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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 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.

  • Re:stealing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metacell ( 523607 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:13AM (#36105498)

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • by memyselfandeye ( 1849868 ) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @09:42AM (#36105936)

    Tomas Jefferson also owned slaves, and thought the wealth of America was in its agriculture and not its manufacturing. I know a bit of history too.

    Obviously if you think it's justified to take another person's work without paying for what that person wants for it, you've never written a line of code or had an original thought in your life. Nothing is stopping anyone from making their own Photoshop and giving it away to the world for free. It's called GIMP.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva