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P2P Networks Blamed For Software Losses Doubling

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the all-that-imaginary-money dept.

Businesses 786

L1TH10N writes "CNET News is reporting that software manufacturers have doubled their losses to $29 billion dollars, according to a BSA survey, which is blaming P2P networks for their misfortune. Seems a little too far-fetched to me - a P2P network would be the last place where I would download software, just too much chance that you are downloading a trojan onto your computer. Me thinks the Business Software Alliance are jumping on the bandwagon and vilifying P2P networks just as the Senate is taking aim at P2P providers."

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Newsgroups (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638264)

I download the most software from Usenet, not that I condone that sort of activity! :)

In newsgroups you have many people downloading a single copy of the file, and a method of feedback on the post. You will see people post replies if they find the program infected with a virus, or discover a trojan horse. The feedback makes newsgroups safer than P2P downloads.

Re:Newsgroups (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638339)

With EDonkey/Emule, you can leave comments on the files you share. Files with a negative comment are flagged in other clients. There are also many ways to search for fakes.

The emule users are really community-based. Many files are released in forums by people you can trust a lot more than the regular Joe Kazaa user.

Re:Newsgroups (4, Funny)

xp (146294) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638410)

Interesting that software is being used to steal software. How long before people start stealing this software stealing software?
How to Create a Killer App []

Re:Newsgroups (3, Funny)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638437)

How long before people start stealing this software stealing software?

In 5-4-3-2....

Re:Newsgroups (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638442)

People already steal software stealing software. Its called Kazaa-lite and it can be downloaded from Kazaa. Kazaa-lite: software that lets a user steal service from the Kazaa network, which is then used to steal other software software. Isn't technology fun?

Actress Emma Watson, 1990-2004 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638265)

Emma Watson was killed in a car wreck today in Oxfordshire, England. Her recent film credits includes
the character Hermione Granger in highly successful the "Harry Potter" movies. She was 14 years old.

Re:Actress Emma Watson, 1990-2004 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638282)

oooooooooohhhhh noooooooooooo POOR EMMA

Re:Actress Emma Watson, 1990-2004 (-1, Offtopic)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638302)

This guy [] is bound to be disappointed...

Ps (5, Insightful)

xOleanderx (794187) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638267)

It seems like everyone has a copy of Adobe Photoshop these days... Im fairly certain that not even 1/4th of them actually bought this software.

Re:Ps (3, Insightful)

ln -sf head ass (585724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638294)

And not more than 1/4 of them ever will. The other 3/4 wouldn't buy it if they couldn't get it free. This, despite whiny software industry protestations to the contrary, does not constitute lost revenues. But it makes good copy. Me, I hope they get their way--locked down DRM so their stuff can't be copied, with the death penalty for violators. I'll bet the alternatives get a damn sight better, and GIMP eats Photoshop's lunch.

Re:Ps (4, Insightful)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638342)

I actually agree, that bullet-proof anti-piracy techniques would greatly improve the Open/Free Software Community.

If Joe User (well, I live in Mexico, so Jose Usuario) could not go down to the flea market and buy a pirated Win2K for $10, or download it for free from some Russian w4r3z site, he would be more likely to find and use gratis software.

Re:Ps (4, Insightful)

T-Ranger (10520) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638409)

Extend that argument further.

Commercial software providers make it more and more difficult to get warez. More effective copy protection, better enforment, fines, etc. You have a huge class of people (say: those who dont live in the G7) who are used to getting software for zero cost. When they no longer can get the commercial stuff for zero cost, what will they do? But it, or go with OSS? Thats what I thought....

Re:Ps (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638345)

You miss the point.

Who cares if they would never actually buy photoshop for $$$$$$$, every person who steals photoshop is one less potential customer of a competing, cheaper product. Even adobe sells an image editor for $100 or so.

Every person who steals office is one less legal user of openoffice.

Re:Ps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638440)

And taken in the limit, it's one less customer for free software.

Re:Ps (4, Interesting)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638478)

Isn't it interesting that piracy happens most in countries where one piece of software would cost more than people make in a year?

Re:Ps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638457)

I think they really need to wake up and stop treating their customers like criminals. And learn like intuit did. The funny part is I have had to resort to "pircay" (arr!) with their "one computer" liscense and activation schemes. Yet I always make companies I work for buy at least one VALID liscense for me when 90% of them want to pirate. So here I am an ADVOCUT for getting them some money yet I am forced on to the virus laden P2P sites just to use their software at home which runs extra processes on my machine and phones home every once and awhile. Notice too how the only software companies that do this have monopolies (MS, adobe, macromedia etc) I dont think that's coincedence that a lack of competition leads to this. And for me, it really feels like there is no alternative as I have made my professional career using this software. It just seems like they want to take a double dip into the cookie jar.

Article text translated for non-BSA users (5, Insightful)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638275)

Software manufacturers lost $29 billion to piracy in 2003, more than double the previous year's losses, according to an industry survey released Wednesday.
Translation: Software manufacturers CLAIM $29bn in losses due to piracy.

About 36 percent of software installations worldwide are pirated copies, the study by trade group Business Software Alliance and market researcher IDC showed. In dollar terms, the losses were greatest in Western Europe, where piracy cut revenue by $9.6 billion in 2003, followed by Asia and North America. Translation: We assume that 100% of all people running pirated software would have paid full retail had they not found it for less in some other venue.

