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BSA Claims 35% of Software is Pirated

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the that's-a-lot-of-eyepatches dept.

617

hdtv writes "Business Software Alliance says 35% of packaged software installed on PCs globally is pirated, and estimates the losses at $34 bln. From the article: 'The countries with the highest piracy rates were Vietnam (90%), Zimbabwe (90%), Indonesia (87%), China (86%), and Pakistan (86%). The countries with the lowest piracy rates were the United States (21%), New Zealand (23%), Austria (26%), and Finland (26%).' TechDirt analysis debunks some of the myths: 'The BSA claims that all of these "lost sales" represent real harm to the economy. It's the same bogus argument they've trotted out before, which is easily debunked. Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit.'"

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not only NOT a lost sale, but (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417730)

Each pirated copy, contrary to the BSA (interesting, what does the BS stand for?) claim, not only is not a lost sale, but potentially an extra sale.

BSA's claim is akin to the MPAA/RIAA's claims each downloaded/pirated DVD/CD is a lost sale. And, there have (AFAIK, and I've researched this many times) been no studies coming close to showing causal relationship between pirating and decreased sales.

Interestingly, one of the most damning contra-examples was the huge spike in CD sales corresponding to the spike in file sharing at the emergence of the original Napster. Of course, once the RIAA and music industry managed to rein Napster in, the dropoff in shared files was matched almost identically for a decline of CD sales.

People, especially in the poor couuntries, are running pirated software because they otherwise would run no software at all. And, if with this pirated software, they manage to bootstrap their own situation, or that of their business out of the netherlands they become much more likely to buy and pay prices for non-pirated software.

Sir specious, at your service. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417779)

"Each pirated copy, contrary to the BSA (interesting, what does the BS stand for?) claim, not only is not a lost sale, but potentially an extra sale."

Flip a coin. There's your "potential".

"BSA's claim is akin to the MPAA/RIAA's claims each downloaded/pirated DVD/CD is a lost sale. And, there have (AFAIK, and I've researched this many times) been no studies coming close to showing causal relationship between pirating and decreased sales."

And yet people have no problem with a "causal" relationship showing a benefit from said action.

"Interestingly, one of the most damning contra-examples was the huge spike in CD sales corresponding to the spike in file sharing at the emergence of the original Napster. Of course, once the RIAA and music industry managed to rein Napster in, the dropoff in shared files was matched almost identically for a decline of CD sales."

Another "causal" relationship? Can I get a phone poll to go with that?

"People, especially in the poor couuntries, are running pirated software because they otherwise would run no software at all."

Like Linux.

"And, if with this pirated software, they manage to bootstrap their own situation, or that of their business out of the netherlands they become much more likely to buy and pay prices for non-pirated software."

For something that has no value, someone is sure getting their monies worth.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (2, Insightful)

pbjones (315127) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417789)

my experience is that, in business, a pirated copy is another copy that they don't have to buy. If a business has gotten to the point where they are using pirated copies of something, they have no intention of buying a real one. This also extends to one copy for each computer licenses.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417949)

Not necessarily ...

As a contractor I have worked for several companies where the reason why their was (a lot) of pirated software being used by the company because employees installed software onto their own systems. The company I am currently with has avoided this because they are (very) strict on what software is alowed on your system. Many companies have large budgets to purchase software that go unutilized because their employees don't even ask for software packages.

It's total hogwash (5, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417800)

The truth of the matter is that most people wouldn't buy that software if they couldn't get it for free. I'm sorry but the average home user doesn't have the cash for a copy of Photoshop, so yeah, they pirate it. If they couldn't pirate they wouldn't go out and buy photoshop, they'd download the Gimp.

Re:It's total hogwash (1)

S3D (745318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417865)

The truth of the matter is that most people wouldn't buy that software if they couldn't get it for free. I'm sorry but the average home user doesn't have the cash for a copy of Photoshop, so yeah, they pirate it. If they couldn't pirate they wouldn't go out and buy photoshop, they'd download the Gimp.
Most wouldn't download Gimp, they wouldn't know what Gimp is. They would stop using their PC for photo editing. And as their PC would become progressevly useless they would stop using it at all and wouldn't buy a new one. And may be wouldn't buy a new camera too. People can live without PC.

Re:It's total hogwash (4, Funny)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417917)

Worse even than choosing to live without their PC, some even turn to MSPaint.

Re:It's total hogwash (5, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417943)

I don't object at all with home users playing wit business software.
When its being used for amateur things then its ok.

I believe that using unlicensed software within a business is wrong however, a business is there to make money and if thats the case they can support the economy and buy their toolset.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (0, Troll)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417804)

People, especially in the poor couuntries, are running pirated software because they otherwise would run no software at all. And, if with this pirated software, they manage to bootstrap their own situation, or that of their business out of the netherlands they become much more likely to buy and pay prices for non-pirated software.

