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BSA 2010 Piracy Report: $58.8 Billion

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the is-see-what-you-did-there dept.

Piracy 361

Glyn Moody writes "The annual BSA report on software piracy is out, with even bigger numbers: 'The commercial value of software piracy grew 14 percent globally last year to a record total of $58.8 billion.' Yes, they're using the old 'commercial value' trick: 'The commercial value of pirated software is the value of unlicensed software installed in a given year, as if it had been sold in the market.' Except, of course, that the main reason users in developing countries — the main focus of the report — resort to piracy is because they can't afford Western-style pricing. It's also fun to see the BSA trotting out the old 'reducing piracy would generate lots of new jobs and taxes for local governments' — except that it doesn't, because the money not paid for software licences does not disappear, but is just spent elsewhere in the local economy."

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reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (4)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105200)

Getting rid of the BSA would do wonders for local economies around the globe. If we didn't have this grandstanding of false piracy people could get on with their lives instead of watching as government lobbied by the BSA bends over for them and does their bidding, going directly against the desires of their constituents.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (-1, Troll)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105260)

The BSA isn't right, nor is it wrong. I might understand stealing a loaf of bread because you're hungry, *might*, but stealing software because you can't afford it doesn't fly with me. Nor does misrepresenting facts and figures to confuse and obfuscate public policy, ala "lobbying", fly with me either. 2.5 cents.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (5, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105304)

confuse and obfuscate public policy

You talk of "stealing" software... seems their obfuscation is working.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105348)

Well Said. Wish I had mod points.

Why it is stealing (-1, Troll)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105782)

One of the definitions of stealing is:

to appropriate (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment.

When you acquire software without following the legal route, you're doing so without "right or acknowledgment."

There is no obfuscation here from the BSA on the simple fact that copyright infringement is a class of theft. The real obfuscation comes from the fact that they use faulty data to make a basis for creating unconscionable contracts or the perception that a user is in a contractual relationship with them (which is not true in many areas since EULAs don't care force of law in most jurisdictions).

Re:Why it is stealing (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105924)

That's a relatively new definition, and it shows that the BSA brainwashing is working. Remember, dictionaries don't dictate meaning, they catalog how words are being used.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (3, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105328)

Copying isn't stealing. Theft is not copyright infringement from a legal point of view either so the law agrees with me on this one.

Would you consider it wrong to replicate a loaf of bread?

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (2)

JambisJubilee (784493) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105336)

Sorry, pirating software is not stealing software. The premise behind calling it "stealing" is that, if you did not pirate the software, you would have paid for it. That is so demonstrably false I don't know where you're coming from. I know a guy who has both software he purchased legitimately (Portal 2, Minecraft) and software he has pirated (Adobe CS, Comsol). It's obvious that no sales were lost in any of the pirated cases.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1, Insightful)

gonk (20202) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105450)

Wow. People can justify anything, I guess. He is using someone's work without their permission, period, end of story. I don't care what you call it, it is morally wrong and it is illegal.

robert

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105506)

>>>He is using someone's work without their permission, period, end of story. I don't care what you call it, it is morally wrong

So?
I bet you sped in your car to work this morning (driving 65 in a 55 zone)(or 70+ in a 65 zone), and not only is that morally wrong, but also deadly to other people. ""Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105514)

Well, then I suggest we call it rape or murder from now on!

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (3, Funny)

rjmx (233228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105616)

Can we have an equivalent to Godwin's Law so that, as soon as someone says "end of story", they automatically lose the argument?

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105920)

I thought that was implied.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

Batmunk2000 (1878016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105858)

The BSA is a pretty corrupt and messed up organization... but the radical opposite viewpoint is absurd. There needs to be reasonable protection for the works of our brains. There MUST be some form of digital ownership laws. The radical arguments presented here mean that Facebook has every right to sell personal information of their customers because simply because they have copies of it.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105862)

Hear hear, now we need to apply this logic to the US Government so we can all prosper, though their theft is much different but the scale of which is mind bottling.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105502)

Well I guess we should all just go to your place of work and 'pirate' whatever it is you do for a living. Yar!!!

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105436)

When you steal, you're depriving someone of the thing you steal.

Copying something doesn't deprive the original owner of it. Unauthorised copying is only illegal because our forefathers believed publishers needed a time-limited monopoly on artistic and literary works in order to publish them (and also because of the political maneuvering of said publishers). If that assumption is mostly wrong, there's no reason to restrict copying.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105472)

When one side is right, and the other is wrong, "half wrong" is not a reasonable stance to take.

It's not stealing.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

CreepingDeath (17019) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105526)

Please; clearly explain to me how (making an example up here) that me downloading Adobe FooBar from a bit torrent network costs Adobe anything? I (as a hypothetical student here) cannot afford FooBar, so I there is no chance of me buying a copy.

Basically, if copying is stealing then me taking a PHOTO of you is stealing you.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105762)

While I'm on your side here, it should be more like you CLONING the parent, taking photograph does not give you a copy which does everything the original can do. But I feel that copyrights and patents are in effect for too long. With rapidly changing tech, even 10 years is too long. There must be a clause that once you copyright a product you must open source it (or its equivalent) at the end of the copyright term, and renewals should not happen.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105542)

stealing software because you can't afford it doesn't fly with me. .

