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Piracy Software Your Rights Online

BSA Claims Half of PC Users Are Pirates 585

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the gnu-is-a-crime dept.
judgecorp writes "Despite continued pressure on business users to buy legitimate software, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) reports that the campaign seems to be failing. Well over half (57%) of users surveyed in a global survey admit to using pirated software. That's a big increase from the same survey last year — when 43% admitted to using pirated software. The BSA surveyed 15,000 people in 33 countries."
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BSA Claims Half of PC Users Are Pirates

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  • Underestimation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GloomE (695185) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:06PM (#40072155)

    Only half?

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:08PM (#40072163)
    Doesn't that indicate that perhaps a different approach is required? This sue-happy, mafia-style campaign isn't working so perhaps that's not the right way to go about it. I don't have the solution but clearly neither do they.
  • by exomondo (1725132) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:09PM (#40072171)
    Well:
    Over half of PC users worldwide have admitted to using pirate software
  • by Jerry (6400) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:20PM (#40072253)

    Obviously...

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:21PM (#40072257)

    When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

    When you have lawyers on staff, every problem looks like an ambulance.

  • by Technician (215283) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:23PM (#40072275)

    Not all of the 43%. Some of us have learned from the Ernie Ball story and moved off closed source entirely.

  • by InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:27PM (#40072305) Journal
    Sorry, but I believe the number should be going down. Soon enough, people will realize they don't need buggy siftware when they can get Linux and Open Source software that is better and mostly free
  • by hangar47 (2644671) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:27PM (#40072315)
    "UK is firmly below the global average, with just 27 percent of computer users admitting they have acquired software illegally last year. This translates into an approximate £1.2 billion loss by the software industry." - "People who use software without paying for it" != "People who would pay for it if they couldn't get it for free". Only a group like the BSA (and it can't be coincidental that their acronym so nicely fits with BullShitArtists) would use stats like that.
  • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:28PM (#40072325)

    Quite the opposite. This is great news for the RIAA and the like. Now whenever they do their scattershot lawsuits, they have a rock solid legal argument. "No your honor, we don't have any evidence. But statistically speaking, the defendant is almost certainly guilty!"

  • by rueger (210566) * on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:31PM (#40072341) Homepage
    You can bet that BSA surveys are rigged to generate the highest numbers possible. After all, if "piracy" was declining they couldn't really insists that all of the draconian laws and penalties were needed.

    Cops figured this out decades ago - no matter that crime stats have been falling for ten years, somehow the police always need more people, more equipment, and tougher laws.

    Any survey by the BSA - or any group with a vested interest - is automatically suspect.
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:34PM (#40072359)

    is it really a crime?

    This country is, at least in theory, a democracy. If more people break that law than voted for the current president, doesn't that indicate that the majority of people don't believe that piracy is "bad"?

    I feel like there should be some eloquent Latin quote for this... Ubi omnes sontes, nemo sontes? Did I get that right?

  • by Surt (22457) on Monday May 21, 2012 @09:34PM (#40072361) Homepage Journal

    I haven't needed to pirate anything in years, everything has a free and good-enough equivalent now. What does anyone pirate today?

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:08PM (#40072583)

    TFA is just a troll. Or flamebait. Or both. I don't know.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:25PM (#40072687) Journal

    C'mon! Let's get to 100% PEOPLE!

    That'll be just for the attitude of those bastards. ;-)

    Actually BSA thinks that all the PC users are pirates - but they are scared that if they tell the truth as it is, they'll look like loons

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:03PM (#40072913)

    The blame lies 100% at the door of the greedy corporations who are gouging.

    Not really. If you believe they are gouging then don't use their products, use a free alternative, like GIMP instead. Now the reason I say that is because I believe piracy is not a way of protest, in fact it just makes it worse. Consider that - as many here will attest - piracy != lost sale so piracy isn't necessarily 'hurting' the company, what it does is cement the idea that the software in question is the best (or at least 'necessary'), superior to cheaper or free alternatives, thus making it the de-facto standard in the market and driving out cheaper or free competitors.

    The same thing happens with other software too, Windows for example. People claim to not like it and to pirate it to only use it out of necessity, but that just drives its use in the market leading to more people to use it out of necessity so to a degree piracy drives legitimate sales.
    Obviously if legitimate sales start to sag but usage continues to grow then the companies see piracy as a problem.