Exactly, computers are the new industrial revolution and if developing nations want to compete or participate at all they're going to "steal" it.

Just like the United States did during the industrial revolution.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417820)

Interestingly, one of the most damning contra-examples was the huge spike in CD sales corresponding to the spike in file sharing at the emergence of the original Napster.

Ahh! But were the CDs blank?

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417827)

Yagu (yayagu@gmail.com [mailto] ) said:
People, especially in the poor couuntries, are running pirated software because they otherwise would run no software at all. And, if with this pirated software, they manage to bootstrap their own situation, or that of their business out of the netherlands they become much more likely to buy and pay prices for non-pirated software.
Bullshit. If you can't afford my product that I put my blood, sweat, and tears into, then don't buy it. Giving away software is no better than having an entire country on welfare: it benefits nobody in the long run. Just ask Cuba.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (2, Insightful)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417990)

By that logic if I work really hard on building a house and sell it, I should be paid for it hundreds of times, not once. Why should software programmers be paid over and over for their hard work when the rest of us get paid only once for the same amount of effort? Yes, I've said the same thing about musicians and song-writers. You seem to think you have a moral right here, but I don't think you do. Legal, yes, moral, no, not until everyone has the same right.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (1)

yoghurt (2090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417902)

>> People, especially in the poor countries, are running pirated software because they otherwise would run no software at all.

Other countries make their own laws. Copyright is a artificial construct of the government. Where there is no law against it, copying is legal. They might be just getting software from a convenient source at a price they are willing to pay.

News:Artistic slaves freed by Lincoln. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417950)

"Other countries make their own laws. Copyright is a artificial construct of the government."

Copyright may be artificial, but it is a natural fact that content creaters aren't going to be turned into artistic slaves to the selfish.

Re: not only NOT a lost sale, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417908)

If there is no Piracy in software world I would not be any where. I can't afford to pay $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to learn software that my company need, thats the truth.

Paid the Windows tax, Running Pir8 XP Pro (5, Insightful)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417944)

My new laptop came loaded with a ton of scumware. Solution: wipe the hard drive and reinstall windows. The recovery cds dilligently reinstall all the scumware, so my only option is to run a pirated version of Windows. Now I can't get updates, even after paying the windows tax.

Solution: learn every genuine advantage workaround, repeat them, and distribute pirated copies of windows. If you want to screw me over, I'm happy to return the favor.

In a similar situation, I find myself out of town and I accidently left my laptop power cable at home. I go to the store to get a replacement and it costs $120. Highway robbery if I ever saw it. My solution: return the new cable when i get back in town. If it cost less than $50 I would just keep it, but if they want to rob me, I have no problem robbing them right back.

Moral of the story: If you screw me over I have no problem returning the favor.

That's all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417735)

You'd think they'd claim it was higher.

Also, is piracy actually possible in communism? I thought the state owned everything.

Easy answer (2, Funny)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417736)

That's an easy one because 15% of all software is just garbage. The rest is open source and you can't pirate that.

Re:Easy answer (5, Funny)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417762)

The rest is open source and you can't pirate that.

That sounds like a challenge, and I accept.

Re:Easy answer (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417951)

I found a torrent [mininova.org] of some "open source" stuff here, best download it before the BSA finds out ;)

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417963)

Couldnt you just like...take the open source code...obfuscate it...rebrand...make look different..sell...THEN pirate that? It would be like double illegal.

Dude youd kill like a buncha birds with one stone.

Damn, i gotta go do that now.

Re:Easy answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417777)

The rest is open source and you can't pirate that.

True, but it's possible to redistribute OSS in violation of the license terms (Ignore the BSD license for the moment, which is almost impossible to violate)- ie, modifying a piece of gpl'ed code and offering it only in machine code.

Just something I think is important to mention.

If the software is making firms more productive.. (1)

1155 (538047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417737)

If the software is making firms more productive, then they should pay for it instead of stealing it.

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417754)

No shit, sherlock. The point TechDirt is making is that it's still better that they run warez than nothing at all. You can preach morality all you like, but the guys struggling to keep their businesses afloat from day to day don't give a shit about what you think is right. And their productivity is a lot more important than your indignation or the potential profit of the software industry.

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (0)

cliffski (65094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417791)

thats ironic, because the smaller companies whose software is much-pirated are also "guys struggling to keep their businesses afloat from day to day" and the fact that so many cheapskates use stolen software rather than pay for it doesnt help.
People steal software because they can get away with it, not because they are struggling. Do those struggling businesses use stolen chairs and desks too?