That bird won't fly because you are misunderstanding what piracy is. It seems that you have inadvertently drank the BSA's Kool-aid. When something is pirated nothing is lost or stolen, no one is deprived of anything. Instead of comparing piracy to stealing a stereo compare it to sneaking a peak at the bearded lady through a hole in her tent: she hasn't lost anything and you probably weren't going to pay anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I don't support piracy. In fact I go out of my way to support the content producers: I only buy new games and movies, I don't rent or buy used. I buy tickets to support bands and when I can't attend a concert I buy their merchandise (I don't by CDs but I don't download music either). Demonizing piracy into something worse than it actually is is just pandering to anti consumer organizations such as the BSA.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

bigbird (40392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105676)

You made the mistake of using the term "stealing" instead of "infringing copyright". Those on slashdot who have probably never written a line of code in their life will latch on to this like ticks, and avoid the real issue - that infringing copyright costs software developers money. The BSA may exaggerate the amounts, many infringers may not have bought the software if they had to pay, but some sales and some income is undoubtably lost.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105812)

No kidding, I stirred the hornets’ nest. Well I can play that smart guy game. So 'pirating' isn't stealing because it's really 'copying' and idea which doesn't exist. Well the chemicals in my brain I real, and the ideas they create are used to create real things.

So how about all these smart guys show what they’ve created. I'll start [uspto.gov] . As you can see, this 'not real' idea is used in the very real automotive industry, and generates very real millions for my former employer. It's kind of nice to own a car that doesn't rust quite as fast as it might have otherwise... but what the heck, it's just an idea. Nobody should have paid me anything.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105820)

Citation necessary. The marginal cost of copies after the first is precisely zero for software. Same goes for digital music and photos. Infringement costs developers money the same way that refusing to buy the product costs them money. Which is to say that it doesn't cost them any money because it was never money they would have gotten in the first place. More often than not it's money that doesn't even exist.

You can't say that some sales and income were undoubtedly lost without some sort of citation or evidence that it's the case. You assume that, in the absence of piracy, that some of those people would have purchased, but there's no basis for the assumption beyond the notion that somebody likely would have paid. Maybe somebody would or maybe somebody wouldn't have, but it's completely speculative as we don't know what would have happened.

OTOH if you're spending resources on support that would be completely different.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105848)

>>>some sales and some income is undoubtably lost.

Yes but only a few million, not billions.

Thomas Jefferson considered freedom from copyright and patent lawsand other monopolies to be of similar importance to freedom of speech, religion, and the press. He repeated this view in his letter to Madison dated July 31, 1788:

          "I sincerely rejoice at the acceptance of our
          new constitution by nine states. It is a good
          canvas, on which some strokes only want
          re-touching...it is better to establish trials by jury,
          the right of Habeas corpus, freedom of the press
          and freedom of religion in all cases, and to abolish
          standing armies in time of peace, and monopolies, in
          all cases, than not to do it in any... The saying
          there shall be no monopolies lessens the incitements
          to ingenuity, which is spurred on by the hope of a
          monopoly for a limited time, as of 14 years; but the
          benefit even of limited monopolies is too doubtful to
          be opposed to that of their general suppression."

i.e. He was against the copyright monopoly. He said that Ideas, like fire, can be shared without diminishing the value to the originator, and appears to be designed by Nature for the mutual benefit of all humanity. Personally I don't mind a LIMITED monopoly, in the same sense that the Power Company is limited, but the present 100+ year terms is just nuts. If an author or company can not make profit during the first 14 years of the new book, song, or program's creation, then tough shit for them.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (2, Interesting)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105936)

Tomas Jefferson also owned slaves, and thought the wealth of America was in its agriculture and not its manufacturing. I know a bit of history too.

Obviously if you think it's justified to take another person's work without paying for what that person wants for it, you've never written a line of code or had an original thought in your life. Nothing is stopping anyone from making their own Photoshop and giving it away to the world for free. It's called GIMP.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105694)

>>>The BSA isn't right, nor is it wrong. I might understand stealing a loaf of bread because you're hungry, *might*, but stealing software because you can't afford it doesn't fly with me
>>>

How about stealing software because it's worthless trash? Like the Limewire I pirated, discovered it was junk, and erased it. Saved myself ~$80 (versus my niece who foolishly bought it legally).

Same with movies/songs. I've saved tons of cash by NOT buying shitty crap like Transformers 2, Spiderman 3, Linkin Park, and so on. At one time, preinternet, I used to throw-away money on cassettes but now I can "try before I buy".

We as consumers have a RIGHT to return shoddy shit to the manufacturer, and if we're not allowed to do that, then we have a right to sample the product before purchase (just like you can testdrive a car before getting screwed by GM, Ford, VW, etc).

BTW it's not a loss if the customer had zero intent of buying your product. Walmart didn't "lose" 100 billion last year, because some of their customers walked-out the door without buying anything. (Although I bet walmart would love to claim that they did "lose" that money.) Stop falling for marketing bullshit. Stop being gullible.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (1)

memyselfandeye (1849868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105872)

Just because it's not a loss doesn't me you have the right to it. That's like saying "Hey, he wasn't using that car, so why does he care that I stole it."

All I'm saying is that the BSA misrepresents the monetary losses by claiming pirated software is a lost sale. But that does not make it right to steal.

