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BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B In 2009

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the slinging-numbers dept.

Software 350

alphadogg sends a NetworkWorld.com piece going over the Business Software Alliance's latest stats on software theft around the world. "Expanding PC sales in emerging markets is increasing the rate of software piracy, according to the Business Software Alliance and IDC. The rate of global software piracy in 2009 was 43%, meaning that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market. This is a 2-percentage-point increase from 2008. Software theft exceeded $51 billion in commercial value in 2009, according to the BSA. IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.' ... In the United States, software piracy remained at 20%, the lowest level of software theft of any nation in the world. ... The PC markets in Brazil, India, and China accounted for 86% of the growth in PC shipments worldwide." The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.

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Don't worry, they are working on a solution (2, Insightful)

gregory311 (1020261) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173594)

In not very long, all software will be accessed via the web only. No pay, no play. Problem solved.

Due to poor ISPs, that would only promote FOSS (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173658)

In not very long, all software will be accessed via the web only.

That won't happen until Internet speeds go way up and prices, especially for satellite and mobile broadband, go way down. Otherwise, people will switch to apps under a free software license because people can run free software while riding a bus or carpool or while living in a less population-dense area.

Re:Due to poor ISPs, that would only promote FOSS (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173948)

or those people with bad connections will be made members of a new middle-underclass, creating a tiered "digital divide" as government policy wonks call it.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (4, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173678)

Which is funny, because this is what our main competitor "runs in the cloud" and we're fielding calls daily with their customers wanting to know how soon can they deploy our locally running software because it's faster and they can still work even if their internet connection goes down.

Customers and users hate the cloud. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173896)

You'd think that marketing folks would, you know, interact with customers now and then. If they did, they'd find out that what you're saying is absolutely true.

Aside from a small number of online pundits who advocate its use, although they themselves don't have to maintain or even use such systems, everyone hates cloud computing.

Cloud-hosted systems end up being horrifically shitty. Their performance is poor. Their reliability is poor. Their usability is poor, because cloud environments are so fucking restrictive. It doesn't cost any less than dedicated hosting. Getting reliable, on-time support is nearly impossible. Data security is basically non-existent.

Data loss is a real problem, because all sensible relational techniques and ACIDity have been thrown away in favor of moronic hash tables. The only thing stupider than a cloud computing advocate is a NoSQL advocate.

Cloud computing is the biggest failure our industry has seen. It's even a bigger failure than Windows. At least Windows sort of works, some of the time. Cloud hosting never works. It's always a failure, regardless of who is using, and where it's being used.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173680)

IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs

Yeah, half-a million jobs for India and China.

As an unemployed American software engineer who was laid off from Microsoft after our project development was offshored to India -- fuck 'em, I say. The Pirate Bay is providing me with the latest in cracked, malware-free installs of Windows 7 and Server 2008. I run Linux at home, but I sell the Windows discs to high school kids for five bucks a pop. Great for beer money.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173962)

No, silly.

If you put $51 Billion into the system and the net result is 500,000 new jobs, you're talking half a million jobs at $102,000 each! Even with benefits, you could hire an American for that, (provided you avoided union workers).

If they were talking Indian jobs, the figure would be closer to 5 million jobs, and Chinese would probably be closer to 20 million.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174122)

If you put $51 Billion into the system and the net result is 500,000 new jobs, you're talking half a million jobs at $102,000 each! Even with benefits, you could hire an American for that,

Your math is wrong, let me help you:

500,000 jobs x $13,000 for Indian workers = $650,000,000 in wages.
$51,000,000,000 - $650,000,000 = $50,350,000,000 in dividends for shareholders and bonuses for executives

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174052)

I have yet to see an actual crack for Windows 7 that completely works over 2-3 months time. Yes, people might disable activation, but all what happens is that when the machine connects to Windows Update, it gets nailed by WGA.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (2, Insightful)

Monolith1 (1481423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173994)

In not very long, all software will be accessed via the web only. No pay, no play. Problem solved.

