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BSA's Latest Piracy Claims 'Shockingly Misleading,' Says Geist 277

An anonymous reader writes "This week the Business Software Alliance published a new study which purports to estimate the economic gain from a ten percent reduction in piracy of business software. For Canada, the BSA claims that the reduction would create over 6,000 new jobs and generate billions in GDP and tax revenue. But Michael Geist says the BSA claims are based on nothing more than the economic gains from a ten percent increase in proprietary software spending. The BSA now admits its estimate is based on the presumption that every dollar 'saved' by using unlicensed software would now be spent on proprietary software." Glyn Moody pointed out more flaws in the BSA's report.
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BSA's Latest Piracy Claims 'Shockingly Misleading,' Says Geist

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  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:22PM (#33612040)

    For every 10% increase in broken window glass over 6,000 new jobs would be created and billions in GDP and tax revenue would be generated.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:31PM (#33612144)
      I ran the numbers and if the members of the BSA gave a Canadian 10 billion dollars:

      - Canada's GDP would go up by billions of dollars
      - Nearly 5 billion dollars would go to taxes
      - The lucky guy or gal could spend 3 billion dollars to hire 6,000 people at an average of $50,000 a year for 10 years to build a monument of themselves.
      - The lucky person would have 2 billion dollars left to spend

      The choice is clear.
    • by TrisexualPuppy ( 976893 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:34PM (#33612184)
      Exactly. Nice assumption that it is businesses that can actually afford the software that are running the pirated software.

      And now that these businesses are being put in their place, they're going to rightfully pay their BILLIONS to the software companies. 6000 new jobs! Nevermind the BILLIONS in paycuts and thousands of layoffs that would be needed to pay for the software if the supposition were true...

      You aren't going to get money from nothing unless you're the Federal Reserve®
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by severoon ( 536737 )

        What a great assumption. I'm sure if Adobe was able to charge for every copy of Photoshop that's used, every future graphic designer would pay out of their own pocket to get experience with it. They'd show up for their first day of work like they do now, fully prepared and knowledgeable, and the only difference would be Adobe's bottom line.

        Either that, or more and more graphic design houses would find themselves having to switch to the GIMP because it's all anyone seems to know. Hmm...which is it?

      • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:49PM (#33613128)

        Well the extra jobs claim is a nonsense, for starters.

        The very fact that the software was "pirated" means that the software is already specified, designed, written and tested - no extra technical jobs needed there.

        The very fact that the software was "pirated" means that the software was already widely known about - no extra jobs in sales and marketing needed there.

        The very fact that the software was "pirated" means that those users are prepared to do without paid support - no extra jobs in support and maintenance needed there.

        The very fact that the software was "pirated" means that the software is already distributed to those who are using it - no extra jobs in distribution needed there.

        So what would also those extra jobs be used for? Counting the extra money?

      • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:37PM (#33613636)

        Due to the Ernie Ball story and the high cost of software, when I stopped loading Windows on home built beige boxes, I started using Ubuntu instead. Now I no longer pay for extra copies of AV software, media players, etc. The net result due to the Software Repository for Ubuntu, I buy less applications and games. I find I don't need CD or DVD burning or ripping software from a retailer.

        All I can say is Thank You BSA. You have saved me a bundle. I've gone legal and never looked back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby ( 1163751 )

      That's a bit of a false dichotomy, this isn't a glazier breaking the neighbors window (the vendors forcing the users to pay for something they don't need or want), it is the neighbor breaking into the glaziers and taking windows for his new house without paying (the users taking from the vendor without paying). And yes, I'm aware that nothing is 'broken' or 'stolen' in this case, but I've always had a problem with that argument; obviously the pirated software has value over the free alternatives, why else

      • by TrisexualPuppy ( 976893 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:45PM (#33612302)

        obviously the pirated software has value over the free alternatives

        I debunk your argument by naming this common logical fallacy [nizkor.org]. This is a textbook example of begging the question based on a false presumption that some F/OSS alternative exists for every marketed software. By the way, why try to make something a "right" when one can already sue for damages based on simple law that already covers this topic anyway, theft. You might want to rethink your argument.

        • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:04PM (#33612518)

          My point was that the pirated software had value to the the people who are pirating it, not that every piece of functionality was available in a free piece of software. If there is no free alternative available then there is all the more reason that the software has value since there is no replacement for it.

          By the way, why try to make something a "right" when one can already sue for damages based on simple law that already covers this topic anyway, theft.

          Because as has been pointed out on this site many, many times, theft implies denying access to the stolen item by taking it away. The implication being that creating a copy of something for your own use cannot really be theft since the original copy is still completely usable and available to others. There is also laws that say that content creators have a right to control who copies and distributes their creations, it's called 'copyright', maybe you've heard of it?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            And it used to be for a limited and reasonable period of time but has been corrupted by content creators over the years (namely Disney). "Pirating" software and other content (some of which falls under Fair Use and is still called "pirating" by groups like the BSA) has become the equivalent for some people of civil disobedience.

            "No, I will not give up my seat!" --Rosa Parks, where would we be if she obeyed the law?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by geekoid ( 135745 )

            "My point was that the pirated software had value to the the people who are pirating."

            In the US, the distributer is the pirate. In fact using the term pirate in this context goes back 300 years and is specifically regarding the people making the copies, not the people receiving them. While there is now verbiage in the copyright regarding downloading, don't link to it unless you understand it. It isn't saying what most people on /. think it is.

            And there is good reason the people receiving shouldn't be held l

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        I totally agree I was only pointing out the absurdity of their statement. This money would not magically appear these firms would stop spending money on something else like say employees to pay for this software. Others would switch to FREE alternatives. Either way no way would forcing every "pirate" to be legit actually result in that number of sales.

        On top of that few new jobs would be created even if they were right. It takes no longer to write software that 1000 people use vs 10 people.

      • Well I think h4rr4r at least has a point that statistics for the number of jobs, the increased tax revenue, and the increase in GDP does not actually mean that it would be economically productive for people to buy 10% more software. People always cite GDP, but money spent on fixing broken windows is also counted toward GDP.

      • by SirGeek ( 120712 )

        it is the neighbor breaking into the glaziers and taking windows for his new house without paying (the users taking from the vendor without paying)

        However this is intellectual theft. In this situation, the glazier hasn't be deprived of one piece of glass or glaze, so he can sell that glass to someone else.

        It would be "more" like me going into a staples, picking up a magazine and taking pictures of an article then putting the magazine back and taking my pictures with me.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        No, it's the neighbor watching the glazier and then exactly duplicating what he does rather than hiring him to replace the windows.

        The glazier isn't out any time or materials, he just didn't get a new contract.

        The key part is that if the neighbor was prepared to make do with the old plexiglass windows rather than pay the glazier's rates (or if he couldn't afford to do otherwise), then the glazier is not out anything at all. There was never a contract there for him.

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:31PM (#33612882) Homepage Journal

      I can cite one example of software piracy costing a software publisher: Ernie Ball [cnet.com].

      Ball manufactures my favorite guitar strings, the "Super Slinky". In 2000 he was raided by the BSA, couldn't find all the licenses, and settled with the BSA for $100,000. Enraged, he said he wanted all Microsoft products out of his offices and factory. "I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses," he said, "We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly."

      It's now a Linux shop. All the money he hasn't spent on Microsoft products in the last ten years and in the forseeable future is money lost to MS. The BSA's insane zeal to make sure that every piece of software has a license and that the license can be found has cost Microsoft hundreds of thousands of dollars, and will cost far more.

    • Eureka! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:46PM (#33613094)

      I get it! It's so clear now!

      My new plan is to pirate $100,000 worth of software, movies, and games every year. The money I save I will put into a retirement account, and I'll be able to retire in style in no time!

      Now, I don't make $100,000 a year, and my current expenses are only a little less than my current income, but that's neither here nor there. The BSA has shown me that this logic is sound!

      A penny pirated, is a penny saved, is a penny earned, right?

  • Econ 101 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Byron II ( 671689 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:25PM (#33612064)

    There is a finite amount of money.

