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BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B In 2009 350

Posted by kdawson
from the slinging-numbers dept.
alphadogg sends a NetworkWorld.com piece going over the Business Software Alliance's latest stats on software theft around the world. "Expanding PC sales in emerging markets is increasing the rate of software piracy, according to the Business Software Alliance and IDC. The rate of global software piracy in 2009 was 43%, meaning that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market. This is a 2-percentage-point increase from 2008. Software theft exceeded $51 billion in commercial value in 2009, according to the BSA. IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.' ... In the United States, software piracy remained at 20%, the lowest level of software theft of any nation in the world. ... The PC markets in Brazil, India, and China accounted for 86% of the growth in PC shipments worldwide." The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.
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BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B In 2009

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  • In not very long, all software will be accessed via the web only. No pay, no play. Problem solved.
    • In not very long, all software will be accessed via the web only.

      That won't happen until Internet speeds go way up and prices, especially for satellite and mobile broadband, go way down. Otherwise, people will switch to apps under a free software license because people can run free software while riding a bus or carpool or while living in a less population-dense area.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Z00L00K (682162)

        Just wait for the patent trolls to take their toll of free software and hardware platforms able to execute free software.

        Anyway - most of the figures presented by BSA is vapor since they are assuming that people actually would have purchased the software they are running. Reality is that they wouldn't.

    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:51PM (#32173678)

      Which is funny, because this is what our main competitor "runs in the cloud" and we're fielding calls daily with their customers wanting to know how soon can they deploy our locally running software because it's faster and they can still work even if their internet connection goes down.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:02PM (#32173896)

        You'd think that marketing folks would, you know, interact with customers now and then. If they did, they'd find out that what you're saying is absolutely true.

        Aside from a small number of online pundits who advocate its use, although they themselves don't have to maintain or even use such systems, everyone hates cloud computing.

        Cloud-hosted systems end up being horrifically shitty. Their performance is poor. Their reliability is poor. Their usability is poor, because cloud environments are so fucking restrictive. It doesn't cost any less than dedicated hosting. Getting reliable, on-time support is nearly impossible. Data security is basically non-existent.

        Data loss is a real problem, because all sensible relational techniques and ACIDity have been thrown away in favor of moronic hash tables. The only thing stupider than a cloud computing advocate is a NoSQL advocate.

        Cloud computing is the biggest failure our industry has seen. It's even a bigger failure than Windows. At least Windows sort of works, some of the time. Cloud hosting never works. It's always a failure, regardless of who is using, and where it's being used.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Aeros (668253)
          I agree..I hate using apps online except in rare circumstances like gmail. Plus there is the whole trust factor.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by aztracker1 (702135)
          Yeah.. we should switch to internet searches backed by a SQL database... stop using Google and their BigTable, and Map/Reduce crap... give me an ACID RDBMS that's robust... After all, one hammer should be enough for all nails (and screws, and bolts).
        • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @07:52PM (#32176924)

          For a car analogy, NoSQL reminds me of people who take a reciprocating saw to a car, removing all airbags and safety systems, all but one disk for brakes, cutting the roof, trunk, and doors off, then saying that their vehicle is far faster than anything else on the track, comparing their vehicle to factory stock models with all their safety systems intact.

          There is a reason why SQL-based RDBMS servers are slower than NoSQL. And that is because they ensure that the data is consistent and not lost/corrupted if two things access an entry at the same time.

          Eventual consistency is a nice concept. However, it assumes that a tablespace will quiesce sometime. And a lot of these databases are hit 24/7, so there is never a time that the entries (can't call them transactions) that are in flight actually are assured that they are written to disk. Of course, a failure or unexpected shutdown can happen anytime, and entries in flight that can't be considered completed, or be able to be rolled back are corrupt entries which require time to find and fix, assuming they can be detected.

          If I value the integrity of data stored in a database, I'm going to use an RDBMS that is designed and built from the ground up on tried and true concepts (ACID mainly). Even if it means that it would cost more than a NoSQL solution.

          • by Altrag (195300) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @10:50PM (#32178384)

            Mostly right, but forgetting a very key concept -- NoSQL and full RDBMS serve different purposes. If you need high data integrity, then full ACID commitments and whatnot are great -- but you'll pay for it in speed.

