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BSA's Latest Piracy Claims 'Shockingly Misleading,' Says Geist

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the shockingly-par-for-the-course dept.

Piracy 277

An anonymous reader writes "This week the Business Software Alliance published a new study which purports to estimate the economic gain from a ten percent reduction in piracy of business software. For Canada, the BSA claims that the reduction would create over 6,000 new jobs and generate billions in GDP and tax revenue. But Michael Geist says the BSA claims are based on nothing more than the economic gains from a ten percent increase in proprietary software spending. The BSA now admits its estimate is based on the presumption that every dollar 'saved' by using unlicensed software would now be spent on proprietary software." Glyn Moody pointed out more flaws in the BSA's report.

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The Business Glass Alliance Announces (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612040)

For every 10% increase in broken window glass over 6,000 new jobs would be created and billions in GDP and tax revenue would be generated.

fuck the MAFIAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612048)

nig nig nig

Re:fuck the MAFIAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612228)

nig nig nig

Nig, as in Nigori sake? I thought *no one* else here even heard of that nasty stuff.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612126)

Wow, the lengths you sick people will go through to justify your thievery. Listen up, douchebag: if you don't want to pay up then don't use my software. Period. It's not that fucking hard. I work my ass off day in and day out to make a product and you fuckers just think you can come in and take food out of my and my family's mouths. You are a pathetic human being. Why don't you try working for free? You think you would spend five minutes behind that fry vat of yours if your manager stopped paying you? You'd be out of there faster than you could hop over the cashier and the counter. I personally think that the penalty for stealing software, music, etc., should be prison. Obviously, civil penalties aren't working.

Seriously, people work hard on software. Please don't steal it, man.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612198)

I don't steal, I copy.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (5, Insightful)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612242)

Working hard doesn't mean you have done anything of value. I can work much harder digging a hole in the ground but if no one wants the hole and there is no need for a hole there, I can't get all pissy and demand to be paid for all of my hard work.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612284)

Working hard doesn't mean you have done anything of value. I can work much harder digging a hole in the ground but if no one wants the hole and there is no need for a hole there, I can't get all pissy and demand to be paid for all of my hard work.

Opposite side of the coin is that if someone comes along and starts using your hole, you'd reasonably expect to get paid for it, just like anyone else workin' the street.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (0, Troll)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612338)

When I was a kid, I dug a hole for fun. I didn't get paid anything, but it turned out to be a pretty big hole. It was about 6' across and maybe 4' deep. Despite my efforts, my hole had no value. In fact, it had negitave value, as the city came in one day to fill it. Moral of the story: The (w)hole analagy sucks.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Funny)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612434)

Despite my efforts, my hole had no value. In fact, it had negitave value, as the city came in one day to fill it

Au contraire!
It sounds like you digging a hole like that created more work for the city who had to fill it in.
So if everybody did that, lots of jobs would have to be created to fill them in.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612478)

So I should go around breaking glass?

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612502)

Touche

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (5, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612456)

Alternatively, I dig a hole in some waste ground without anyone asking me to.
I work very hard.
I bitch and moan about how I worked real hard and demand to be paid.
Nobody pays me.

Later someone else comes along and puts water in the disused hole and starts using it for a swimming pool.
I bitch and moan that I worked very hard and since they're using it it obviously has value.
Yet still nobody pays me.

The moral of the story is, just because you work hard, even if what you do has value to someone that does not automatically entitle you to payment.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (3, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612612)

Alternatively again, I dig a whole for the express purpose of turning it into a swimming pool and charging people for its use. I finish the pool and sell admission to thousands of people but at night, after we're all closed up, hundreds climb over the fence and swim for free.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612672)

Which costs you nothing.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612710)

Or better yet, I work real hard to dig a hole for storing air. Nobody pays me. Having air is really important and everybody wants it. People start storing air in my hole. They produce the air with their trees, and then they later breath the air. Yet nobody wants to pay me for my hard work on creating an air storage hole. They just use it. I want my money!

