Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

BSA Says 41% of Software On Personal Computers Is Pirated

CmdrTaco posted about 5 years ago | from the only-half-of-that-is-any-good dept.

Software 569

An anonymous reader writes "Individuals are turning to P2P networks and auction sites in staggering numbers to acquire or transfer illegal software and in doing so are harming the economy whilst exposing themselves to malware, identity theft and criminal prosecution, according to a report from the Business Software Alliance. Beyond P2P and auction site piracy, the report also draws correlations between Internet piracy and the spread of malware such as viruses, trojans and spyware, which often exploit vulnerabilities in illegal software that does not benefit from security updates provided by manufacturers. Although the correlation is not universal, geographies with high instances of software piracy suffer from high instances of malware."

cancel ×

569 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

41? (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 years ago | (#29717547)

While you're guessing with such precision, why not choose 42% and grab more nerd eyes?

Re:41? (4, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29717597)

Well I'm actually surprised it's only 41% pirated software on personal computers, considering it's not often that people buy software applications for non-work purposes and most are free or have alternatives.

But it's true that piracy is hurting the industry (be that software, games, music or movies). Yeah it would be nice if all of that would be free, but it's not a good model to sustain the development and producment. You can always argue that those who like doing it "just for the fun of it" will keep doing so, but it's not going work. The quality suffers and there wont be as many different options or products. There's a reason why everything isn't free already (because it could be - there's nothing to limit it). Market and income is how world works and is needed to produce products, in a way or other. Either by user directly paying for it, or from ad revenue ala google (and losing some of your privacy in the trade) or by other means like open source with support and sponsoring from other companies.

And it's not really a surprise that you might get infected with malware when downloading from warez sites.

Re:41? (5, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29717687)

>>>But it's true that piracy is hurting the industry (be that software, games, music or movies)

No it isn't. See my signature. One study estimated 5000 downloads per 1 lost album sale, and another study estimated 2500 downloads per 1 lost album sale. I took the more-pessimistic estimate. Both studies were done by college universities with no bias, unlike the studies coming from RIAA and BSA. (Use google to find them if you're curious, same way I found them.)

Re:41? (4, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 5 years ago | (#29717699)

So it is hurting the industry, but not as much as the industry claims.

Re:41? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29717961)

Yeah just like getting bit by an ant "hurts" me, but not really. It's just an ant. Nothing to have a hissy-fit over like IRAA and the BSA seem to be having.

BSA: "Oh noes! We've been bit an ant. The end is nigh"
US: "Stop being a wuss."

Re:41? (1, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29717855)

Both studies were done by college universities with no bias, unlike the studies coming from RIAA and BSA. (Use google to find them if you're curious, same way I found them.)

If it's on the internets it must be true!

And anyhow, you say in your own post that it is hurting the industry, even if its on smaller scale. The funny thing is that it's also hurting open source.

I've seen many of your pro-piracy comments in countless number of threads already, but you also cant just count solely on lost sales. Pirating MP3's also hurts streaming services like Pandora and Spotify too (but interestingly, spotify is so good that I havent needed to try to find mp3's since i started using it). Also it's obvious that if people couldn't pirate, they would buy more. *Not the same amount they pirate, but still more*. It's just because people can do it, they do. If I could pirate furniture, food and beer, why wouldn't I? (and no need to carry those beers from store either!).

Getting everything for free sounds nice in paper, but it comes with tons of problems which has been discussed to death already.

And the fact is that noone is making any artist/developer/movie maker to ask for that price. They can already publish it for free and upload to torrent sites. But they've decided to ask a price for it, and if you want to use it, you need to pay for the asked price. If it's too much, just be without it.

Re:41? (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | about 5 years ago | (#29718003)

"But they've decided to ask a price for it, and if you want to use it, you need to pay for the asked price. If it's too much, just be without it."

Listening for free or not listening at all gives the exact same amount to the maker: 0. So why wouldn't I listen? I pay what I can, but I'm not going to deprive myself just "because", I act based on reason, not on some orthodox morality.

Re:41? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717993)

>>>But it's true that piracy is hurting the industry (be that software, games, music or movies)

No it isn't. See my signature. One study estimated 5000 downloads per 1 lost album sale, and another study estimated 2500 downloads per 1 lost album sale. I took the more-pessimistic estimate. Both studies were done by college universities with no bias, unlike the studies coming from RIAA and BSA. (Use google to find them if you're curious, same way I found them.)

And the drastic drop in album sales is just a phase of the moon? I know you get an "Informative" for stating a non-fact and I will get a "Troll" for daring to speak the truth but pirating does harm businesses and artists. The argument that it isn't a 1 to 1 loss isn't the point the point is people are getting used to not paying for digital content. In the end everyone is harmed because the amount of content available will drop as will the quality, notice the quality of music has dropped as pirating has increased? I sure as hell have. I actually pay for software, a substantial portion of my income a year, and all the anti-piracy measures drive me up a wall. I can't really blame the companies because it's in self defense it's the pirate's fault. You would say it's a victimless crime yet I am a victim. I have to deal with added security and because I'm one of the suckers that pays I get to pay for your software and entertainment. Accept the fact that it's rationalization and embrace the fact you simply don't want to pay so you are taking what you want instead of earning it. That's the ugly truth. I'll have my "Troll" now please.