            On the other end of the spectrum, if you need maximum speed and have the ability to pre-cleanse your data, then then NoSQL is a much better fit to your needs.

            Not to mention, "NoSQL" is just a general term covering basically anything that doesn't use an SQL-like command syntax. Hit up the Wikipedia sometime. NoSQL covers a huge variety of technologies spreading from single-server small-end databases designed for quick, easy programming, all the way up to Google and Amazon's back-ends that are designed for huge amounts of read requests and (comparatively) small amounts of writes.

            Consider. If your accounting software fails to provides inconsistent numbers to your accountants, you're going to have some trouble. He probably doesn't care if the DB can only handle 1000 queries per second.. If Google takes an extra 30 seconds to update the results for an "OMGPonies!" search, no-one really gives a damn.. as long as it gets there eventually its fine. But they REALLY need it to handle millions of queries per second. Amazon is somewhere in the middle -- their listings don't really need to-the-millisecond updates, but things like the shopping cart does.

            Completely different needs take completely different solutions. Someone who says "NoSQL is always a bad solution" is just as wrong as someone who says "NoSQL is always the solution". Just like most situations where you have two or more viable options.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:51PM (#32173680)

      IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs

      Yeah, half-a million jobs for India and China.

      As an unemployed American software engineer who was laid off from Microsoft after our project development was offshored to India -- fuck 'em, I say. The Pirate Bay is providing me with the latest in cracked, malware-free installs of Windows 7 and Server 2008. I run Linux at home, but I sell the Windows discs to high school kids for five bucks a pop. Great for beer money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Monolith1 (1481423)

      In not very long, all software will be accessed via the web only. No pay, no play. Problem solved.

      That will be fun for those of us in airgap environments with no connection to the internets.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by turgid (580780)

        You'll just have to use cracked pirate versions or that smelly, dirty, un-American long-haired-hippy Free Software.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      . . . not as long as open source exists, and not as long as the Internet (or "cloud") can go down.

    • You'll have to ensure I can't get where I want to go by using unsupported methods.

      I'll be cranking out .DOC, .GIF and .PSD files until I can't run Word 6.0 and Photoshop under BasiliskII any more. Granted, I'm the sort of person who'll convert them into .ODT, .PNG, and .XCF files with open tools after that, where they may find their way into the greater 'cloud'.

      The goocher here is the 'Tools Gap', where a generation will be learn remote client-server applications use vs. the way it's been since the Home Co

  • They left out several data points they discovered that were simply too shocking to print:
    • There is a tight statistical correlation between the rate of software piracy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
    • Cracking a single piece of software is such a complex process that it can cost up to one hundred thousand kitten souls in the process.
    • If piracy dropped 20% in one year, the resulting productivity would yield one observable unified field theory for all of modern physics.
    • If piracy dropped 30% in one year, Jesus and Muhammad would come back to life and smoke a peace pipe thus ending pain and suffering all over the world. Just 30% for that!
    • The Center for Astrological Thought concluded that extraterrestrial life forms avoid our planet simply on the grounds that they cannot sell and enforce their software licenses here.
    • Software piracy creates an unknown yet to be found negative force that exists in the dimension in which we can travel through time. Every time a piece of software is pirated, seventeen thousand Negatosmas are released into this dimension prohibiting time travelers from the future of ever traveling back before that point.
    • Said Negatosmas have also created a food source for the Time Devil which caused him to mutate into the Super Time Devil which now makes time travel a cat and mouse game flirting with disaster ... but also a very popular reality TV show in the future.
    • In 2009, Michael Jackson's last words were "End software piracy" as the stolen copy of Windows XP that regulated his IV's drip failed because he had just passed the 30 days he had to authorize his copy.
    • Because of software piracy, Pluto was delisted as a planet. The government stepped in at the last minute to save this victim.

    Clearly we can only take such outlandish claims with the utmost sincerity. So what's up, software pirates? Why are you holding us back? The burden of proof is on you to disprove any of the aforementioned claims. Until you do they are all true because the BSA said so.

    • by swordgeek (112599) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:55PM (#32173770) Journal

      "If piracy dropped 30% in one year, Jesus and Muhammad would come back to life and smoke a peace pipe thus ending pain and suffering all over the world."