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612846)

Your entire argument is based on the ideas that the created software is worthless and that the users didn't go out of their way to instal the software. Wonderful, but I'm sure you'll be modded up simply for taking the 'BSA is evil' side of the debate.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612912)

You are confusing creation and duplication. Creation is expensive for software, duplication only has value because of a government granted monopoly.

The reality is far more complicated than your over simplistic view or the over simplistic "Information wants to be free" view.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

mindaika (1884976) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612498)

The opposite side of that coin is that if someone pays you (employs you) for digging that hole, that means they have to stop paying someone else instead. Consequently, a net of 0 jobs are created. Which is the point of the OP (it's a classic economics fallacy example).

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (5, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612860)

Bad analogy;

if someone comes along and starts using your hole, you'd reasonably expect to get paid for it...

Better: I dig a hole. Some one comes along, pays me a fee for my hole, and then snaps their fingers and creates a similar hole. They then do this 1000 more times, creating holes all over the place. Soon everyone has a copy of my hole, I only dug one hole, but I demand a license from everyone who has a hole. I soon decide that anyone who has a hole now owes me money; regardless of whether or not their hole is exactly like mine. I sue anyone with a hole. Some suites I win, but most I lose. And its done nothing to curb copying of my hole. More people than ever have holes, and tell me to get lost with my efforts to collect on new holes. Even though I'm in the right, its still easier for people to just copy my hole that jump through my byzantine licensing schemes. Instead of creating a new way to make holes, or completely different hole-like paradigms (portable holes, holes to other dimensions, holes that contains delicious meals...) I concentrate my efforts on punishing people with old-style holes. I die alone and hole-less. Stretches the scenario but much closer to the real-world.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612906)

"Opposite side of the coin is that if someone comes along and starts using your hole, you'd reasonably expect to get paid for it, just like anyone else workin' the street."

Wait ... so software piracy is like prositution? I'm confused.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612320)

No, but people using his/her software DOES indicate that something of value has been created, or they wouldn't use it.

Pay the asking price or use something else, the creator isn't obligated to give you his/her product.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612694)

It only indicates the software has higher value than the risk of being got using it without paying. Not that it has the value the owner wants. I agree that people should pay for software that costs money, but it does not mean if forced too they would not choose something else.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612718)

As soon as I can return software I don't like and gt cash back, I'll be happy to buy, try and return. Right now it is extremely difficult for consumers to be treated fairly.

until I can do that, I will download stuff for free. If I do, indeed, get value out of it I will pay for it.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612920)

The value is non-zero but may be far short of the asking price. I agree they should pay, but at the same time it isn't fair to count the loss if they don't at the full retail price since the alternative to them violating your copyright is just as likely them doing without or using an alternative free product.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612608)

Then do something like the program GSAK (which by the way I've paid for). It's available for free, with the single only difference between the free and paid version is a nag screen coming up after 20 days (or somewhere around there). You click to close the nag screen, everything further is identical.

I however paid for it because it's an excellent piece of software. Thousands of others agree and have done the same.

Long story short, if your program is a) not crap, and b) useful, then people will pay for it. Just be sure to offer a free demo. If people can't test, they won't buy. They'll test it by illegally downloading it. And then they won't bother paying for the most part if they want it, because they already have the full version.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612886)

It's not "justifying thievery" to call bs on bs claims. There are good reasons to be a moral person which AREN'T fabrications. Don't get mad at the people who point out that someone advocating for an issue you care about is advancing specious arguments to support that issue. Get mad at the person/people who are using lies to try to support that issue. It does a disservice to your cause to have it supported with falsehoods. That's true no matter what your cause is. If the only reasons you can articulate for supporting a cause are lies, you should probably re-examine your devotion to the cause...but I bet you can probably come up with reasons which aren't misleading, inflammatory, and false.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612144)

I ran the numbers and if the members of the BSA gave a Canadian 10 billion dollars:

- Canada's GDP would go up by billions of dollars
- Nearly 5 billion dollars would go to taxes
- The lucky guy or gal could spend 3 billion dollars to hire 6,000 people at an average of $50,000 a year for 10 years to build a monument of themselves.
- The lucky person would have 2 billion dollars left to spend

The choice is clear.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (4, Interesting)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612184)

Exactly. Nice assumption that it is businesses that can actually afford the software that are running the pirated software.