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:36PM (#40073051)

    I should have put this in the above post but personally I think the 'Free for non-Commercial Use' model is a good method for most paid software companies. I see it as viable predominantly because it wouldn't be far from the system we have now (as in it would require minimal changes) except that these home users - that are probably just using the software for hobby or educational purposes and can't justify the cost nor the infringement penalties anyway - would not be painted as 'criminals' and those who derive income from the tools they use would be the ones who pay for the development of said tools.

    It's not a perfect solution and it's not the only solution, but it's more harmonious while being not too far removed from what we have now.

  • by Endo13 (1000782) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:53PM (#40073157)

    Pretty much this. A program sells for $700 when a reasonable facsimile is available for free, legitimately. Same is true for almost every other piece of software that sells for hundreds of bucks. People realize the stuff really just isn't worth that much.

    It doesn't even matter if the alternative isn't identical or not as good. It's free. By normal human rationale, that means the other similar one can't possibly warrant a price that high. Sure, it may be a little better, but not $700 vs $0 better. And that's how I believe most people rationalize piracy.

    These companies would probably be ahead giving away the core software for free to home users and collecting some here and there on microtransactions.

  • by advocate_one (662832) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:56PM (#40073183)
    software piracy is software piracy... if it were a real problem for Microsoft and the other companies, then they'd implement proper locks on the software, but no, they like it because it means the competition isn't getting a look in... to Microsoft, a pirated windows install means someone isn't using Linux... a pirated Office install means someone isn't using Open Office...
  • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @12:33AM (#40073397)

    Which is exactly why - if anything - software piracy is helping companies get market share and eliminate competition. Better to use an alternative than to pirate.

    In other markets this balances out because if a company's product is too expensive people turn to alternatives, when that company loses marketshare they either adapt - by lowering their price or adding more value - or they die, but in the case of software people can pirate and since in most cases a piracy != lost sale that won't kill the company but it will increase their marketshare. That can then get to the case in point where the market leader is perceived - by many - to be massively overpriced but since they are effectively the only game in town there are few - if any - viable alternatives.

  • by Jessified (1150003) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:09AM (#40073593)

    Isn't that right. If the majority of the population breaks the law, there is a problem with the law.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:34AM (#40073725)

    Not fully. I fully respect that companies need a way to make profit.

    This is not a problem with the law, its often a problem with the companies. Asking way too much for certain products or having a horrible distribution scheme. Say about bittorrent what you wish, but if I actually look for some software, I find it, usually having to only look for 1 site. And it doesn't annoy the fuck out of me during installation.

  • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:50AM (#40073789) Journal

    No I'M sorry friend but people would rather pirate Windows than take Linux for free. After all if you pirate Windows you only have to install it once, most distros now will tell you in the forums the only way to upgrade without problems now is clean install which is bi-annually again for most. I have taken bog standard laptops and desktops and tried in place GUIs with every "consumer friendly" version of Linux and have yet to have one come through with 100% functional drivers, Wifi and that damned pulseaudio being the worst offenders. Finally with the vast majority of the software that people want its as simple as 'download and run" on Windows but most of the software people want simply doesn't exist on Linux or you get some ersatz that just isn't nearly as good, Gimp for Photoshop, Calc for Excel, Gnucash for Quickbooks, etc. They just aren't up to the level of the software they are emulating, sorry.

    But what both you and the BSA fail to take into consideration is many of these companies WANT PIRACY TO EXIST. Lets take Windows which by mentioning Linux you are obviously trying to make a comparison to. Well Vista was harder to pirate, even had a kill switch, what happened? IT BOMBED. It also didn't run on netbooks which if MSFT wouldn't have dusted off XP and practically gave it away then linux might have had that market instead of being wiped out in less than a year. So what did MSFT do when it came to Win 7? It made its "anti-piracy" so damned trivial that damned near every pirate site had it cracked before RTM and what's more they made it so that pirate versions get full updates! All the pirate has to do is block a single Windows Update (that Windows will then happily hide if you wish and never show again) and Win 7 will get full updates for the life of the OS!