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417837)

>because the smaller companies whose software is much-pirated are also "guys struggling to keep their businesses afloat from day to day" and the fact that so many cheapskates use stolen software rather than pay for it doesnt help.

In a similar fashion, smaller businesses are struggling to keep afloat due to the fact that so many cheapskates shop at WalMart/Kmart/*mart.

People shop at WalMart because it is legal, not because they are struggling. Most people shopping at WalMart own lexuses at a minimum. It's that kind of high-falootin' club you can't get into unless you have at least a $100,000 a year income.

Oh, wait a second, they *actually* shop at WalMart because they don't have much money to spend on anything, and they're more likely to have driven there in a broken down beater than a lexus.

I wonder if the same parallel applies to software as well... Hmmm... well, I presented my hypothesis and a possible reasoning for it, you've presented yours but no reasoning. Wanna give me some reasoning behind it that works in the general sense, and not "in your experience/in this special case"?

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (2, Insightful)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417907)

If the market for commercially licensed software is sour, then what the fuck are all those companies still doing trying to sell commercially licensed software? Are they just sticking it out, hoping for a miracle? Or do they expect someone to come along and lock down everyones' computers for them in order to artificially prop up their business model?

Welcome to the free market, pal. Adapt or die.

Part of adapting is adapting to your competitors. If your competitors are pirating software, they're gaining an advantage over you. With piracy in it's semi-legal state, it's bad business not to do it.

Oh, and fuck your stolen chairs and desks analogy. We both know what a pile of bullshit that is.

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (2, Insightful)

rkcallaghan (858110) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417960)

Or do they expect someone to come along and lock down everyones' computers for them in order to artificially prop up their business model?

Yes [wikipedia.org] .

~Rebecca

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (2, Interesting)

8ball629 (963244) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417942)

People steal software because they can get away with it, not because they are struggling. Do those struggling businesses use stolen chairs and desks too?
In most situations I'm sure you're wrong. Yes they download it because they can but most small companies are struggling especially in the USA (I'm not sure where you're from - looks to be the UK). Right now our economy isn't doin the best and I'm actually employed at a small company. I'm sure our software isn't pirated but we don't do too bad as far as business goes and we don't require too many programs in the first place. We mostly use open source programs but I'm getting a little off topic here.

My point is some companies HAVE to pirate software to do business. Sure they might buy legit copies after they end up making money but from the beginning most companies just can't afford to go out and buy several licenses of software that goes anywhere from $50-$10,000. You're comment about stealing chairs and desks is a bit moronic as well. If those struggling companies were forced to purchase licensed copies of said software than I'm sure they wouldn't have desks or chairs because they couldn't afford them. And if they could get some desks and chairs they'd probably look to a used furniture store or the like.

It's kind of hard to find 10 used licenses of any program on eBay.

Good for the goose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417836)

"No shit, sherlock. The point TechDirt is making is that it's still better that they run warez than nothing at all."

RMS wouldn't agree.

"You can preach morality all you like, but the guys struggling to keep their businesses afloat from day to day don't give a shit about what you think is right."

Hmmm, interesting. I wonder how they treat their employees?

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417819)

If the software is making firms more productive, then they should pay for it instead of stealing it.

By that logic, if the software isn't making a firm productive, they shouldn't have to pay.

OK, Microsoft, I want a refund for all the times I've had to deal with your buggy OS and buggy browser.

Re:If the software is making firms more productive (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417992)

If the software is making firms more productive, then they should pay for it instead of stealing it.


Well, first of all, illegal copying is not stealing, anymore than murder or adultery is stealing. Would you say that a murderer is stealing a life or an adulterer is stealing a wife? The effects of stealing are different form those of illegal copying. When somebody steals from my property, I end having less than I had before, when somebody does illegal copying from my property I end having exactly as much as I had before.


Second, if anybody should pay for illegaly copied software, then shouldn't the inverse be true? Can I demand that a company that sells me software that doesn't make me more productive reimburse me for the time I lost installing and trying to use their piece of shit?

At least 35% (3, Informative)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417741)

Personally I think 35% is a very conservative estimate.

How did you arrive at that conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417773)

Personally I think 35% is a very conservative estimate.

I see figures like that thrown around by folks all the time, but no one ever says how they came about those figures.

Or, are you joking?

Re:How did you arrive at that conclusion? (1)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417787)

I know friends with 100% pirated software, I however run Debian, so couldn't care less.

Liberal Estimate (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417806)

0% of free software is pirated.

Re:At least 35% (1)

ampmouse (761827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417834)

Remember 86.5255979% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Wrong counter argument. (5, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417743)

Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit.

This is the WRONG counter to their claims. The correct counter is that an unauthorized copy of a piece of software is NOT the same as a lost software sale.

