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Piracy Software The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

BSA 2010 Piracy Report: $58.8 Billion 361

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the is-see-what-you-did-there dept.
Glyn Moody writes "The annual BSA report on software piracy is out, with even bigger numbers: 'The commercial value of software piracy grew 14 percent globally last year to a record total of $58.8 billion.' Yes, they're using the old 'commercial value' trick: 'The commercial value of pirated software is the value of unlicensed software installed in a given year, as if it had been sold in the market.' Except, of course, that the main reason users in developing countries — the main focus of the report — resort to piracy is because they can't afford Western-style pricing. It's also fun to see the BSA trotting out the old 'reducing piracy would generate lots of new jobs and taxes for local governments' — except that it doesn't, because the money not paid for software licences does not disappear, but is just spent elsewhere in the local economy."
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BSA 2010 Piracy Report: $58.8 Billion

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  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:44AM (#36105200) Journal

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

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

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

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

    • by smitty97 (995791)

      Those pesky Boy Scouts...

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

    • by duguk (589689)

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

      I've paid my $8.77 - have you?

      • by hedwards (940851)

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

    • by batquux (323697)

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

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

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

  • Good to see the old Broken Window Fallacy is still alive and well.
    • Bastiat himself, apply the parable of the broken window in a different way. Suppose it was discovered that the little boy was actually hired by the glazier, and paid a franc for every window he broke. Suddenly the same act would be regarded as theft: the glazier was breaking windows in order to force people to hire his services. Yet the facts observed by the onlookers remain true: the glazier benefits from the business at the expense of the baker, the cobbler, and so on. Bastiat argues that people actually
    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>Broken Window Fallacy

      Cash for Clunkers comes to mind.

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

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

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:52AM (#36105280) Homepage Journal
    resort to piracy is because they can't afford Western-style pricing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You want to code and give your stuff away, that's fine. It's your stuff. Don't try claiming what you think should be done with your stuff applies to someone else's stuff.
    • by mikael_j (106439)

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

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

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

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

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

    • by metacell (523607)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      What you're getting at is exactly what bothers me. The reasoning of lots of people seems to be "I want something; therefore I am entitled to it." It's a child's argument. The worst thing about this position, though, is that it helps to prevent having an honest-to-God, adult, discussion about the whole situation. I personally believe that current copyright laws are—less than optimal, let us say. But it's hard to have a rational conversation about an issue when one side's position is that there sho

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        What you're getting at is exactly what bothers me. The reasoning of lots of people seems to be "I want something; therefore I am entitled to it." It's a child's argument.

        What is the difference between the idea of wanting to breathe and taking a breath, and wanting to listen to a song and downloading the mp3?

        • What you're getting at is exactly what bothers me. The reasoning of lots of people seems to be "I want something; therefore I am entitled to it." It's a child's argument.

          What is the difference between the idea of wanting to breathe and taking a breath, and wanting to listen to a song and downloading the mp3?

          I'm sorry; I haven't had all my requisite coffee this morning yet. Was that a joke?

          Just in case it (sigh) wasn't: breathing is a bodily function necessary for sustaining life, and thus, a right; listening to mp3s is not.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JackDW (904211)

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

      -- Vincent Van Gogh, 1888

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

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

      • by cHALiTO (101461)

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

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

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>Never mind the cost of R&D, never mind the time spent getting the artwork just right.. it's not "stuff", it's just information, and if you can copy it in a second, then that's all it's worth.

        On Ebay I recently complained about a customer that bought a brand-new videogame, swiped it with a beat-up scratched disc, and then returned it. Ebay responded "That's just the cost of business. We try to protect our sellers but in this case we have to follow the law which sides with the buyer." I'm s

      • There is outcry at every GPL violation because someone else's work has been appropriated, and they get nothing for all the time they put into making it.

        Someone doesn't understand the GPL. You can't violate it simply by appropriating something and not paying the author. Whether or not payment is accepted is not part of the GPL you can or you can't. A violation of the GPL has nothing to do with compensating the person who developed it, it's about keeping the work open. So yea, let's be angry about the license violation involving keeping software open and let's not care about the license violation that deprives the public domain via tremendously long copyrigh

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

      The fallacy of the "information owner" idea is that you have actually created something unique, and of your own mind. Without society, your mind would not exist. The form and structure of the information, the words, concepts, framewor

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>Guess what, someone, usually dozens or hundreds of people, worked to produce the software and they want to be paid for their work

      They have already been paid
      (hourly or weekly wages).
      So stop bitching.