    If MSFT wanted to wipe piracy completely off the map in the west they could do so tomorrow, all they have to do is offer Win 7 HP for $50 and Starter for $35. When they had that "Buy Win 7 HP for $50 or $100 for a triple pack" deal going on? I never saw a pirated version of Win 7, never. They were ALL Win 7 HP legits. MSFT killed that program and no every Craigslist is filled with $100 machines running Win 7 Ultimate.

    But MSFT knows if they lower the price permanently the stock price will tank because wall street wants iMoney, so instead they just do a "wink wink nudge nudge" and made Win 7 the easiest OS to pirate EVAR, hell you don't even need a fricking key! Of course the one this does hurt is Linux because if piracy was wiped out then some corp might decide it was worth spending the money fixing the problems in Linux so as to undercut MSFT and give them some competition. This of course would not be in MSFT's best interests and since they get the majority of their money from OEMs and not refurbers or DIYers they would rather allow piracy than cut the price. You see the same thing with programs like Photoshop where they could cut the price and eliminate piracy but instead they just let students pirate the thing and then sell it to their employers that hire the kids who learned how to shop on the pirated version.

    You mark my words, if the BSA managed to find some way to block piracy tomorrow it would be MSFT and Adobe along with several other corps that would be fighting it. They know that piracy is the market saying their price is too high and that those people would go somewhere else if they couldn't pirate so you have what you have now where piracy is allowed. I'm not sure if the MAFIAA cartel are likewise aware of this but they seem pretty damned worried about alternatives to their media channels and non MAFIAA content so I'm sure if they ever manage to wipe out piracy they too will find out the hard way that rather than pay their fees people will just go elsewhere.

  • by chrismcb (983081) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:07AM (#40073857) Homepage

    The blame lies 100% at the door of the greedy corporations who are gouging.

    The blame lies 100% at the door of the greedy users.

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:10AM (#40073867)

    Because Apple are usually smart enough to realise that serial numbers and drm schemes only cause inconvenience to paying customers...

    So how does that explain the DRM in Final Cut Pro X which uses the iTunes receipt in the app folder to validate the install? The definitely have DRM in there.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @03:43AM (#40074169)

    Not fully. I fully respect that companies need a way to make profit.

    Why? Profit is a means, not an end. If the profit motive isn't serving man in some area, then it need not be there.

    You might as well say, "I fully respect that worshippers need a gold-plated Church in every town."

  • by progician (2451300) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @04:04AM (#40074239) Homepage
    But this is not a belief it is a factual thing. What people believe is one thing, but what they do en masse that's the real deal. Now in this case, if more than 50 percent of the people do something and what they do is harmless (there's no such thing as right to profit making from old and bad business practices - though recently it seems that the banks and the publisher companies are entitled to it). The law must recognize the reality: if it fails to do that, it will be by and large ignored. You see, there were not so long ago (or perhaps there still are) laws against oral and gay sex in some states. Such a backward an irrelevant laws must be overturned. A lobby group should not get bigger powers than the majority of the involved population.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:00AM (#40074423) Homepage

    Well, derp a herp derp to you. Of course Lunix installs "depend on your hardware", and that's the problem. Its compounded by cretins who claim that graphics chipset X or WiFi dongle Y "work" with Lunix drivers, using a definition of "work" that reasonable human beings wouldn't recognise. Sure, that dongle will connect to my WLAN just fine... if I don't mind it dropping out every 30 seconds unless I turn off WPA and even WEP.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm on SUSE, Red Hat, Ubuntu and Mint all the time, but "depends on your hardware" just isn't good enough for Joe User.

  • by tirnacopu (732831) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:47AM (#40074587)

    What the majority believes may be wrong some times.

    This is a well-known let's say 'urban legend', refuted several times throughout history but which keeps coming back as a way to stress just how dark the Dark Ages were or to make a Mayan discovery look more spectacular. Educated people over the millenia have always known that Earth is round, and belief otherwise is just that - a dogma imposed by some religions, methinks as a simple yet powerful way to describe how precious and rare life as we know is. See the "Myth of a flat Earth [wikipedia.org]" page references for some amusement.
      There will also always be nutcases that deny common sense and science, some of them might even go as far as to negate Darwinism in American schools, but I do hold hope that humanity can work around those.

  • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @08:45AM (#40075793)

    Copyright Infringement is a crime (or at least an infraction) that you can commit in the privacy of your own home.

    Just like interracial sex. If it harms no one, you do it in the privacy of your home, why should it be a crime?

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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