In fact, if companies are using unauthorized copies of software to increase their business, that's when it's morally wrong to not pay for your software in my mind.

To me, it's like watching a illegally downloaded movie for personal (potential) entertainment vs. selling it on the street. The latter is the one I have a moral issue with and represents a more realistic loss of sale for the copyright holder.

Re:Wrong counter argument. (4, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417765)

Indeed.

IMHO it's one thing for me to pirate Photoshop because I want to piss about with some photos and see what I can do with it, when there's no way in hell I can afford to pay for a legit copy. It's quite another for a company to make a profit using pirated copies of Photoshop because they don't want their bottom line affected by a couple of licenses from Adobe.

Re:Wrong counter argument. (4, Insightful)

VValdo (10446) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417980)

This is the WRONG counter to their claims. The correct counter is that an unauthorized copy of a piece of software is NOT the same as a lost software sale.

An extension of this argument might be, "If make 20,000 unauthorized copies of Word in my basement, did I single-handedly just deprive Microsoft of millions of dollars?"

You wouldn't even need that much hard drive space. Just copy the .iso, delete the copy, then make a new copy. With a simple shell script, anyone (think economic terrorist) could bankrupt Microsoft in less than a week!!!

W

Re:Wrong counter argument. (1)

quakeroatz (242632) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417994)

Uh its the RIGHT counter to their claim that the economy suffers because of pirated software. After all, how productive would the millions of people using copies of Windows be if they had no operating system (albeit ignoring free alternatives).

Your argument although true, says nothing to thier economic argument.

If the price of stealing software (risk of prosecution) is smaller than the price of actually buying the software, then people will choose the lesser of the two costs. Software is just too expensive, and in our world of software oligopolies/monopolies, people have few competative choices.

The only alternative when competition is stifled? STEAL THE SOFTWARE.

what can you expect (0, Redundant)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417746)

What can you expect from an organization called the "b.s. alliance"?

Numbers are skewed (2, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417748)

How many of these systems simply would not be running the software that is being pirated at all. For example, if I were not able to pirate PhotoShop, I'd probably run GIMP or Picture Publisher or something that doesn't cost $500 a license. So saying that pirated software=money lost is not true.

Re:Numbers are skewed (1, Insightful)

jxyama (821091) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417847)

> I'd probably run GIMP or Picture Publisher or something that doesn't cost $500 a license.

So why don't you?

Re:Numbers are skewed (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417859)

I'd probably run GIMP or Picture Publisher or something that doesn't cost $500 a license.


So why don't you?

Well, actually, I do use GIMP as photoshop is not available on Linux. I was speaking hypothetically.
If I can't emerge it, I don't run it.

Re:Numbers are skewed (1)

Propaganda13 (312548) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417891)

There's at least 4 different types of situations I can think of.

1. Lost sale - piratee would have bought the software
2. Lost lower sale - pirate would have bought a cheaper version of the software ie Photoshop Elements
3. Lost competition's lower sale - pirate would have bought Ulead PhotoImpact
4. Lost nothing - pirate would have used GIMP or Picasa or nothing

You would have to do a large survey to figure out the "real" cost of pirated software.

Re:Numbers are skewed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417945)

So saying that pirated software=money lost is not true.

Error: The expression to the left of the equals sign is not a valid target for an assignment.

Ironic (2, Interesting)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417752)

I suspect most of that is Windows software... I think that for Mac software it is probably a bit lower. Most Mac users I know are full on legit. There are a couple... but every Windows user I know has TONS of illegal crap. I wonder - is there a bounty?

-WS

Re:Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417938)

I wonder - is there a bounty?

Sure there is, BSA even had a hotline IIRC.

Re:Ironic (2, Informative)

tysonedwards (969693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417968)

Yes, actually. The BSA is offering bounties to sell out your friends, family, coworkers and ex-employers. Max payout that they are offering is $10,000.

Wow the US is low (5, Funny)

aychamo (932587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417756)

I can't believe the US is doing so poorly in their rate of piracy. I guess I'll have to start pirating twice as much software just to help us make up the slack on the rest of the world!

free advertising (2, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417763)

God only knows how they claim to have gotten this figure. For example, 98% of the software on the machine I'm using right now is open-source, and the other 2% is free-as-in-beer stuff like the linux version of Acrobat Reader. How the heck would the BSA have known about the existence of hundreds of pieces of open-source software on this machine?

It's also worth noting that it's a bad thing for the open-source movement if, say, everybody in Vietnam runs a pirated copy of MS Office on a pirated copy of Windows. MS secretly loves that, because Vietnam wasn't a potential market for them anyway in the near future (too poor), but may be in the future. It's just like Apple selling machines cheap to schools and college students; it's a form of advertising. What would really strike fear into MS's heart would be if everybody in Vietnam started using Linux.