The Business Software Alliance blamed the rapid spread of piracy on so-called peer-to-peer networks, where Internet users illegally swap software and other files such as music for free or at discounted prices. Translation: We also assume that 100% of all piracy is via peer-to-peer networks.

"Peer-to-peer file-sharing services are becoming a huge problem for us," said Jeffrey Hardee, the Business Software Alliance's Asia-Pacific director. Translation: Sure sucks to be us.

Vietnam and China had the world's highest rates, with pirated versions accounting for 92 percent of all computer software installed in each country, followed by the Ukraine with 91 percent, Indonesia at 88 percent, and Zimbabwe and Russia with 87 percent each. Translation: Places with excruciatingly low per-capita incomes, for some reason don't want to spend the equivalent of a years salary for a substantially defective product.

Hardee identified Vietnam, China, India and Thailand as Asian countries that need to step up their fight against piracy. Translation: I bet governments in these places are cheap.

"We need to see more (government) enforcement from these countries," he said. Translation: So we will buy them.

By region, about 53 percent of software applications on computers in Asia was pirated in 2003, compared with 70 percent in Eastern Europe, 63 percent in Latin America, 55 percent in the Middle East, 36 percent in Western Europe and 23 percent in North America. Translation: Poor people don't buy software.

But the dollar losses were largest in Western Europe, North America and Asia because of the sheer size of those markets and the growing use of expensive, sophisticated software in developed countries, said Hardee. Translation: Even though the first world has the lowest per-capita RATES of piracy, they still have the most people who use software.

"In the Asia-Pacific (region), the governments really do want to develop strong IT sectors. And to do that, there's no question they have to bring down the levels of piracy. This will in turn benefit the Asian economies," he said. Translation: The best way for Asian governments to improve their IT sector is to ship major amounts of capital to Poughkeepsie, Redmond and Cupertino.

Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea are making progress in the battle against piracy, Hardee said. Translation: We are pleased with our rent-to-own program with these governments.

Re:Article text translated for non-BSA users (1)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638291)

d'oh ... I hit "return" accidentally while previewing a page and it posted despite the layout errors. Forgive me, my finger slipped.

Re:Article text translated for non-BSA users (1)

ShallowThroat (667311) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638349)

It would be interesting to see how much the software industry GREW in the same time period... anyone have the stat?

Re:Article text translated for non-BSA users (1)

rd4tech (711615) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638350)

Brave people compile their own software for FREE :)

"Study" available here. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638407)

Global Software Piracy Study[sic] []

See if you can figure out the model they used to arrive at their figures.

Re:"Study" available here. (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638480)

93% of statistics are actually made up.

Why steal software? (5, Informative)

dealsites (746817) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638277)

Why steal software? Many software packages are reasonably priced, and many are offered with rebates and upgrade coupons. See more here []

On the other hand, most of the truely great apps are written for linux. They are usually feature packed, have very little security problems, etc.. Examples would be MythTV [] , Apache [] , MySQL [] , the GIMP [] , Mozilla and Firefox [] , etc... The list goes on!

Craploads of deals updating in real time from all the best deal sites. []

Re:Why steal software? (3, Insightful)

rawr90 (794826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638353)

Photoshop for 700$ seem resonable to you?

Re:Why steal software? (0, Offtopic)

dealsites (746817) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638385)

If my job depended on it, I'd fork out the money. If you are a hobbyest, use something cheaper. Adobe offers rebates on thier add on packages [] . I don't track Photoshop, but I bet they probably offer discounts and specials from time to time.

Re:Why steal software? (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638392)

Yes. That software does a lot and enables one to bill a lot for there services. It will pay for itself within a month or two at most.

Re:Why steal software? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638487)

most of the people pirating photoshop are not billing anything.

they are using it for personal use.

thats the point. $100 is therefore too expensive, for them.

adobe needs a noncommercial personal use license, no lessened features, none of that garbage, just a license for like $50, full photoshop. they would own that market, the market that currently is undervalued because those people are pirating photoshop.

Re:Why steal software? (4, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638491)

It will pay for itself within a month or two at most. ...Unless you're not doing anything revenue generating with it. I would bet that most people who use PS for their job have legal copies. Or at least less blatently illegal copies they brought home from work or something like that.

If you're just a hobbiest who occasionally uses PS, the $700 is completely unjustifiable unless you like throwing money down the toilet. (In such situations the Gimp would probably suffice and do quite well, but depends on your need.)

Or look at a 3-D modeling program. Maya, 3D Studio, etc. They are really fun to dabble with. Make a quick animation, share it with a couple friends, etc. Worth several thousand dollars? If you're doing commercial stuff with them, hell yeah! But if it's just a hobby, definitely not. (Again, Blender would probably do, but it has a bit of a way to go...)

Re:Why steal software? (4, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638375)

But a lot aren't. As much as I love the Gimp, the interface sucks in comparison to Photoshop. I have yet to see any program, free or non-free, compare to Dreamweaver. Visual Studio is the best development suite I've used. I know of no free program that does anywhere close to what Mathematica does. Or MathCAD. Or Matlab. All of these programs are ones that I use (even rely on) on occasion, but not nearly enough to justify the enormous pricetags (even for acedemic versions). I can certainly see someone pirating programs such as these. Fortunately, during the school year (when I use them the most) I'm within pretty easy reach of a computer lab with all of the above installed.

Free Software for Mathematicians (4, Interesting)

johnnyb (4816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638423)

I'm not a mathematician, so I really don't know, but does Maxima [] compare well to Mathematica and does Octave [] compare well to Matlab? I'm really curious how a side-by-side comparison of these packages looks like by those who used them.