    Thus, if $1000 more is spent on software, $1000 less is spent elsewhere. Roughly speaking, 6000 new software jobs equals 6000 fewer other jobs.

    This is approximately a zero sum game.

    There are benefits to reducing piracy, but their argument doesn't hold water.

    • Re:Econ 101 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:30PM (#33612124)
      But economics is not actually a zero sum game.. There's lots of imaginary money (stocks, bonds, loans, etc.) that pops into existence from time to time, and disappears just as quickly. Economics is like alchemy, in that it doesn't actually have to work, only make others think it works.
      • Re:Econ 101 (Score:5, Funny)

        by sabt-pestnu ( 967671 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:35PM (#33612188)

        So what you're saying is that virtual dollars are constantly being created and destroyed in Economic Space? Forming the basis for a theory of Economic Vacuum Energy [wikimedia.org]? Which itself is a part of Quantum Economics?

        • Re:Econ 101 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:52PM (#33612388)
          Your problem here is you're thinking of economics as a science (and beyond that, a hard science). Economics doesn't have rules. At best, economics has patterns.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ALeavitt ( 636946 )
        Ah yes, I, too, remember the day in Econ 101 when they covered Mercantilism. Fortunately, Capitalism is a whole different ballgame.
      • Also, money is the representation of "value" in the market (goods, man-hours over a given timeframe for services, etc.). Only a fool would think that these resources are constant at any given time. Things are created/destroyed regularly, and the total available can go up or down.

      • And economics gets thrown a screwball by things with infinite supply like bits and ideas. When you try to artificially regulate those into "classical" models and try to think of them in economic terms, you run into problems.

      • Re:Econ 101 (Score:4, Informative)

        by canajin56 ( 660655 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:40PM (#33613000)

        You're right that economics isn't a zero sum game. It's not because if imaginary money though, don't be absurd. It's because of this: Lets say I make $30,000 this year. But $12,000 goes to rent and utilities. $4800 on food. That leaves $13,200. So did I get paid $30,000 or did I get paid $13,200. Saying that economics is zero sum is saying that I only got paid $13,200. I didn't, I got $30,000. The fact that I spent it doesn't mean it never existed. It means I spent it. If there was only $30,000 in the entire country and I started with all of it, then spent it, the GDP is over $30,000 even though only $30,000 exists. Because I'll spend it, the people who get it after me will spend it, and so on, it keeps on flowing. GDP is a measure of money FLOW, not of money.

        But, some parts are zero sum. If you presume that the amount of pop people drink in a year is a fixed value, then the cola wars are a zero sum game. Coke can only make more if Pepsi makes less. That's got nothing to do with money being finite, and everything to do with demand being finite. And the OP's example is another on of these cases. If Company X has pirated software, and switches to legitimate software, they are spending $1000 more. This extra spending does not increase their income. Now, assuming that they were just sitting on that $1000 then this improves the economy, just like broken windows do. But if they were going to spend that money anyway, it's only a redistribution of wealth. It couldn't possibly create jobs unless you can show that software development companies spend money on different things, and that somehow those different things tend to go to big spenders so the economy is more stimulated. I doubt that's the case. (Plus most of that money, in TFA's example of Canadian companies, wouldn't even be staying in the same country).

    • Shhh. Don't let the shareholders hear!
    • Your econ 101 class didn't teach you that economics is not a zero-sum game?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zzsmirkzz ( 974536 )
      That was true when money was backed by a finite amount of tangible items with inherent value. It is not, however, true today. The amount of money in existence is a reflection of the amount of money needed at that point in time. Every time someone (or the government) borrows money, that money is printed and and lent out. That money must then be paid back, usually with interest. You must remember when you are talking about dollars that they do not represent value, they represent debt. Every dollar you have is
    • No, wealth can be created from labor and resources.

      Look at it this way: Where did money come from?
      If the supply is always finite and unchanging, then there can be no money now, because orignally there was none. It had to come from somewhere.
      If you say there can be no more money created, how was the second dollar (pound, peso, whatever) created after the first?
      And the second million or billion?

      Try Econ 201. They go into more depth.