Re:free advertising^W dominance (2, Interesting)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417832)

In the early days, Microsoft turned a blind eye to piracy in US / UK / Canada because "borrowing" the disks from work to install at home was the gateway drug that lead to the rise of Word as the dominant word processor. (WordPerfect Corp dropping the ball with WP for Windows didn't harm it either)

Re:free advertising (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417877)

God only knows how they claim to have gotten this figure. For example, 98% of the software on the machine I'm using right now is open-source, and the other 2% is free-as-in-beer stuff like the linux version of Acrobat Reader. How the heck would the BSA have known about the existence of hundreds of pieces of open-source software on this machine?
They don't and that's exactly the problem. Here is how they "estimate" (one has to use that term loosely with regard to their methods) the amount of pirated software: They guess how much software the average computer needs, multiply it with the amount of computers. Then compare that number with the amount of software packages sold and they get their "35%".
Yes, indeed, they count you as a pirate who pirated all his software just because you didn't buy your stuff and use FOSS instead. Some study....

too many sheep (4, Funny)

sc0p3 (972992) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417764)

New Zealand (23%),

Yeah we have too many sheep here in NZ.. of course we have a low piracy rate.. That'd require people to know what a computer was :|

Re:too many sheep (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417788)

I don't agree with the BSA's numbers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417767)

...but this line is an even bigger line of BS.

"Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit."

So, let me get this straight. The author not only acknowledges that the law is being broken, but he continues and dismisses that fact by saying it maybe benefits us as a whole!? What a load of crap. Theft is wrong. Period. He shouldn't try to justify his copy of Photoshop and stolen MP3's with a line like that.

..and no, I own no pirated software, including the CS2 Suite that I purchased from NewEgg.com.

haha foolish Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417775)

YOu only care about freedom freedom and play and you have copyrights control your software and entertainments. Here in People's Republic of China we understand that we must subordinate freedom and privacies for the good of People's Harmonious Efforts to Improve the Nation, and we have freely shared software and entertainments and we are happy and harmonious for the good of all. And that is why we will win.

Re:haha foolish Americans (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417818)

You must be a troll ;p I don't see how China was harmonious and happy when they were running their own people down with tanks.

Re:haha foolish Americans (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417972)

Hey, Colonel History, the tank in that photo stopped.

LOSSES ??!?! WHAT LOSSES ?!?!? (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417780)

What losses after selling software at EXTRAVAGANT prices ?

Do they ALREADY count our money as theirs, and deem it as loss ?

Nay, sire ... Consider it a market adjustment by the 'invisible hand' - an adjustment to balance out the ridiculous prices you sell software for.

In the history of this world, there has NEVER been piracy UNLESS commodities' prices were not set in standards of highway robbery.

I aint giving me money to you sir. Not at THESE prices at least.

I hope the BSA does something! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417786)

I hope they crack down on software piracy in these countries. When users realize that they have no choice but to purchase software they cannot afford in the first place, open source will come to the rescue!

Not that bad (2, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417790)

The cost of pirated software is typically free, or at least highly discounted. There are naturally far more people willing to get it for free than would be willing to pay for it. So, every pirated use is NOT a lost sale. That's probably especially true in very poor countries. So, the amazingly high rate of piracy in 3rd world countries really doesn't present that big of an issue for the software industry. The 20+% in the U.S., though, should be causing them a lot of concern.

Re:Not that bad (1)

Sky Cry (872584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417941)

The 20+% in the U.S., though, should be causing them a lot of concern.

No, the same applies to the US. If the (subjective) value you see in a product is less than it's (objective) price, then you won't buy it. The only price you pay for pirated software/music is some time, hence even junk can be popular, if pirated.

bah (4, Insightful)

ltwally (313043) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417793)

"The BSA claims that all of these "lost sales" represent real harm to the economy. ..."
Bah. Let's just say, hypothetically, that I sometimes pirate an MP3. Does that automatically mean that if a free (as in pirated) version were not available, that I would actually pay for that song? That I would go out and buy a CD that I really didn't want, or pay $1 for a DRM'd copy from iTunes? HELL NO.

Along those same premises, let's say, hypothetically, that I had a pirated copy of Adobe Photoshop on one of my PC's. I'm not a graphics professional, and have little use for it beyond making my own wallpaper. Are we to assume that I would actually pay the $699 price tag for this software? HELL NO.

What I would very much like to see is a poll comparing what people have pirated against what people have pirated and would pay for if they could not pirate it. I don't have any statistical evidence to back me up, here, but I'm going to hazard a guess that piracy leads to a lot less in actual losses than the BSA or the RIAA/MPAA assumes. And that is ignoring the fact that there are a rare few people that actually purchase a product just because they were impressed with the pirated copy, and wished ot support the author/creator.