      And of course, this would be OK because cancer is caused by software piracy. Of course, those pesky pirates keep promoting the lie that it has to do with smoking.

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:03PM (#32173922) Homepage
      You know that oil well that just blew out? Well, nobody is saying that BP are using pirated software, and nobody is saying that they ain't, but has anyone seen the original box and proof of purchase? Have you?
    • I had no idea! I'll stop Pirating immediately!

    • Software pirates did WTC.

    • by kimvette (919543)

      I hear that the multi-terabyte RAIDs all these "pirates" are running on overclocked systems are the actual cause of Global Cooling, Global Warming, er, Global Climate Change. Quick, where is Al Gore when you need him? Tell him to quit hunting ManBearPig and that the actual cause is software piracy. HE will put an end to piracy on the Internet QUICK! I mean, after all, he is the inventor of the Internet!

    • by natehoy (1608657)

      So piracy solves our population problem, rids us of stray cats, creates jobs in both the physicist and theological fields, prevents alien invasion, protects us from advanced visitors looking to come back and mess with our timeline (in two separate ways, mind you!), and increases the legitimacy of science (astronomy)?

      Wow. I've never pirated anything, but it sounds to me like it creates jobs, promotes science, gets us well on the way to world peace, and protects us from terrorist threat.

      Pirate Bay, Here I Co

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:16PM (#32174100)

      They left out several data points they discovered that were simply too shocking to print:

      Well, they're just being modest. After all, they are one of those few industries that "could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products" (where theft here is defined as people not giving them money they feel entitled to.) If you were one of these "super industries" you'd probably see that there's no reason to overkill a point.

      Not to brag, but I am in fact one of the few people who can survive having aproximately one trillion dollars stolen from me. Tragic, I know, but I have not been given a trillion dollars despite being better looking, better in bed, smarter, better looking, and better at heating up a hot pocket than most CEOs out there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by KiloByte (825081)

      In 2009, Michael Jackson's last words were "End software piracy" as the stolen copy of Windows XP that regulated his IV's drip failed because he had just passed the 30 days he had to authorize his copy.

      Except, you know, only non-pirated versions suffer from this flaw. Unless that copy was literally stolen, that is -- but I have yet to hear about a case when someone actually pilfered boxed software.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      If you have not seen the , watch it. [livevideo.com]
      Shoot a policeman
      then steal his helmet
      then go to the toilet in his helmet
      then send it to the policeman's grieving widow
      and then steal it again
      The whole point of value added product is that it is easier for the consumer to buy the product rather get it in another way. For instance I often pay 6X the amount for a soft drink because it is easier to buy a small cold bottle than carry it around. Am I stealing money from coke when I buy a big bottle and keep it a coole
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @05:42PM (#32175398)

      If piracy dropped 30% in one year, Jesus and Muhammad would come back to life and smoke a peace pipe thus ending pain and suffering all over the world. Just 30% for that!

      And if it dropped 40% they would smoke each other's pipes, thus ending the entire gay marriage debate.

  • Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...
    • by tepples (727027)

      Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

      Even if you count the 90-day tech support contract that comes with a legit copy of a program?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RobertM1968 (951074)

        Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

        Even if you count the 90-day tech support contract that comes with a legit copy of a program?

        Which support is that? All OEM copies of Windows are (tech) supported by the hardware manufacturer - not Microsoft. Same with OEM Office provided by hardware manufacturers if memory serves. If it comes pre-installed, Microsoft doesnt support it.

        While that may be different (and likely is) for other software vendors, I am sure (based on other statements by Microsoft) that a large chunk of the figure cited pertains to Windows and Office installs. Regardless, in those arenas, the costs are probably similar. Y

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anon-Admin (443764)

          Microsoft tech support is simple, I have had to deal with them a few times and it goes like this

          MS: Hello, this is Rajie how may I help you

          Me: This copy of windows blue screens when I plug in the mouse

          MS: Have you tried removing the mouse drivers and reinstalling?

          Me: Yes

          MS/ME: 30 min of removing and reinstalling the mouse drivers several times to make sure It is done right.

          MS: You need to reinstall the system then call me back

          Me: Ok, Ill do that.

          Me: Hang up, reinstall the system no 3rd party drivers, base c

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by chilvence (1210312)

        Software industry has lowest per unit cost/fixed cost ratio in the world...