That will be fun for those of us in airgap environments with no connection to the internets.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (2, Funny)

turgid (580780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174102)

You'll just have to use cracked pirate versions or that smelly, dirty, un-American long-haired-hippy Free Software.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174018)

. . . not as long as open source exists, and not as long as the Internet (or "cloud") can go down.

Re:Don't worry, they are working on a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174098)

they don't want to do that they have determined that selling goods over the internet gives you more rights than buying it iRL.

Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173606)

They left out several data points they discovered that were simply too shocking to print:
  • There is a tight statistical correlation between the rate of software piracy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Cracking a single piece of software is such a complex process that it can cost up to one hundred thousand kitten souls in the process.
  • If piracy dropped 20% in one year, the resulting productivity would yield one observable unified field theory for all of modern physics.
  • If piracy dropped 30% in one year, Jesus and Muhammad would come back to life and smoke a peace pipe thus ending pain and suffering all over the world. Just 30% for that!
  • The Center for Astrological Thought concluded that extraterrestrial life forms avoid our planet simply on the grounds that they cannot sell and enforce their software licenses here.
  • Software piracy creates an unknown yet to be found negative force that exists in the dimension in which we can travel through time. Every time a piece of software is pirated, seventeen thousand Negatosmas are released into this dimension prohibiting time travelers from the future of ever traveling back before that point.
  • Said Negatosmas have also created a food source for the Time Devil which caused him to mutate into the Super Time Devil which now makes time travel a cat and mouse game flirting with disaster ... but also a very popular reality TV show in the future.
  • In 2009, Michael Jackson's last words were "End software piracy" as the stolen copy of Windows XP that regulated his IV's drip failed because he had just passed the 30 days he had to authorize his copy.
  • Because of software piracy, Pluto was delisted as a planet. The government stepped in at the last minute to save this victim.

Clearly we can only take such outlandish claims with the utmost sincerity. So what's up, software pirates? Why are you holding us back? The burden of proof is on you to disprove any of the aforementioned claims. Until you do they are all true because the BSA said so.

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (4, Funny)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173770)

"If piracy dropped 30% in one year, Jesus and Muhammad would come back to life and smoke a peace pipe thus ending pain and suffering all over the world."

And of course, this would be OK because cancer is caused by software piracy. Of course, those pesky pirates keep promoting the lie that it has to do with smoking.

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173960)

"If piracy dropped 30% in one year, Jesus and Muhammad would come back to life and smoke a peace pipe thus ending pain and suffering all over the world."

And of course, this would be OK because cancer is caused by software piracy. Of course, those pesky pirates keep promoting the lie that it has to do with smoking.

That being the case I promise to amend my ways and delete all pirated software and replace them with Linux and Linux equivalent products. From now on, It's Linux all the way :-)

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173922)

You know that oil well that just blew out? Well, nobody is saying that BP are using pirated software, and nobody is saying that they ain't, but has anyone seen the original box and proof of purchase? Have you?

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173928)

I had no idea! I'll stop Pirating immediately!

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174040)

Software pirates did WTC.

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174078)

I hear that the multi-terabyte RAIDs all these "pirates" are running on overclocked systems are the actual cause of Global Cooling, Global Warming, er, Global Climate Change. Quick, where is Al Gore when you need him? Tell him to quit hunting ManBearPig and that the actual cause is software piracy. HE will put an end to piracy on the Internet QUICK! I mean, after all, he is the inventor of the Internet!

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (1)

MZeora (1707054) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174240)

That's impossible because Al Gore has no rhythm

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174088)

So piracy solves our population problem, rids us of stray cats, creates jobs in both the physicist and theological fields, prevents alien invasion, protects us from advanced visitors looking to come back and mess with our timeline (in two separate ways, mind you!), and increases the legitimacy of science (astronomy)?

Wow. I've never pirated anything, but it sounds to me like it creates jobs, promotes science, gets us well on the way to world peace, and protects us from terrorist threat.

Pirate Bay, Here I Come!