And now that these businesses are being put in their place, they're going to rightfully pay their BILLIONS to the software companies. 6000 new jobs! Nevermind the BILLIONS in paycuts and thousands of layoffs that would be needed to pay for the software if the supposition were true...

You aren't going to get money from nothing unless you're the Federal Reserve®

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612220)

That's a bit of a false dichotomy, this isn't a glazier breaking the neighbors window (the vendors forcing the users to pay for something they don't need or want), it is the neighbor breaking into the glaziers and taking windows for his new house without paying (the users taking from the vendor without paying). And yes, I'm aware that nothing is 'broken' or 'stolen' in this case, but I've always had a problem with that argument; obviously the pirated software has value over the free alternatives, why else would the risk the legal consequences of using it illegally. It might not be technologically feasible for a content owner to force everyone to pay for their use, but it should be the right of the content owner to do so if they choose to.

("We shall fight oppressors for your right to have babies, brother... er sister, sorry")

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (4, Informative)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612302)

obviously the pirated software has value over the free alternatives

I debunk your argument by naming this common logical fallacy [nizkor.org] . This is a textbook example of begging the question based on a false presumption that some F/OSS alternative exists for every marketed software. By the way, why try to make something a "right" when one can already sue for damages based on simple law that already covers this topic anyway, theft. You might want to rethink your argument.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (3, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612518)

My point was that the pirated software had value to the the people who are pirating it, not that every piece of functionality was available in a free piece of software. If there is no free alternative available then there is all the more reason that the software has value since there is no replacement for it.

By the way, why try to make something a "right" when one can already sue for damages based on simple law that already covers this topic anyway, theft.

Because as has been pointed out on this site many, many times, theft implies denying access to the stolen item by taking it away. The implication being that creating a copy of something for your own use cannot really be theft since the original copy is still completely usable and available to others. There is also laws that say that content creators have a right to control who copies and distributes their creations, it's called 'copyright', maybe you've heard of it?

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612774)

And it used to be for a limited and reasonable period of time but has been corrupted by content creators over the years (namely Disney). "Pirating" software and other content (some of which falls under Fair Use and is still called "pirating" by groups like the BSA) has become the equivalent for some people of civil disobedience.

"No, I will not give up my seat!" --Rosa Parks, where would we be if she obeyed the law?

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612812)

"My point was that the pirated software had value to the the people who are pirating."

In the US, the distributer is the pirate. In fact using the term pirate in this context goes back 300 years and is specifically regarding the people making the copies, not the people receiving them. While there is now verbiage in the copyright regarding downloading, don't link to it unless you understand it. It isn't saying what most people on /. think it is.

And there is good reason the people receiving shouldn't be held liable for the providers actions. If best buy had been found to violate a contract with Sony, should they come to your house, take your TV away and then fine you to the poor house?

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612322)

I totally agree I was only pointing out the absurdity of their statement. This money would not magically appear these firms would stop spending money on something else like say employees to pay for this software. Others would switch to FREE alternatives. Either way no way would forcing every "pirate" to be legit actually result in that number of sales.