        Even if you count the 90-day tech support contract that comes with a legit copy of a program?

        Nobody who isn't a corporate buisness cares about that, and I should know, because I do that 'tech support' (read: fixing the damn thing) for everyone I know indefinitely. I claim 500 hours of stolen time back from Microsoft! Few if any individuals would be able to withstand that amount of lost wages!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        yeah, tech support that is only necessary because of all the bloatware "features", ease of exploitation (shoddy product), and DRM / product licensing headaches. and like another poster pointed out, support cost is eaten by the hardware OEM most of the time, since so few people buy boxed copies of windows. My next copy (since I play certain games which only function on windows) will, however, be boxed because of how terribad OEM "system restore" CDs are. And i'll never need the "support".

      • How many pirates call in for tech support?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Hadlock (143607)

      This just in: BSA hasn't done anything profitable for the software industry in the last year, and it's time to make up numbers and release reports to justify their 6-figure salaries to their masters

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        No kidding.

        I was going to call them parasites, but after reading about the website that sells pubic lice, I decided I didn't want to compare the BSA to such a relatively reputable and useful business endeavor.

  • Lost sales? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    My question is always: how much of this would have been purchased if it hadn't been stolen?

    Specifically, I'm referring to things like college kids downloading the full version of Photoshop. There's no way those kids are shelling out $500 (or whatever it is) for a full Photoshop license. If they steal it, they just wouldn't have it at all.

    From the article, it sounds like it's a case of people acquiring alternatives to software they would purchase--for instance, Windows, or graphics design firms pirating Ph

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jayme0227 (1558821)

      There are certainly some instances of that, but there are also instances of people running pirated versions of Windows instead of paid versions. I had a tech friend put together a PC for me and he had said the version of Windows I had was legit even though I didn't have to pay for it -- obviously this wasn't the case. If it hadn't been for his pirated copy, I would have certainly purchased a copy of Windows.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kimvette (919543)

      Specifically, I'm referring to things like college kids downloading the full version of Photoshop. There's no way those kids are shelling out $500 (or whatever it is) for a full Photoshop license. If they steal it, they just wouldn't have it at all.

      . . . which results in reduced future sales because they would either go with a less expensive package like Paint Shop Pro, or better yet, go with Gimp. Today's piracy leads to tomorrow's sales and business-wide deployments and that is very likely how a big facto

    • Re:Lost sales? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@@@cornell...edu> on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:04PM (#32173930) Homepage

      Yup - "IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into "ailing economies." "

      The question is - WHERE would that money come from?

      Chances are, if somehow forced to "go legit" on a particular piece of software, rather than cough up the money, people in third-world countries would instead:
      1) Choose an OSS alternative
      2) Choose a more reasonably priced commercial alternative (PSP instead of Photoshop for example)
      3) Choose no alternative, i.e. choosing to simply forgo that functionality altogether

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Totenglocke (1291680)

        Exactly - people take the money they don't spend on overpriced software and use it on other things (eating out, nice clothes, something for the house, a new computer, new tv, whatever) and if those people were forced to pay for those items (and were somehow unable to simply choose not to use them), it would simply mean that $51 billion would disappear from the rest of the economy and go into software. Claiming that it would result in jobs is a fallacious argument because they are ignoring all the money tha

    • Re:Lost sales? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @05:59PM (#32175596)

      I am going to be a devil's advocate here:

      Lets say someone comes out with a 100% secure DRM. A theory could be that ACTA mandates a Fritz/Clipper like chip in every computer sold that locks software to machines, or the main OS of all computers is put under a hypervisor like the non-updated PS3s with the "Other OS" feature, with a remote kill switch that frys the machine if it thinks there there is any tampering.

      What will happen? One of five things:

      People would find substitutes. Developers will work on an open source solution en masse, and the software battle would shift from licensing and DRM to patent enforcement. Here, bigger companies might get behind a product so it isn't this easy one-way battle companies have with no opposition that they do with copyrights. For example, GIMP would get donations and developers. Patent enforcement is harder to enforce than copyrights, and the whack-a-mole war would begin with a program that gets slightly modified and renamed. A utility that is a clone of a commercial product may get sued out of oblivion, but if it were open source, each fork of it would have to be sued, and all it would take would be one single developer to perform a fork and call it a different name. And even though copyright infringement may be sued for millions of dollars, there are no cases of a patent violation for noncommercial use being sued into oblivion. So we would see programs spring up that are functionally identical to the commercial applications.