  • Not Shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sonny Yatsen ( 603655 ) * on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:25PM (#33612066) Journal

    How is it shocking? Every study released by industry groups on the effects of piracy, thus far, has been way off the mark in estimating the economic impact of piracy. This is about as unshocking as you can get. Did anyone really expect a trade advocacy group to not mislead you when they report on stuff like this?

  • BSA is biased anyway (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Halifax Samuels ( 1124719 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:27PM (#33612086)
    http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10423.pdf [gao.gov]

    Even the US Government Accountability Office has announced that you can not accurately make economy-wide estimations for this type of thing.

    Most experts observed that it is difficult, if not impossible, to quantify the economy-wide impacts.

    Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data.

    ...how did it go? Something about "making an ass of you and me"...

  • Doubly misleading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Nor does it account for the jobs created by the money *saved* by not paying for said software.

  • Zero sum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:28PM (#33612090) Journal

    "the reduction [of software piracy] would create over 6,000 new jobs and generate billions in GDP and tax revenue"

    That also assumes that any money not spent on proprietary software is being stashed under a mattress.

    The truth is more like the money would be diverted from other spending, and these "billions" of dollars would just be distributed differently, with no plausible increase in net GDP or tax revenue.

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:53PM (#33612410) Homepage

      A lot of people who pirate (eg.) Microsoft Office will only use it once a month or so.

      Spending $600 so they can use Office a dozen times a year is probably worse for the economy than spending it on something else.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Spending $60 or $6 towards a donation to improve your favorite free alternative might not be. Just because you use it infrequently does not mean you should be using it with out the owners consent.

    • Economics is not a zero sum game. Dig something valuable out of the ground and you've just "created" new money by adding something valuable that wasn't there before. (This applies to anything valuable, digging stuff up just makes the point clearer)

      However, your point stands in the sense that if people have to start paying for something that used to be free and does not increase revenue in any way, then the money for that item must come from somewhere else. $1000 more spent here means $1000 less spent some

    • Re:Zero sum (Score:4, Funny)

      by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:26PM (#33612824)
      So, every dollar spent on software is a dollar that could have otherwise been spent on life saving surgeries for children?!?!?! If I understand the BSA's logic correctly, that would mean that the BSA is murdering thousands of children a year!!!! Won't someone think of the children????
  • by Palestrina ( 715471 ) * on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:29PM (#33612112) Homepage

    It comes from reduced spending someplace else? Or increasing consumer or business debt, right?

    This is an old, old economic fallacy. I tried to debunk it once in a blog post: "Broken Windows and the Ghost of Keynes" [robweir.com] but you can't kill the undead.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:33PM (#33612168)

    If you were to increase software sales by 10% for an equal reduction in piracy, you would be causing billions of dollars of HARM to the economy because those former pirates would experience no increase in value in the software they have and now have fewer resources to spend elsewhere.

    Piracy does cause some harm to the software/entertainment industry, but it does so by enriching the greater economy by creating a net gain in value when you consider the big picture.

    Their argument is fundamentally flawed in ways far beyond the fact that they are making up random numbers.

    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      Well, I suppose as long as you aren't in the business of producing software this is a great argument.

      I'd say the argument also applies to houses. Currently in the US there is a surplus of houses, so many that cities are bulldozing them to prevent their use by squatters, gangbangers and drug dealers. Also, we just had a huge crisis because the bond rating people decided to ignore reality and rate bonds AAA no matter what. The result was a huge influx of money into the housing market which has now disappear

  • The money that teh evil pirates have stopped from reaching the bonuses of software company executives has instead been spent supporting thousands of real jobs. Or orphans. Or whatever, since these are these figures are being pulled out of someone's ass.

  • History repeats (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:40PM (#33612240)
    And for the next twenty years, we'll be seeing this study cited as fact in Government position papers, other MPAA/RIAA/BSA "studies," Congressional testimony, treaty discussions, etc.
  • Where the jobs are. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:42PM (#33612264)

    Unfortunately, the new jobs will not be in product development, but rather in legal prosecution and defense, as companies spend more time hunting "pirates" with very little result per dollar spent, then are sued themselves by companies using the same tools they use to attack others.