On top of that few new jobs would be created even if they were right. It takes no longer to write software that 1000 people use vs 10 people.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612428)

Well I think h4rr4r at least has a point that statistics for the number of jobs, the increased tax revenue, and the increase in GDP does not actually mean that it would be economically productive for people to buy 10% more software. People always cite GDP, but money spent on fixing broken windows is also counted toward GDP.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

SirGeek (120712) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612640)

it is the neighbor breaking into the glaziers and taking windows for his new house without paying (the users taking from the vendor without paying)

However this is intellectual theft. In this situation, the glazier hasn't be deprived of one piece of glass or glaze, so he can sell that glass to someone else.

It would be "more" like me going into a staples, picking up a magazine and taking pictures of an article then putting the magazine back and taking my pictures with me.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612802)

No, it's the neighbor watching the glazier and then exactly duplicating what he does rather than hiring him to replace the windows.

The glazier isn't out any time or materials, he just didn't get a new contract.

The key part is that if the neighbor was prepared to make do with the old plexiglass windows rather than pay the glazier's rates (or if he couldn't afford to do otherwise), then the glazier is not out anything at all. There was never a contract there for him.

Re:The Business Glass Alliance Announces (4, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612882)

I can cite one example of software piracy costing a software publisher: Ernie Ball [cnet.com] .

Ball manufactures my favorite guitar strings, the "Super Slinky". In 2000 he was raided by the BSA, couldn't find all the licenses, and settled with the BSA for $100,000. Enraged, he said he wanted all Microsoft products out of his offices and factory. "I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses," he said, "We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly."

It's now a Linux shop. All the money he hasn't spent on Microsoft products in the last ten years and in the forseeable future is money lost to MS. The BSA's insane zeal to make sure that every piece of software has a license and that the license can be found has cost Microsoft hundreds of thousands of dollars, and will cost far more.

This just in (1)

KillaGouge (973562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612054)

spending more money means somebody else makes more money.

Econ 101 (5, Insightful)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612064)

There is a finite amount of money.

Thus, if $1000 more is spent on software, $1000 less is spent elsewhere. Roughly speaking, 6000 new software jobs equals 6000 fewer other jobs.

This is approximately a zero sum game.

There are benefits to reducing piracy, but their argument doesn't hold water.

Re:Econ 101 (-1, Offtopic)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612116)

Not so long as the US government can print more whenever they feel like it! Free money for everyone forever!

(that's how it works, right?)

Re:Econ 101 (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612728)

No link to goldline?

Re:Econ 101 (3, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612124)

But economics is not actually a zero sum game.. There's lots of imaginary money (stocks, bonds, loans, etc.) that pops into existence from time to time, and disappears just as quickly. Economics is like alchemy, in that it doesn't actually have to work, only make others think it works.

Re:Econ 101 (4, Funny)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612188)

So what you're saying is that virtual dollars are constantly being created and destroyed in Economic Space? Forming the basis for a theory of Economic Vacuum Energy [wikimedia.org] ? Which itself is a part of Quantum Economics?

Re:Econ 101 (3, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612388)

Your problem here is you're thinking of economics as a science (and beyond that, a hard science). Economics doesn't have rules. At best, economics has patterns.

Re:Econ 101 (2, Insightful)

ALeavitt (636946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612326)

Ah yes, I, too, remember the day in Econ 101 when they covered Mercantilism. Fortunately, Capitalism is a whole different ballgame.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

ALeavitt (636946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612348)

Whoops, meant to reply to the parent.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612376)

Also, money is the representation of "value" in the market (goods, man-hours over a given timeframe for services, etc.). Only a fool would think that these resources are constant at any given time. Things are created/destroyed regularly, and the total available can go up or down.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612546)

And economics gets thrown a screwball by things with infinite supply like bits and ideas. When you try to artificially regulate those into "classical" models and try to think of them in economic terms, you run into problems.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612148)

Shhh. Don't let the shareholders hear!

Re:Econ 101 (1)

AdamsGuitar (1171413) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612214)

Wrong. There is a finite amount of VALUE. Monetary denominations are not limited.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612420)

How is there a finite amount of value? Each person that can/does supply services is an increase in value. Every mineral and piece of food that comes out of the ground is a bit of value added.