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (4, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105374)

Actually, it could be argued that FULL cooperation with the BSA would generate the most local jobs, as companies would then be forced to shift to open source to avoid the expense and hassle of complying with proprietary licensing.

Let's be honest - if it became impossible to run pirated versions of MS-Windows and MS-Office tomorrow, this would be the year of the linux desktop, and any money that would have been spent on licensing could be spent locally instead, on deploying open solutions, training, and customizing.

So, if you really want to support open source and your local economy, report software piracy today!

Re:reducing the BSA would generate the most jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105688)

I want to spread free software and encourage its use as much as anyone else, but doing something I find morally sickening such as reporting software "piracy" is not the right way to go about it. Free software is about your ability to share the software, if you attack people for doing exactly that - sharing the software, you're doing free software no good service.

$58.8 billion? (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105212)

Man, I am WAY behind. Everyone needs to pitch in and do their part.

Re:$58.8 billion? (1)

duguk (589689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105564)

Man, I am WAY behind. Everyone needs to pitch in and do their part.

I've paid my $8.77 - have you?

Re:$58.8 billion? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105842)

The GP is right, and for my part I haven't pirated enough software either. We all need to do our part. I for one do not want to be cowed by those thuggish oafs.

Re:$58.8 billion? (1)

batquux (323697) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105662)

$58.8 billion means that only one person downloaded a pirated copy of anything in 2010.

Tell a lie often enough... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105224)

...and it becomes truth, especially when you use the media to squelch the real truth.

Excellent plan! (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105252)

If everyone starts downloading ten times as much software as they can use, we'll have bankrupted the entire industry in a year!

Broken Window Fallacy (2)

rlp122 (1204980) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105254)

Good to see the old Broken Window Fallacy is still alive and well.

Broken Window Fallacy Fallacy (3, Insightful)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105446)

Bastiat himself, apply the parable of the broken window in a different way. Suppose it was discovered that the little boy was actually hired by the glazier, and paid a franc for every window he broke. Suddenly the same act would be regarded as theft: the glazier was breaking windows in order to force people to hire his services. Yet the facts observed by the onlookers remain true: the glazier benefits from the business at the expense of the baker, the cobbler, and so on. Bastiat argues that people actually do endorse activities which are morally equivalent to the glazier hiring a boy to break windows for him: Whence we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: "Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;" and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end—To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, "destruction is not profit." What will you say, Moniteur Industriel[5]—what will you say, disciples of good M. F. Chamans, who has calculated with so much precision how much trade would gain by the burning of Paris, from the number of houses it would be necessary to rebuild?

Re:Broken Window Fallacy (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105576)

>>>Broken Window Fallacy

Cash for Clunkers comes to mind.

As another poster remarks, imagine if the Boy was PAID by the glazier to go-round breaking perfectly functional windows? The glazier would be a vandalist and thief.

That is, in essence, what Congress is guilty of doing. I watched on my evening news as perfectly-good, rust-free, and less than 10 year old cars were crushed. For what purpose? To make GM and the bankers slightly richer.

FACTS (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105264)

if i have 1000$ and dont spend it on holly fuck that money dont disappear to no one.....it goes to johnny the shoe maker, and kraft dinner makers of fine cheap food. ITS all a tax on life these days, so get it how ya can fuck em all. THEY wold screw there own mothers in a heart beat for a buck and often do. SO you might as well join the darkside and get the fuck to it.

Re:FACTS (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105582)

That $1000 is a stand in for work. In an economy full of theft you have high unemployment. Or high underemployment. Instead of $1000 you earned writing software for your local market you have $5 selling imported shoes.

Quit making excuses (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105280)

resort to piracy is because they can't afford Western-style pricing.

So that legitimizes taking someone else's work and not compensating them for it, right? Because the world runs on dreams and kindness and everything should just be given away.

Guess what, someone, usually dozens or hundreds of people, worked to produce the software and they want to be paid for their work. Just because you don't think the price is justified doesn't entitle you to take their work and not compensate them.

And yes, I'm using the word entitled because that is the overwhelming opinion on this site and others that people are somehow entitled to take something which isn't theirs and not have to pay a dime for it.

Maybe you think it's funny or sticking it to the man, but you wouldn't be laughing if it was your stuff being taken and you didn't get paid for it.

And don't bother bringing up how software isn't "real" goods or services. That the cost to produce it is negligible. There are still ongoing costs associated with producing and distributing the software, even via downloads. Or do you think the servers are running on puppy farts?

While the BSA numbers are certainly overstated, the fact remains people are stealing someone else's work and trying to justify that theft by claiming, "But they live in a poor country and can't afford it so it's ok to steal" is bullshit.

You want to code and give your stuff away, that's fine. It's your stuff. Don't try claiming what you think should be done with your stuff applies to someone else's stuff.

Re:Quit making excuses (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105332)

[...]distributing the software, even via downloads. Or do you think the servers are running on puppy farts?

Uh, if people pirate software wouldn't that mean that they're not straining the producer's servers?

Re:Quit making excuses (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105416)

You want to code and give your stuff away, that's fine. It's your stuff. Don't try claiming what you think should be done with your stuff applies to someone else's stuff.