Re:41? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717711)

Well I'm actually surprised it's only 41% pirated software on personal computers, considering it's not often that people buy software applications for non-work purposes and most are free or have alternatives.

I know what the BSA says is usually complete bullshit, but don't take your own personal situation as a moneyless PHP developer and apply it to everyone.

There are many average people out there who buy software for their own personal use. Sure, we could download it, but the Right Thing to do is to go out and buy it. Then again, most of us aren't just PHP codeturds. We have real jobs where we made decent money, and aren't competing with the shittiest of Indian developers all day.

Just because you can't afford to buy software and apparently pirate it doesn't mean that everyone else does. Keep that in mind before you make such blatantly absurd posts here.

Re:41? (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | about 5 years ago | (#29717741)

While you're guessing with such precision, why not choose 42% and grab more nerd eyes?

Because pirating software is not the answer to life the universe and everything.

Re:41? (3, Funny)

Calydor (739835) | about 5 years ago | (#29717879)

I disagree.

Re:41? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717909)

While you're guessing with such precision, why not choose 42% and grab more nerd eyes?

Because pirating software is not the answer to life the universe and everything.

Pirating software is a fundamental human right, like freedom of speech.

Bagels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717549)

Bagels and Rindz.

Two of the three letters in their name... (4, Funny)

ValentineMSmith (670074) | about 5 years ago | (#29717555)

are true. We'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide which.

Re:Two of the three letters in their name... (3, Funny)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 5 years ago | (#29717605)

BA? None of them have Master's or PhDs? It's all arts, no sciences degrees? None are left with only high school diplomas or GEDs? None are high school dropouts?

Next you'll say they all got degrees in the same subject!

Re:Two of the three letters in their name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717629)

I didn't know they were based in South Africa.

Re:Two of the three letters in their name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717931)

That's because they are based in Saudi Arabia, duh.

Re:Two of the three letters in their name... (2, Funny)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 5 years ago | (#29717691)

Speaking of two letter actions in TLAs:
I'm curious....Was the BSA formed as a result of any actions by IBM?!

Re:Two of the three letters in their name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717833)

SA as in Sturmabteilung?

Re:Two of the three letters in their name... (2, Interesting)

conureman (748753) | about 5 years ago | (#29717943)

I'm doing an informal survey of Godwin posts, and whether they are on-topic, or trolls, and whether they are signed, or AC. Can anyone link a prior study? BTW, nice metaphor, AC.

MS reps say its easier to pirate on Linux (5, Interesting)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 5 years ago | (#29717903)

BSA Says 41% Software On Personal Computers Is Pirated

Well customers choose linux because Apps are easier to pirate [gotthefacts.org] . Steve Winfield of Microsoft's anti-FOSS Partner Technology Team (a.k.a. Delta Force) says so. It must be true.

In other news, sources not partnered with Microsoft announce that Microsoft's desktop market share has dipped down to 59%. Between Conficker and Internet banking exploits, it could happen.

Seriously, better check the BSA's definition of 'pirated'. Previous announcements like this turned out to classify any non-MS software as 'pirated'.

BSA invents statistics. (5, Interesting)

gavron (1300111) | about 5 years ago | (#29717565)

I won't repeat previous postings on /. and CNET and PCnews and... and ... which have debunked BSA's "statistics."

Their first graph (which is in percentages, but they don't label the scale LOL) shows remarkably low rates of malware, and an alleged piracy rate (whatever that is) that is 4-10x higher.

Maybe they should check out http://garwarner.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

BSA+RIAA+MPAA=organizations that make up stories and wait for their fake "facts" to be reused by their legislative bought henchmen.

E

Re:BSA invents statistics - higher ethics? (5, Interesting)

dyfet (154716) | about 5 years ago | (#29717671)

Maybe one reason for such a poor correlation between alleged copyright infringement and malware rates is that most who engage in and enable copyright infringement actually do have higher ethics than some companies which deliberately add creepy spyware and malware-like features to their applications in the name of controlling what user's do. Indeed, I wonder if some even explicitly choose copyright infringement sources simply to get spy and malware disabled versions of certain applications.

Re:BSA invents statistics - higher ethics? (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | about 5 years ago | (#29717971)

Indeed, I wonder if some even explicitly choose copyright infringement sources simply to get spy and malware disabled versions of certain applications.

Well, wonder no more. I can explicitly confirm it.

Re:BSA invents statistics - higher ethics? (1)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | about 5 years ago | (#29717989)

Take Spore for instance. I know many people who did not even want spore but pirated it on principle, just to make a statement about their "DRM". I also know of a few who bought a legal copy then downloaded a pirate copy just so they did not have to deal with all the malware thet EA published with it

Re:BSA (1)

conureman (748753) | about 5 years ago | (#29717731)

Bull. Shit. Artists.

Re:BSA (3, Funny)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 5 years ago | (#29717859)

Bull. Shit. Artists.

In. William. Shatner's. Voice.

I don't buy it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717567)

harming the economy

Right, like they would have bought it if they couldn't pirate it.

Re:I don't buy it (5, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | about 5 years ago | (#29717889)

harming the economy

Right, like they would have bought it if they couldn't pirate it.