    Oh, and the law teams will almost certainly end up costing far more per 'employee' than developers.

    The BSA is what you get when lawyers see how this cycle works, and band together to accelerate the process, while maximizing leverage against companies to keep the cycle going. It's like a union, without the meager shared humility of strenuous work to justify the pride involved - it's all union bosses playing with money here.

    Ryan Fenton

  • If the dollar is saved, so the business already created over 6,000 new jobs and generated billions in GDP and tax revenue. Each dollar saved will be spend or do they think they are burning the saved money? The BSA and RIAA/MPAA/GEMA really thinks that the money not spend on licenses or music is just wasted.
  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @12:53PM (#33612412)
    Most pirates would not bother buying the software they get for free if they were forced to either buy it or go without. So reducing piracy would not increase legitimate sales, or only marginally at best.
    • by cdrguru ( 88047 )

      The problem is that mostly what BSA is concerned with is piracy in businesses.

      A business that is using a pirate version of Microsoft Word would very likely continue to use Microsoft Word no matter what, even if it cost something. Same goes for most things that are really useful in a business environment.

      Photoshop is somewhat questionable - there are a lot of people that download it because it is there and free. If they had to pay their modest requirements might actually be fulfilled with Paint.

      Now, the pi

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        A business that is using a pirate version of Microsoft Word would very likely continue to use Microsoft Word no matter what, even if it cost something. Same goes for most things that are really useful in a business environment.

        With free options available like OpenOffice, even that assumption has to be put in question.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Joce640k ( 829181 )

          Even Microsoft has admitted that they're rather have somebody pirate MS Office than install a copy of Open Office.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by becker ( 190314 )

        And of course there is economic value to "piracy": advertising and lock-in.

        Microsoft's lock on the market happened because of illicit, unauthorized and implicitly authorized copies. Their resulting monopoly position has been worth vastly more than any revenue foregone or lost.

        Even if a software publisher doesn't end up with a monopoly, no-cost copies can create a viable market size where none existed before.

        There have been serious economic analyses that suggest the market has a below-optimal illicit copyin

  • by m509272 ( 1286764 )

    What's even more disturbing is that this along with anti-piracy of music and movies is being touted by many as a significant part of the cure to the poor US economy. We also have similar attempts by the broadband providers claiming net neutrality will cost jobs. Verizon has already stopped their Fios rollout in the US regardless of the net neutrality outcome. It's a total joke how every industry that wants some government concession or intervention uses "loss of jobs" as their primary tactic.

  • A devil's game (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xkr ( 786629 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:06PM (#33612540)
    Economics is tricky. I worked closely with one of the two largest software companies in the world on the issue of piracy.
    • Most non-paying users of software would NOT purchase the product if a free version is unavailable.
    • Non-paying customers are getting free training and free market share development. Consider, if you will, comparison to the porn model. You give away 95% for free so that when and if someone decides (business: "needs") to upgrade to supported product they will chose yours over a competitors.
    • If you take away money from a business (charge for a previously free service) you are adding ZERO to the overall economy, because the business has to cut back somewhere else.
    • If ENOUGH people start paying, who weren't then the developer has more money to improve the product, which improves the productivity of ALL the users (paying or not) and that DOES add to the overall productivity and this improves the economy.

    Conclusion: YES, you want people to pay for software they use but (IMHO) measuring the economic impact is a devil's game. At best.

  • ...In India.

    But it would benefit the open source community immensely so you just *go* BSA. Prosecute away. OpenOffice needed that boost. Linux too.

  • All I hear is how taxes hurt the economy, by taking money away from small businesses, so they have to lay off workers.

    So, equivalently, the software industry should stop taxing all the other businesses by charging them money at all, and give away software for free. That way, 100% of the money companies spend on software would go towards creating jobs!

    Stop taxing us, software companies! Clearly you hate small businesses and the American worker!

  • by InsaneProcessor ( 869563 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:46PM (#33613092)
    Since the results of the study are self serving, the result mean nothing. The conclusion means nothing. This is not a story, it is propaganda disguised as news. Thusly, this is garbage and should be thrown out with yesterday's chicken carcass.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by SleazyRidr ( 1563649 )

      I could make a nice soup out of yesterday's chicken carcass. You can ditch the 'study' but leave me the carcass.