      People will do without. If music programs got so expensive that average musicians couldn't afford them, people would go back to hardware mixers and discrete devices. People would write apps for Android and the iPad so the device can do basic music functions (loops, sampling, etc.)

      The company turns into a niche vendor. The commercial product might still sell for unpurchasable prices, but only a few people in a narrow market would buy it. Yes, this would be lucrative for some businesses (AutoDesk is a good example), but there are other products which cannot thrive just on a narrow market segment. Adobe for example. If Acrobat was both rendered unpiratable and too expensive, then businesses would move wholesale to Microsoft's XPS, and print shops either install XPS to PDF converters, or they would lose out to the shops that do.

      Of course, the worst thing is that this would do is create a digital divide. People who know how to use the commercial programs and who don't. In IT, this used to be common when Solaris was commercial. You would get people with Linux experience, but without the experience of Solaris/AIX/IRIX/HP-UX directly, they were always on the bottom of the list compared to someone who managed to get in a high end rendering lab and learn the basics of these operating systems.

      The extreme worst case is that the commercial products be considered as premium/luxury brands, and are bought for status. If someone has a copy of a full version of a commercial application, it is considered far more stylish than any competition.

      History has already shown us examples of what happens when too much DRM happens. Competitors who don't do copy-protection start coming in and grabbing large pieces of the pie. Lotus 1-2-3 got bit by this. Novell also got hit by this when people could install Windows NT, set up their domains and filesharing without having to worry about the hair-pulling license keys that Netware 3.x and 4.x had. Need more users to share files in NT Server? Just increment the number, but make sure to have a filed receipt of the CALs used, so when the BSA comes for an audit, you can show that you are authorized to use the amount of licenses.

      Of course the exception to this are games, but its because people are used to games being locked down. Console DRM is almost bulletproof (XBox 360s are moddable, but get kicked off XBL left and right, PS3s are effectively uncrackable (yes, they got cracked for a little bit of time but Sony didn't just patch the crack out, but also locked

  • by Reber Is Reber (1434683) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:51PM (#32173674) Journal
    I always think these are stupid, why not throw in the fact that 90% of pirated software is never actually used more than like once or twice if even used at all. Or the software doesn't even function the way it was intended to or it flat out doesn't work. How about the fact that the software most likely wouldn't even be bought in the first place so they aren't actually loosing any money from this because it would not equate to earned revenue. Why doesn't someone come out with a useful report that actually shows these facts. Douches.
  • by Nematode (197503) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:52PM (#32173704)
    Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products.

    It's a good thing your products aren't being stolen, then...just copied unlawfully.

    The industry could do a better job of being sympathetic, if it wasn't so obviously dishonest about its victimization....
  • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:52PM (#32173706) Homepage Journal

    BSA Says Software Theft Exceeded $51B - Meanwhile...

    The IT world says "security issues in Windows requiring IT or Tech work exceeds "Theft" figure many times over".

    ...nope, I am not complaining... I work in the tech field... as much as I would love to hate Microsoft, I have to hate the fact that I love them. I for one am thrilled that .NET and other "technologies are so easy to exploit. I'm also happy I have karma to burn ;-)

    I am very curious how they come up with these figures though. At an average of $100 a piece of software, that's 510 million pirated copies a year. At $200 avg, it's 255 million copies... and so on. Wow... didnt realize it was such a serious issue...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fotbr (855184)

      I think your average price for a piece of software is FAR too low.

      Windows: $299+ (retail, not upgrade)
      Photoshop: $600+ (retail, not upgrade)
      MSOffice: $300+ depending on professional/small business/enterprise
      AutoCAD: $3000+
      Oracle: $$$$$$$ Based on their site review ("how much does it look like your company can afford")

      • by RobertM1968 (951074) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:56PM (#32174742) Homepage Journal

        I think your average price for a piece of software is FAR too low.