I love this bullshit. As you say, there's no way of telling how many percent of those who pirated would actually buy the software at hand. In my experience often people pirate because they're lazy, meaning they know some program from a while back and instead of looking for a free alternative they just pirate it because they're used to it. But also sometimes they actually need that program, however more often they don't.
Also it's very easy to throw expressions such as "harming the economy" around. But let's think about what this means. If, and we have to remember the big if here, there would be a significant increase in such sales -- instead of people looking for free and/or open source alternatives (which by the way is already happening, anyway let's continue with the hypothesis) -- then in an international aspect this would harm the economy as the national currency would be weakened due to less trade. HOWEVER (one of those important caps moments) -- don't forget that piracy is also an international phenomenon, meaning if all countries have 10% piracy it would be -- in terms of economic balance, exactly the same as if we had 0% -- or 80%.
What about national level? Well at national level the currency would merely shift towards those selling the software, as they collect the fees.
What about the personal economy? Well you would have a slightly stronger currency (given that other countries ignore piracy) yet you would still, at a personal level, make a loss.
 
Now let's ignore the moral aspects here, you can yell theft all you want but that's another discussion. This discussion was about the economy and how someone tries to bullshit you from this angle to change your mind. Change your mind for the right reasons, if you consider it theft then fine, but don't eat whatever crap that's thrown at you. By using the expressions such as "economy", a very big machine which can be difficult to understand, you can persuade somebody into a lot of things, since ultimately they will tend to feel stupid because they cannot break down the concept and understand how this hurts the economy -- you see no explanation is given, and that's the point of the argument. So if you feel stupid, that's even more of a reason to ask the question: why?

82% of statistics (1)

excid3 (1108239) | about 5 years ago | (#29717579)

82% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Well, if that's how they want to think about it... (3, Funny)

Pollux (102520) | about 5 years ago | (#29717581)

Then far be it from me to not meet their expectations.

"Hey kids! Remember that new game you wanted? Well, I need to get us up to quota!"

Re:Well, if that's how they want to think about it (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29717891)

Uuum, there are two kinds of software on my computers: The kind that is open source (literally thousands of packages) and the kind that is pulled off of BitTorrent.

Software never was a product. And it never will be. It's a service. A service done once. And that work is what you pay for. Not the result. Because that would be the sick twisted view that Gates introduced back then. (Yep, you can thank him for that too.)

Think if it like we all throwing money in a pot, to pay for a big software project. Then if there is no more work to do, and we don't think that what was done is worth more than what we already payed, we stop paying.
And copies are free for all. (But you could ask for money, to get some of that back that you payed yourself.)

Because malware never comes with legal software... (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 years ago | (#29717583)

Because malware never comes with legal software...

Re:Because malware never comes with legal software (-1, Flamebait)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29717669)

I dont think that's the point.

- If you've paid for the software, it's highly unlikely that it will contain malware or adware.
- If you havent paid for the software, it's more likely it could contain adware (hell, even some open source projects bundle adware with them and you have to compile the project yourself if you dont want it)
- If you havent paid for the software and are warezing it, anyone could had infected it with malware.

Yes its possible to have malware in any of them, but the risk grows more and more when going in to pirating.

Re:Because malware never comes with legal software (4, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#29717797)

Well:

1. Is simply not true. Adware and spyware are common in commercial software.
2. Also not true - the first thing a pirate does is strip out the crap.
3. If you *have* paid for it, it could be infected. That's why you scan everything.

Re:Because malware never comes with legal software (4, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 5 years ago | (#29717799)

This article is BS. There are probabilistic elements in software piracy and malware, but those statistics came from /dev/random
If you know where to get your pirated software, then it's more than the distributors honor is worth, to let anything dodgy get into their release.

The bit about "geographies with high instances of software piracy suffer from high instances of malware"; Ok that is probably true, and in S.Korea I don't think you can call legally sell it as a "computer" if it isn't full to the brim with malware.

Re:Because malware never comes with legal software (4, Insightful)

geminidomino (614729) | about 5 years ago | (#29717831)

- If you've paid for the software, it's highly unlikely that it will contain malware or adware.

Unless it comes from Sony or Microsoft...

Right. (1)

mukund (163654) | about 5 years ago | (#29717585)

Not 42%?

Oooooo pretty graph! (5, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | about 5 years ago | (#29717589)

Speaking as an MBA, their unsubstantiated numbers and pretty graphs is good enough for me. I'm going to delete 41% of the software on my machines to make sure I'm not a crook!

Re:Oooooo pretty graph! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717715)

But wouldn't deleting 41% make the remaining 59% the new 100%? Thus your issue remains.

Re:Oooooo pretty graph! (2, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 5 years ago | (#29717757)

Start with c:\windows. As 95% of all malware hides in there. Bonus it ismost likely pirated anyways.

Freedom (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 5 years ago | (#29717591)

If the BSA was genuinely concerned about software piracy, they'd be actively promoting free and open alternatives.

Re:Freedom (3, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 5 years ago | (#29717667)

They aren't, and so they won't.

What they are concerned about is losing market share to open source, so they'd rather pretend it doesn't exist and try to eradicate the philosophy of free software in the public mind.