The Encylopaedia Nobullshitica defines "Stuff" as "that which has mass and takes up space". And therein lies the problem with your whole blathering bullshit rant. No matter how you slice it, people who can't afford your software not paying for your software is not a lost sale, and that is the statement you are arguing against, as the summary does not make any statements about whether these people are entitled to this software or not.

Come down off your fucking soapbox. We need the space to flame the next fool slashbot.

Re:Quit making excuses (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105418)

Hey douche bag, RTFA:

"The very reason that people pirate software in developing countries - the main focus of the BSA report - is that they cannot afford Western-level prices. So there is no way that pirated software could ever be converted to sales at those prices - it is economically impossible. Using it as a measure is pure fantasy.

A more sophisticated study would attempt to establish at what price people would actually choose to buy from dealers rather than other sources: then that could be used to calculate a realistic estimate of how much revenue is lost in developing countries."

That's the point moron: Piracy exists because products have been priced out of the market. The market has spoken and it has decided to not pay high prices.

Ass-hole.

Re:Quit making excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105490)

It sounds like you're trying to apply the concept of an idealistic world to the world we live in. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Yes, in an ideal world everyone gets along and the developers always get compensated. But in reality, that's not possible. What is $10 for us may be a week's salary in a lot of places. It has been shown that the main cause of piracy is the failure of the copyright holder to licence their works at a price reasonable to the target market. You know what - I bet you that a lot of those people who pirate stuff and actually use it (as opposed to pirate stuff and simply hoard it) would actually consider buying the product if they could afford it.

The real problem here is the inability for copyright holders to understand that other people aren't as rich as they are. The other problem is that they're being greedy and trying to price gouge consumers. Basically, it boils down to this: if they really want to try and combat piracy, spending $x million on litigation and lobbying won't help them in the long run. They need to take a step back and look at their pricing model and bring it in line with what is considered reasonable. Piracy is the consumer's way of saying their prices aren't reasonable. As for the people that would pirate anyway and would never buy the product - there's no lost sale there, so no lost revenue as compared to if the software was never pirated.

And no, of course I don't condone piracy. I just think that people need to look at the big picture and realise what's really going on here before they start judging others.

Re:Quit making excuses (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105894)

What is $10 for us may be a week's salary in a lot of places. It has been shown that the main cause of piracy is the failure of the copyright holder to licence their works at a price reasonable to the target market. You know what - I bet you that a lot of those people who pirate stuff and actually use it (as opposed to pirate stuff and simply hoard it) would actually consider buying the product if they could afford it.

What you say is all true. But the fact remains that people are not entitled to software. Copyright holders have the right to charge exorbitant rates to everyone (and suffer the consequent low sales); copyright holders have the right to charge low rates; and copyright holders have the right to charge exorbitant rates to those who can pay for them and low rates to those who can't. But it is the choice of the copyright holder. Just because something would be useful to you doesn't mean that you can have it at the price you're able to pay.

Re:Quit making excuses (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105578)

And don't bother bringing up how software isn't "real" goods or services. That the cost to produce it is negligible. There are still ongoing costs associated with producing and distributing the software, even via downloads. Or do you think the servers are running on puppy farts?

That's why it's better to release your software on BitTorrent. The customer takes care of the distribution themselves.

For products which are funded by advertising, like TV shows, this makes even more sense. The networks are already giving away TV shows for free over the airwaves; releasing them on BitTorrent is just more efficient.

Re:Quit making excuses (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105892)

For products which are funded by advertising, like TV shows, this makes even more sense. The networks are already giving away TV shows for free over the airwaves; releasing them on BitTorrent is just more efficient.

I don't understand: if the product is funded by advertising, how are the networks going to get paid if they release it on BitTorrent?

Re:Quit making excuses (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105596)

resort to piracy is because they can't afford Western-style pricing.

Guess what, someone, usually dozens or hundreds of people, worked to produce the software and they want to be paid for their work. Just because you don't think the price is justified doesn't entitle you to take their work and not compensate them.

And yes, I'm using the word entitled because that is the overwhelming opinion on this site and others that people are somehow entitled to take something which isn't theirs and not have to pay a dime for it.

What you're getting at is exactly what bothers me. The reasoning of lots of people seems to be "I want something; therefore I am entitled to it." It's a child's argument. The worst thing about this position, though, is that it helps to prevent having an honest-to-God, adult, discussion about the whole situation. I personally believe that current copyright laws are—less than optimal, let us say. But it's hard to have a rational conversation about an issue when one side's position is that there shouldn't even be an issue.

While the BSA numbers are certainly overstated, the fact remains people are stealing someone else's work and trying to justify that theft by claiming, "But they live in a poor country and can't afford it so it's ok to steal" is bullshit.

I think we'll all benefit from calling a spade a spade: copyright infringement is not theft. That it is not theft does not mean that it's right—copyright infringement breaks the social contract between persons also, just in a different way from theft. It's possible to steal a copyrighted work, I guess (by, say, running out of Walmart with the box in your hand), but I'd guess that's the exception rather than the rule.

Re:Quit making excuses (2, Insightful)

JackDW (904211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105618)

I cannot help it that my pictures do not sell. Nevertheless the time will come when people will see that they are worth more than the price of the paint.

-- Vincent Van Gogh, 1888

Van Gogh's famous prediction was correct, if somewhat arrogant, since his pictures became extremely valuable after his death.