        Windows: $299+ (retail, not upgrade) Photoshop: $600+ (retail, not upgrade) MSOffice: $300+ depending on professional/small business/enterprise AutoCAD: $3000+ Oracle: $$$$$$$ Based on their site review ("how much does it look like your company can afford")

        Hmmm... Windows 7 Ultimate Full Retail is only $285, Home Premium Full Retail is $185, and only $99 for Home Premium OEM (which anyone can install same as any other copy) (newegg.com)

        Your MS Office prices are also equally as skewed, as it starts at $119 for MS Office (Home and Student) and $235 for Business. All full retail copies.

        You missed the:
        "At $200 avg, it's 255 million copies... and so on."

        At an average of $300 it's 170 million copies - and so on.

        Especially because per Microsoft's figures (if 2009's are anything like last years) a very large portion (over 60% I think) of the piracy is for Windows and Office. You can find those claims here on slashdot and elsewhere... what you would need to do is look at the BSA figures for 2008, and compare them to Microsoft's figures for 2008 to come up with the percentage.

  • Or maybe... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Dunega (901960)

    The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold.

    ...that your datapoints are wrong.

  • Theft != Piracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Seriously. They talk like people stole the $51 billion from their pockets. When you steal from a company, you are depriving them from twice the value of the item that you stole (the lost sale to you, and the lost sale to someone else for that particular item). When they claim their losses from theft, they claim the second loss (the one that's physically quantifiable). But with software, there's no physical product. If I pirate an item, they only lose my sale. I don't deprive somebody else from being a
    • by TexVex (669445)

      When you steal from a company, you are depriving them from twice the value of the item that you stole (the lost sale to you, and the lost sale to someone else for that particular item).

      That doesn't make any sense. The stolen physical property could not have been sold to both the thief and to someone else, so there's no logical basis to count its value twice. At best, you can break it down as the theft having directly deprived them of the wholesale value of the item they bought and paid for, and the prof

    • Yeah, this stuff really bothers me. They've been calling piracy theft forever, and it simply IS NOT. It is COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. Just recently there was a very interesting study that showed most software companies are claiming losses of up to 90% due to piracy, but then it was shown that like 99% of pirates are either poor people in third world countries or students or children, people who can't afford software anyways, and it ends up even all 90% of those pirates only account for AT MOST 10% lost sales.
  • by AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:53PM (#32173736)
    And don't forget all those communists running linux! The bastards!
  • News flash! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:55PM (#32173762) Journal

    BSA discovers way to increase size of anus, so they can pull larger numbers out of it.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:59PM (#32173828)
    In my line of business, if we have a loss that we have numbers for, we put it on our taxes. I suggest they do the same. I'm sure the IRS will be more than willing to audit the hell out of them. Oops, I mean, accept their numbers without question.
    • by Fnkmaster (89084) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:37PM (#32174448)

      Most definitely not. Allow me to explain: If a product in inventory is stolen, you, i.e. the company that owned the goods, can write off the cost of goods associated with that product as a loss from theft.

      Similarly, if a person owns a car and it's stolen (and not replaced by insurance), they can write off the depreciated value of the car at the time of its theft.

      But you can't write off losses associated with products you didn't actually make because somebody illegally copied your software.

      Just like you can't get a tax deduction for "donating" unpaid services (because you'd have to record pay for them, i.e. income, then take a deduction for a donation - net tax impact is zero). However, you can potentially write off other expenses actually incurred as part of a charitable endeavor.

      So if you had a bunch of software, in boxes, ready to ship to stores, stolen from your warehouse, you can deduct the cost of replicating the CDs, printing the boxes and so on. But you can't deduct the retail or even wholesale price of the software units stolen.

      Since there were no direct costs associated with producing the copied items in this case, you can't deduct them.

      Otherwise, everybody would "lose" stuff to theft all the time for the tax benefits. And Uncle Sam isn't *that* stupid. There are certainly tax loopholes out there, but they require a bit more cautious execution to benefit from, or they tend to get legislated away eventually.

  • by cheeseandham (1799020) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @03:59PM (#32173844)
    Sorry, it shouldn't have to be said, but it winds me up
    When software is pirated, it is not permanently depriving the original owner of the item.