Re:Freedom (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | about 5 years ago | (#29717753)

Sorry to tell this, but Open Source still cant compete with closed, paid-for applications that require a bit more. Yes, Linux is nice for servers. Apache is nice. MySQL is nice. All of that which has the most support is done quite good, but as soon as it gets a little bit off from that the quality drops dramatically. Open source's answer to Photoshop is still what, GIMP? Do any open source games actually compete good with commercially and professionally made games? OpenTDD is nice, but thats again one that has had good support (while still using data files and many parts and ideas from the commercial game).

On larger scale commercialization is required to produce quality software on other areas than where the most supporters are (apache, linux distros and so on).

Re:Freedom (2, Informative)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | about 5 years ago | (#29717957)

Right so firefox, kde & gnome are all terrible? There are a few areas where commercial software is better than FLOSS (that isn't to say FOSS can't compete). Photoshop has tools pros need that gimp lacks, however for everybody else GIMP is a competitive option (if your a pro then just pay up!). Open Source gaming does suck but that is hardly representative and even then there are many games that are easily competitive in their sub-genres (wesnoth & 3d versions of nethack are good). Outside of gaming, OSS can compete with most desktop software so there is no excuse for pirating software.

Re:Freedom (1)

redhog (15207) | about 5 years ago | (#29717987)

You do realize that "Linux distros" contain, well, everything you'll ever need? Ref. Ubuntu Studio :P

And the Photoshop equivalent is ZinePaint if you didn't know... :P

The question is'n what the Free Software equivalent is to some unfree software, the question is the other way around; Please tell me what the unfree equivalent to FontForge is... or to Pidgin/libpurple (well, I don't know of any with nearly that many supported protocols), or to Firefox (well, maybe Opera, IE definitely isn't), or Apache (Duh, IIS isn't), or sqlite

And by the way, windows as a server OS? Without LVM and software raid? Come on... And Solaris with ZFS is well, free nowdays...

(Yes, I'm a troll today :)

Re:Freedom (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | about 5 years ago | (#29717883)

No, they won't promote non-proprietary alternatives. The alternatives function on a business method too foreign for the BSA and their constituents to understand.....competence. Since the OSS product makes money mostly on providing effective support for the product, and effective support costs money which detracts from the CEOs' bonus, the CEOs will never support a Business foo Alliance which promotes software which costs money to support.

The BSA will also never understand the mitosis effect of OSS software which builds a larger base for their customers. They only understand ONE version of software foo. OSS community knows if more forks of the project are supported, then income can be earned supporting a larger customer base. This concept directly contradicts centuries of "competitive marketplace and IP protection" theories and practices.

The best way to be rid of the BSA is to shoot them and cost their clients money to keep replacing them.

Not to be confused with that other BSA (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 5 years ago | (#29717599)

Anyone up for a campout?

Re:Not to be confused with that other BSA (2, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 5 years ago | (#29717817)

Apparently it doesn't matter which BSA it is - tbey'll both try to bugger you.

its the economy stupid... (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 5 years ago | (#29717613)

Most Americans live on McDonalds and foods filled with chemicals.... because no one has given the public anything else on such a large scale that is easily accessible and affordable in a timely manner.

and McDonalds still makes a shit load of cash...

Wow, their logic is crap (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | about 5 years ago | (#29717635)

Here's how I read the summary:

"Retail software is so full of bugs that you should run out and buy it immediately!"

Falling behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717641)

Oh snap, it's up to 41% now?? I have some catching up to do! Thanks for the self-fulfilling prophecy, BSA!

Hmmm... (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 5 years ago | (#29717647)

What a lousy article - all puff and no content:

- The FA discusses online auction sites as a "hotbed" of trading illegal software. But it doesn't say whether the BSA distinguish between online auctions offering cracked copies for download, pirated installation media or perfectly legitimate resale of software which the seller has no further use for.
- There's no real explanation of how they reached this figure - do they assume a single person using a torrent installs the software once? Twice? Never? Once then decides they don't really need it so uninstalls it?
- Even if the BSA did explain how they reached this figure, how do we know that their methodology is sound and gives reasonably accurate answers? AFAIK there is no methodology that is generally known to give accurate answers to the question of "how many PCs have application X installed, where X may or may not phone home and there may or may not be cracked versions of X in the wild which modify any existing phone-home functionality?"

Thing is, the BSA must know that these numbers are not reliable and that they can't get reliable numbers. I think the reason this article exists is the BSA are seeding the news wires. Who wants to bet that the next thing they'll do is lobby representatives in governments around the world using these bullshit figures and that's the only reason the figures exist?

Re:Hmmm... (5, Insightful)

XMode (252740) | about 5 years ago | (#29717673)

They simply live in a world where all second hand software sales are piracy. Its the only possible way this figure could even be remotely correct.

Re:Hmmm... (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 5 years ago | (#29717781)

But it doesn't say whether the BSA distinguish between online auctions offering cracked copies for download, pirated installation media or perfectly legitimate resale of software which the seller has no further use for.

