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BSA Claims Half of PC Users Are Pirates 585

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 @10:06PM (#40072155)

    Only half?

    • by j00r0m4nc3r ( 959816 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:08PM (#40072167)
      Cmon, we can do better than 57%
      • by InspectorGadget1964 ( 2439148 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:27PM (#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
        • The *percentage* doesn't have to be going down to indicate a switch FLOSS....


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

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

            • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:25PM (#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 Jessified ( 1150003 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:09AM (#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 @02:34AM (#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.

                  • But laws aren't "supposed" to be for protecting companies. Laws are supposed to serve the people. And that's just the point isn't it. Copyright doesn't serve the people.

                    Even copyright is supposed to be about promoting progress, hence serving the people...seen as it doesn't really do that, not to mention nobody respects it, it's time to scrap it. That you think it's about protecting profits is telling.

                • 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.

                  • by progician ( 2451300 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @05:04AM (#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 tirnacopu ( 732831 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @06:47AM (#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 []" 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.

            • Wrong, 99% is sufficient. ;)
            • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

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

              Sterling Ball, [] CEO and founder Ernie Ball's son said almost the exact same thing:

              Humiliated by the experience, Ball told his IT department he wanted Microsoft products out of his business within six months. "I said, 'I don't care if we have to buy 10,000 abacuses,'" recalled Ball, who recently addressed the LinuxWorld trade show. "We won't do business with someone who treats us poorly."

              Ball's IT crew settled on a potpourri of open-source software--Red H

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

          by IDOXLR8 ( 864908 ) * <> 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 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: (Score:3, Informative)

            by donaldm ( 919619 )

            I dual boot win7 and Ubuntu and there is still no comparison.

            There in lies the problem "dual booting". If you are serious about running a Linux desktop you have to have your favourite Linux distro as your only OS and for those who still need their Microsoft fix then run the MS OS in a virtual machine otherwise you may just as well forget it and run a Microsoft OS. As for getting "more work done in Win 7" are you talking about MS Office or something else and have you or your work paid for it. I have been using a pure Linux (Fedora) distribution for a few years now in

            • 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 hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @02:50AM (#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.

          • I think it depends on your hardware, as ever. Pangolin installed and ran flawlessly on my two (different) laptops. The older one was an upgrade from 11.10. I also run Windows 64 for games, and for the record, it's as solid as a rock. I have no particular axe to grind with regard to this position.

      • by FatLittleMonkey ( 1341387 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @01:37AM (#40073423)

        Cmon, we can do better than 57%

        Now now, they surveyed 15,000 people and worked out that 170 million of them are using pirated software. So that's pretty typical anti-piracy maths.

    • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:09PM (#40072171)
      Over half of PC users worldwide have admitted to using pirate software
    • It's probably how many people know what pirating means. Copying or downloading software you would normally pay for... oh that's what that's called. :)
    • by sofar ( 317980 )

      the other half used free software...

    • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:08PM (#40072583)

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

    • 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?

    • The other half, being average PC users, didn't realize they were doing it.

    • The only stuff I possess which isn't pirated, is free software...

      Fuck copyright.

  • by exomondo ( 1725132 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:08PM (#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 Lord_of_the_nerf ( 895604 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:21PM (#40072257)

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

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

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

        When you have lawyers on staff, every problem looks like a wambulance.


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

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

        When every problem looks like a nail, and you have a hammer, you are likely going to need a lot of lawyers and a lot of ambulances.

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:28PM (#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 couchslug ( 175151 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:46PM (#40072437)

      They should continue it in order to make using their software suck even more.

      I suggest "anvil-sized, spiked, parallel port dongles painted with necrotizing fasciitis" be required for every closed-source program.

  • 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.

  • by multiben ( 1916126 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:09PM (#40072175)
    ... are liars.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:20PM (#40072253)


  • Clearly, the solution is to incarcerate 60% of the population, or at least monitor all their activities, North Korea style.
    • It's the only way to stop the evil pirates! People who copy copyrighted material illegally will bring about the end of the world!

  • by thestudio_bob ( 894258 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:24PM (#40072283)

    Do you know a company using illegal software? Report it now and you could be rewarded with cash!

    "Hi, I reported that my company was using pirated software by clicking the link below. It was easy and I received a cash reward for squealing. Now, I'm recommending it to my friends and family. They too can make easy money by turning in their boss and/or employer."

    What are you waiting for, click on the link below, now!!!

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:26PM (#40072297)

    I use a Mac!

  • 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?"

    • The wording may not be so blatant, surveys can paint a picture without leading on to what they are actually asking. It would be very informative if the BSA actually posted the survey questions/responses and other details to see how it was conducted.

  • by hangar47 ( 2644671 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:27PM (#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 DieByWire ( 744043 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:28PM (#40072327)
    Gonna need bigger prisons.
  • by rueger ( 210566 ) * on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:31PM (#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 mark-t ( 151149 )
      Crime stats have indeed been falling in many areas... but those statistics are generally only per-capita. Populations, on the other hand, have always been growing. In general, populations tend to grow faster than how fast crime rates shrink, so the end result with all growing populations, even though crime rates can certainly be down, is that there is always more crime, overall, which requires more policing.
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:34PM (#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 @10:34PM (#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 LocalH ( 28506 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:37PM (#40072371) Homepage

    Something tells me they didn't even probe further, but even if they did they wouldn't have reported this part of the data. I bet that a significant portion of the 57% of "admitted pirates" are also legitimate customers who are using pirated software to bypass the annoyances (activation, DRM) that generally comes from high-profile commercial software.