Re:Why steal software? (4, Insightful)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638420)

I'm not advocating software piracy, but outside the basic "home/office" applications, prices for software are quite large. Examples:

Protel/DXP - PCB design & simulation: $7,995 for single user

IAR Embedded Workbench: ~$2000 (IIRC)
*yes, there are *-gcc toolchains that can be used instead.

Mathworks Matlab: $1900 Commercial Use

I would think that firms that use such software actually pay for them, and that the people who are aquiring them in less legal ways are students/hobbists/enthusists who wouldn't be able to buy the packages in the first place anyway, nor use them for commercial purposes.

Re:Why steal software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638455)

Because I'm poor.

Re:Why steal software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638460)

There is no decent:
Photo editing (I'm aware of the Gimp, I said decent)
(and many more, as the K-Tel ad says)
on Linux unless you use WINE which contrary to that groups claims does not run as fast as native windows and does not run all the software in the above categories.

You're just another clueless Linux advocate - you've got no reason for doing so other than to make everyone suffer the same as you do. Idiot!

Re:Why steal software? (3, Insightful)

DrLZRDMN (728996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638481)

because, though $30 is better than $700 its still not free "stealing" is. A while back I used a cracked version of flash MX, when I first got it I didn't know how to use it but just wanted to mess around, I learned from a friend and used it to make an animation for a school project with him. Im sure that if your a cartoon company $3000 is nothing compared to the amount of time youll save not drawing every frame, but for two highschool freshmen, its unthinkable. If, the sold it for about $50, one of us would have got it, I know that they justify there price by the fact that internet and regullar cartoon companies can make a lot of money using their product but I just wanted to make a cartoon for fun and then later for school. For a normal Joe user to pay over tripple what his computer cost for a peice of software that he may not be able to use is insane, and yes, it does make "stealing" okay.

Open Source? (0, Flamebait)

CommanderData (782739) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638283)

Could it be that some percentage of their sales are actually being lost to people who are using Open Source Software and other free (as in beer) alternatives? Nah, let's just blame P2P. Maybe we can sue our customers when they don't buy the newer versions of our software while we're at it (hey it works for the music industry)!

Damn Right (3, Funny)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638287)

"About 36 percent of software installations worldwide are pirated copies, the study by trade group Business Software Alliance and market researcher IDC showed."

And the 36% is no doubt climbing higher by the hour at the moment. I am running a "pirated" copy of Mozilla. Nor to mention the "pirated" copy of Open Office. Didn't Microsoft classify Open Source as piracy.

Re:Damn Right (1)

johnnyb (4816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638474)

I honestly think that this number is drastically underinflated. I think if the true piracy numbers were shown, it would be obvious that perhaps copying software is not the moral equivalent of boarding trade ships, raping all women on board, killing all the passengers, and stealing all the gold.

Almost every Windows user I know of has tons of software that, although they didn't get it from Warez sites, are usually installed from friends' copies. I mean, really, who actually has a legitimate copy of Windows? Even if you own a valid license for your machine, chances are your machine went belly-up, but you lost your "factory" install CD, and had to borrow a neighbor's copy of Windows XP to replace your valid one.

That's why I ditched Windows altogether. You can't be both legal and get work done. You either have to pay more money than you could ever imagine, or you have to copy software, or you have to live without. By "living without" I mean you have to live without Windows when a hardware upgrade causes your OEM "reinstall" to bork out. Or any of another myriad of problems that Microsoft and others just don't seem to have the need to help you out with.

Re:Damn Right (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638504)

Wow! You slashbots are really fucking arrogant. Not only do you seem to think its OK to pirate software, and actually make jokes about it, but you seem to actually believe any financial losses are due to the use of 5th rate open source software.

Work harder (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638293)

Personally, I download Open Source software. Warez and Crackz are great for teenagers, but I don't really have time or energy for this stuff. If an Open Source piece of software does the job, I'll use it. If only a commerical piece of software does the job, I'll buy it. Unfortuately for software makers, I'm buying less and less. Either the product has to be REALLY good, or it has to do something no other product does. e.g. My last few purchases were WMA Recorder, PalmBasket, and BudgetBook. Otherwise I use Firebird, OpenOffice, Azureus, GIMP, FileZilla, EnZip, etc.

POOR! (0)

agent61 (769270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638379)

I'm poor!!!!! I'm GLAD ALL OF YOU people have either:
a.> THe time to configure OSS
b.> The money to buy the closed source stuff

Looks like you fools have forgotten what it's like to be a high schooler or a college student. Let's not forget that most people who have any kind of experience with computers got that by learning new software. It's nice to see you still expect kids to be allowed to install linux on thier computers and then mess around with them until they can get them to work correctly. I for one learned all of my windows skills of pirated copies of Dos (Dr DOS at that!), Win3.11 / 95/ 98. And photoshop forget about it. The student version of it costs well over $100.00 at my school. WTF do i get that money from? Looks liek you guys are jsut out of touch. I expect that most people in CS have pirated.
Lastly, piracy could be a try before you by deal. (Don't tell me "fully functional" demos cripled by some mark in the output are a good alternative).
In short- You (as in you you) suck!

Re:POOR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638482)

Christ allmighty, go and get a job like the rest of us long suffering college students. How much did you spend on Beer last month?

Re:POOR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638506)

Who could of guessed you were a high school student?