Well, from the PDF of the actual report, they run through a bunch of 'case studies' which are by and large about who they targeted on these auctions sites like iOffer:

In August 2009, BSA announced that its members won a $210,563 judgment in the US District Court for the Northern District of California against Matthew Miller of Newark, Del., who sold illegal copies of software through an Internet auction site. Software programs published by Adobe, Autodesk, and Microsoft were at the center of the case, which stemmed from a 2008 investigation by BSA. US District Judge Susan Illston awarded the plaintiffs $195,000 in statutory damages and an additional $15,563 for filing costs and attorneys’ fees. Miller was barred from committing future acts of copyright infringement involving Adobe, Autodesk, and Microsoft software products, and was ordered to immediately destroy any and all infringing copies of such software in his possession or control. According to legal documents filed on behalf of BSA member companies, the defendant “admitted he had ‘downloaded software, burned and copied CDs, and sold about 200 to outsiders for $8.00 to $12.00.’” Records in the case also describe how Miller used the popular iOffer Web site to sell unlicensed copies of BSA member software. In one particular instance, Miller was accused of offering approximately $12,000 worth of software to an undercover investigator for just $52, with an agreed price of $45 after some haggling.

And another:

In early 2009, Timothy Dunaway of Wichita Falls, Texas, was sentenced to 41 months in prison by US District Court Judge Reed O’Conner for selling counterfeit computer software through the Internet. Dunaway was sentenced to two years of supervised release, ordered to pay $810,000 in restitution, and forfeit a Ferrari 348 TB and Rolex watch. From July 2004 through May 2008, Dunaway operated approximately 40 Web sites that sold a large volume of downloadable counterfeit software. He operated computer servers in Austria and Malaysia; US and foreign law enforcement agents cooperated in the investigation. Dunaway purchased advertising for his Web site on major Internet search engines and processed more than $800,000 through credit-card merchant accounts under his control. The software sold by Dunaway had a combined retail value of more than $1 million.

There are more. I didn't see anything in the report about illegitimate versus legitimate resale and replication. I'm guessing they rely on the license terms to determine whether or not it's legitimate for me to resell my Warcraft 3 CDs or Windows XP Key. I'm guessing that Blizzard & Microsoft would be the ones informing them that's not legitimate.

By and large, however, the report focuses on people who pretty blatantly violate copyright and sell them on auction sites. A guy I knew in college did this and made a couple thousand on eBay before getting a seriously nasty letter from Microsoft. This would have been in ~2001 I think. I'm sure the same crap goes on with more serious consequences.

I'm not defending the BSA but they list case studies of the kind of piracy they are targeting.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#29717849)

A guy I knew in college did this and made a couple thousand on eBay before getting a seriously nasty letter from Microsoft.

Whoah I'm in the wrong business.

He made a couple of thousand on ebay and the only downside was a *letter*???

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | about 5 years ago | (#29717999)

Yeah, except you're about 8 years too late. I'm pretty sure you'd get a lot more than a "seriously nasty letter" now.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Funny)

conureman (748753) | about 5 years ago | (#29717843)

Why, yes, I distinctly recall, when I bought my last mainboard on the hotbed, er, Ebay, the pirates that sold it to me tried to offer me a CD of stolen drivers to go with it. Righteousness and morality took the field and I chose to download them legally from the manufacturers website. Thank the Gods.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717853)

I am still new enough to /. to wonder what some of the abbreviations mean. "The FA" means The Factual Article, right?

Made up numbers (2, Informative)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29717929)

Hey, it works well for the *AA's in perverting public opinion and getting laws enacted so why should the BSA be any different?

I have 0% (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#29717655)

Not one single program on my computer is pirated.

It's all purchased (XP, MS Office) or open source (firefox) or free-to-use (Opera). I think the BSA's 41% estimate is brown and smelly due to having formerly occupied the lower regions of their bodies.

Re:I have 0% also (2, Funny)

DevConcepts (1194347) | about 5 years ago | (#29717913)

Not one single program on my computer is pirated.
Not one single program on my computer is paid for.
Vista 64 Ult/Win7 64 Ult, Office 2007 Pro, VS 2005-2008 Std, MSSQL 2005-2008 Std-Etc.
If you can get it all for free why steal it?
And no I don't have a MSDS or other paid subscription, that would be paying for it.

Piracy on home computers (3, Interesting)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 years ago | (#29717657)

Since the BSA is only concerned with business software, what they probably mean is that 41% of copies of MS Office on home computers are not legitimate copies, mostly copied from work. If those people didn't have a pirate copy of Office, that would probably be using OO.org or some other free equivalent, they wouldn't be paying for it.

(I guess a lot of people have academic versions of Office, and other app;ications like Adobe's suite, and they no longer are students so I guess that makes them pirates too.

Re:Piracy on home computers (5, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 5 years ago | (#29717683)

I'm not sure what the deal is these days but for years, where I worked, there was a deal with Microsoft whereby employees could install Office at home for free. Pretty sure that was the licence arrangment with MS rather than the firms coughing up for licenses.

Re:Piracy on home computers (1)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | about 5 years ago | (#29717735)

You are right. It is one of our favorite benefits.

Re:Piracy on home computers (2, Funny)

TimSSG (1068536) | about 5 years ago | (#29717827)

I am a student of life. So, all my student copies are still legit. Tim S.

Nah, its 41.298 % (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717661)

Is that 41 % by weight or volume ? Or is that the proportion of illegal bits.

