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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:09PM (#40072169)

    The Boy Scouts of America have been using that TLA for a lot longer than the Business Software Alliance has existed. The former should sue the latter for damaging the reputation of their acronym.

  • Phrasing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cranky_chemist (1592441) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:27PM (#40072311)

    Do you know what the article doesn't tell you?

    How the question was phrased, which makes a helluva lot of difference in the results of any poll.

    "Tell me, sir, do you still pirate software?"

    "Well... uh... no."

    "So you admit that you USED to pirate software?"

    "Well... no."

    "So you admit you pirate software now, but didn't used to?"

    "Well... uh..."

    "So how often do you beat your wife?"

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:41PM (#40072393)
    As usual when someone with an agenda throws statistics at you, you can rest assured that they've manipulated them in such a way to achieve their own goals. In this case, it's rather easy to see what they are doing. Worldwide? When I was in Africa 2 years ago, the hotel I stayed in had a computer in the community room. Windows Genuine Advantage warnings kept popping up. I fixed that for them... much to the bemusement of the Microsoft employee that was staying their with us. After traveling to several other locations we found that, at least to our limited exposure, ALL the software on EVERY computer was pirated. The Microsoft guy was appalled. I asked him where he expected these people to buy his software? Shipping to that part of africa was somewhere in the neighborhood of $500... There were no walmarts, or any sort of software vendors. The fastest data connection I came across was at a coffee shop at it was 56k. So you can be fairly certain that the entire continent of Africa's piracy rate is well above 99% Take the population of Africa... oh and China... and India... are you starting to get the picture? Did their poll ask people if it were possible for them to buy the software they needed in the first place? I doubt it.
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:12PM (#40072605)

    I would, in fact, argue that the current traffic laws *are* broken as currently used.

    Speed limits are rigged to bring in ticket money. There's a section of highway I drive daily that's marked as 45MPH (with an advisory limit of 35)... that is completely safe at 65MPH+, and regularly driven at 70. I was once passed by a Mustang I swear was doing at least 120. There are no pedestrians (it's an overpass, no foot traffic), no sharp turns, no visibility problems, no oncoming traffic, nothing that makes such a low limit (for a highway) logical. And since it merges into 65MPH traffic after just a mile, I would argue that 35MPH is in fact completely *unsafe*.

    It's also been demonstrated that traffic lights with red-light cameras are almost always set to LESS safe timings to boost revenue. As for "rolling stops", yeah, those shouldn't always be illegal as well. Go on and tell me that it's unsafe to slow down to a crawl long enough to see that there's NO ONE else on the road, then continue on. Blowing through a stop sign's obviously a Bad Thing, but I see no reason to come to a complete stop when I'm the only one on the road.

    So if the laws that are being broken are primarily being broken in ways that harm no one, they are obviously in need of at least revision. Should we completely throw them out? Of course not. But should we improve them? Yes.

    Your point about South Africa does have merit - obviously something as harmful as rape shouldn't be legalized (although I'll not that "33% of men" is only 16% of the population, so while your general idea has significant merit, your particular was perhaps poorly-chosen). I suppose one could argue that no man-made law can violate natural law, and thus you cannot legislate away the "right not to be raped" or other such natural rights. However, as copyright is clearly an artificial legal construct, I don't think natural law is particularly relevant.

  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:21PM (#40072659)

    Considering the population of China, India, Africa, half is rather surprising. Looking at the study, in the top 20 the only places UNDER 50% are the US, Canada, Western Europe, Japan, S Korea and Australia. Interestingly they twist the logic around so the USA, with the lowest rate of piracy at 19% has the highest "value" of pirated software. Not really sure how we beat China at a 77% piracy rate, which seems both low as a rate and low as a $ value. Maybe the Chinese just pirate cheap software?

    The quick conclusion I draw after looking at the actual study is that people generally pay for software they can afford (affluent western countries) and people who can't afford it don't pay for it. Is this supposed to be surprising?

  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:07AM (#40073243)

    Of course, there are lies, damn lies and statistics like these. But there is some truth to this figure -- especially in terms of expensive applications such as Photoshop. People who wouldn't pirate _anything_ else _will_ pirate Photoshop or Microsoft Office because they can't justify the expense until they establish the demand.

    Of course, once they establish the demand, since they already have the software, it's 'easy' for them to 'forget' to buy a paid copy.

    Happily, Adobe has seen the light and offers trialware versions of its stuff -- if more companies did the same, had reduced prices for trialware users, and so-forth, that 50-odd percent figure would likely drop dramatically.