Every piece of food digested/rotted, and every item gone to the dump is value removed.

None of these totals are constant. I'm sure, at best someone could come up with the value available per-capita is fairly constant, but I'd have trouble believing even that.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612690)

The total amount of gold, iron ore, oil, etc is finite, whether it is still in the ground or processed or in a dump. Barring meteor impacts bringing more material in, the totals are constant.

Re:Econ 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612780)

How is there a finite amount of value? Each person that can/does supply services is an increase in value. Every mineral and piece of food that comes out of the ground is a bit of value added.

"Every mineral and piece of food that comes out of the ground" is also a finite resource. Yes, even crops are finite as they rely on minerals in the ground to grow, and there is only so much space one can use to grow crops.

Every piece of food digested/rotted, and every item gone to the dump is value removed.

The very fact that value can be "removed" is evidence that it is finite. Exactly how do you "remove" something from infinity?

None of these totals are constant. I'm sure, at best someone could come up with the value available per-capita is fairly constant, but I'd have trouble believing even that.

This has to do with value being finite how...? Granted, the OP went a bit further to say that it's a zero sum game, but that has little bearing on finite resources.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612560)

How much value do you get from the air you breathe? How much is it worth, in a monetary sense?

Re:Econ 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612226)

If your Econ 101 didn't cover the fact that the money supply changes with velocity, you took a poor Econ 101... that said, your basic point stands - what says that the software companies would better use that money than the companies using the software?

Re:Econ 101 (1)

mayberry42 (1604077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612258)

This is approximately a zero sum game.

Not quite - in order to transfer the $1,000 to B, the have to take it from A who is, in general terms, the more productive of the two. So, while there is a net balance of $0 gain/loss in simple money transfer, there is a net loss to society in terms of more money gone into worse goods and services.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612462)

Your econ 101 class didn't teach you that economics is not a zero-sum game?

Re:Econ 101 (2, Informative)

zzsmirkzz (974536) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612590)

That was true when money was backed by a finite amount of tangible items with inherent value. It is not, however, true today. The amount of money in existence is a reflection of the amount of money needed at that point in time. Every time someone (or the government) borrows money, that money is printed and and lent out. That money must then be paid back, usually with interest. You must remember when you are talking about dollars that they do not represent value, they represent debt. Every dollar you have is a debt of one dollar's effort. These debts are treated as assets and traded as though they have value, when in reality they don't. Want to shrink the money supply? Have the US Government pay back the national debt in full and every dollar in existence would instantly disappear, as they are all backed by the government's debt. The only way to grow the money supply is to have the Government borrow more....

Re:Econ 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612620)

Where is the "-1 So bloody wrong it hurts" mod when you need it?

Re:Econ 101 (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612650)

No, wealth can be created from labor and resources.

Look at it this way: Where did money come from?
If the supply is always finite and unchanging, then there can be no money now, because orignally there was none. It had to come from somewhere.
If you say there can be no more money created, how was the second dollar (pound, peso, whatever) created after the first?
And the second million or billion?

Try Econ 201. They go into more depth.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612852)

The issue for a software developer is that if $1000 is spent on their software vs. beer and pretzels the software developer benefits.

The economy as a whole is likely unaffected, except perhaps that out-of-work software developers are more more difficult to deal with than out-of-work beer and pretzel makers.

So if you are interested in software developers, piracy has a direct and easily felt (although not so easily measured) impact. If you are trying to measure the impact on the economy as a whole you are likely wasting your time because the economy is a lot bigger than just software developers or beer and pretzel sales. Or even software and beer and pretzel sales all together.

Personally, as a software developer I'm a lot more interested in revenue from software sales and its impact on my life. I am less affected if people stop spending so much on beer and pretzels although it would be a shame if they disappeared entirely from the marketplace.