  • If I were a politician, which I'm not, too lazy for one thing and don't like people that much, but if I were I'd be totally delighted to win any race with 57% of the voters voting for me.
    I believe that's what most winning politicians would call a mandate for their policies.

  • 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 ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @10:46PM (#40072433) Homepage

    Don't pretty much all computer users, especially those of the geeky variety, pirate software when they're kids and have little to no money to buy it?

    I sure as hell did! Not because I wanted to "stick it to the man", but because I had no other way of getting software. I was a kid, I had no cash, no income. The software publishers lost nothing on me because had I not been able to pirate, I wouldn't have been able to buy the software anyway.

    Now as an adult, I spend quite a bit of money on software and media. The only time I'll still download something questionable is when I cannot obtain it legally otherwise.

    So surveying people asking if they've ever pirated software is going to be a naturally inflated number, because many of us did when we were kids.

  • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Monday May 21, 2012 @11:19PM (#40072653) Homepage

    The Bullshit Statistics Association reports that not only to 57% of PC users pirate software, but that software piracy rate among Somali pirates is actually lower than average.

    "This epidemic of out-pirating the pirates causes us great concern," said BSA's chairman Slammem N. Jale. "But it's not too late. We have examples of rehabilitated pirates."

    "Aaaarggh!", roared Cap'n Bluebeard. "Me mateys and I used ta blow each other ta smithereens with an illegal copy of Mine Sweeper. But we've seen the light and sent our booty ta Microsoft, aargh. What good does gold do ya when yer conscience weight upon ya like a two-ton anchor?"

    Jale concludes: "Send us all your money, and you can sleep easy."

  • When the majority of people break a law, it's the law that's wrong. Laws exist to support and further societal norms. When the norm is illegal, the law needs to be corrected.

    Note that I'm not saying copyright should be eliminated, or that it has no value. Just that the present implementation is wrong.

  • 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.

  • Case in point...

    I recently purchased a new Asus laptop with Windows 7 pre-installed. I've nothing against Windows 7 but currently it does nothing for me that Windows XP won't and I therefore see no point in learning a new OS that, in every other respect, is just change for change's sake in the way that everything has been moved around and renamed by Microsoft.

    I have a shop bought copy of XP but discovered that despite XP still being supported, Asus doesn't have drivers for all of the hardware in the laptop for XP. So in this case I resigned myself to keeping Windows 7 on the laptop.

    I'm mainly a Linux guy and wanted to partition the laptop to dual boot Gentoo Linux. I backed up the Asus Windows installation partitions and then trashed the hard drive with the partitions that I wanted. But when I re-installed Windows 7 from the back-up, it trashed my partition structure and put itself back on exactly as it was when I bought it.

    A friend of mine is an MSDN subscriber and gave me an ISO of Windows 7 Home Premium, exactly as on the laptop originally. So I partitioned the drive as I wanted it and installed from the Windows 7 installation DVD I had made from the ISO. When it came to putting in the W7 License Key, I copied in the one from the base of laptop, but when it finished installing W7 it told me the License Key was invalid.

    I read in a magazine article that an ISO image of W7 contains all W7 versions and you can prompt W7 to ask you what version of W7 to install by removing a config file from the ISO image and reburning to DVD.

    So I repeated the installation and, sure enough, I got asked which version to install - again, I chose W7 Home Premium as the laptop had come with. But once again it rejected my license key.

    Having done a few searches on Google (I'm reasonably competent with Windows but more Linux orientated), I discover that I have only an OEM license for Windows 7, which basically means I am piece of shit on the bottom of Steve Ballmer's hand-made shoes and am therefore not worthy enough to install the version of Windows 7 I legally have a license to use from an installation DVD that has that version on it.

    At that point in time, I could have got a W7 license key from the Internet, or maybe scrounged one from my MSDN-subscribing friend but I'm not into using pirated software any more, for the simple fact that when the time I stopped using pirated software about 5 years ago, I have never had a virus or piece of malware on Windows XP since.

    As of now, I've given up with W7 on the laptop, I actually wish I'd not accepted the Microsoft T&Cs and got a refund because it's of no use to me - instead the laptop is now a Linux-only PC and I shall put my legitimate copy of XP on as a VirtualBox VM.

    I do wonder if I have a case under "Fair Usage" with UK Trading Standards in this instance since it does not strike me as unreasonable to want to partition my hard drive the way I want to and to then install the provided W7 installation files onto that partition structure so I could build a dual boot.

    Maybe the BSA would be interested in taking the case up as someone who, despite being treated like shit by a software company, has not chosen to pirate software as an easy solution to the problem of getting fair usage?

    • by Sabriel ( 134364 )

      "A friend of mine is an MSDN subscriber and gave me an ISO of Windows 7 Home Premium, exactly as on the laptop originally."
      "I discover that I have only an OEM license for Windows 7" [...] "I legally have a license to use from an installation DVD that has that version on it."

      There's your problem. It's actually *not* exactly the same, and you were given the wrong ISO. There's more than one distribution image for Windows 7, each almost identical to the rest - except for the code that handles activation, which

  • by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2012 @08:28AM (#40075107)

    What would the figure be if they removed all the people who admit to using Linux etc. I think that the BSA and fellow criminals consider FOSS to be theft and "piracy".

    Perhaps the numbers are 7% of people actually use non-free software without paying for it and 50% of people do not use any Free software.

    The number of people, even those running Windows, who are not using any open source software is shrinking all the time. I have come accross the most un-technical people using GIMP or Open Office.

Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat. -- Christopher Morley