Re:Work harder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638479)

> Azureus

Complete Bullshit (5, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638297)

If Joe Schmoe wasn't going to buy your software to begin with. It's not a loss whether he uses it illegally or not. These statistics are screwed up beyond all hell.

And if he really did use it illegally, consider it spreading your market share.

Re:Complete Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638485)

Thank you for your input. The FBI will be arriving at your house in one hour.

Re:Complete Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638488)

For the most part, I agree that's true for certain types of software. But I'll admit to downloading a few games over eMule (takes maybe 2 or 3 days to download an ISO) rather than spending $50 on them, simply because my thinking was "why pay for it when I can get it free."

Before I ever knew of eMule, I would buy computer games like crazy, spending maybe $50 - $100 a month... consistantly! Now I hardly ever buy them if I can find them online first, all for my $29.95 DSL connection.

And yes, I realize it is morally incorrect. :(

Re:Complete Bullshit (1)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638495)

So the question is ... do you think you would go back to 50$-100$ a month if you couldn't get them for free?

But Would They Have Bought It Otherwise? (5, Insightful)

stevemm81 (203868) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638299)

Yeah, as someone already said, everyone has Photoshop nowadays.. But would they have bought it if they couldn't get it for free?

I think this is always a weird issue with intellectual property "theft." If I steal a car that I wouldn't have bought since it's too expensive, I not only have that car, but someone else is now lacking their car. But if I "steal" a copy of Photoshop, nobody else is missing anything of their own...

Re:But Would They Have Bought It Otherwise? (1)

xOleanderx (794187) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638322)

Unless you physically steal it... LIke someones legal copy.

BSA has zero credibility... (5, Interesting)

jerkychew (80913) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638304)

BSA is the group that was mass-mailing towns a couple years ago, giving small business owners 30 days of 'amnesty' to get their licenses caught up.

Thing is, the BSA had zero proof that anybody was doing anything wrong. They just got a list of small businesses from the local town hall, and sent mass letters to everyone in the town. I got mine.

Point is, don't believe anything the BSA says or does.

Whew (5, Funny)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638308)

At least they didn't blame Open Source Software. Then they might actually be right, and we can't have that.

Re:Whew (5, Interesting)

momogasuki (790667) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638419)

I wonder how The Business Software Alliance determined that the software industry's $29 billion in losses were due to p2p networks, and not due to increased use of open source software.

I say we support the BSA in this area. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638309)

Most of the people who obtain "pirated" software just don't want to pay for it. I'm willing to bet that a significant portion of this crowd would like our free (as in beer) software.

When I say "support," I don't mean it like that... (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638344)

I mean, the BSA still sucks. That will never change.

Don't blame P2P (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638313)

Its because people are buying more free softwares.

well I use open source (1)

mAineAc (580334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638316)

I don't bother with downloading anything. Almost everything I use is open source software. I can find alternatives for everything I need and I can imagine other peolple can also. I think many of the students who used to downoad look for oss alternatives also it is easier than trying to find a crack or possibly get something with a trojan.

Re:well I use open source (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638405)

Perhaps you can offer Free suggestions to alternatives to Mathematica, Dreamweaver, and MathCAD.

This is half an honest question and half meant to say "there are a ton of programs without an OSS counterpart"

What Happens? (5, Insightful)

stang7423 (601640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638317)

So what happens when they manage to ban all forms of P2P and they are still losing money?

Who will they blame when there is no one left to blame but themselves? If they would make a product that was worth paying for, or not change more than the average person makes in a month, then they would sell a lot more. I'm not a big fan of microsoft products, but they have been smart recently with their variable pricing levels for the office products. The home user and Education users get a better price than the pro edition.

Now if I could just get Adobe CS Home edition :-)

Re:What Happens? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638468)

So what happens when they manage to ban all forms of P2P and they are still losing money?

I believe the answer you're looking for is "the terrorists." :)


Uh huh... (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638320)

The movie industry just had a billion dollar month and is whining about piracy. The software industry isn't able to continue it's double digit growth and says piracy is due to their failed projections.

Here's a hint: not a lot of people buy software as often as they used to. Old versions of MS-Office are in use around the globe, old versions of Windows itself. Hell, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". People and companies no longer pay the upgrade tax automatically. (not to mention free software and how it's doing. :))

Re:Uh huh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638336)

"piracy is the cause of their failed projections" My mistake

In other news (1)

PrvtBurrito (557287) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638330)

software manufacturers have doubled their losses to $29 billion dollars

In other news, software is more overpriced than ever before....

Lost Revenue: Formula (5, Insightful)

that_old_fool (761113) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638332)

Back in highschool, I did a project on software piracy. The old SPA website provided this formula for revenue lost: (software installed - software shipped)*price of software = revenue lost At first glance this *sounds* ok, but under further scrutiny, does not. An important factor to consider is that many users install pirated software not because they *need* it, but because it's *free*. How many people have Photoshop installed? Yet, how many of those people would have gone out and bought it if they couldn't download it from some bittorrent site? The numbers decrease dramatically. Therefore - at best, the "lost" revenue is an assumption, and not an accurate statistic.

Important question! (2, Insightful)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638411)

How much money has Microsoft lost on Windows in the past year?

Using the word "lost" is an abuse of the language. There is revenue that has not been realized, but quatifying how much would have been realized without piracy is difficult.

