VLA (5 new licenses, 5 upgrade licenses), then upgraded to a 20 user VLA in 2002 (10 new licenses 10 upgrade licenses), then upgraded to 25 licenses in 2006 (5 new licesnes, 20 upgrade licenses)... and the BSA shows up...

And you pull out your licenses ... and all you've kept are the 2002, and 2006 ones, but you misplaced or discarded the old 92 and 98 ones, so they determine that you have 15 valid licenses. (the 10 new ones bought in 2002 and upgraded in 06 plus the 5 new ones in 06. The rest are unsubstantiated and you better pay up quick you lousy crook!

Meanwhile the company your dealing with has been bought twice since 92, and the product has been renamed 3 times... and they have no record that you bought a VLA from a company acquired by a company they acquired years ago. Even the accounting records have been destroyed. All that old shit takes up valuable space.

And that's the VLAs... Its far more difficult for a small business to keep every box and license of every piece of software they ever bought just so they can show the BSA one day, especially after a few rounds of upgrades. And small businesses with 4 or 5 people don't usually have VLA's, just a cupboard where they have a bunch of stuff, and when the cupboard is full they usually toss the old versions of old software they've upgraded from...)

Its pure bullshit.

Can you imagine the BSA doing an audit of your home, not for software, just for everything in it. How much of the stuff in your home can you "prove" is legally purchased? You have receipts for every CD, every book, all your cutlery, dishes, pots, clothes, furniture?

Of course not, but that doesn't mean its all STOLEN.

Re:Tax revenue? (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246347)

Not at all. See, you'd continue buying everything else you currently buy, but you'd charge the software on your credit card. A credit card you eventually wouldn't be able to afford to pay off, so you'd file for bankruptcy.

So, since you didn't buy the software and file for bankruptcy, you are essentially stealing tax money from your state and handing it to the wealthy credit card companies. How can you live with yourself knowing that?

What the BSA knows... (3, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245623)

is this: if a company pirates (arrrrr, mateys!) a piece of software, they immediately take the money that would have been used to buy that software and stick it in an underground vault, never to be seen or spent again. That's why the state gets no tax revenue.

What a bunch of schmucks.

Re:What the BSA knows... (1)

Spydeh (1304095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245745)

Wait don't pirates put rum in the vault and bury their valuables, otherwise how would you drink the rum? But what about the rum???

Re:What the BSA knows... (1)

jeiler (1106393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246605)

It's gone. It's always gone.

Re:What the BSA knows... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246009)

What if I buy legit copies of all that unlicensed software....

By MAIL ORDER?!??!

Oh snap! The BSA is happy and the state still doesn't get 25000 officers!

The more you pirate! the less police there are! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245625)

Everyone get on TPB quick!

Experiences officers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245627)

Lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to "hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers", which being experienced are already working somewhere else. So do we move 25,000 officers from another state to Ohio? Why? Would the source state like it?

Re:Experiences officers? (4, Funny)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245677)

What they don't tell you is that those 25.000 cops are Indian and working in India to lower the costs.

Re:Experiences officers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246453)

I would expect that state and local governments could hire plenty of additional experienced police officers with all the money they're saving by pirating software...

- T

Assumptions (1)

Stevenovitch (1292358) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245653)

I always like it when they assume that every piece of pirated software is lost revenue. Given that the pirates have already demonstrated that they don't find the software valuable enough to pay for, it seems more likely that if the option to pirate software is removed a good portion of these people would find a free alternative or another solution to their problem... or they would just go without.

BSA/**AA (2, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245661)

and the way the BSA is presenting the data: the study only includes eight states, and it is making some questionable connections, including the claim that lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to 'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'

Heh heh. I'd like to see what happens when the BSA members are told that online purchases of software will be taxed locally and by the states...

I'll bet their maths for calculating lost state and local tax revenue from pirated software would change.