Haven't we heard enough of this "piracy is going to kill our economy" bullshit? Why are we focusing on this, when the our (America's) trade deficit with China is over $200,000,000,000/year [census.gov] (yes, that is 200 billion dollars a YEAR at the current rate). Seems to me that this piracy thing is small potatoes, in the end.

Losses at $34bln - outstanding sales (2, Insightful)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417798)

I'd like to have the BSA negotiate a raise for me.

Here, I'm not in debt, but I sure could use an extra, say, $50,000 a year.
I could file my taxes at a $50,000 a year loss and claim it on wages not paid.

Isn't that the same thing they're doing?

Re:Losses at $34bln - outstanding sales (1)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417946)

Only if you start a special club and make Microsoft Vice Emperor. If you manage that the IRS will pretty much be your bitch.

At least make your arguments realistic (3, Interesting)

EZLeeAmused (869996) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417802)

It's the same bogus argument they've trotted out before, which is easily debunked. Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit.

That's B.S. So a firm might be more productive (and profitable?) using a software package, thus contributing to the general economy. No argument with that. But I fail to see how this debunks the BSA's arguments. Is techdirt (or Mike, or whoever) arguing that the same firm would be less productive if it had paid for instead of pirated the software?


Excessive Claims Require Excessive Debunking (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417922)

The BSA says this is a national economic issue, saying the losses should be treated like Acts of God. But this is obviously wrong, since someone benifits from piracy.

they're just waiting till everyone's hooked (4, Insightful)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417803)

For now they are just talking. They can't take any enforcement actions, because those countries would simply switch to open source.

For example, they could threaten these countries with ejection from the WTO or other treaty-based organizations, but they won't... until those countries are economically viable enough to pay the exorbitant licensing fees.

And then they will win, because they can lock people in to their proprietary formats. They call themselves the Business Software Alliance. But they are really the Proprietary Software Alliance.

Hope they counted me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417813)

I replaced a mobo on an 'emachines' desktop and had to 'pirate' WinXP because the installed copy required re-activation. MS don't give out re-activation codes when the OEM locks the activation to the bios. To Microsoft, a new mobo is a new machine and requires you to repurchase WindowsXP to get at your own data. I have surplus, unused and unwanted XP licenses that came with laptops but it was easier just to crack the activation and 'pirate' it for the emachines box.

Is 'piracy' is a bad thing in this instance? Am I morally in the wrong?

I think not!

Moral of the story: Fuck product activation, fuck Microsoft and fuck the BSA!

Meh (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417814)

Deal with it. What happens when replicators are invented? You gonna arrest me for creating "pirated" food instead of making it for free?

Who loses. (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417824)

That techdirt line is great. If a company uses pirated software and makes profit they wouldn't have been able to make without that software, the BSA has a legitimate gripe with them. The heavy handed tactics are tiresome and they pretty much pretend with the statistics, but companies that generate profits exceeding the cost of a given program by pirating it are stealing in a very real sense.

Fight!!! (4, Funny)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417826)

I pirate my software and spend the money I save on CDs. I'll let the RIAA and BSA fight it out between themselves.

And the winner is... (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417983)

According to one notable handicapping service, the RIAA would win [googlefight.com] , but just barely. On the other hand, you can see that Free Software kicks the BSA's ass [googlefight.com] , which suggests a possible alternative. :)

In other news. (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417831)

Khaed says 73.532% of statistics are bullshit.

If the BSA members collected the losses: what? (5, Insightful)

aphor (99965) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417835)

All of those dollars the BSA is claiming as economic losses are actually being spent elsewhere. It's not a situation of money that should be out working loafing safely in a shoebox. Would we all reap more economic benefit from shifting money away from the other things into the software industry? I reckon not. Microsoft is probably one of the biggest claimants of the BSA loss statistic, and it is difficult to suggest that we would all be better off if they had more money or more freedom to make/improve software.

This is more of that smoke and mirrors trickle-down voodoo-economics gobbledygook. The BSA overwhelmingly represents the entrenched interests of large enterprises (you think big government is wasteful? How about big business..) against entrepreneurial business (where we see the most real economic growth).

But won't all these pirates... (1)

FlatCatInASlatVat (828700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417867)

contribute to global warming [wikipedia.org] ? They should be ashamed.

Re:But won't all these pirates... (1)

FlatCatInASlatVat (828700) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417886)

Idiot. I got it wrong. They'll REDUCE global warming. Pirate on, dudes!

Re:But won't all these pirates... (1)

eqisow (877574) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417939)

Graph [wikipedia.org] Learn to read a line graph. More pirates will reverse global warming.