Re:Lost Revenue: Formula (5, Interesting)

mutewinter (688449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638439)

One way to describe this is to imagine cars as software. Instead of stealing a BMW, think of the thief "duplicating" it. Ok, so there will be alot of people who decided not to shell over $50k for a new beemer -- they could have, but the got it for free instead. Now add in all the people who can't afford $50k for the new BMW, but got one because it was free. The way the BSA (MPAA and RIAA are doing the same) is making these calculations is by saying everyone who is driving a BMW they didn't pay for is $50k in lost revenue. Then factor in the third-world were people may be lucky to make $1000 a year -- they aren't going to pay $20 for software much less $500.

Yes, software companies *are* loosing money to "piracy." Many are indirect losers. Lets go back to the BMW thing again. Who would buy a Ford if they could have a free BMW instead? Same with software companies, people aren't buying Paint Shop Pro because they got Photoshop for free. However, the BSA, MPAA, RIAA, and others are destroying their credibility by giving out ridiculously exagerated numbers. Remember the people who told you pot was as bad as herion?

Linux software vs Windows software (2, Informative)

dealsites (746817) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638335)

I say we start a thread here listing the best Linux software package that compete directly vs windows software and describe why the linux software is better (or worse if it actually is) and why you like it. Many people usually don't know which linux packages are the best and it takes an experienced linux user to point out the packages that are must have. ie:

Apache vs IIS
Apache is free and has less security problems

Mozilla vs IE
ditto above

the GIMP vs Photoshop
Not a graphics person here... Need help.

Please list more.

Tons of deals from all the popular deal sites. Save money! []

Re:Free software vs. proprietary equivalents (1)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638378)

I am not a graphics person either, but when I tried to get a designer I work with to use The Gimp, he balked. While it appeared to have all the featureset we needed for the project, he would have lost all of the muscle-memory he had developed using PhotoShop.

The training costs to get him to change would exceed the costs of using pirated software for the application he needed.

Again, I reiterate -- if DRM existed, and he could NOT run a pirated version of PhotoShop, I bet he'd be much more interested in learning Gimp on his own nickel.

Re:Linux software vs Windows software (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638424)

The Gimp has had everything I've ever wanted in a graphics program (minus, say, addon filters made for Photoshop). But, the interface, IMHO, sucks horribly. It's made a big improvement recently, but it's still poor. There was a Gimp vs. PS article on /. some time ago; I didn't read the actual article, but the blurb made it sound like the Gimp won't suffice for serious graphhOEspeople.

counterexample (0)

smd4985 (203677) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638340)

this company [] has seen a 200% increase in software purchases because of P2P.

What loss (2, Interesting)

secondsun (195377) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638346)

What kind of loss is this?

For example, when a company's expenditures outpace income a loss is reported.

When a development on a product is costing more than revenus from the product that is a loss (even though the company makes money).

The company did make as much money as the expected, (ie their market share dropped) so that is a loss. (Even if a profit is made)

The company's marketshare grew at a reduced rate.

All of these are reported as losses at one point in time or another (depending on the way that statistics align), but the biggest distributor of pirated software in all of these cases is NOT P2P but a much more dangerous network: sneakernet. Friend finds copy of windows 2003 Ent Server he gives it to a friend to friend to a friend etc etc. Or some guy buys a few cd's off the hobo on a blanket in central park. In asia you go into a thrift/secondhand store and pick up what you want. But rarely do you get illegal software from P2P.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics (1)

bobthemuse (574400) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638356)

The article based this on a BSA survey of installed software, and got the numbers from the assumption that if P2P and other distribution methods weren't available, people would have bought all the software they had installed.

This is wrong.

I personally have installed a great deal of pirated software. Most often it's to test something out completely, when the foolish 15-day trial doesn't give me enough time.

While some people undoubtably pirate software instead of buying, cases like mine actually promote sales (in the case of quality software, at least). $49bn my ass.....

This is just mausenscheiss for the investors (4, Insightful)

JeffTL (667728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638358)

BSA affiliates want to tell their investors something that doesn't sound anything like either "people don't want to buy worthless upgrades" or "those Free Software guys are pushing our products into obsolescence." Things like that hurt stock prices.

Monoculture? (2, Interesting)

edhall (10025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638359)

I think an increasing number of business computers are running little more than what comes with MS Windows and MS Office, and perhaps another MS product or two, with the only third-party software perhaps being an antivirus and/or some remote backup tool. In other words, Microsoft's control of an increasing amount of the software marketplace is squeezing out other software vendors.



Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638366)


I steal hardware. Not my fault XP was on the drive.

Piracy supports IT industry (2, Interesting)

initialE (758110) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638369)

I don't know about how you guys feel, but imo piracy has the effect of improving the IT industry, increasing IT revenues through legitimate sales. Take a look at it this way. If I did not personally obtain a copy of Photoshop for my own use, how am I going to recommend my company buy a copy to make whatever it is that it wants made? Do I know if Photoshop provides the correct functionality that I need? Am I willing to buy a manual or undergo training to thoroughly research the product? Am I, as a home user, going to fork out a four figure sum to purchase that software that I don't even know about, and is generating me 0 revenue, on my own damn machine? I think the answers speak for themselves.

On the other hand, I wouldn't condone piracy in a business environment. Certainly, if a software improves the ability for a company to turn a profit, then it's only fair that some of the cash flows the way of the developer. Over the past 20 years Singapore has been a hotbed of piracy and IT innovation (sadly no more, the authorities have cracked down hard on the bootleggers). The net result of piracy was to raise the IT proficiency of the average nerd by the age of 10 to that of an office secretary. Not something you'd see if we were required to spend money on every piece of software you install.