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174100)

They left out several data points they discovered that were simply too shocking to print:

Well, they're just being modest. After all, they are one of those few industries that "could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products" (where theft here is defined as people not giving them money they feel entitled to.) If you were one of these "super industries" you'd probably see that there's no reason to overkill a point.

Not to brag, but I am in fact one of the few people who can survive having aproximately one trillion dollars stolen from me. Tragic, I know, but I have not been given a trillion dollars despite being better looking, better in bed, smarter, better looking, and better at heating up a hot pocket than most CEOs out there.

Re:Let Me Add to the List; I'm Good at This Too (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174242)

In 2009, Michael Jackson's last words were "End software piracy" as the stolen copy of Windows XP that regulated his IV's drip failed because he had just passed the 30 days he had to authorize his copy.

Except, you know, only non-pirated versions suffer from this flaw. Unless that copy was literally stolen, that is -- but I have yet to hear about a case when someone actually pilfered boxed software.

This just in: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173610)

Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

Re:This just in: (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173684)

Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

Even if you count the 90-day tech support contract that comes with a legit copy of a program?

Re:This just in: (2, Informative)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173776)

Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

Even if you count the 90-day tech support contract that comes with a legit copy of a program?

Which support is that? All OEM copies of Windows are (tech) supported by the hardware manufacturer - not Microsoft. Same with OEM Office provided by hardware manufacturers if memory serves. If it comes pre-installed, Microsoft doesnt support it.

While that may be different (and likely is) for other software vendors, I am sure (based on other statements by Microsoft) that a large chunk of the figure cited pertains to Windows and Office installs. Regardless, in those arenas, the costs are probably similar. You buy a retail copy, you pay more and Microsoft supports it. You buy a computer with Windows, then the hardware manufacturer supports it, but Microsoft takes in less because they charge the hardware OEM less.

Re:This just in: (2, Interesting)

chilvence (1210312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174074)

Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

Even if you count the 90-day tech support contract that comes with a legit copy of a program?

Nobody who isn't a corporate buisness cares about that, and I should know, because I do that 'tech support' (read: fixing the damn thing) for everyone I know indefinitely. I claim 500 hours of stolen time back from Microsoft! Few if any individuals would be able to withstand that amount of lost wages!

Re:This just in: (2, Interesting)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174080)

yeah, tech support that is only necessary because of all the bloatware "features", ease of exploitation (shoddy product), and DRM / product licensing headaches. and like another poster pointed out, support cost is eaten by the hardware OEM most of the time, since so few people buy boxed copies of windows. My next copy (since I play certain games which only function on windows) will, however, be boxed because of how terribad OEM "system restore" CDs are. And i'll never need the "support".

Re:This just in: (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174250)

How many pirates call in for tech support?

Re:This just in: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173746)

They also sell 'nothing'. According to the license what you are buying does nothing. The licenses usually state that the software
wont even meet any minimum requirements (like image editing software actually being able to edit images). What is so wrong with
paying for 'nothing' with nothing?

Dont forget all losses due to piracy are quoted at the full price, never the actual price you pay. If I wrote a piece of software
and it had a list price of $1 billion per license I could claim I was losing billions for every person who accessed the bittorrent version.

Re:This just in: (2, Funny)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173802)

This just in: BSA hasn't done anything profitable for the software industry in the last year, and it's time to make up numbers and release reports to justify their 6-figure salaries to their masters

Smell something? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173650)

I believe I can smell what can only be described as first word B and second word S.

Re:Smell something? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173806)

Are you detecting a slight BullShit Aroma?

Hmmm, funny, I do too.

Doodoo Voodoo. Magic numbers made of bullshit.

Re:Smell something? (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173854)

What do berries have to do with this?

Re:Smell something? (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173904)

What do Bus Stops have to do with this?

Has piracy destroyed public transportation as well!?

cue Muntz (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173666)

HAW-HAW

Lost sales? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173672)

My question is always: how much of this would have been purchased if it hadn't been stolen?

Specifically, I'm referring to things like college kids downloading the full version of Photoshop. There's no way those kids are shelling out $500 (or whatever it is) for a full Photoshop license. If they steal it, they just wouldn't have it at all.