The other factor being, if people couldn't get the 'free as in beer' copies of that software, they wouldn't pay for a legit copy. But that's been rehashed approximately 6.022 x 10^23 times on slashdot, so I won't go any further.

On a side note, why did the BSA have to break tradition and not use an acronym ending in AA? They've made it much more difficult to lump them into the bin with the MPAA and RIAA. Sigh... BSA/**AA is four too many characters.

Re:BSA/**AA (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245837)

Well, we used to call it the MAFIAA (Music and Film Industry Associations of America). I don't know about you, but "SMAFIAA" just doesn't have the same kick to it.

Re:BSA/**AA (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245967)

Well, we used to call it the MAFIAA (Music and Film Industry Associations of America). I don't know about you, but "SMAFIAA" just doesn't have the same kick to it.

True, but it does make me think of them as small and blue, which helps.

For crying outloud.... (2, Insightful)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245671)

Just because somebody pirates something doesn't mean they would pay for it if that was the only way. They would instead just NOT BUY IT. The entire premise that if you are losing so much in taxes is bunk. Pirating may cause harm in disrupting some tax money, just not that much.

I mean, honestly, could people even raise that kinda of tax money if they had the cash to buy the software?

Re:For crying outloud.... (2, Informative)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246601)

Wow. I wonder if mods could actually look at time stamps before modding redundant. Ah well.

This study also shows... Open Source will kill Gov (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245697)

Just think about it... There's no tax revenue on Open Source software! People are using it for FREE! It's the end of the government! OH NOES!!!!

Or in other words... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245965)

You heard the AC folks, Open Source software is the software of anarchists and libertarians.

If you use Open Source the terrorists win. Also for no apparent reason the fire fighters will stop getting Timmy out of the well and the alternate Back to the Future II version of the US will result.

putting the money in another pocket (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245699)

Suppose companies were paying salaries with the money they save by pirating software. Then rather than
X * 0.05 = 25,000 police
we would have
X = 20*25,000 = 500,000 unemployed people

So another way of looking at the statistics is that the BSA wants to put 1/2 a million people out of work in each state.

Lies damn lies and statistics, learn to master them.

switch to GNU/GPL/FOSS/Linux (2, Informative)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245775)

then use your computer with a clear conscience for free...

Re:switch to GNU/GPL/FOSS/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245951)

I have to say that I continue to use unpaid-for software, and I still have a clear conscience.

Re:switch to GNU/GPL/FOSS/Linux (2, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246129)

No you fool, didn't you read the summary? If you don't buy commercial software, there will be no police officers! It will be total anarchy! If you want to bring down civilization, then fine, go use your AnarchyWare (tm) aka "Open Source", but don't come crying to me when the rioting starts.

The BSA's point is clear and impeccably reasoned: If you don't pay for commercial software (and lots of it!), we are all going to die. Do you really want to be responsible for that?

Road of least obstacles (1)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246209)

There is also another effect. In the (IT consulting) company I work for it is just a pain in the behind to get paid for licenses on tools I may use on one project. Now, don't get me wrong here, if there is a valid reason, I can get it.

However, for many tools I do not think there is any valid reason to go and purchase something. Either stuff comes with a developer license (Oracle's SQL Developer vs. Toad; [note: I am not saying the one is better than the other]) or you pull it out of the open source community. Works for me, keeps my conscience clean and keeps the license checking folks of my back.

So again, license fees that -eventually- pays for police offices and DMV personnel are down for a good reason.

Re:switch to GNU/GPL/FOSS/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246267)

Watch out! This poster wants you to use unlicensed software! It's not licensed by a BSA member company, therefore it's ILLEGAL and IMMORAL to use! Be vigilant and report these ANTICITIZENS whenever you notice their COMMUNIST software installations!

SOFTWARE IS NOT FREE. Stay alert, stay alive!

Re:switch to GNU/GPL/FOSS/Linux (2, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246411)

My conscience is the clearest when I pay for software, it's a little bit murky when I use free software, and it's totally opaque when I use pirated software.