This wouldn't be so bad... (1)

GoldenWolf (767107) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417869)

...if congresscritters weren't so gullable.

This study is FUD, pure and simple. It carries the implied threat that the economy will crash and the world as we know it will end if something is not done to halt the "epidemic" of software piracy. Expect to see this next mentioned when the BSA introduces their next "anti-piracy" measure to congress.

First, it will be force-fed to our congresscritters, along with demands for some new uber-DMCA-type law.
Next, you'll have the buzzword-laden lobbying. You'll have the obligitory crap about how "piracy funds terrorism" and how "protecting software companies," (somehow), "will support our troops and reduce terrorism." Someone will raise the point that child porn is produced "using pirated software" and that we need to "remember the children" by voting for BSA's new anti-piracy measure.
Did I mention that BSA will be enclosing a $25,000 "campaign contributions" check with every copy of the "thank you for voting for our new law" letter?

Seriously, they don't just publish these "studies" for fun, they expect to get something political out of them. Expect to see something new from BSA soon, whether it be more laws, more anti-piracy pressures on Vietnam and other offenders, or just some new FUD media campaign.

BSA === Mafia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417874)

Well in Bulgaria the BSA are like mafia mobsters. They dont care if you use pirated software. If your name is on their list Police come and fsck you! Even if later in court you were proven innocent, reputation is ruined! Because in Bulgaria the only power belongs to Police and Mafia! I wonder if EU experts are so stupid and want us in EU! They must be crazy!

I use GNU/Linux OS and Free Open Source Software since 2004 I will never buy, use or download software supported by BSA!
They say pirating is bad! I think pirating is a way of stimulating them! I prefer to give credit to FOSS communitiy by downloading free open source software and testing and reporting bugs! I dont care about closed source software, because it is crap!

BSA, you can die peacefully!

Doh (2, Interesting)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417876)

I've heard a lot of arguments about why software piracy statistics are bogus, but none as *dumb* as saying that companies using software illegally will be more productive because of the software, thus contribute more to the economy.

Despite the fact that it represents some pretty screwed up values, it just doesn't make much sense. If a company can experience growth related directly to the stealing of software, then they could have purchased the software, and they still should have grown. Buying software is just a cost of doing business, and shouldn't be having that much of an impact on the bottom line all by itself. Perhaps we should all just start bending the rules and pirate and steal our expenses away because hey, we're hiring more employees, we're paying our investors, and we're making more profit, which is good for everybody, right? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me.

When it comes piracy on the private, home use level, I think that the piracy numbers they always come out with are ridiculous. Just because the software is installed and being used does not mean that a sale was lost. This isn't a defense of piracy, just a reiteration of distinction between piracy and theft. They are not the same thing. But if we decided to treat them as the same thing for the purpose of creating an accurate yet misleading argument, then oh no, Software Company X is out a gazillion billion dollars!

And it will continue growing (1)

tvoglou (916088) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417890)

People is copying software for two different reasons. The first one is cost. The cost of software is huge while the (viable) alternative is open source software with the all the configuration/management headaches. The other reason is that (usually) there is no additionaly benefit or differentiating factor between a pirated copy and an original one, so someone will simply choose the free one. The majority of the small office owners here in Greece use pirated software for these reasons. They gain nothing by using licensed software (they only spend money) and although immoral for some people it makes perfect sense. As these two factors are not eliminated, pirated software percent will increase as the population of users increases. Software companies do not seem to understand that and continue to offer overprised software, with restrictive licensing schemes that just make you fill a slave because sometimes there is no alternative.

As a member of the third world (2, Insightful)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417897)

I am sure that if it wasn't for piracy linux would have taken the world literally, the majority of PC users would be adepts to free software, instead piracy allows MS and other giants to retain their monomoply.

Software Licensing Compliance (1)

Carcass666 (539381) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417898)

Microsoft makes it almost impossible to figure out how licensing should work if you are a small or medium size business running their servers (outside of sending them blank checks every year for Software Assurance). I would venture a good portion of the "pirating" the BSA is complaining about involves confusion about regarding how many CAL's, and what kind of CAL's a business should have. Even Microsoft admits that CAL licensing can be a complicated area. [microsoft.com]

I claim that 35% of the BSA claims are BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417900)

Plot your data; then draw your curves for any new study. Modus operandi for the clowns and puppeteers at the Business Software Alliance.

--
Sincere apologies to any puppeteer offended by the post.
No clowns were injured during the making of this report.

What is this productive software? (5, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417910)

"Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit"

What is this software, and why isn't it available for Windows?

BSA is racist! (-1, Troll)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417911)

Okay maybe not, but it's a good angle of attack. Notice that their accusations are highest where the population is brown-skinned.