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

      Wouldn't bother me.
      I would share the same opinion as the Author of the "Walking Dead" comic book: The amount of money I earn, even minus the l

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:54AM (#36105308)

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

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

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

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

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

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

      But more importantly - every time somebody downloads 3ds Max "to play with", that means they may -not- be downloading, for example, Blender to pl

      • by hedwards (940851)

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

      • by jank1887 (815982)

        exactly. As I posted up above, you are disturbing the demand part of the price decision point. That demand doesn't only affect the price of the software in question, it drives the development of alternatives. Matlab is expensive, so there is a demand for Octave. if legit organizations could pirate matlab and get the job done, there would be a lot fewer developers, and we probably wouldn't have Octave.

    • by thsths (31372)

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

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

      It is a bit like calling everybody who didn't buy you product a potential customer. Yes, that may be true for some def

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

    Who hear makes and sells software and or hardware?
    Did they ask you?
  • by bmo (77928) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:07AM (#36105426)

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

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

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

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

    Do it, guys, if you have any balls.

    --
    BMO

    • by lennier1 (264730)

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

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

    • Now,
      is there really any good CAD program for Linux? I'm not an Engineer - I'm a Chemist - but I keep hearing the stuff Autocad does for people in EE and ChemE is just amazing.

      (I'm using Archlinux/Libreoffice/Gimp myself.)

  • by Snorbert Xangox (10583) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:15AM (#36105516)

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

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

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

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

    • by hedwards (940851)

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

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

  • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:20AM (#36105572) Journal
    I'll just copy some illegal software a million times and I will be known as the worst thief on the planet!
  • BSA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:28AM (#36105708)
    There is absolutely no corollation between software piracy and jobs. While lesser minds will easily be fooled into this argument, those who are more intelligent will see right through this. In fact, software piracy and jobs are totally unrelated which makes this "study" laughable. If anything, by vigorously enforcing copyright and licensing, there will be fewer copies of said software to support meaning fewer jobs for skilled technicians. This basically takes the BSA argument and nullifies it. As an open source advocate, I do not condone software piracy at all but these efforts to fight it are largely misguided and the dues that the software industry pays the BSA would be better spent elsewhere. An entire industry has grown up around software piracy so as much as they preach against it, the lawyers that specialize in this kind of thing depend upon it for their livelihood. This is what makes the BSA so absolutely absurd. We are seeing another rehash of the sue for windfall profits and hide behind a non-profit organizational umbrella a la RIAA and MPAA. The BSA, RIAA, and MPAA should be required by law to show their corporate incomes and make them publicly available. They are tax-exempt, their lawyers are reaping the benefits, and everyone else suffers under stifled innovation.
  • Often people use pirated software for personal use or the occasional tinkering. Many of these will buy a licensed copy if they use it for commercial purposes. These pirated copies contribute to the level of obsequiousness of the software and to what extent a person will advise a licensed copy to his corporation when he has experience with the software on a personal level. Many of these unlicensed copies will be replaced by a lesser capable free software alternative if push comes to shove.
  • First round of colonies gave us resources and free labour to develop our societies and tech.
    Second round, the colonies have moved to the IP world which is owned completely by the west due to the advantage from the first round.

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

  • Some guy in China, who makes $100 per year, pirated our $500 piece of software. We LOST $500!

  • If you make the laws you decide what illegal 'piracy' is. These third world countries are only pirating if it is illegal to copy the software in their country because US copyright and trade laws don't apply in other countries any more than their laws apply here. At some point one of these governments is going to realize that they can simply nationalize software just like they nationalize oil companies and collect all the cash themselves. It is only a desire to maintain good relations with the US that could

  • What they forget, a little bullshit fertilizes...too much will burn the roots and kill the plant. People see though the FUD these guys try to pawn off as fact. When will they get it through their small deformed heads w/ extra thick skulls to their walnut sized brains that the distribution paradigm they use is flawed. BSA associated companies DEMAND the customer make payment before obtaining a copy of the product, supposedly without ever knowing if the product will do what it is supposed to do, or the cus
  • News at 11.

    What is news, is the fact that governments use this as an excuse to accept bribes from industry and try to justify laws using those ridiculous numbers.

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @10:55AM (#36107000) Homepage Journal

    So, if a two classes of 30 students each install each a pirated copy of a SCADA system, estimate sales value $250,000 each, to make their final work at the dorms/home and not in a computer lab, and without "student version" nag, that means the industry has lost $15mln to that school year alone?

    Because surely the students would definitely buy the program if they could not pirate it.

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