From future reports (5, Funny)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245803)

Not having RTFA or RTFR referred to by TFA, I still have to say I'm amused by the last line in the summary (presumably paraphrasing the report) and its implications to further reports...

"The lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to save the lives of HUNDREDS of poor, sick people, assuming they could afford the hospital costs after becoming poor from buying software regulated by our association."

"The lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to pay the ransom on this CEO's poor daughter, kidnapped by evil software pirates, and because you selfish greedy bastards had to go and murder her by pirating software, they didn't have the money to pay to get her back! I HATE YOU ALL!"

"The lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to save the lives of five hundred innocent kittens from being pulverized in our patented BSA Kitten Pulverizing Machine, whose sole purpose is to abduct and pulverize kittens constantly and whose operations may only be tempered by a continuously-accelerating stream of revenue. Why do you selfish pirates want the kittens to be pulverized? It's all your fault, you know."

Sales tax? (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245805)

Who pays sales tax anymore? Especially since the invention of the internet. Here in Chicago, [suntimes.com] the lack of sales tax more than covers the cost of shipping.

Yet another statistic shows (4, Insightful)

soast (690658) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245817)

If every big corporation did not out source we could employee 10,000,000 United States Citizens and therefor increase tax money to employ 500,000 experienced police officers.

Re:Yet another statistic shows (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246333)

Funny how on slashdot people are almost universally opposed to outsourcing, presumably on the grounds that it puts their jobs at risk, while they are almost universally not opposed to software piracy even though it also puts their jobs at risk (but they get some "free" software yey)

Re:Yet another statistic shows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246611)

And?

Re:Yet another statistic shows (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246679)

Funny how on slashdot people are almost universally opposed to outsourcing, presumably on the grounds that it puts their jobs at risk, while they are almost universally not opposed to software piracy even though it also puts their jobs at risk (but they get some "free" software yey)

And your use of universally makes your commentary universally silly. "Slashdot People" (of which you are presumably one, since you post here) may, as a group, object to outsourcing jobs.

That is, presuming you specifically mean outsourcing jobs to India, Pakistan or some country not represented here in large numbers. I suspect that jobs outsourced to the UK from the US, for example, or vice-versa would not meet your assertion.

Universal or nearly Universal acceptance of software piracy is going to be difficult to prove, and I believe it to be categorically inaccurate.

I'd say that a substantial proportion of the slashdot community opposes piracy, but opposes the methods being employed to combat even more and you seem to be failing to distinguish between the two.

Ho Hum (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245841)

Would I be the only one surprised if the BullShit Association told the truth?

Anything from them is a M$ policy ad.

untapped resources (1)

electricbern (1222632) | more than 6 years ago | (#24245895)

including the claim that lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to 'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.

And the lost of sun light due to lack of solar panels would be enough to power the whole world.

These people are morons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24245927)

IF (and that's a big IF) the 4.2 billion in lost sales is true then there is no way that the states affected could hire 25,000 police officers. Police officers cost about $ 100,000 per year including all salary & fringes. If you multiply 25,000 by 100,000 you get 2.5 billion. That is 59.52% of the estimated lost revenue. So in essence what they are saying is that they don't know how to do math or they live in a state where the total tax rate is 59.52% on business property - These folks need to get real!

Your local friendly CPA.

ETHICS!! (5, Insightful)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246053)

I make this point at least once a month.

There used to be an assumption of ethics. If someone was caught in a lie or fabrication, it would be shameful and cause harm to the individual or an organization. Even organizations with which you disagree would probably be telling the truth.

Those days are long gone. There isn't any effort into presenting the truth. No one cares. Everyone merely selects facts that support their position and tosses the rest. If you dare to present opposing facts, it just becomes a dispute.