From the article, it sounds like it's a case of people acquiring alternatives to software they would purchase--for instance, Windows, or graphics design firms pirating Photoshop. I would wager that nations like China have the highest instances of these sorts of offenses, and that medium-sized businesses are the largest culprits of software theft.

Re:Lost sales? (2, Informative)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173832)

There are certainly some instances of that, but there are also instances of people running pirated versions of Windows instead of paid versions. I had a tech friend put together a PC for me and he had said the version of Windows I had was legit even though I didn't have to pay for it -- obviously this wasn't the case. If it hadn't been for his pirated copy, I would have certainly purchased a copy of Windows.

Re:Lost sales? (2, Interesting)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173900)

Specifically, I'm referring to things like college kids downloading the full version of Photoshop. There's no way those kids are shelling out $500 (or whatever it is) for a full Photoshop license. If they steal it, they just wouldn't have it at all.

. . . which results in reduced future sales because they would either go with a less expensive package like Paint Shop Pro, or better yet, go with Gimp. Today's piracy leads to tomorrow's sales and business-wide deployments and that is very likely how a big factor in how today's big players got to where they are now.

So, go ahead and clamp down on piracy - those of us who don't "steal"[sic] and instead choose open source will win because open source will gain a larger foothold in the market, and the more poor, starving students who use open source today will be strongly encouraging their employers/businesses/etc. to choose open source as well.

Re:Lost sales? (3, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173930)

Yup - "IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into "ailing economies." "

The question is - WHERE would that money come from?

Chances are, if somehow forced to "go legit" on a particular piece of software, rather than cough up the money, people in third-world countries would instead:
1) Choose an OSS alternative
2) Choose a more reasonably priced commercial alternative (PSP instead of Photoshop for example)
3) Choose no alternative, i.e. choosing to simply forgo that functionality altogether

Re:Lost sales? (1)

Nunar (256448) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174186)

The BSA has a jaded view of the data. They're running under the assumption that each piece of pirated software = one lost sale. That's ridiculous! I would bet that a good 90% of the pirated software is exchanging hands BECAUSE it's free. If it wasn't, it wouldn't be given a second glance...

Re:Lost sales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174016)

This just in. 50 billion dollars saved. Productivity increases and the savings are reinvested in other areas of the economy.

Re:Lost sales? (1)

staalmannen (1705340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174144)

The only thing we can hope for is that the proprietary software vendors start with an incredibly draconian DRM and copy protection which makes software piracy virtually impossible. ... the fun part will be that this will only benefit their Free Software competitors.

I hate these Reports (5, Insightful)

Reber Is Reber (1434683) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173674)

I always think these are stupid, why not throw in the fact that 90% of pirated software is never actually used more than like once or twice if even used at all. Or the software doesn't even function the way it was intended to or it flat out doesn't work. How about the fact that the software most likely wouldn't even be bought in the first place so they aren't actually loosing any money from this because it would not equate to earned revenue. Why doesn't someone come out with a useful report that actually shows these facts. Douches.

Re:I hate these Reports (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174124)

That would require critical thinking. You do see a problem here don't you?

Why stealing (1)

SCVirus (774240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173700)

I didn't realize so many people physically removed boxed copies of software... Surely they could just download a copy?

To make the point yet again... (5, Insightful)

Nematode (197503) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173704)

Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products.

It's a good thing your products aren't being stolen, then...just copied unlawfully.

The industry could do a better job of being sympathetic, if it wasn't so obviously dishonest about its victimization....

BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B - Meanwhile (4, Interesting)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173706)

BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B - Meanwhile...

The IT world says "security issues in Windows requiring IT or Tech work exceeds "Theft" figure many times over".

...nope, I am not complaining... I work in the tech field... as much as I would love to hate Microsoft, I have to hate the fact that I love them. I for one am thrilled that .NET and other "technologies are so easy to exploit. I'm also happy I have karma to burn ;-)

I am very curious how they come up with these figures though. At an average of $100 a piece of software, that's 510 million pirated copies a year. At $200 avg, it's 255 million copies... and so on. Wow... didnt realize it was such a serious issue...