Re:Econ 101 (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612922)

What we need is a study to determine the number of net jobs that would be created is if we moved to OOS where licensed software was not fully valid. For instance, if an small office replaced MS software, which the may not have fully licensed, that could solve two problems. By removing the unlicensed software the business would no longer be guilty of grave crime of piracy. With the money they previously spent on licensing costs, they could hire productive workers. Rather than MCSE, they could hire professionals that actually understand how computers and networks and software works, rather than just how MS believes these things should work. The business could hire more employees that focus on sales and brand development and web site usability. Sure a couple overpaid MS employees might be lost, but many more people could be hired, helping to reduce overall unemployment.

So, I absolutely agree with the BSA report. Licensing software does cause huge harm, and the solution is not to use software the must be licensed unless absolutely necessary.

Not Shocking (3, Insightful)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612066)

How is it shocking? Every study released by industry groups on the effects of piracy, thus far, has been way off the mark in estimating the economic impact of piracy. This is about as unshocking as you can get. Did anyone really expect a trade advocacy group to not mislead you when they report on stuff like this?

Re:Not Shocking (4, Interesting)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612080)

The only shocking thing about this is that they admitted their fudging of the facts after they were called out on it.

Re:Not Shocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612318)

If they actually just said, "We make $X - so a Y% decrease in piracy means a Y%*$X increase in our revenues" that's slightly more flagrant than their previous "a report said this" when they hadn't put in the effort to know the actual meaning of the figures they're citing... This is actually flawed reasoning instead of just laziness.

BSA is biased anyway (4, Interesting)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612086)

http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10423.pdf [gao.gov]

Even the US Government Accountability Office has announced that you can not accurately make economy-wide estimations for this type of thing.

Most experts observed that it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts.

Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data.

...how did it go? Something about "making an ass of you and me"...

Re:BSA is biased anyway (4, Funny)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612370)

Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data.

Well in this case it would be "making an ass of u and mptions"

Re:BSA is biased anyway (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612426)

Well in this case it would be "making an ass of u and mptions"

Sorry, I assumed everyone would know what I was talking about.

Re:BSA is biased anyway (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612564)

Now you're just making an ass of u and med...

Doubly misleading (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612088)

Nor does it account for the jobs created by the money *saved* by not paying for said software.

Zero sum (4, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612090)

"the reduction [of software piracy] would create over 6,000 new jobs and generate billions in GDP and tax revenue"

That also assumes that any money not spent on proprietary software is being stashed under a mattress.

The truth is more like the money would be diverted from other spending, and these "billions" of dollars would just be distributed differently, with no plausible increase in net GDP or tax revenue.

It's might even be positive for the economy (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612410)

A lot of people who pirate (eg.) Microsoft Office will only use it once a month or so.

Spending $600 so they can use Office a dozen times a year is probably worse for the economy than spending it on something else.

Re:It's might even be positive for the economy (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612766)

Spending $60 or $6 towards a donation to improve your favorite free alternative might not be. Just because you use it infrequently does not mean you should be using it with out the owners consent.

Re:It's might even be positive for the economy (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612900)

Obviously these people could be using something free but the reality is that most people receive or need to interact with Office documents in some way and the free software isn't perfectly compatible.

I don't want to get into what's right/wrong here, I'm just discussing the effect on the global economy. I can think of cases where piracy could have a positive effect.

Re:Zero sum (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612480)

Economics is not a zero sum game. Dig something valuable out of the ground and you've just "created" new money by adding something valuable that wasn't there before. (This applies to anything valuable, digging stuff up just makes the point clearer)

However, your point stands in the sense that if people have to start paying for something that used to be free and does not increase revenue in any way, then the money for that item must come from somewhere else. $1000 more spent here means $1000 less spent somewhere else.

And if it isn't worth the asking price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612566)

And if it isn't worth the asking price then since there is government force behind the price, you are forced to pay more than it's worth on the open market.

Se DeBeers for an example.