    In the UK - "A person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it." - Theft Act 1968 [wikipedia.org]
    I'm not educated in such matters but it seems that the US and other countries take a similar view [wikipedia.org]

    (Right, I can breathe again)
    • Yeah, this mind virus that has been released making everyone think that piracy = = theft is absolutely ridiculous. Piracy is software infringement. Piracy IS NOT, and NEVER HAS BEEN, and NEVER WILL BE theft. It is FUNDAMENTALLY different.

      Now I wonder where the hell everybody got the idea it was theft?

      "You wouldn't steal a car...."
      Damn PSAs
  • That's like 50 licenses for Adobe Creative Suite 5!

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:02PM (#32173906)
    Sorry, but as soon as I see numbers like $51 BILLION in software theft being thrown around, I pretty much immediately ignore everything that is to follow because the number, pure and simple, is bullshit. Can I prove that it's bullshit? Nope. Of course not. And that's the point - nobody can prove that it's bullshit so they can bandy it about with impunity knowing it won't be challenged. But, just as I can't prove that it's bullshit, they can't prove that it's remotely valid. And, therein, is why I ignore reports like this - when numbers can't be challenged to ensure their validity, then the person coming up with the numbers can fluff the numbers to help ensure they prove whatever point they are trying to prove.

    Bullshit. Pure and simple.
  • by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:02PM (#32173910)

    It must be nice to live in a make believe land.

    Don't forget Canada, we be all evil and stuff up here!

    I am pretty sure you can draw a strong correlation between the fact that the average income in those countries is about 100$ compared to about 50,000$ in the USA. Last I checked a retail copy of Windows 7 is about 200$.

    If your having a hard time drawing a conclusion as to why all the piracy, well your not really trying.

  • "The rate of global software piracy in 2009 was 43%, meaning that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market."

    When did 43% of $100 start to come out to $75?

    • (100/(100-43)) * 43 = 75.44

      43% of all software in use is pirated and therefore only 57% has been paid for. For every $100 of legit software in use, there is an amount of cracked software in use that would have cost $75.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jayme0227 (1558821)

      Software piracy rate is calculated by taking the total "value" of pirated software(a) and dividing it by the total "value" of all software that makes its way onto the market(a+b). Hence, for every $175 in software value that makes its way onto the market(a+b), $100 is paid for(b), and $75 is pirated(a). Whether or not you agree with this metric is another story entirely, but the math works.

      Rate = a/(a+b) = $75/$175 = 43%(or close enough)

  • Software Theft Exceeded $51B
    .
    . ...captialistic translator engaged...

    If every pirate in the world actually bought our overpriced product, we'd have had an additional $51B in sales

  • That's quite a tidy sum, Mr. Bigglesworth. If it's true, where is the money? Where is that 51 billion? Shouldn't some pirates be living conspicuously opulent lives? Or are we expected to believe that this 51 billion is spread out so evenly among so many pirates that the effect can only be seen in the BSA's careful measurements?

  • After reading the title only, I was wondering why the Boy Scouts of America were suddenly an authority on software theft.
  • by js3 (319268) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:09PM (#32173998)

    Isn't that like saying I lost 100 billion in lottery winnings? How can you lose money you were not going to get in the first place?

  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:12PM (#32174032)

    The more people who use Linux and OpenOffice the less people will be stealing from the BSA members.

    So is the BSA pushing the use of free software where people find it to costly to use commercial software?
    Somehow I don't think so. But that is the real solution to the piracy.

  • by number6x (626555) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:12PM (#32174036)

    Jut use Free and Open source software. Why risk using pirated anything?

    If you really have to use a commercial product, then pay for it.

  • So if I install and Free and Open Source OS and applications on my PC does the BSA count that as "lost sales?"

    If not, why not? It would fit in perfectly with their perverse logic, and it would nicely light the blue touchpaper on all sorts of issues that would make it into mainstream politics.

  • IDC says lowering software piracy by just 10 percentage points during the next four years would create nearly 500,000 new jobs and pump $140 billion into 'ailing economies.'

    And where do those jobs come from? There will only be new jobs if the economy as a whole is improved not by shuffling money from say DIY stores (just an example industry which will get less money if consumers buy more legal software), to software firms. And where do those $140 billion to aid 'ailing economies' come from? I'll tell you

  • The boy scouts of America are supposed to be fixing trails and helping grannies cross streets.