  • Tag Line (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carrier lost ( 222597 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @01:48PM (#33613110) Homepage

    "BSA. Because not enough people are using Open Source"

  • by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:23PM (#33613488)

    Er. I am not sure how "Shocking" it is. Anytime the BSA or the RIAA or CRIA etc... use "statistics" to prove a point they usually aren't worth the paper they are printed on. They don't even make an attempt to be even remotely accurate or truthful. They just use it for "Shocking" talking points, that they feed their bought and paid for puppet politicians to repeat over and over again in the media so they people buy the hokum they are selling.

    I would be hard pressed to even think of organizations that I would trust less in their use of statistics and the "general use of numbers". In other words all they spout is BS, why would I ever consider anything that they spout not to be BS.

    This article would make more sense if they only put quotes around "Shockingly" in a smarmy sarcastic way, unless that was the intention anyway...

  • by Schnoodledorfer ( 1223854 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @02:42PM (#33613694)

    Skimming through the comments so far, I get the impression that most people are concentrating on the argument that if a person can't pirate, that doesn't mean they will buy. TFA makes an even better point: They BSA assumed that, by value, 50% of the software in use is pirated. Otherwise a 10% reduction in piracy wouldn't result in a 10% increase in sales, even if all of the ex-pirates purchased. Gee, doesn't 50% seem a little high?

    How did BSA get 50%? A questionable study said greater than 40% [bsa.org], and since 50% is greater than 40%, it must be the correct number. (The actual number was 43% [bsa.org], FWIW.

    The earlier study included countries such as China and Russia and it appears (even the detailed version didn't really say) that they assumed that each piece of unlicensed software counted as much as each piece of licensed software. So every unlicensed copy of Windows 98 running on an underpowered PC in a third world or BRIC country was as valuable as any piece of brand-new business software.

    One thing that makes this look like so much hoo-ha is that the "detailed studies" available as PDFs don't contain any collected data or details about methodology. It's just nicely presented conclusions and spin.

  • Are they lawyers? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:09PM (#33613964)

    Or people who wanted to be lawyers, but were too dumb to get into law school?

    Seriously, you'd have to be really stupid to be able to write such a report and not have heard of opportunity cost. Yes if $X worth of software was bought instead of pirated the software makers would have an extra $X, but someone else (the now not pirating company, or more likely their workers or suppliers) would have $X less.

    So any economic benefit depends on the relative multipliers of the software companies and those sombody elses. I put my money on the sofware makers having a much lower multiplier for the local economy.

    Or of course they aren't stupid, but are intentionally lying.

    And that's ignoring any issue with the whole "people who pirate would buy it rather than not having it at all if we reduced piracy" assumption.

  • by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @03:46PM (#33614364) Journal

    Software pirates (commercial and noncommercial alike) certainly need to be caught and punished. However, when people like the BSA prove themselves to be liars, there aren't any "good guys" in the picture. When the enforcers are as much scumbags as the pirates are scumbags, there is no credibility. It's like being in New Orleans - deal with a mugger or deal with one of the corrupt cops. Hell of a choice.

    It should be sufficient to be able to say "Software is not a pirate's property for him to take or use, but they're doing it anyway" and prosecute on that basis. An argument of "I wouldn't have bought it anyway" should be wholly irrelevant. But resorting to histrionics like this just plays into the hands of the pirates and stirs up anger against the people who should have been the ones on the moral high ground, and makes the enforcers rightfully more despised than the pirates.

  • by DinDaddy ( 1168147 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:11PM (#33615850)

    If you say different, you have declared Uwe Bolle's movies to have a non-negative value, which is plainly false.

  • by Technomancer ( 51963 ) on Friday September 17, 2010 @06:22PM (#33615930)

    It is really hard to argue that selling additional copies of software will create more jobs. Maybe little with packing of software boxes and tech support. Otherwise all extra copies of software sold are pure profit. All it achieves is to transfer money from software users to software companies shaderholders.

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.