So someone uses MS Office (cost $600) twice in a year (value: $5). Net loss to the economy: $595.

Re:Zero sum (3, Funny)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612824)

So, every dollar spent on software is a dollar that could have otherwise been spent on life saving surgeries for children?!?!?! If I understand the BSA's logic correctly, that would mean that the BSA is murdering thousands of children a year!!!! Won't someone think of the children????

And where does that dollar magically come from? (4, Interesting)

Palestrina (715471) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612112)

It comes from reduced spending someplace else? Or increasing consumer or business debt, right?

This is an old, old economic fallacy. I tried to debunk it once in a blog post: "Broken Windows and the Ghost of Keynes" [robweir.com] but you can't kill the undead.

suprise! (1)

genican1 (1150855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612140)

Greedy bastards want more! News at 11.

not to promote piracy, but... (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612168)

If you were to increase software sales by 10% for an equal reduction in piracy, you would be causing billions of dollars of HARM to the economy because those former pirates would experience no increase in value in the software they have and now have fewer resources to spend elsewhere.

Piracy does cause some harm to the software/entertainment industry, but it does so by enriching the greater economy by creating a net gain in value when you consider the big picture.

Their argument is fundamentally flawed in ways far beyond the fact that they are making up random numbers.

Re:not to promote piracy, but... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612784)

Well, I suppose as long as you aren't in the business of producing software this is a great argument.

I'd say the argument also applies to houses. Currently in the US there is a surplus of houses, so many that cities are bulldozing them to prevent their use by squatters, gangbangers and drug dealers. Also, we just had a huge crisis because the bond rating people decided to ignore reality and rate bonds AAA no matter what. The result was a huge influx of money into the housing market which has now disappeared. So how about if we fix this by just declaring houses to be free now? There are plenty to go around and this would eliminate any sort of "mortgage crisis".

This would then free up money for other things that are more important to the economy than a bunch of old dusty houses.

A somewhat more practical idea would be to just make cars free. There are hundreds of thousands of people that get paid to make cars in the US and in the current economy they are in jeopardy of losing their jobs because there are so few cars being sold. How about if we just give them away? Then there would be full employment for people making and servicing cars and it would free up some money for buying other stuff.

Sounds pretty practical to me. Maybe the government should step in and pay software developers so piracy can continue and while they are at it pay for all the cars that are made so they can be free as well.

Another way to look at it would be (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612208)

The money that teh evil pirates have stopped from reaching the bonuses of software company executives has instead been spent supporting thousands of real jobs. Or orphans. Or whatever, since these are these figures are being pulled out of someone's ass.

History repeats (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612240)

And for the next twenty years, we'll be seeing this study cited as fact in Government position papers, other MPAA/RIAA/BSA "studies," Congressional testimony, treaty discussions, etc.

Where the jobs are. (4, Interesting)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612264)

Unfortunately, the new jobs will not be in product development, but rather in legal prosecution and defense, as companies spend more time hunting "pirates" with very little result per dollar spent, then are sued themselves by companies using the same tools they use to attack others.

Oh, and the law teams will almost certainly end up costing far more per 'employee' than developers.

The BSA is what you get when lawyers see how this cycle works, and band together to accelerate the process, while maximizing leverage against companies to keep the cycle going. It's like a union, without the meager shared humility of strenuous work to justify the pride involved - it's all union bosses playing with money here.

Ryan Fenton

what about the CAL BS that they some time push on (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612418)

what about the CAL BS that they some time push on you as well needing all kinds of documents and being very picky about what one you need.

If the dollar is saved (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612306)

If the dollar is saved, so the business already created over 6,000 new jobs and generated billions in GDP and tax revenue. Each dollar saved will be spend or do they think they are burning the saved money? The BSA and RIAA/MPAA/GEMA really thinks that the money not spend on licenses or music is just wasted.

Business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612394)

Not that I give a shit about software piracy, business or otherwise, but any business that can't afford the software required to operate, can't afford to be in business.

