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Software Businesses

Software Industry Shifting Piracy Strategy 305

Sensible Clod writes "The U.S. software industry's strategy against global software piracy is shifting to focus on claimed economic benefits of copyright protection in response to a new study released by the BSA, according to an article at Internet News. The study concluded that countries with high software piracy rates have more to gain economically by protecting intellectual property rights. The study even claims potential global gains of '2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in economic growth and $67 billion in new tax revenues' by cutting the current global software piracy rate of 35% by 10%."
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Software Industry Shifting Piracy Strategy

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  • by croddy ( 659025 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:42PM (#14230284)
    What on earth is the "rate" of software piracy? This sounds awfully like more mystical math from an industry with a lot of motivation to deceive.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:49PM (#14230308) Homepage
      I think what they think it means is the number of programs on computers, that aren't paid for, vs. the number that are paid for. This doesn't make a lot of sense though. Most people I know have photoshop installed. If they couldn't pirate it, they wouldn't have it. Simple as that. They aren't going to pay $700 for it. Same goes for many other programs that people tend to have installed at home. This includes windows and MS Office. Many people have MS Office Pro installed on their home computers. Very few of them have paid for it. 35%, I think, is the world average. Some countries have rates around 90%, while other countries have rates around 15%. Really, I think they are completely underestimating how much pirated software people have . Lots of people who have paid for the OS, and maybe 3 or 4 other programs, also have 20 programs that they haven't paid form. Meaning that out of maybe 25 programs, they've probably paid for 5. This means they are pirating 80% of their software.
      • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:09PM (#14230408) Homepage
        If they wouldn't pirate Photoshop, they would use GIMP, and complain about missing features, some of them would start scratching the itch and bringing GIMP on par with Photoshop, KPT would be recoded from scratch for GIMP, and finally even professional graphic shops would switch to GIMP and save the $700. So in the end no one would ever buy Photoshop, and the coders of Photoshop would be out of work and unpaid. Basicly piracy is the last thing that keeps Free Software from world domination.
        • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @08:58PM (#14230907) Homepage Journal

          "Basicly piracy is the last thing that keeps Free Software from world domination."

          And that is precisely why I oppose software 'piracy'. I live in a country where I can buy any software I want for less than 20 bucks at the local CD store. The parliament here has yet to ratify the Berne Conventions on copyright, so we exist in a sort of a grey zone. There's no legal reason to respect software EULAs.

          But the use of proprietary software has created many other difficulties, not the least of which is a cargo-cult mentality. Software is not something that one configures or, heaven forfend, writes; it's something you go down to the store to buy. If something goes wrong with it, you just buy something better. If there's nothing there that does what you want... well then, software can't do that.

          That's all well and good as far as it goes, but it does absolutely nothing to develop the local economy, improve educational opportunities, or to impress on people just what kind of amazing things they could be doing with software in this country. This place is poor in resources, but doesn't lack for smart people. The only way people here will ever find really well-paid work is to sell their skills overseas, and the only way they can do that is to leverage the Internet, and the only way they can do that is if they understand the software, and the only way they can do that is if they wean themselves from the proprietary tit.

          Free Software costs time and effort, and will always be more expensive (though ultimately more valuable) than pirated software.

        • by Dashing Leech ( 688077 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @10:09PM (#14231192)
          "...and the coders of Photoshop would be out of work and unpaid"

          This is the problem with many economic "beliefs". They are limited in scope. Companies that pay for Photoshop now would get a free (new and improved) GIMP and have lower overhead costs, which allows them to charge less or hire more. The people who pay less for their services also save money so have more to do things with. And so on, and so on. Not to mention that there'd be more people that could or would learn it, start companies, and so on and so on.

          It's such a highly non-linear feedback driven system. Simple analysis won't do.

        • by werewolf1031 ( 869837 ) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @02:57AM (#14232034)
          If they wouldn't pirate Photoshop, they would use GIMP, and complain about missing features, some of them would start scratching the itch and bringing GIMP on par with Photoshop...

          You're assuming that most users of Photoshop have the coding skills necessary to make useful contributions to FOSS apps like GIMP, which is simply not the case. Remember, in this particular example you're talking about artists, not programmers. Most graphic artists I know wouldn't know how to write code if their life depended on it, but that's ok -- writing code is not what they do. They're artists, not programmers.

          Now, to zoom out a bit more and look at the broader picture, the vast majority of PC users dont' know the first thing about programming. Whether you're talking about "regular folks" like my sister, who just wants to be able to email, surf the web, and download music (that's a different rant, let's not get off-topic), or professionals who do graphic design, web-site design, etc., keep in mind that most of them are not programmers. They want tools (software) that let's them do their job, and that's pretty much it. Many of them are not the "roll your own" type, nor are they willing to -- let alone capable of -- making modifications to FOSS software that they may be using.

          Programmers create software; everyone else uses software. The proportionate discrepancy between coders and users will always be larger in favor of users, and there's nothing inherantly wrong with that. You can't realistically expect every end-user to have the skills to make code-level modifications to their software, and as long as most users lack these skills, piracy will continue unabated, Photoshop will continue to be the default graphic-artistry app, and GIMP will never get its day in the sun.