But something has changed, and now we are told that the pictures are in fact worth much less than the cost of the materials. They are, after all, just information, and according to piracy advocates, the cost of producing the information is limited to the cost of copying it. Never mind the cost of R&D, never mind the time spent getting the artwork just right.. it's not "stuff", it's just information, and if you can copy it in a second, then that's all it's worth.

Seems like something of a backward step to me. And what's more, we all know it. We know that piracy is wrong. There is outcry at every GPL violation because someone else's work has been appropriated, and they get nothing for all the time they put into making it. If we were consistent, we'd be equally angry at every commercial licence violation, instead of making excuses.

Re:Quit making excuses (2)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105818)

You know, there are a lot of other types of "worth", not just monetary.
A pacemaker literally saves someone's life. Does that mean the price should be everything the patient has and/or can manage to cough up?

Just because someone gets a copy of something without paying the official price for it doesn't mean it's devoid of any kind of value.

Re:Quit making excuses (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105622)

Patents, monopoly, copyright, IP, all these things are made to protect the individuals, not the society. The society does not needs copyrights to function. But, in order for the individuals to have the incentive to produce something original, and to retrieve the money that they invested in it, the society invented a time limited ban of "copyright" (or copy-ban?). With just a few words, the copyright thing is just a compromise between the society and the individuals. Noting more. There is no stealing, theft, or whatever nasty words you have in your mind. And when one of the party abuses this contract, then guess what happens?

Re:Quit making excuses (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105758)

I think that if you want to charge for information that is fine. But you have no right to restrict my use of the information after the sale, to do so infringes my 1st amendment constitutional rights which state that congress shall make no law against my freedom of speech.

The fallacy of the "information owner" idea is that you have actually created something unique, and of your own mind. Without society, your mind would not exist. The form and structure of the information, the words, concepts, frameworks, languages that all of our information, written or electronic, that exists in our culture helped to shape your very mind, and the insubstantial collection and arrangement of such cultural items should not be allowed to be owned by anyone (attributed, perhaps, but not owned).

For example, I created a spoken & written language based on a 16 character alphabet such that words and phases could be easily interpreted by a machine as well as a human, in fact, The concepts of spacial dimensions (0 - 3), time, energy transfer, motion are the building blocks of the language such that even an Alien could understand and use the language with a bit of study.

Everything in that language I invented myself, and as such the language and books produced in the language have no worth outside of the culture that understands and uses those works... (Note: I was still not able to escape the influence of own culture -- I had to borrow the concept of the written word, and simple physics, and even puns!).

The culture gives your informational work merit, we prosper as a species BECAUSE WE CAN EXCHANGE IDEAS. It is evil to contribute a very small amount of work in relation to the culture's total information collection, and then discriminate against who can use the information afterwards.

You are free to share or not share your contributions with whomever you please and to require an exchange of some sort prior to sharing, but you do not have the moral right to restrict what they do with the information you share. Currently you have the legal right to seek monetary penalties for those who do not respect your restrictive wishes, this was not always the case. In fact, I posit that were this the case we would still be living in the Dark Ages at best, but most probably the Stone Age -- surely not the Information Age.

Copyright law was designed to benefit the society as a whole. The US Constitution states the purpose of copyright is to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” Our highest court (The Supreme Court) has upheld this constitutional premise: “The sole interest of the United States and the primary object in conferring the [copyright] monopoly lie in the general benefits derived by the public from the labors of authors.”

When the general public is harmed by copyright law, infringing upon the society's 1st amendment rights, and basic human drive to share information (which allowed the very creation of the works, society and laws) it no longer serves its purpose, and it is your duty as a thinking social being to reject the unjust uses of such a law.

stealing (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105282)

Stealing software is ok by most peoples account. How would you feel if you spent 3 years writing a software so that you could feed your family and 2 weeks after you release it some one starts giving it away for free ? What you dont understand ? Ok so you spend 3 years building your house and buy all the applicances. 2 weeks after your done someone moves in and says no this is now my house and I am not paying you for all the work you have done.

Re:stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105316)

Tell me exactly how you would go about "stealing" someone's software. I'm particularly interested in the part where you deprive the coder of his software so that he can no longer use it.

Re:stealing (3, Interesting)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105498)

If I write a piece of software and it gets 100 paying users and zero pirates, I'm no better off than if I get 100 paying users and 1000 pirates. Count the paying users, not the pirates.

Re:stealing (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105570)

>If I write a piece of software and it gets 100 paying users and zero pirates, I'm no better off than if I get 100 paying users and 1000 pirates. Count the paying users, not the pirates.

If you write a piece of software and you get 100 paying customers and 1000 warez kiddies, you have 1000 future customers when they need to buy something for work.

--
BMO

Re:stealing (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105602)

True.

Re:stealing (1)

PeterKraus (1244558) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105778)

It's your problem that you built your house in Calton.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calton,_Glasgow#Social_problems)

Hell, even in developed countries (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105308)

A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it. That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money.

I'm not saying that copying doesn't result in some lost revenue. I'm quite sure that there are sales that would be made if copying was impossible, but aren't because it is. However it is not 100% of copied software, not even close.