Why not steal the hardware and buy the software instead? Would that be ok?

Re:Business (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612814)

Then someone else would be deprived of real goods. In the case of software they are only infringing on a government granted monopoly, this is bad but not as bad as real theft.

They should switch to software they could afford though.

What the industry refuses to admit (3, Informative)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612412)

Most pirates would not bother buying the software they get for free if they were forced to either buy it or go without. So reducing piracy would not increase legitimate sales, or only marginally at best.

Re:What the industry refuses to admit (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612512)

The problem is that mostly what BSA is concerned with is piracy in businesses.

A business that is using a pirate version of Microsoft Word would very likely continue to use Microsoft Word no matter what, even if it cost something. Same goes for most things that are really useful in a business environment.

Photoshop is somewhat questionable - there are a lot of people that download it because it is there and free. If they had to pay their modest requirements might actually be fulfilled with Paint.

Now, the pirate version of software to rip CDs is probably not so valuable, but the BSA doesn't track that sort of thing.

Re:What the industry refuses to admit (2, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612558)

A business that is using a pirate version of Microsoft Word would very likely continue to use Microsoft Word no matter what, even if it cost something. Same goes for most things that are really useful in a business environment.

With free options available like OpenOffice, even that assumption has to be put in question.

BSA huh? (0, Offtopic)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612470)

Let's see. BSA sometimes means Birmingham Small Arms or refers to a motorcycle with unique electrical issues or means the Boy Scouts of America. So will they hold three fingers in the air and take an oath that that opinion is genuine?

6000 new jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612496)

It will create 6000 new jobs in India, oh boy that sounds so fantastic.

another corporation caught lying ...oh my goodness (2, Funny)

fkx (453233) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612504)

another corporation caught lying ...oh my goodness.

let the bailouts begin anew.

Seriously, does anyone still believe anything self serving corporations say anymore?

It ought to be a reality show theme.

Even more disturbing (2, Insightful)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612530)

What's even more disturbing is that this along with anti-piracy of music and movies is being touted by many as a significant part of the cure to the poor US economy. We also have similar attempts by the broadband providers claiming net neutrality will cost jobs. Verizon has already stopped their Fios rollout in the US regardless of the net neutrality outcome. It's a total joke how every industry that wants some government concession or intervention uses "loss of jobs" as their primary tactic.

A devil's game (4, Insightful)

xkr (786629) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612540)

Economics is tricky. I worked closely with one of the two largest software companies in the world on the issue of piracy.
  • Most non-paying users of software would NOT purchase the product if a free version is unavailable.
  • Non-paying customers are getting free training and free market share development. Consider, if you will, comparison to the porn model. You give away 95% for free so that when and if someone decides (business: "needs") to upgrade to supported product they will chose yours over a competitors.
  • If you take away money from a business (charge for a previously free service) you are adding ZERO to the overall economy, because the business has to cut back somewhere else.
  • If ENOUGH people start paying, who weren't then the developer has more money to improve the product, which improves the productivity of ALL the users (paying or not) and that DOES add to the overall productivity and this improves the economy.

Conclusion: YES, you want people to pay for software they use but (IMHO) measuring the economic impact is a devil's game. At best.

ma83 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33612660)

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...reduction would create over 6,000 new jobs,,, (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612760)

...In India.

But it would benefit the open source community immensely so you just *go* BSA. Prosecute away. OpenOffice needed that boost. Linux too.

Down with All Software Taxes! (2, Interesting)

rothstei (1357055) | more than 4 years ago | (#33612778)

All I hear is how taxes hurt the economy, by taking money away from small businesses, so they have to lay off workers.

So, equivalently, the software industry should stop taxing all the other businesses by charging them money at all, and give away software for free. That way, 100% of the money companies spend on software would go towards creating jobs!

Stop taxing us, software companies! Clearly you hate small businesses and the American worker!

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