Or maybe... (2, Funny)

Dunega (901960) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173710)

The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.

...that your datapoints are wrong.

Theft != Piracy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173722)

Seriously. They talk like people stole the $51 billion from their pockets. When you steal from a company, you are depriving them from twice the value of the item that you stole (the lost sale to you, and the lost sale to someone else for that particular item). When they claim their losses from theft, they claim the second loss (the one that's physically quantifiable). But with software, there's no physical product. If I pirate an item, they only lose my sale. I don't deprive somebody else from being able to purchase it (since copies are for all practical purposes free). And since they don't count the lost sale to me in the case of physical theft, why should they here? So nobody stole $51 billion. Total losses due to piracy === $0. Now, opportunity cost may be $51 billion (they had the opportunity to sell the person who "stole" it, but didn't), but not the loss... There's a fine line between them, but there is a line none the less...

Re:Theft != Piracy (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174054)

When you steal from a company, you are depriving them from twice the value of the item that you stole (the lost sale to you, and the lost sale to someone else for that particular item).

That doesn't make any sense. The stolen physical property could not have been sold to both the thief and to someone else, so there's no logical basis to count its value twice. At best, you can break it down as the theft having directly deprived them of the wholesale value of the item they bought and paid for, and the profit they might have realized by selling the item at retail, assuming they didn't discount it, return it, take a hit on it as a loss leader, or just tossed it in the bin.

The difference between illegal software copying is that you're creating the copy of the thing being stolen, at your own expense, just denying the publisher and manufacturer and the retailer their profits from a sale they clearly weren't going to make anyway.

Re:Theft != Piracy (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174128)

Yeah, this stuff really bothers me. They've been calling piracy theft forever, and it simply IS NOT. It is COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Just recently there was a very interesting study that showed most software companies are claiming losses of up to 90% due to piracy, but then it was shown that like 99% of pirates are either poor people in third world countries or students or children, people who can't afford software anyways, and it ends up even all 90% of those pirates only account for AT MOST 10% lost sales. And the fact of the mater is you're just not going to get those sales, and its not worth spending half your time trying to nab that 10%. Just focus on your current customers already and sell things they like.

You wouldn't steal a car..

It's NOT theft!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173728)

It's unauthorized copying. And it is illegal, and it is a crime.

But it is NOT theft.

If they lost 51 billion dollars in physical product then they could say "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." I" more honestly

Shame on them.

Poor buggers (3, Funny)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173736)

And don't forget all those communists running linux! The bastards!

News flash! (5, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173762)

BSA discovers way to increase size of anus, so they can pull larger numbers out of it.

The horse is dead, Jim! (1)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173778)

Postulate:

Units of pirated software installed != Units of lost sales.

Better questions:

How many of those using or at least possessing a pirated copy of a given piece of software would actually pay for it if it were not available in pirate form?

How would that ratio change if the software were priced differently?

If prices were lower, would piracy decrease?

How would profits change in response to the above?

Answers? *shrug*

Re:The horse is dead, Jim! (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173882)

Postulate:

Units of pirated software installed != Units of lost sales.

Better questions:

How many of those using or at least possessing a pirated copy of a given piece of software would actually pay for it if it were not available in pirate form?

How would that ratio change if the software were priced differently?

If prices were lower, would piracy decrease?

How would profits change in response to the above?

Answers? *shrug*

Additional important question:
How many copies of the software were sold because someone was exposed to it through a pirated copy?

Rolls on Floor Laughing. (1)

eloquent_loser (542470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173816)

They lost in the vicious ether eleventy-trillion-gazillion dollars from bad people stealing their software ferraris despite luckily breezing through the GFC because they had right on their side and you can't keep a good Corporate Feudalist down and if you flay the Villeins the cash will just pour in and we'll all be happier and more noble. I go now to tend my yams - the levy is due.