I'd imagine the more expensive the software in question, the lower the loss overall. For a $1 phone app, sure I can believe that a significant number of people would buy it, if copying it wasn't possible. For a multi-thousand dollar software package? I bet it is extremely low. The places that can afford it don't mind and want to be legit, the people that copy can't afford it period.

This BS inflated figures don't help anyone, particularly because I think people are starting to wise up. They are realizing that if the numbers really were as big as the anti-piracy orgs want to claim, it would be a real problem.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105382)

A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it.

The student isn't the target market for that piece of software.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105530)

>The student isn't the target market for that piece of software.

Actually, yes, yes he is.

You learn it while in school and then you buy it professionally when you're working in the industry, or you get your employer to buy it.

Why the fuck do you think that Autocad has the market share that it has? It's certainly not superior to the other CAD packages out there. It's that everybody and his brother pirates the hell out of it when he is 14 and uses it through University and that's the only CAD package he knows.

It's the same with 3DSMax in your example.

The value of piracy is not lost on the publishers at all. If piracy was a real problem, they would use DRM from Hell (like what was used for Microsoft's "Plays for Sure" servers) and stop it forever.

It's not going to happen. Piracy is too important to the software publishing incumbents.

--
BMO

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105682)

A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it.

The student isn't the target market for that piece of software.

But the BSA isn't removing all piracy that is done by people not in the target market for a given piece of software when they calculate their numbers; they are using worst-case scenario numbers to make piracy appear as damaging as possible. The point the GP made still stands: Some piracy is committed by people that the software vendor was NEVER going to get a sale from anyway.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

moofmonkey (741160) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105856)

The student who learns .e.g 3DSMax - even though he got his software for free, is in fact expanding the base of available people who can use it, the "ecosystem" if you like, which indirectly benefits the maker. Companies choosing this software over others because of labour availability, will buy licenses. It actually makes sense for a software developer to surreptitiously allow piracy in most cases. Their real customer base won't be affected, but their market conditions will improve significantly.

Autodesk (3ds Max) is not the real victim (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105482)

You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it. That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money.

Students can get student discounts - especially if their area of education actually deals with e.g. 3D content production.

But more importantly - every time somebody downloads 3ds Max "to play with", that means they may -not- be downloading, for example, Blender to play with. Or any other free or cheap 3D graphics application.

I wish people who 'defend', or rather 'excuse', so-called pirates using whatever argument they come up with this time would use that energy to instead promote other, affordable, solutions.. as the companies/people behind those solutions are ultimately who get hurt by piracy more than the companies behind the major multi-thousand dollar pirated product.

Re:Autodesk (3ds Max) is not the real victim (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105884)

Have you seen the student rates on some of those bits of software? It's not unusual for companies to ask hundreds of dollars for the student version. Now, if they let the students use it for a couple quarters before paying, that would be one thing, but paying that kind of money without knowing if he's going to like the class is just greedy. It's great when corporations are so short sited as to gouge students because they might not have a chance to gouge them later.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105522)

And that's one more reason these students might do better if they try to use Blender instead, especially if it is for the purposes of amateur modelling.

If you told that reason to someone who is still buying BSA's bullshit, they'll just go strawman and tell you the student should have gotten a student edition with limited features, or another cheaper software, and by "stealing" 3DSMax, he is actively competing with professionals in the field, thus decreasing the value of their work and their investments, and that you're still wrong.

Now, if more people used Blender instead, this would stimulate its development and eventually make it good enough to compete with 3DSMax and Maya in terms of capabilities and popularity. When this happens, we'll have a common tool that enables anyone to make 3D modelling like a professional, and the tool would be both free and without a burden of artificial shortage, and it will be also a tool owned by humanity, creating value for us all.

Why copy 3DSMax fuelling BSA's arguments, when you can help in the creation of something better and make 3DSMax irrelevant?

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

Vehlin (1221094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105568)

Ultimately the whole thing boils down to enforcement. If there were no consequences to me walking into a shop, picking up a laptop and walking out why would I ever pay for one? The same is true for software, if everyone could pirate software with no consequences at all then there would be no disincentive everyone not to do it. You could argue that if everyone did this then everyone would lose out as the developers would go out of business and there would be no software for anyone, however that's just an example of the tragedy of the commons.

The situation we have now is one of Risk vs Reward, if you can't afford something you could try and steal it and you might get caught, as you can't afford it your only choices are to take the risk or not have it, the willingness to take the risk vary depending on perceived need. Whereas if you can afford it, but choose to steal it so you can spend the money on something else then you are taking a bigger risk because the consequences to you are more severe, after all you can't take money away from a beggar that has none.

Back to my original point, the BSA and their ilk are there to make sure the people who DO buy the product continue to do so rather than try and cut corners. They make the big noise about lost revenue because they need those figures to make sure they can convince governments to keep the consequences harsh.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

Siener (139990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105594)

A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it. That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money.

I'm not saying that copying doesn't result in some lost revenue. I'm quite sure that there are sales that would be made if copying was impossible, but aren't because it is. However it is not 100% of copied software, not even close.

Not only is that not a lost sale, that is extremely good marketing that they're getting for free. People who get to know and like software that they pirate will probably buy that software when they can afford to or when they start using that software for business.

