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Piracy Software The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

BSA 2010 Piracy Report: $58.8 Billion 361

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 smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:52AM (#36105280) 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 mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @08:54AM (#36105304)

    confuse and obfuscate public policy

    You talk of "stealing" software... seems their obfuscation is working.

  • 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 drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:06AM (#36105416) Homepage Journal

    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 fool slashbot.

  • 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.


  • by ZombieBraintrust ( 1685608 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:09AM (#36105446)
    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 do endorse activities which are morally equivalent to the glazier hiring a boy to break windows for him: Whence we arrive at this unexpected conclusion: "Society loses the value of things which are uselessly destroyed;" and we must assent to a maxim which will make the hair of protectionists stand on end—To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, "destruction is not profit." What will you say, Moniteur Industriel[5]—what will you say, disciples of good M. F. Chamans, who has calculated with so much precision how much trade would gain by the burning of Paris, from the number of houses it would be necessary to rebuild?
  • by gonk ( 20202 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:09AM (#36105450) Homepage

    Wow. People can justify anything, I guess. He is using someone's work without their permission, period, end of story. I don't care what you call it, it is morally wrong and it is illegal.


  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:14AM (#36105506)

    >>>He is using someone's work without their permission, period, end of story. I don't care what you call it, it is morally wrong

    I bet you sped in your car to work this morning (driving 65 in a 55 zone)(or 70+ in a 65 zone), and not only is that morally wrong, but also deadly to other people. ""Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

  • Re:stealing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:20AM (#36105570)

    >If I write a piece of software and it gets 100 paying users and zero pirates, I'm no better off than if I get 100 paying users and 1000 pirates. Count the paying users, not the pirates.

    If you write a piece of software and you get 100 paying customers and 1000 warez kiddies, you have 1000 future customers when they need to buy something for work.


  • by JackDW ( 904211 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:22AM (#36105618) Homepage

    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's just information, and if you can copy it in a second, then that's all it's worth.

    Seems like something of a backward step to me. And what's more, we all know it. We know that piracy is wrong. 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. If we were consistent, we'd be equally angry at every commercial licence violation, instead of making excuses.

  • by Bobb Sledd ( 307434 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:45AM (#36105966) Homepage

    And yet their calculation of how much piracy cost is still inaccurate and arbitrary at best. If Adobe decided that Photoshop should cost $150,000 and I decided to pirate it, it doesn't mean they lost $150,000 in software sales. Simply because I don't even make that much and could never afford the product at that price no matter what.

    But what is also missing from the equation is the benefit Adobe gains if I *do* pirate their software. If I am a home user, and I pirate Photoshop, and I learn the software and become quite good with it, and if I land a job doing graphics, my employer will ask what software I want to use. I will more likely say "Photoshop" because that is what I know. Thus, in that instance, they actually got a sale they probably wouldn't have otherwise, because I would have just learned Gimp or some other free graphics editor, and just suggested to use that instead.

    Sound impossible? I just described my situation exactly.

Where there's a will, there's an Inheritance Tax.