Obligatory theft v priracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173822)

"Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products," said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman
Yep, you couldn't take theft either. Good thing you aren't being stolen from. Here, I'll make it simple:
http://www.gameproducer.net/images/piracyisnottheft.jpg

Would the IRS accept this writeoff? (5, Interesting)

mykos (1627575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173828)

In my line of business, if we have a loss that we have numbers for, we put it on our taxes. I suggest they do the same. I'm sure the IRS will be more than willing to audit the hell out of them. Oops, I mean, accept their numbers without question.

When will they realize... (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173838)

... that when people pirate software they were most likely not going to buy the software anyway?

You're claiming you lost something you never really had, and never really were going to have.

I wholeheartily agree that piracy is a terrible problem, but these over inflated numbers are not helping at all. It just makes them seem a lot more desperate and a lot less innocent.

For the last time... It is not "theft" (5, Informative)

cheeseandham (1799020) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173844)

Sorry, it shouldn't have to be said, but it winds me up
When software is pirated, it is not permanently depriving the original owner of the item.

In the UK - "A person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it." - Theft Act 1968 [wikipedia.org]
I'm not educated in such matters but it seems that the US and other countries take a similar view [wikipedia.org]

(Right, I can breathe again)

Re:For the last time... It is not "theft" (1)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174150)

Yeah, this mind virus that has been released making everyone think that piracy = = theft is absolutely ridiculous. Piracy is software infringement. Piracy IS NOT, and NEVER HAS BEEN, and NEVER WILL BE theft. It is FUNDAMENTALLY different.

Now I wonder where the hell everybody got the idea it was theft?

"You wouldn't steal a car...."
Damn PSAs

That $51 Billion Is Mostly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173862)

From Microsoft [microsoft.com] sales.

Yours In Ufa,
Kilgore T.

$51 Billion dollars? (4, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173878)

That's like 50 licenses for Adobe Creative Suite 5!

Re:$51 Billion dollars? (4, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173984)

Wow, where'd you hook up with the discount? Are you sure it's legit? That seems cheap.

Bullshit (2, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173906)

Sorry, but as soon as I see numbers like $51 BILLION in software theft being thrown around, I pretty much immediately ignore everything that is to follow because the number, pure and simple, is bullshit. Can I prove that it's bullshit? Nope. Of course not. And that's the point - nobody can prove that it's bullshit so they can bandy it about with impunity knowing it won't be challenged. But, just as I can't prove that it's bullshit, they can't prove that it's remotely valid. And, therein, is why I ignore reports like this - when numbers can't be challenged to ensure their validity, then the person coming up with the numbers can fluff the numbers to help ensure they prove whatever point they are trying to prove.

Bullshit. Pure and simple.

Rainbows and unicorns... (2, Interesting)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173910)

It must be nice to live in a make believe land.

Don't forget Canada, we be all evil and stuff up here!

I am pretty sure you can draw a strong correlation between the fact that the average income in those countries is about 100$ compared to about 50,000$ in the USA. Last I checked a retail copy of Windows 7 is about 200$.

If your having a hard time drawing a conclusion as to why all the piracy, well your not really trying.

Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (1)

Dunx (23729) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173932)

"The rate of global software piracy in 2009 was 43%, meaning that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market."

When did 43% of $100 start to come out to $75?

Re:Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174026)

Maths fail indeed, although not the one you are expecting.

Re:Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174030)

http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=.43*175

Re:Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (1)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174034)

(100/(100-43)) * 43 = 75.44

43% of all software in use is pirated and therefore only 57% has been paid for. For every $100 of legit software in use, there is an amount of cracked software in use that would have cost $75.

Re:Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (2, Informative)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174038)

Software piracy rate is calculated by taking the total "value" of pirated software(a) and dividing it by the total "value" of all software that makes its way onto the market(a+b). Hence, for every $175 in software value that makes its way onto the market(a+b), $100 is paid for(b), and $75 is pirated(a). Whether or not you agree with this metric is another story entirely, but the math works.

Rate = a/(a+b) = $75/$175 = 43%(or close enough)

Re:Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174244)

That oughta hurt.