I still buy and use development tools that I got to know from pirating them while I was a student. Another example: As a kid I played pirated games and only pirated games. My parents would not buy them and I couldn't afford them. That made me a lifelong gamer and in the years since I started working I've spent thousands of dollars on games, consoles, etc.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105606)

A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it. That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money.

That's been the perceived argument behind a lot of the truly expensive arts-related software, like Photoshop, that has been "pirated" widely. Nobody learning a tool can afford any of them, but if that person has a free copy when the time comes that they actually need to use it for a for-profit/professional enterprise they or their company will pay for it. Same goes for a lot of Microsoft's products. Sure, pirated copied abound, but at least that means they're locked into your system. Half a loaf of bread is better than none.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105670)

"A lot of the copying of commercial software is done by people who can't afford it. You'll get students that want to play with 3DSMax or something but can't really swing the $3,500 asking price so they'll download it. That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money."

http://www.blender.org/

They can still get the free alternatives available. There's also student discount pricing available for non-free products. One way or another they don't have to steal and if their instructor requires they use a product they can't afford it usually is installed in the computer labs so all the student would have to invest is lab time.

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105882)

So you're agreeing that the parent is right: that student's copy of 3DSMax is NOT a lost sale?

Re:Hell, even in developed countries (1)

thsths (31372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105680)

> That is NOT a lost sale, if it was impossible to copy, they'd simply do without because they haven't the money.

That is the key statement: pirated copies do not equal lost sales. People who really use the software usually require support, and they will by the product and the support. Pirated copies are often just used to mess around, or to impress. So the numbers are hugely inflated.

It is a bit like calling everybody who didn't buy you product a potential customer. Yes, that may be true for some definition of potential, but there is no point in calculating the number, because it ain't gonna happy.

really? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105322)

FTFA
1) Determine how much PC software was deployed during the year.
2) Determine how much was paid for or otherwise legally acquired during the year.
3) Subtract one from the other to get the amount of unlicensed software.

Who hear makes and sells software and or hardware?
Did they ask you?

Re:really? (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105524)

Nah, I'm sure it's much more scientific than that. You need to make an advanced formula that takes into account the substitution rate, the market segmentation, and the regression towards the mean, prove it works given some reasonableassumption, and finally apply it to the numbers you pulled out of a hat.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105948)

Dont forget that the figures in 1) are based on the full retail price. Even if there was no piracy there would still be a difference because of discounts
on most software sold.

The truth is, you're a liar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105388)

The truth is that most people just don't want to pay for the products. People will spend $$$ on hardware, such as I-Pad, I-Pod, tablets, cell phones, game stations only because they can't steal it and get it for free. If these devices were as easy to steal the sales would drop along with revenue.

The truth is that people rationalize their own excuses for theft by blaming "the other person", who for various reasons is justified. Therefore, I won't feel bad when I steal.

As for creating jobs and bringing in tax revenues, look at it from the opposite view that the lose of jobs and lose of tax revenues from the lack of sales of the products because of theft would be lessened. As for the amount, we'll always disagree. Those that are thieves will cry the loudest as they are so angered at being called out.

The pain and anger that that they feel in their heart is the difference between the truth, and what they want the truth to be.

Re:The truth is, you're a liar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105464)

So true. Who wants to pay $499 for a tablet PC, $500 for a phone, another $299 for a PS3, and then have money to buy the important things like, food, room and board? And beer...

Re:The truth is, you're a liar. (1)

gonk (20202) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105474)

This about sums it up. What it tells me is that many of these folks have never produced anything in their life, much less a piece of software that people want.

robert

Boy Scouts of America... (0)

aapold (753705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105392)

I got my anti-piracy merit badge....

Software DRM knob turned to 11 (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105426)

I'd like to see Ballmer's previous threats to crank WGA and OGA to 11.

I'd love to see DRM schemes that turn computers with illegitimate copies of software into smoking heaps.

It'll never happen, though. Copyright infringement is too important to the industry incumbents to actually stop it. File sharing locks out alternatives, both commercial and free. Why pay for an alternative when you can crack the market leader for free? If the world suddenly discovered there was software besides Windows, Microsoft Office, Autocad, and Photoshop, there would be more competition.

Ending piracy would end much of the market distortion that favors the incumbents at the expense of the rest.

Do it, guys, if you have any balls.

--
BMO

Re:Software DRM knob turned to 11 (2)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105732)

I'd love to see DRM schemes that turn computers with illegitimate copies of software into smoking heaps.

If it's done by the same people who did WGA we're in for a ton of fun. Last time I checked WGA was said to have a rate of false positives somewhere in the neighborhood of 97.7%.

Buying a Naked PC? You must be a pirate! (5, Interesting)

Snorbert Xangox (10583) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105516)

A few years back, when last I looked, the BSAA (local Australian tentacle/surrogate of the BSA) were treating each PC sold as representing a certain quantity of licensed software that would be in use. They then compared this with some software license sales figures (the accuracy of which is another question), and if there were more deemed licenses in use through new PC sales than there were actual license sales, (guess what! there were!!) then that was their damning evidence that teh piratez were stealing Christmas.

This meant that some 40 staff desktops and 120 teaching laboratory computers at my workplace (a university CS department) which were bought with no OS license and installed with Debian, actually contributed to the BSAA's frothy-mouthed argument that rampant piracy was costing Australia many quality local jobs employing drones to process purchases of software produced overseas by US companies... that incidentally booked most of their profits via subsidiaries based in Ireland, thanks to its low low rate of corporate tax at that time.