  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IDOXLR8 (864908) * <idoxlr8@gmail . c om> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:17AM (#40073301) Homepage Journal
    I almost agree... I dual boot win7 and Ubuntu and there is still no comparison. I get more work done while in win7...as soon as (insert your fav brand of Linux) can properly install my video, network, sound drivers without a glitch... I'm all there... as for pirating... Give me what I want to watch...when I want to watch it, otherwise...your business model sucks...
  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:45AM (#40073487) Homepage

    I just read it as the bull shit association ie M$ wants what now. Let's see window 8 compatible PCs are supposed to have operating system lock out. Let's guess M$ are extended that to unlicensed operating system lockout. Buy a windows 8 compatible PC and it wont run at all no matter what you do until you install a licensed copy of windows 8, no windows 7 pirates, no Linux, no nothing other than a licensed version of windows 8. M$ is just trying to do an end run around monopoly complaints and stealing users rights by babbling on about pirates, raise the jolly roger, the only one trying to steal anything here is M$.

  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmytheNO@SPAMjwsmythe.com> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:33AM (#40073719) Homepage Journal

        Sadly, there are an abundance of reports stating exactly that. During BSA audits sysadmins can't produce paid licenses and receipts for every install of Linux and all the FOSS they have installed. That's reason #1 to refuse to cooperate in any sort of way with them until they produce a warrant. It'll cost you in legal expenses, but that's cheaper than their "fines" and licenses to come into compliance.

        I've known *many* business owners who have received their bulk mailed warnings of impending audits, and offered to let the install the BSA audit tool to bring themselves into compliance. {sigh}

        This topic has already been discussed ad nauseum on here over the years. I'm surprised they are still able to operate at all. Oh ya, they're sponsored by big corporations, they can do whatever they want.

  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:42AM (#40073759)

    Note that the above is true only on ARM. They're making PCs a pain by mandating default Secure Boot to Windows and leaving it up in the air if it'll be possible to customize the bootloader keys, but not mandating lock down on them.

    They would if they could, yes, but their own legacy is too big for them to do so, let alone anti-competiton concerns.

  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @03:26AM (#40073905) Journal

    Actually that is just another reason why Win 8 will bomb. Vista had nasty DRM to keep from being pirated, even a kill switch and what happened? it bombed. Its the pirates that end up working in the little shops that support their ass, its the pirates that are usually the "tech guy" in the family that the rest go to to find out what to buy, and they ALL avoided Vista like the black death. So along comes Win 7 and the DRM is so damned trivial to bypass that you don't even need a key with the pirate versions AND it gets full Windows updates! So what happened? Win 7 is a hit, all those pirates went all over the net gushing about it, told all their friends and family, who then went out and bought laptops with Win 7.

    Maybe after Win 8 flops they'll fire Ballmer and bring in someone who isn't retarded. if they sold Win 7 starter for $35 and Win 7 Home for $50 then piracy of Windows would be nothing but a memory, at those prices nobody would bother. In the end whether they like it or not piracy is the market saying your product costs too much and without the pirates MSFT is in trouble because they all recommend staying with an older version and nobody buys the latest and greatest. Nice to see Ballmer didn't learn a damned thing from Vista, he should win the PHB of the year award for sure!

  • Re:Underestimation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @04:20AM (#40074095)
    I run Mint as my work OS, Win7 as play. I need Win7 as dual boot so it gets unrestricted access to the excessive hardware I bought to play games. "Serious about running a Linux desktop" doesn't mean that I can't dual boot another OS. I use Linux for everything except playing games. It just so happens that I like PC gaming too, and the games I enjoy don't run (well) on Linux.

    "Horses for courses", mate.
  • by master_p (608214) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @04:47AM (#40074187)

    Once upon a time, the majority of the population believed the Earth was flat.

    What the majority believes may be wrong some times.

  • You described a case when free software competes with commercial software. But imagine following scenario:

    * There is an entrenched piece of software by company A used by most people that costs 700$.
    * There is a startup company B producing similar thing that costs 50$.

    Now in case you pirate the software produced by company A, that's not a lost sale for company A. That's more a lost sale for company B.This kind of behaviour will lead to demise of company B and company A will become a monopoly. Add to this network effects and zero distribution costs and file format lock-in etc- they will only speed things up.

    What I want to say is that software market in general is easily dominated by big established companies. It's almost impossible to compete with established players, even if you sell a similar/better product for less. And piracy is one of the things responsible for that.

    Now markets where you need to offer support or adaptation/localization of software (enterprise markets) are somewhat different. And that's where Linux shines.

    --Coder

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.

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