    What are they doing policing closed-source software??
  • by bugi (8479)

    Value FOSS softwares the same as equivalent non-FOSS packages. The piracy rate will drop to almost zero.

  • I wouldn't be surprised if the following calculation was used:

    ( (Total number of x86 CPUs sold) - (Total number of Windows licenses sold) ) x ($Cost of Windows 7 + Office) = ($Size of worldwide piracy)

    So, lets feed in some numbers...

    • Perhaps about 10 billion CPUs manufactured in 2009, with 98% going into embedded devices, leaving 2% for personal computers = 200 million computers.
    • About 80 million Windows licenses sold... subtract... leaves 120 million devices (including the Macs etc).
    • Retail price of
    • Lame, replying to my own posting: Office Home and Student is $150.
      I should learn to proofread what I post sometime...

  • Three major flaws (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nickovs (115935) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:36PM (#32174408)

    As far as I can tell there are three major flaws in the calculation of this figure:

    Firstly, it appears to assume a 100% conversion rate between "pirated copies" and "lost sales". As has mentioned repeatedly in other comments, this is impossible to justify.

    Secondly, it seems to presuppose that the Average Selling Price that would be achieved in emerging markets like China and Brazil are the same as the current ASP that they get in the Western world where more of the software is purchased legitimately; this too is unsupportable.

    Thirdly, they ascribed zero value to the marketing benefit of people "stealing" software in order to determine if they like it and then going on to buy a copy. Repeated studies in the music market have shown that people who download music buy more music and while the situations are not identical it is clear that many people get hold of pirated software to try it and then buy the software for the support that comes with a legitimate copy once they decide that it does the job. Killing illegal copies of software would therefore likely damage sales that they currently make while possibly bringing in some new sales.

    Having run software businesses in the past I appreciate that seeing your hard work ripped off can be a serious problem but the BSA spreading mis-information and unsupportable assertions as if they are fact does nothing to make people believe that they are anything other than a bunch of self-serving scaremongerers.

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @04:40PM (#32174492) Journal

    I dream of a day when piracy is gone. When software vendors, content publishers, authors, etc are free to lock their product down to the point where it cannot be used. I dream this dream, you see, because once we rid our society of time wasting movies and television, brain-rotting terrible music, and fucked-up insecure software, we as a species might actually be able to do something useful with our existences.

    So, please, BSA, MPAA, RIAA, etc. Bring it on. Make your product so locked down no one wants it. Protect your intellectual property to the point where it has no value. Die, so concepts and ideas can flow freely again.

    F/OSS will move on, creating product that benefits its users rather than its shareholders, unencumbered with having to fight off patent assholes every 5 minutes who contribute nothing and demand everything. Musicians will still play music. Artists will still create art for its own sake. And the rest of humanity might awaken from our slumber and decide to spend more of our time on useful pursuits.

    If we spent 1/10 the effort on science and real life that we spend as a society debating who should have won American Idol, I'd have my goddamned flying car by now. And it would run on a free renewable energy source whose exhaust fumes would be oxygen and fresh-baked muffins.

    Please, for the love of (insert_deity_here), RIAA, MPAA, BSA! We're counting on you! Redouble your efforts to make your entire industries irrelevant! Get out of the way so we can evolve as a species!

    THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  • words have meaning (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @05:13PM (#32174994) Homepage Journal

    "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products."

    That's because in a theft you lose the item in question, so $123 gazillion of theft means you produced, but can no longer sell, them.

    On the other hand, your $456 fantastillion in piracy means that people who didn't pay have a copy - as do you, and sales continue. That's quite a bit of a difference.

    And let's not even talk about the bullshit way that they come up with these numbers. I sell software, too. I just don't live in a dream world where I believe everyone in the world is a potential customer, so every unauthorized copy is identical to a lost sale.

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @05:42PM (#32175410) Journal

    "The BSA president said, "Few if any industries could withstand the theft of $51 billion worth of their products." It's unclear whether that was a brag about the industry's robustness, or a result of the industry's low cost of goods sold."

    Or, it could be an open admission that they're making it all up.

  • by BlackBloq (702158) on Tuesday May 11, 2010 @11:21PM (#32178522)
    And for every imaginary dollar spent only 1% of that would actually be spent, because 100% of 15 year olds who downloaded CS5, wouldn't have ever bought the thing.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly

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