So there you have it:
- I am a pirate
- my work was full of piracy
- you probably are a pirate too

because I/they/you have the temerity to buy machines with no OS to run free operating systems and free applications.

Re:Buying a Naked PC? You must be a pirate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105674)

we should all be thanking the scientists that use Linux for supercomputing... can you simply imagine what weather forecasts Windows or the BSA would give instead?
- "ten meters of snow in Spain"
- polar bears are depleting the fish in the ocean
- and so on...

Re:Buying a Naked PC? You must be a pirate! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105928)

I'd hate to hear what they think of those of us that take our OS license with us with computer upgrades. I'm still using the same one I got with a purchase back in 2004.

cost to kill innocent residents; several trillion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105532)

why not disarm? weapons, media, vaccines, weather manipulation etc.. the savings would be immediate & it's what life itself would prefer. thank you. thankful thursday?

It IS stealing. (0)

Singularity42 (1658297) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105556)

Those who argue otherwise are typical drug banning, gun banning, right-wing liberal gay people living in their grandma's attic.

Better idea... (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105558)

Hey BSA get THIS though your thick numbskull! Copying software isn't theft unless the thief: (A)would have paid for the software had the copy not been made available to him, or (B)sold the copies on the black market for whatever he could have got for it. In case A: your loss is ZERO if the copier would not have bought your overpriced software had he not gotten the copy. In case B: your loss is only what the illegally copied software was sold for (assuming the buyer would NOT have bought your overpriced software had the bootleg copy not been available). Case B happens mostly in Asia where you are held in the lowest regard.

So suggestion..... If you want to avoid piracy why not accept ALL offers made by would be copiers to buy your overpriced software for what THEY feel it is worth to THEM. Isn't it better to get a reduced price for your software than NOTHING? If anyone does make you such an offer they should get the same service/support from you that they would if they copy the software (IE: NONE) since that is the perceived value of overpaying for software.

I'm gonna be famous! (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105572)

I'll just copy some illegal software a million times and I will be known as the worst thief on the planet!

Re:I'm gonna be famous! (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105770)

What kind of illegal software are you copying? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh, you're making illegal copies of legal software. Never mind.

How do They Know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105690)

I hear what poster says about counting the number of unlicensed installs, I just don't know how BSA might think they are counting them.

BSA (3, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105708)

There is absolutely no corollation between software piracy and jobs. While lesser minds will easily be fooled into this argument, those who are more intelligent will see right through this. In fact, software piracy and jobs are totally unrelated which makes this "study" laughable. If anything, by vigorously enforcing copyright and licensing, there will be fewer copies of said software to support meaning fewer jobs for skilled technicians. This basically takes the BSA argument and nullifies it. As an open source advocate, I do not condone software piracy at all but these efforts to fight it are largely misguided and the dues that the software industry pays the BSA would be better spent elsewhere. An entire industry has grown up around software piracy so as much as they preach against it, the lawyers that specialize in this kind of thing depend upon it for their livelihood. This is what makes the BSA so absolutely absurd. We are seeing another rehash of the sue for windfall profits and hide behind a non-profit organizational umbrella a la RIAA and MPAA. The BSA, RIAA, and MPAA should be required by law to show their corporate incomes and make them publicly available. They are tax-exempt, their lawyers are reaping the benefits, and everyone else suffers under stifled innovation.

Boy Scouts of America? (1, Offtopic)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105738)

Considering that the WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) was able to make the World Wrestling Federation change their name, you'd think that the Boy Scouts of America could do the same to the Business Software Alliance.

A quick check of TESS at uspto.gov shows many other registrations of BSA, but I never see those. (And don't bother to tell me about scoutings, i.e. BSA's, problems. I know all about them, and despite them, scouting is still doing plenty of other good things.)

Bought software is used differently (1)

NtwoO (517588) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105804)

Often people use pirated software for personal use or the occasional tinkering. Many of these will buy a licensed copy if they use it for commercial purposes. These pirated copies contribute to the level of obsequiousness of the software and to what extent a person will advise a licensed copy to his corporation when he has experience with the software on a personal level. Many of these unlicensed copies will be replaced by a lesser capable free software alternative if push comes to shove.

Re:Bought software is used differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105898)

Many of these unlicensed copies will be replaced by a lesser capable free software alternative if push comes to shove.

Or, by more capable free software alternatives. Gotta love vim, emacs, git, hg, gcc, bash, etc., etc.

monopolys tiny problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105808)

BSA an other groups counts every non MS-software as pirate and assume they would have paid MS tax otherwise.
So, MS loses some tax income, big deal. I would say if you are forced to use MS software, it is only justice to be able to avoid the taxes.

colonialism 2.0 (1)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105868)

First round of colonies gave us resources and free labour to develop our societies and tech.
Second round, the colonies have moved to the IP world which is owned completely by the west due to the advantage from the first round.

While I dont think theres any point backdating morality, things were different during the first looting, theres no excuse for the 2. except might is right.

Question about the BSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105904)

As I understand it, if the BSA sues you, you have to pay for the BSA's legal expenses - whether you are guilty or not.

Is that true? And, if so, how does the BSA get away with that?

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