Maybe we could declare amnesty on the zeros, that would get us down to 20.5 %

41 %... how horrifying. We could get that down to 5 % if we all carried
around a few hundred gigabytes of public domain software. Happy now ?

Rather odd then (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 5 years ago | (#29717663)

That the vast majority of PC owners I know go 'what's that?' when you mention P2P, torrents etc. Sure, there's a hardcore that use it heavily, usually younger sorts (get off moi laaaand!) but most people I know have nothing but paid for sofwtare or more usually, tons of 'free' crap they've downloaded from some pop up advert or got from a magazine cover disk.
Even amongst the hardcore, I'd wager a fair chunk are moving towards opensource/free anyway. My laptop has OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Aptana, NetBeans, iTunes, Audiograbber, VMware Player and any number of other free (to individuals) but fine sofwtare products.

Maybe software prices are too high? (4, Insightful)

Yacoby (1295064) | about 5 years ago | (#29717681)

Maybe they have never considered the fact that there is a correlation between the state of the economy and the amount of pirated software. Maybe they should consider that their prices are far too high to be able to afford. As for harming the economy, my money tends to go towards food rather than software. It isn't like I am saving the money and pirating software, I don't have any money to save.

I have to wave the bullshit flag on this one. (5, Insightful)

dotfile (536191) | about 5 years ago | (#29717697)

Oh, but wait... it's a BSA report, which means anyone with a brain already KNOWS it's bullshit. Unfortunately, that means most members of Congress thinking it's true, and I suspect that's their intended audience. It's certainly a not "report" aimed at us. Their goal is to get more laws passed to make them and their masters money, extracted by law from everyone whether they have ever used any of the software in question or not. Another tax on blank media, anyone? How about one on hard drives, CPUs and other components? Pay by the megabyte for connectivity, because obviously we're stealing software? All they have to do is convince Congress-critters it's a good idea, which seems to be shockingly easy to do if you supply enough cash.

Bloat (5, Funny)

rant64 (1148751) | about 5 years ago | (#29717703)

The other 59% of disk space occupied by legal software consists entirely of Adobe Reader.

0% (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 5 years ago | (#29717713)

None of the software on my computer is illegal, to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Thunderbird, Firefox, Chrome, OOO3.1.1, NetBeans, no, none of it's illegal.

And I have paid-for software too: SQL Server 2008, Toad, AVG...

What do you mean, something's missing? Not that I know of.

Why doesn't the BSA promote Linux instead? (1)

joeflies (529536) | about 5 years ago | (#29717717)

I'm willing to bet that most of the people who are pirating software are doing so on Windows & Mac platforms. If the BSA wants to stop software piracy, why not promote Linux instead?

Re:Why doesn't the BSA promote Linux instead? (2, Insightful)

dotfile (536191) | about 5 years ago | (#29717751)

Because RedHat, Novell and the others aren't paying them to shill their stuff.

Re:Why doesn't the BSA promote Linux instead? (2, Interesting)

sajuuk (1371145) | about 5 years ago | (#29717785)

Because corporate America considers Linux to be pirated as well. As well as all FOSS software for that matter.

Maybe if you count Open Source as 'pirated.' (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29717739)

Even on my parents' Windows machine, easily 60% of the software (not counting the OS, which really should qualify as 50% on its own) is FOSS. The real problem is that so many of these people are trying to build a business around solving problems that were solved 10 years ago, and dozens of times since.

Wow, that's impressive (1)

webreaper (1313213) | about 5 years ago | (#29717745)

I'm surprised it's so low.

Afforadable Malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717749)

Maybe if much of the software out there didn't cost so much for personal users. The amount of malware and viruses out there would be reduced if personal editions of major software packages cost less.

It's one thing to get an entire suite of software with all the bells & whistles for business use... but when all you need is just Word, you'll see that $100+ price tag and ask a friend for it.

And don't say open source is the answer. My retired parents or skater co-worker have no clue what that means or what alternatives to search for.

From BSA Figures: Most Piracy Is Not Filesharing (2, Interesting)

mdwh2 (535323) | about 5 years ago | (#29717761)

Even according to the UK Government's recent consultation [berr.gov.uk] , about restricting Internet access of suspected filesharers, the figures of estimated damages due to software piracy is a staggering 144 times that of music, TV and films from filesharing:

The BPI claim P2P file-sharing costs the UK music industry £180m pa (2008) while IPSOS gives a loss in the UK for TV and films of £152m (2007). ... Figures for software - the biggest of the creative industries - are difficult to obtain, but it is estimated by the Business Software Alliance that the global business software industry suffers annual losses of some US$48 billion out of a total market of US$450 billion due to piracy. The bulk of these losses is caused by unauthorised copying of software within businesses, rather than by P2P.

( http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file51703.pdf [berr.gov.uk] )

So even though the Government has no reason to speak favourably of filesharing in this document, it still acknowledges that most software piracy is within businesses. So why does the BSA now focus on individuals and filesharing?

Note that even if we assumed every download was a lost sale(!), that means the upper bound for damages is $974 million for a six month period, according to the figure in the article, a fraction of the BSA's own estimate for commercial piracy damages, at $24 billion over six months.

the report also draws correlations between Internet piracy and the spread of malware such as viruses, trojans and spyware

Oh, and Government plans to reduce the bandwidth of suspected downloaders - thus making it hard or impossible to download the large Windows security updates - won't effect the spread malware at all...

The proprietary centerpiece.... (2, Funny)

drjuggler (1121225) | about 5 years ago | (#29717763)

"...is the Online Auction Tracking System" previously used to prevent piracy of online FPS titles, software pirates have come to fear Quakers' OATS.

Depends.. (4, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | about 5 years ago | (#29717767)

I think it depends on the user. You have users who call their friend/family member/etc when they have a question, and clearly are not the ones pirating. Then you have the people who know what they are doing (and from my personal experience) quite often do. The reasons everyone gives are different, but there is often a good bit of it. And they are just as likely to install it on that friend/familiy member's computer when they call needing help with Office or whatever ('Oh, this is an old verson, let me upgrade you).

I've mentioned it before. I have a friend that almost refuses to buy music when they can use whatever the current flavor of P2P is to get it. I had a different friend that gladly would download the newest games from torrents and play them. Not to mention the various other indiscretions I or other friends have done. Several people still will email me with a 'hey, do you happen to have a serial number for...' These aren't college students or poor workers from some low-end job. They are often well paid professionals (often in IT). They just don't want to spend the money. It's not some sense of 'information should be free!' or 'software shouldn't be patented!'. They just don't want to spend the money, so while these reports may not have numbers that everyone believes, I certainly have seen it day to day. Just without a metric that I can quote.

It needs to be said that... (5, Insightful)

sajuuk (1371145) | about 5 years ago | (#29717775)

Correlation does not imply causation.

Re:It needs to be said that... (5, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | about 5 years ago | (#29717905)

No, it doesn't. It's said way too much on this website, up to the point where it's a sign of lack of critical thinking.

More like 0% here (5, Interesting)

thebrid (772919) | about 5 years ago | (#29717793)

As a Ubuntu [ubuntu.com] user, I can say precisely 0% of the software on my PC is pirated AND I have no issues with malware, viruses, trojans, etc. (according to ClamAV [clamav.net] anyway). In fact, probably 99% of the software I run is free & open source. The only proprietary software I use for the time being is Adobe Flash and the ATI Radeon driver, both legally obtained.

I know we'd all like to say that there is no link between illegally copied software (I refuse to use the word "pirated") and malware, but I'm sure we've all seen instances where relatives' PCs got infected by software downloaded from Kazaa, etc.

What really surprises me is that, when given the choice between maybe catching viruses or getting prosecuted for downloading/installing illegal software and using the free and legal open source equivalent, so many people still choose to download their software illegally. I have to say, as a full-time user and software developer, Ubuntu's offering is really, really well put-together and a pleasure to use.

Re:More like 0% here (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 5 years ago | (#29717973)

So you don't play DVDs, MP3s or WMA files on your Ubuntu machine? Because those patents are violated routinely by Ubuntu users.

How soon (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 5 years ago | (#29717795)

before BSA claims that 100% of software on Linux is stolen?

I didn't know... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 5 years ago | (#29717813)

...that they transported so much software on the high seas...

Seriously. Whenever someone uses that word in that context, I immediately stop reading, and laugh at him, for the retard that he is.

Including every commenter here, who already bought into their FUD.

It's like the children of the three Stooges, to look at the whole communication from the outside...

Statistically worthless (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 5 years ago | (#29717835)

1) Can't measure it - you can't measure how many people downloaded your software through illicit channels because, by definition, those channels are usually unmonitored, don't keep logs, and aren't subject to easy investigation. You might be able to measure a particular computer at a particular point in time but any measurement being done on "behalf of" the BSA is going to be worthless. You'd have to randomly monitor thousands of PC's in dozens of categories (home, business, mobile, poweruser, etc.) and get permission to report on any "unlicensed" software there, and then chase it up with the company concerned to see if it was actually unlicensed (rather than just using the wrong VLK or similar for convenience).

2) Can't compare it - the chances of those metrics being stable across such countries as Turkey and the US are unlikely.

3) Can't correlate it - Just because malware goes up with pirated installations doesn't mean anything - it just means that the pirates prefer to download porn which may or may not introduce malware... it doesn't mean the malware is in the pirate software.

Statistics are worthless quoted out of context. We have no idea what was measured, how, why, what bias was introduced by the measures, or anything else.

To be honest, I imagine the percentage to be *higher*... I've seen dozens of people with Winzip on their computers who haven't actually bought it but they heard they needed it to open ZIP files. I've seen dozens of work laptops come back with full installations of football games, office, etc.... technically that's copyright infringement ("software piracy") because it's a breach of the license. I expect the true figure to be nearer 80 or 90%.

But then you have the reasoning that it's somehow linked to malware in any way other than "people get malware too"... almost 100% of the home PC's I see have items of malware on them (again, depending on your definition).

If you want to say "copyright infringement is bad and puts £5 on the cost of every game you buy, or £50 on the price of Office", people would listen. Making up bollocks statistics about nonsense correlations just makes me switch off and let's me know that, actually, you're just trying to scare me into buying things because you can't think any other way would work (and thus don't understand software "piracy" at all). I don't pirate, either at work or at home. I just move things to open-source if I can't afford the real package, and I never buy anything without a demo. No demo, no trial version, no purchase. I also don't buy anything with DRM that interferes with my usage of the product. I'm not alone.