Arrrrrrr Matey - I'm a Pirate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638372)

Seems a little too far-fetched to me - a P2P network would be the last place where I would download software, just too much chance that you are downloading a trojan onto your computer.

I've downloaded a ton of software off P2P networks for years and haven't gotten a virus or trojan yet. One time I downloaded an infected file about a year ago but my antivirus detected it. If I ever get infected I'd just reinstall the OS. Everything is backed up so it's not much of a problem.

These days 99% of the software I pirate are games. The only games I buy are ones that require online activation with a CD key, or have monthly fees like City of Heroes. In the old days you needed to know how to use IRC or know someone with passwords to ftp servers to pirate software. These days all you need is Bittorrent. I'm not surprised the industry is losing more money now that piracy is becoming so mainstream. E.g. I don't know anyone with an Xbox who actually pays for their games. Arrrr matey, piracy is here to stay!

CDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638373)

TO be honest, more software is being pirated via shoddy pirated CDs or even DVDs with a whole compilation of software on it. It is sold on streets or from someone who knows someone type sales. Here is Sydney, I remember, a proper shop set in the main street was selling pirated software/movies (In good packaging) for very low prices for months before they got shut down.
P2P is an easy scapegoat - probably easier to bring more attention to piracy if you point the finger at P2P. People travelling and having stopovers at any asian country can get bundles of software costing them only a few dollars. Cracking down on these type of software pirates is what should be done.

This is the same thing we always hear... (1, Redundant)

elid (672471) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638388)

This mistake is that if John Doe downloads a copy of Photoshop, it would count as hundreds of dollars of lost revenue according to the article. But who says John Doe would have bought that software if P2P or whatever method he used weren't available to him? If someone goes to a library and reads through a bunch of books, did some publishing company just "lose" $100? Of course not!

Baka baka baka! (1)

rawr90 (794826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638393)

These people need to do their homework. To they think that stopping p2p is going to end file sharing? I don't use p2p anymore, too dangerous, but guess what, there are so many other ways of getting files I don't enough fingers to count them. The "war" on piracy is like the war on alcohol in the 20's, you can try to stop it, but a tech-savvy community will always be 10 steps ahead of any task-force, and a mile ahead of any bureaucracy (i.e. congress). Obivously they won't give up the fight from my little comment, but they should at least have the mental capacity to realize that kazaa and winmx aren't the be all end all of file sharing Oh, and the RIAA can bite me.

reprecussions (1)

noelo (661375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638397)

It costs a lot of money to develop software hence the software manufactures have to charge a substantial amount of money for it. Customers balk at paying for the software and some look at 'alternative' methods of getting that software. Software manufactures see their sales dropping and drop prices to increase sales but can't as they have to cover their costs. Hence they try and drop their costs and look to cheaper methods of manufacturing i.e. outsourcing. And we all know how /.ers feel about outsourcing. While the major manufactures can wear the cost of piracy (to a certain extent) it has major impacts on smaller operators. For example look to the PC games market, how often do we hear of companies going tits-up. Software piracy might not be totally to blame but it certainly will have an impact.

DUH (2, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638402)

a P2P network would be the last place where I would download software, just too much chance that you are downloading a trojan onto your computer

Why do you think the trojans are there? Because there are so many people on there downloading software.

Bittorrent is P2P too, and it's changing the scene. It used to be the elite got fast connections to 0-day stuff, bittorrent by it's design makes the hottest most popular stuff the most available.

Now, I believe the industry is shrinking due to natural causes. There's frankly enough software there. People have programs to do the stuff they want, they really don't see the need for new ones.

Of course I'm talking about "not games". But I've been using the same handful of apps dialy for years.

Maybe there is a clearer reason for the loss... (5, Insightful)

mindmaster064 (690036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638403)

People aren't buying the damn software!

We've been in a major economic downturn and to top it off the people that are technical (that would buy lots of the higher end stuff) are getting laid off. No one has the cash for Photoshop, 3D studio, or anything else that is on the top rung of the scales. These people crying about their losses are the same people the fired off 10,000 workers and replaced them with people from India, China, and Indonesia. f**k 'em... Use gimp, openoffice, and one of the many FREE operating systems. Send a clear message, and maybe they'll get these hits:

1) The software is too much money for a guy that now has to deliver pizzas. Pizza guys make $1/$2 an hour, and about $20/$30 in tips a day. Software = $40+, productivity apps range $150-$1000+

2) The software is no better than the stuff that can be downloaded for free, and occasionally it is worse. Gimp = 98% of photoshop (minus the bits no one uses), Openoffice = 120% of MS Office (the extra 20% is the time you do not have to worry about the application virusing you.) etc..

3) People that cannot afford the package and truly need it will bootleg it and apply a crack if they cannot find a free alternative. (This has always been the case, since the dawn of computing.) If you think it is going away or ever will, you are simply insane and delusional. Price your wares fairly and you will sell more.

4) Nothing called software is worth over $100 unless it is used to control missile launches, perform nano-surgery. compute orbital tragectories to neptune. Ok, this is just my opinion... You may have another. :)


You have it all wrong... (1)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638415)

...the above average intelligence computer user won't download any software off of a P2P App...

The 'average' user on the other hand...

They simply can't wait to 'Stick it to the Man!' and snag that 24kb copy of UT2K4!

I admit it. (4, Insightful)

Johnathon_Dough (719310) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638418)

I steal software.