The real story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417925)

Andrew writes - "The Truth Corp says 99.9% of companies are greedy and corrupt and don't need any more money. Estimates predict the losses to consumer in terms of software ripoffs (see Windows/Microsoft) are literally immeasurable. From the article: 'The countries with the highest software ripoff / corporation greediness rates were United States (100%).

Not really Losses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417930)

As it's money they wouldn't have gotten in the first place.. People who pirate games aren't GOING to go but they game. And those that do, well, they got their money.. So there are no "losses", they need to stop acting like they are losing money.. it's money they never would get anyway.. and the more they try to PUSH all this copy protection crap the more they are going to see how that money is NOT going to flow their way still.

BSA Monopolists (2, Insightful)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417931)

What the BSA wants is a bit absurd. They'd love to be able to do 3rd degree price discrimination - to charge one price in Zimbabwe and one in the US, maximizing their profit, unless, of course, you believe Windows would sell for 300 USD a copy in Zimbabwe. This is a monopolist tactic. It deprives consumers of benefit, and no global regime against it exists. Copyright violation acts as an illegal solution.

The same situation exists in region-coded DVDs - it's not piracy-preventing, it's profit-maximizing.

real harm to the economy (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417948)

I think that the real harm depends on what you are measuring.

For example, piracy may help the economy achieve a kind of uniformity of software that is very easy to work with. For example, even is a small firm cannot afford a copy of MS Windows and Autocad, they can always pirate a copy. We benifit because the draftperson does not have to learn multiple systems, and, as the skillset is much easier to garner, can be hired much cheaper than a traditional draftsman. OTOH, as Autocad has no compitition, they probably charge quite a bit more that market, and can continue to do so as they do not need to cater to the small shop.

So, the primary harm that piracy exacts is probably in terms of promoting high prices and reducing the responsiveness to consumers. In competative markets, like the database, there is an effort to get versions out to users that are either low or no cost. This allows the student or amatuer to gain the experience with product without paying professional prices. This is similiar to what once would happen with equipement, such as typewriters. One could buy an old selectric and gain expereince.

In noncompetatve markets, however, the only way to get a low cost version of many applications is to pirate. MS would like us to believe that we can buy a used PC, but we must buy a new license to the OS. The student edition of MS Office is $120, which is already way too much, but to get access it rises to $200, which is really a joke. They are charging more for Access than Foxpro! Autocad is little better charging $150 per year. Mathematica is little better. Labview shows what can happen when a competitve market exists, with a version at $80.

So, what we have is situation in which piracy has lead to extreme economic damage by promoting monopolies in certain sectors. The vendors are perfectly happy to allow the piracy, as it is partially why they are succesful. I will always remember the time in the late 80's when my boss told me he was going to get his first PC because he would not have to pay for any software, unlike on the Mac where most of our software was properly acquired. However, a vendor cannot survive with no sales, so the BSA tries to create opportunity costs, at least for certain customers, that are higher than acquisition costs.

As a student I got MS Office, Mathematics, Foxpro, etc, for a song, so I did not prirate. If I were a student, or new to the IT industry and just wanted to learn, I would think long and hard about buying the software at the offered prices or borrowing a copy.

Ideally I would like to see most piracy stopped. I would like to see offer prices that are in line with what a competative market will bear. I also hope that the BSA pulls the rug on china and forces either the software vendors to cut thier price of the Chinese to find another solution. We will then learn hard and fast what it means to not communicate with an important trading partner.

Gee, thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417954)

Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit.

I'm sure that is a big comfort for the software publishers.

Statistics (0, Redundant)

gidds (56397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417959)

Mmmm, lots of lovely numbers. Of course, 83.76% of statistics are made up. But that doesn't matter, coz 94.31% of people never believe them anyway.

What does the IRS say? (2, Interesting)

davepk (691946) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417964)

What does the IRS say about these claims of loss? Surely if a company truely believed the loss was actual they would try to claim it. Does that actually occur? What would the guidelines be from the IRS?

open source. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417965)

where pirated becomes modified.

Robbing banks is good for economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15417981)

It's the same bogus argument they've trotted out before, which is easily debunked. Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit.

Money must be spent to stimulate the economy. Banks just sit on money while bank robbers spend like mad. Therefore, robbing banks is good for the economy :)

How many Windows XP licenses are thrown out? (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15417989)

PC stops working, shop says it's cheaper to buy a new one than fix the old one, and of course, the new one comes with a new OS.

Old PC goes in the dumper along with a perfectly valid OS license (which could have been legitimately moved to the new machine, I believe)

All the second hand machines I have came with license stickers on the sides. Sadly, most of these licenses remain unused, as the machines are running Ubuntu Linux...
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