Re:Even Less Accurate Maths Than Usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174204)

"The rate of global software piracy in 2009 was 43%, meaning that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market."

When did 43% of $100 start to come out to $75?

$75 / ($100 + $75) = ~43%

Cause every pirated copy is a lost sale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32173954)

IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.'

You know, either that or at least prevent a large number of people from accessing the tools they need to be productive.

Here's some clarity (1)

HermDog (24570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173958)

The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.

I'd say what is clear is the proctological origin of the number.

translation please (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173972)

Software Theft Exceeded $51B
.
. ...captialistic translator engaged...

If every pirate in the world actually bought our overpriced product, we'd have had an additional $51B in sales

Wherefore the wealth? (1)

VGR (467274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173974)

That's quite a tidy sum, Mr. Bigglesworth. If it's true, where is the money? Where is that 51 billion? Shouldn't some pirates be living conspicuously opulent lives? Or are we expected to believe that this 51 billion is spread out so evenly among so many pirates that the effect can only be seen in the BSA's careful measurements?

Misread... (1)

imamac (1083405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173978)

After reading the title only, I was wondering why the Boy Scouts of America were suddenly an authority on software theft.

Isn't that like saying (4, Insightful)

js3 (319268) | more than 4 years ago | (#32173998)

Isn't that like saying I lost 100 billion in lottery winnings? How can you lose money you were not going to get in the first place?

Re:Isn't that like saying (1)

SatanMat (757225) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174200)

Because they have better funded lobbyists... If you could provide more funding then i'm sure we could pass some legislation on your behalf to ensure that you too can state how your lottery non-winnings would push well into the billions...

Holy hell, $51 billion in THEFT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174004)

Better batten down the hatches, Best Buy. How do you even make any money when something like this would take one or two pieces of software being five-finger discounted every second?

Oh, wait, you didn't mean theft. You mean being "used against license". Yeah, there's a difference, and it's big enough a judge would throw out a theft cause prima facie against your average pirate. 'Course, that isn't what the BSA sues someone for...

A meaningless number (1)

tzenes (904307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174010)

The idea of "stealing" information or software isn't the same as stealing physical medium. A theft of data still leaves the original owner with the data; so in the case of software when we say "stolen" really we are referring to potential sales which are being taken. However, the industry didn't lose out on $51 billion in potential sales, as that assumes every theft would have been a sale. The reality is that pirates in general pirate more software than they could reasonably afford (I have heard quotes as high as 10x the number of apps on a jailbroken iphone as a non-jailbroken one). As such, its more important to say, "what percentage of the market pirates" rather than, "how much have they pirated," as the former indicates a reasonable evaluation of the loss of potential sales.

Do your bit to avoid piracy use free software (3, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174032)

The more people who use Linux and OpenOffice the less people will be stealing from the BSA members.

So is the BSA pushing the use of free software where people find it to costly to use commercial software?
Somehow I don't think so. But that is the real solution to the piracy.

Re:Do your bit to avoid piracy use free software (0, Redundant)

dskzero (960168) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174176)

Excuse *me* but my copy of Windows 7 and my copy of Office 2008 is quite legal thank you.

End all software piracy now... (2, Insightful)

number6x (626555) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174036)

Jut use Free and Open source software. Why risk using pirated anything?

If you really have to use a commercial product, then pay for it.

Quick fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32174044)

Just reduce the ridiculous cost of all software by half and the value of software theft will be slashed in one fell swoop.

Free Software Installation (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174058)

So if I install and Free and Open Source OS and applications on my PC does the BSA count that as "lost sales?"

If not, why not? It would fit in perfectly with their perverse logic, and it would nicely light the blue touchpaper on all sorts of issues that would make it into mainstream politics.

Moronic babble. (1)

s-whs (959229) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174060)

IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.'

And where do those jobs come from? There will only be new jobs if the economy as a whole is improved not by shuffling money from say DIY stores (just an example industry which will get less money if consumers buy more legal software), to software firms. And where do those $140 billion to aid 'ailing economies' come from? I'll tell you where: The asses of IDC and BSA people!

"Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.

Neither. It was moronic babble as nothing was stolen. Copying cost is near zero, so if they make a good profit they should shut up whining.

These people are almost as bad as the liars and manipulators in the Air travel industry who always whine about rules of noise calculation/measurement not being just (they're always restricting them) and any new rules are bad because it would restrict them and their immense importance to the economy.

Bullshit! They're all parts of the economy. They are all small parts of the economy so a small change to them won't make a speck of difference to the whole.

Boy Scouts? (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174072)

The boy scouts of America are supposed to be fixing trails and helping grannies cross streets.

What are they doing policing closed-source software??

Re:Boy Scouts? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174218)

open source software can be pirated as well.

It's just a license violation.

B&E (1)

Xiozhiq (724986) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174084)

While I agree that a company might not survive me breaking into a warehouse and emptying it of all contents; I'm pretty sure they can recover from me breaking in and taking a picture of all their merchandise. This is just another ignorant "$1 of COPIED software = $1 of STOLEN merchandise" claim, which is is just a damn lie.

Not to say that software piracy is okay; it's just nowhere near as bad as people make it out to be. Look at it from MSFT's point of view: would you rather have 3rd world countries pirate Windows XP and Office, thereby perpetuating your monopolistic control of all things business (at NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU), or would you rather have them install Linux and OpenOffice, slowly building momentum behind alternatives so that they may eventually compete with your software stack? I think the answer to that is pretty obvious. Fighting piracy is a balancing act, make the penalties to customers that CAN pay for the software high enough that they wouldn't want to pirate it, and just don't prosecute (most) people who can't afford it.

Half a million new jobs? (1)

sm284614 (946088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174094)

Maybe it's because I'm ill, but I can't see how fewer people pirating software create half a million jobs... If 10% of the people who pirated photoshop bought it instead, Abobe would create loads more jobs, not just earn more profit? Some people who aren't producing software because they're scard of piracy would decide it's OK to make it? The CD printing factory and goods delivery industries will see a large boom? As people are spending more money on software they decide they will order their own bespoke software instead of buying off-the-shelf packages? It's not immediately obvious to me how this would create jobs within the software industry, maybe in tech support and other areas.

easy fix (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174120)

Value FOSS softwares the same as equivalent non-FOSS packages. The piracy rate will drop to almost zero.

I wonder how they get their numbers... (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174182)

I wouldn't be surprised if the following calculation was used:

  ( (Total number of x86 CPUs sold) - (Total number of Windows licenses sold) ) x ($Cost of Windows 7 + Office) = ($Size of worldwide piracy)

So, lets feed in some numbers...

  • Perhaps about 10 billion CPUs manufactured in 2009, with 98% going into embedded devices, leaving 2% for personal computers = 200 million computers.
  • About 80 million Windows licenses sold... subtract... leaves 120 million devices (including the Macs etc).
  • Retail price of Windows 7 + Office 10 is about $200 + $150 = $350...

Multiply... I calculate the number at $42 billion.

Roughly the same number so I'm guessing that is exactly how the number was calculated.

Re:I wonder how they get their numbers... (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174212)

Lame, replying to my own posting: Office Home and Student is $150.
I should learn to proofread what I post sometime...

Oh, yes, help those ailing economies (0, Troll)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174184)

IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.'

Because everyone knows that police and regulation are the best ways to boost productivity and grow your economy! Just as North Korea, the former Soviet Union, etc.

Spin (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32174206)

It's fascinating that in the midst of all this spin, they haven't realized that calling it "piracy" is likely to encourage the demographic containing most software pirates, and started trying to call it something else.

A few years ago, they were running anti-piracy messages before movies in my area, and when the final text came up, saying something like "Don't Pirate Movies", most of the people in the theater would yell "ARRRRRRR!"

Calling it something awesome (not as awesome as ninjas, of course, but still awesome), and talking about how well the "pirates" are doing is just encouraging them!

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