Look at "intelligent design" for some reason news agencies seem to think they they deserve equal time with actual science. That is no different than putting astronomers and astrologers on equal footing. Yes, Carl Sagan said there are billions of stars, but madam Maria predicts that there only 100,000 and half of them are in retrograde until 2012. Dial in, who do you believe? 1-900-USA-fucked

There is no ethics or common sense. There is no public outcry or demand that public statements be factually accurate. We expect people to lie. We then use the lies we like to bolster our opinions based on our prejudices.

Communication is impossible when everyone is lying.

Re:ETHICS!! (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246191)

What are you lying about?

Re:ETHICS!! (0, Flamebait)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246533)

Everyone merely selects facts that support their position and tosses the rest.

You presume they even bother to find facts rather than just make up some impressive sounding nonsense.

Dude. Someone's got to be really busy pirating. (4, Insightful)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246057)

I have three linux machines at home. Every time I fire one up I run several hundred 'programs', including X, Qt, the TCP/IP stack, flash, firefox, amarok, ipchains. My two little headless linux computers, one disguised as a DSL modem and the other as a firewall, likewise run at least dozens of programs. I know there are tens of thousands of computers hosting websites all over the world that, likewise, are running dozens of 100% free programs.
For their 1 out of 5 statistic to be right, within the United States, there must be a dozen people running nothing but pirated software just to make up for me.
I know nine other people who are, likewise, running multiple computers, including several Windows machines, that have 100% legit/free programs on them. So now we're up to a hundred or so people running nothing but pirated software just to make up for me and my nine friends.

Are there vast underground barracks filled with armies of illegal software users in Ohio and Florida? Is China outsourcing its goldfarming to the ghettos of East LA?

Re:Dude. Someone's got to be really busy pirating. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246441)

I used to run almost nothing but pirated software.

Of course, my monetary situation has changed in the years since I graduated high school.

Re:Dude. Someone's got to be really busy pirating. (1)

Limburgher (523006) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246663)

Shit, ipchains? Not an upgrader, are we? ;)

Defined As? (3, Interesting)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246125)

I wonder what their definition of "unlicensed" is. Are they using their definition that unlicensed means you can't find the original invoice for the software? You know, the one where you can have every COA stuck to the case of each machine, but no invoice is considered unlicensed because you can't prove that you didn't buy the licenses after the fact?

Do they consider Open Source code to be unlicensed? Or shareware? Or what?

Are they counting companies that shift licenses around when employees leave and PCs are retired?

Re:Defined As? (2, Insightful)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246639)

There is some legitamacy to the BSA's claims, but not that much. Many companies incorrectly implement site licenses of software, or misenterpret the scope of the license. Therefore, a company may not knowingly be violating the terms of the license, and therefore not be pirating the software, but may still be out of compliance.

You've got to think about how those licenses work anyway. Every time your business orders a new Dell or HP workstation, it comes with a Windows2000/XP/Vista license sticker. What happens to the old sticker that was on the machine your company returned? Where did the new sticker come from? What if the sticker is for XP, but you are running 2000? What about Office/Visio/Visual Studio/etc... that came pre-installed. Some licenses don't allow downgrading, but even though you have an Office 2005 license, you HAVE to install 97/2000 because of the other applications you may be using. There's lots of ways "unlicensed" software can be installed on a companies PC without anyone thinking about it. Now, is that justifiable cause to fine/sue a company out of existence? No way, but then again, I don't work for the BSA.

Not to mention (3, Informative)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246159)

Then there's the process the BSA uses to initiate action against an entity. The first thing it does is look at the financials of the company in question.

I know, I submitted a former employer and was told that the company was in poor financial condition and would not be a viable target because of that.

So if you're not making much money, pirate away!

Who cares about more police officers? (2, Funny)

LM741N (258038) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246215)

We need many more mental asylums.