On the other hand, if I use the softeware to make money or my life easier I will pay for it.

Example 1:
My work was interested in runing some basic 3d software to make certain things easier. I hop onto a H.L. server and download the 4 biggies, try them all out. We find the one that is appropriate to our needs. That company now has a sale (Did this one 2 weeks ago). 2 out of the four I downloaded did have "trial" editions, but guess what, the trial editions did not tell us what we most wanted to know, ie, how the renders were.

Example 2:
I personally pirate shareware all the time. I hate "functionally limited demo's" (see above, there is always something missing). Usually, I install, use it for a while, then discover it is useless to me and delete. If I find I am using their software regularly, I will pay them for it.(For those keeping track, I will also donate to OSS if that is the solution, you get what you pay for.)

Example 3:
My career of choice is 2d graphics, the print world. I find video effects mildly a hobby. There is no I could pay the $1000+ that most high end video editing software requires. Especially considering that none of this software is the do-it-all sort. So I have lot's of pirated video software. However, I feel no guilt on this. I am making no money off of their product. And they have not "lost" a sale, as I would not have bought it in the first place. On the other hand, if someday I do a freelance job these companies that have unwittingly supplied me with a learning tool will be the first to receive my money.

The BSA doesn't seem to employ any statistician ! (5, Interesting)

Zorglub1234 (794962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638426)

Some more details about the study are available at

It's worth reading, even if there is not much information. Their methodology is still laughable. Any statistican who reads their study would throw it in the wastebasket immediately. Or rather, he would use it as an example of "what not to do" for his first year students.

So the study don't say anything about opensource -- so as mentioned before, anyone who uses OpenOffice counts as a pirate. The press releases of BSA say that this factor has been taken into account but (1) I haven't seen anything in the report and (2) you can't, except if you accept very wide error margins.

Talking about which, their report do not provide any kind of estimation about the errors, which is a good indication that the people who made it are not competent. For example, BSA insists on the difference between an illegal copying rate of 32% in Australia, versus 29% in other countries -- there is NO WAY that such a difference can be significant given their methodology.

The worst thing, as mentioned by other people, is that this piece of crap will be shown to every government on the planet to lobby them to enforce IP laws and make new ones if "necessary".


Re:The BSA doesn't seem to employ any statistician (1)

Zorglub1234 (794962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638445)

Sorry, forgot to make the link clickable: BSA global study []


I agree (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638427)

I'm posting anonymously here because I stole a software package tonight. I have an old cheesy laptop that I had debian on and I suddenly needed windows on it. I didn't want to rebuild the machine but I needed to resize the partitions. My main partition was formated in ReiserFS, my dos partition was 256meg and I needed to move space from linix to dos. The best way to do it quickly was with Acronis. I got on eMule and downloaded Acronis with a keygen and now 1 1/2 hours later I'm installing Win98 on a resized partition.

No trip to CompUSA, no order from or Amazon, and no messing around with QTparted or other tools.

Yes, I lost karma points and I know I stole... P2P makes it easy to get what I need without effort. Do I believe that software companies are loosing revenue - ABOLUTLY.

Is is right - in short, no

What is the right thing to do... I will tell you if Acornis had been $5.00, I would have purchased it without thought. $49.95 for a program that I use once a year, in an emergency is not acceptable. There was no, easy opensouce way to do what wanted without a lot of time and research.

I believe in the free market. I also know that there is software that I will use once in a blue moon or games/music that I would never look at twice. Is using/listening once from software poached from BitTorrent or eMule stealing? I'm not sure but I feel a twing of guilt and I know things are not right.

I do believe however, that micropayments are a major part of the solution. I would have, without hesitation, paid $5.00 for the software to solve my problem tonight. I would also expect that it would be $4.00 next time I needed to partition a disk and $3.50 the time after that, etc. I will pay to have the latest and greatest, just not $50 to have something that I use once a year and then becomes obsolete.

The system on software and software distribution is broken but I don't see an easy solution without easy, ubiquitious, micro-payments on an almost per-use basis for many(most) software packages. I think the technology is there, the paridigm is what is broken.

I don't pay for software anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638428)

...linux has matured to the point where that's all I use. Sometimes I donate a little to various projects.

I wonder what Qt has to say about this...after all, they give most of their stuff away free, and for the most part it is full-featured. They depend on the honor system (more or less) for their license sales.

Hopefully someone with a brain will interview Qt and ask them what they think about these issues...or hell, anyone from Linux or the various Linux projects.

tired of the blame game (1)

havaloc (50551) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638431)

Take your pick. Retailers blame sales losses to weather/rain/snow/heat/cold. Sales of music down to piracy, etc. Sales of applications down due to piracy, etc etc etc. Car manufacturers blame a downturn in the econonmy.

Instead, the retailers need to open more lanes so they move more people through and stop making people wait 10-15, the music sellers need to lower their prices, applications need to be cheaper, car manufacuturers need to make better cars. It's so easy, and so elusive. Does no one get it? Do retailers in general realize how many people just abandon their purchases, and what to save $7 an hour in labor to open another checkout?

Piracy can help in some specific cases (4, Insightful)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638434)

I read how a lot of people have photoshop 7 pirated. This is hands down the best program for it's task. The gimp is slower and it's interface sucks. That's my opinion and don't waste your breath on a flameware. Anyway, piracy has helped photoshop, in my opinion. All those teenagers interested in graphic arts start learning by downloading photoshop, 3d studio max, flash mx, etc. When they go to work for a company, they are hired because they already are very familiar with the software. If adobe and the others made it very difficult to pirate, people would become familiar with another program and their employers would want them using that. I think these companies should relax about the teenager pirating software and focus prevention of piracy at the corporate level.