Stop spending your time analysing vague correlations and look at those statistics about why people pirate in the first place. Almost always it's cost, convenience and because a certain percentage of those "pirate" downloads are actually your own customers just trying to get the bloody thing working (I've had to break DRM schemes in work in order to be able to install compliant to our licensing - it was tons easier than our negotiating with the company in question to do the same thing). Be open with those stats and then things get interesting: How many pirates, on average, end up revealing upon further investigation that they *already* own the software in question, but the DRM got in the way? Or that they lost the install disk? Or that they needed original media to recover their PC's and it wasn't supplied by the manufacturer? I've seen all three of those and even done the second myself - I needed a particular install disk and it was an emergency and the person I was working for didn't have the original disk to hand. After I ensured that they were entitled to the licences, I just downloaded one and used that instead (after checksum verification). Does that contribute as being "another" PC with pirate software?

Good (1)

slasho81 (455509) | about 5 years ago | (#29717845)

Good. With these numbers they're admitting this is beyond control of any legal measure.

What?? (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | about 5 years ago | (#29717869)

"Individuals are turning to P2P networks and auction sites in staggering numbers to acquire or transfer illegal software and in doing so are harming the economy whilst exposing themselves to malware, identity theft and criminal prosecution, according to a report from the Business Software Alliance. "

Wow so this is is one of the cause of why our economy is going down the shitter; it's not the corporate corruptions, misused funds by the government, or banks handing out loans people can't paid back, but software pirating is what did us in "that's the straw that broke the camels' back"

50% of all statistics are made up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717881)

The other 50% are paid for by organizations that want something to prove.

Just curious. How many Linux software companies are members of the BSA?

Admission of failure (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | about 5 years ago | (#29717887)

An anti-piracy outfit claims nearly half of software is pirated. This sounds to me like they're saying that what they do is totally ineffective. Is this supposed to be an apology (to whom?) or a resignation letter?

Obviously, no-one outside their little clique thinks this is important or they'd be taking action. The software vendors don't seem too bothered either - or they would have developed stronger ways to protect their stock in trade. It's not as if that would be outside the bounds of possibility. So who, exactly, is this particular stir of the FUD aimed at?

42% of what computers ? (1)

Atreide (16473) | about 5 years ago | (#29717907)

Most of people around me
who are not nerds
hardly understand what a "program" really is.

and fewer know where to download "free" software.
Even less know where to get pirate software.

And most of humanity is like these people I know.

I hardly believe this 42% figure.

However it has been known for ages (80's)
that pirate software often come with unwanted "goodies".

totally wrong correlation (2, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 5 years ago | (#29717917)

" geographies with high instances of software piracy suffer from high instances of malware."

Isn't this because the places you have to go in order to get free software aren't policed for malware? This really has nothing to do with the pirated software itself, but instead it has to do with the law preventing people from trading software for free in the first place. Software trading is outlawed == only outlaws will post software for trade (i.e. people already engaged in nefarious activities like malware).

vulnerabilities in illegal software (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29717921)

Ya, sure it is. And 41% ? Where did they conduct their sampling, china?

Lets just say for a moment that 41% is true. That number should tell you that something is wrong going on and software is far overpriced.

BSA not PSA (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 5 years ago | (#29717945)

Remember that the B stands for Business.

That being said, am I, a simple user who occasionally needs to do graphics for my personal websites going to purchase photoshop?

No fucking way. Nor should I be required to do so. I have used photoshop since 1998 when it was version 4. I am a moderately skilled photoshop user. I am still learning a lot. There is more than half left to go.

If I want to get a job using my skills with photoshop, that business will have a licensed copy.

I say all software should be free for educational purposes. If you want to learn a new application, you should have to pay to do so. That's exclusionary. It's also already part of the DMCA. Copyright will not be infringed if using for instructional purposes. I am using it for instructional purposes.

Safer than buying (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 years ago | (#29717949)

I've installed exactly two non-freeware, non-FOSS programs in the last few years: purchased copies of Quickbooks and Portal. Now, it's very possible that I have expired trial versions of software lurking around that I never bothered uninstalling, and the BSA would almost certainly count that as piracy, but screw 'em. The fact is that I'd trust "Iceland Hacking Team #87" more than I trust most BSA members when it comes to giving clean, malware-free installations. When was the last time a Pirate Bay crack installed something worse that Starforce?

Honestly, many commercial apps are so laden with crap specifically designed to break parts of my computer that I just don't trust off-the-shelf software anymore. I think the BSA and their scummy members need to get their own houses in order before they start throwing accusations.

Obligatory Reference (1)

ijakings (982830) | about 5 years ago | (#29717955)

Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]

And I say BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29717975)

The BSA is full of bullshit.

And, worse, their figures, if they WERE right just shows how wrong it is to say each piracy act is a lost sale.

WHERE WOULD ALL THAT MONEY COME FROM????

Waiting for the corollary from the RIAA (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 years ago | (#29717977)

Something along the lines of "41% of Music on personal MP3 players is pirated"

For now, this is a shameless piracy grab by the BSA. Other industry orgs will want to claim back their piracy shortly...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?