BSA methodology may count FLOSS as piracy (4, Insightful)

Geof (153857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246261)

The BSA numbers are highly suspect. Here's their forumla:

Infringement = (machines shipped) * (usage estimate multiplier) - (legal BSA) - (legal non-BSA) - (legal FLOSS)

As Russel McOrmond points out, only two of these numbers are actually known: the number of machines shipped and the amount of legal BSA software. The usage estimate multiplier is an estimate of the average amount of software on a machine in a given region. The essential number, however, may be the amount of legal open source software. How on earth do you calculate that? If it is low, then the piracy numbers could be way off. I distribute some open source code, and even I don't have a clear idea of how many people use it. McOrmond says FLOSS not shipped with a PC is often not included. Read McOrmond's article for an in-depth explanation [itworldcanada.com] .

My Mac has only a few BSA apps - the OS, iLife, and Photoshop Elements. How is the BSA to know that I'm also running Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice (all FLOSS), or Scrivener, Tinderbox, and NetNewsWire (all legal non-BSA stuff written by and purchased from individuals)? How about my parents' machines, on which I've installed OpenOffice software? They probably wouldn't remember it was open source even if asked.

BSA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24246283)

...and we all know it. Why pay attention to them at all?

Well, I can pull numbers out of the air, too (4, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246403)

Eliminating the failed prohibition model "war on some drugs" would result in being able to fire 25,000 cops as "not needed at all", as the main result of said war has been an accelerated crime rate related to black market prices and the associated violence with those huge sums of money. No telling how much savings there, but I would imagine it is in the billions. Switching to free and open source, just with governmental use on governmental machines, and especially if magically it could be retroactive back 10 years or better, would have freed up enough cash to give every person in ohio a free computer on savings over software licensing fees, said fees based completely on the "artificial scarcity" model of busy-ness as it relates to digital copies. And probably allow them to give upgrades every few years as well, using the same exact cash levels they are spending now.

Now mine is thin air and I admit it, but at least it is closer to reality than the BSA and MAFIAA "enron styled" accounting figures, and that tie in with cops and crime was just too obviously *lame*.

can you say... (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246405)

trying to justify it's own existence? ..... I knew you could.

Reading between the lines (2, Insightful)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246477)

...lost state and local tax revenue from piracy would have been enough to 'hire nearly 25,000 experienced police officers.'

In other words, get on board with the anti-piracy program and you will have more revenue to trample peoples rights outside of cyberspace.

Keep in mind that part of the target audience of the report is the law enforcement community who at some point has to see some benefit for themselves if they are going to enforce anti-piracy laws. Notice that they don't talk about it in terms of after school programs, or more teachers. Nope, not here in Amerika. We need more cops damn it! The people are getting too uppity.

I'm sick and fucking tired (1)

noric (1203882) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246539)

of hearing about all the police officers, city parks, and free massage parlors we could finance with all the money we've 'lost' due to piracy. Why do I never hear about the thousands of police officers that could be financed if only they bought 9 rockets instead of 12?

Aoeaoeaoeaoaeoaeroaekjfelasjfv (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 6 years ago | (#24246579)

Every time I read 'BSA' I can't help but think of it as "BullShit Alliance", but it's too true, as it is with any business who's goal is inherit to their trade, that is, every business.

I'll assume the BSA was (at least mostly) founded on keeping tabs on 'piracy' and stuff, particularly in the business sector.

Restaurants make their money on selling food and service, they have to make themselves more appealing by putting that food and service in the best light they can.

Colleges make their money by selling education, they have to make their campuses and services look as appealing as possible.

The BSA is in the business of WTFPWNing 'software pirates' and disseminating information about it. They have to make their business appear worthwhile to their members.

Many fast-food chains are well known for making their greasepatties and other less than perfectly healthy options seem much more wonderful than they are.

Colleges are only getting more expensive and it's only getting easier to argue the need for such high tuition fees in a world where we need to focus on the quality of education yet so many people aren't learning anything new.

Where does that leave the BSA?

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