And these numbers were probably based on if everyone actually was going to buy the software. Most people who have photoshop wouldn't have shelled out $700, however their employers are happy they are experts on it and they pay for it.

Erm, nice reporting... (2, Insightful)

coupland (160334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638461)

I enjoy reading these corporate PR releases bundled as news. For example, this is not that the software industry was $29 billion in the hole last year, it's that if you totalled all the pirated copies of software that the BSA feels exist, and you sold them all at full price, it would total $29 billion.

But heck, if the software industry were bleeding money (it isn't) then what could be the cause? Could it be P2P networks? Why yes, it could. Could it be an unfair monopoly? Pshaw! No one ever heard of a monopoly stifling innovation or competition, don't be silly. (Rubbing chin and looking thoughtful...) Although... I could name some companies that didn't lose money last year. Like, Netscape! Or... Quarterdeck! Try Ashton-Tate, Fox Software, Central Point, Stac, Digital Research, Banyan, and Borland. None of these companies lost money because they either went bankrupt, had to merge, or faded into obscurity. What happened to Wordperfect, the pre-eminent word processor? Harvard Graphics, the ultimate presentation graphics package? Lotus 1-2-3, the world's most popular spreadsheet? dBase, the most popular database? DESQview, the best multitasking environment? Visio was bought. FoxPro was bought and run into the ground. Netscape was crushed. Central Point, Stac, Spyglass, and 3COM (OpenServer NOS AKA LAN Manager) all did a deal with the devil and were forced out of the market. How much of that alleged $29 billion do the boys from Seattle claim is their slice of the pie? Yeah, maybe P2P is to blame. Maybe not...

BSA (1)

hdparm (575302) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638463)

What else to expect from BullShitAgency

Asian Countries?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638466)

P2P in Asian countries? Why? You can buy most common items, like Windows, for a few dollars on the streets there. Why would you need to go to the effort of downloading it?! I guess I only know of this in India, but I'm sure it's probably fairly prevalent in China also.

the cat is out of the bag (1)

asv108 (141455) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638497)

Even if those figures are correct, which they are most likely inflated, there is not much the industry or government can go to stop P2P file sharing. Decentralized P2P networks such as Gnutella can exist without any centralized or commercial backing.

All of these figures assume that every pirated instalation would result in a sale. The fact is, the majority of people who use pirated software are not potential buyers and those who are probably have a higher probability of purchasing a legitimate copy because of the pirated use.

If we outlaw P2P completely aren't we just... (2)

apillowofclouds (699564) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638500)

outlawing half the functionality of the internet? If you generalize 'P2P', couldn't I really classify almost anything, i.e. VOIP, email, IM, etc. as P2P? If I set up a SQL server the right way you can email it queries and I can set it up with tables listing what's on my machine. Throw in a list server that can deal with attachments and voila... poor man's napster.

What if I UUENCODE my software and paste it into an IM tool? When you get right down to it, even the web itself is P2P - I can search, I can download files from a specific address, I can chat with other users. A large percentage of users (no, I don't know what the percentage actually is) have their own websites now so I'm no longer just searching central servers, but rather the servers of individual users.

I can see going after someone like napster (easy on the flames, I used it too, this is pure devil's advocate) because they have a central entity and are a specific company. But consider this question - if we outlaw P2P and then phone companies and broadband providers merge via VOIP, then technically wouldn't the firmware of a standard phone be outlawed?

My suggestion to the BSA is, price the software within the reach of people who are going to use it anyway, with the pricing plan favoring volume, customer loyalty, etc. (maybe a cheap site license for a home?) and go with the shareware model - let people pirate a stripped down version but require MS/XP-style activation to get the full features. This also has the added benefit of putting the most restriction and highest profit on the features that are most unique and probably took the longest to conceive and develop, while not wasting everyone's time protecting the oh so precious code to save a file, edit text, etc., a lot of which is based on standard MS controls anyway.

Everyone - Everyone!! (5, Insightful)

myklgrant (529062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638502)

Everyone I know has bootleg Windows software on their computers. From copies of Autodesk used in a home business to many many copies of Office, Photoshop, Frontpage, XP and on and on. My least favourite feature of Windows is how its users don't know they can't afford to use it. Until the proprietary software world gets a handle on bootleging of their software Linux has zero chance of making it to the desktop in a big way. As a Linux user trying to tell people about "Free" software, I get looked at like a raving lunatic. They already have tons of "free" (and easier to use) software on their computers.

put the blame where it belongs (1)

m2bord (781676) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638508)

inflated figures, misrepresenting the amount of product duplicated, overpriced product, and the ridiculous notion that everyone who uses the product would've bought a legit copy. look...these guys lie about these figures. they have no real idea about how much software was duplicated. the formula used to come up with these figures thinks that every copy downloaded would've have been paid at retail price and finally... 80% of the people who download pirated software would never buy it in the first place. that's the same argument the RIAA had and it's just as false now as it was then.

Bit Torrents (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638511)

With the availability of sites such as Suprnova and such, it wouldn't suprise me. If P2P gains a strong foot hold to the average joe sixpack, exect software companies to migrate to dongles and subscription based system were the program physically has to log onto a site (behind the scenes) on the Internet to work. Encrypted of course

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