          Sad, but true.

          • You are ignoring the statistics.

            In a world of 6,500,000,000+ people and where free software can be copied millions of times all it takes is 0.000001% of companies/people/users coding. It is a statistical certainty that this will happen.

            Similar statistics and the economic network effect are the reason why M$ is able to tax the world the ridiculous sum of $40,000,000,000+ per year for basically ten programs and various forms of crippleware.

            IP law is currently broken and is getting even more broken as th

          • I think you are both a bit too much in the extremes. No software piracy would mean there'd be a much more working market with software with different quality and price tag, with GIMP at the bottom with $0. That is *not* to say that GIMP would be "bad" (it could have the bottom 95%), but any commercial software worse than GIMP just wouldn't sell as it has a negative value. Many more people would start out with GIMP, and going from GIMP to the "next level" would cost $$$. That provides a lot more incentive fo
      • by laughingcoyote ( 762272 ) <barghesthowl&excite,com> on Saturday December 10, 2005 @09:28PM (#14231028) Journal

        Actually, the BSA has a very interesting way of doing it. Decide on the accuracy for yourself.

        In effect, they take the total number of computers sold, decide what percentage of those computers "should" be running a given piece of proprietary software, then look at the number of copies sold. The discrepancy between these numbers is the "piracy rate". This type of statistic-making in essence ignores free software/OS's, other types of freeware, "home-rolled" alternatives written by the user themself, and the like. (So, despite the fact that I'm in full compliance with my OS's license by downloading and installing it for free-according to the BSA, I've got a pirated OS!)

      • That is why I never felt particlarly bad about using pirated versions of Windows XP or Office or Photoshop. Maybe I am a rotten to the core individual but I am sure that Adobe and Microsoft never lost money on me, because I would have never bought their software at the prices they sell it. I was never a potential customer that turned away because I found the product for free. Now I will pay for some small shareware products and if I didn't I would feel like I am taking money from the developers because the
    • Just what it sounds like: the rate software is being pirated in relation to... how much it's not being... hey, wait a minute.
      Okay, maybe it's the relationship between people who pirate and people who don't? Or the relationship between copies bought and copies pirated?
    • That's an easy one. It's the rate at which I can copy discs in my brand new Plextor.
    • Piracy rate is the amount of booty divided by the time it takes to get it, of course.


  • hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:45PM (#14230292) Journal
    I'd love to know how software piracy hurts software vendors without spin put on it. Lately I tried a rom of Final fantasy Tactics Advance. On Monday I'll be going into the local game shop to purchase it. I've done this countless times on games I wouldn't have played other wise. So for every game I randomly downloaded and enjoyed I've added a sale. For every game I've downloaded and didn't like I've not taken anything away.. are these figures ever taken into account? No, because if people admit piracy just about balances out or may even help a company they'd have to stop using rootkits and DRM to take away your basic right to copy things for self use.
    • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mc6809e ( 214243 )
      I'd love to know how software piracy hurts software vendors without spin put on it. Lately I tried a rom of Final fantasy Tactics Advance. On Monday I'll be going into the local game shop to purchase it. I've done this countless times on games I wouldn't have played other wise.

      This is wonderful and you're a great person for giving money to people that are working hard to make you happy.

      The trouble is with the 80% of the people out there that aren't like you. They're selfish, short-sighted, and simply have

      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skreems ( 598317 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:07PM (#14230401) Homepage
        Ok, but do you have studies to back that 80%? Or are you just guessing?

        That's the problem the grandparent and others have with this whole thing, is we know some people use piracy to benefit everyone, and some just steal, but nobody REALLY knows how many do which.
        • by shawb ( 16347 )
          And the one million dollar question is... how much of that 80% would have purchased the goods had they not been able to pirate them.
      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:18PM (#14230443) Journal
        I have that exact same urge though "screw it I have it, who cares about them". I have very limited money so what I buy really does matter to me. Games these days have become so short in most cases they arn't worth the price tag, you almost need to try them just to make sure it's not an hour or 2 long.

        I understand supporting authors and I do as much as I can. Some times it's by buying merchandise and not the main product (in the case of anime fansubbed, since I don't wish to support the company who do vile English tracks). I also get that some people won't pay for stuff, but can you count these as lost sales since they never would of bought it in the first place?
        • Re:hmm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @08:25PM (#14230765) Homepage Journal

          It's getting to the point now in my life where I'm financially stable and can afford to buy the odd game. But, even as such, I usually try before I buy, and that means piracy. For example: I just played through F.E.A.R. It took me about 8 hours to beat it. And, upon starting up again, I've realized that it has no replay value whatsoever. $55 for 8 hours? Thanks, but no; I'm glad I didn't buy it. It's uninstalled. On the other hand, Age of Empires III I downloaded, played, and liked; and I'm going to go buy it.

          I origionally pirated my copy of Neverwinter Nights; but because I enjoyed it so much, I ended up buying the retail version, both expansion packs, and paying for all the downloadable premium modules. And I'm talking as they became available; not years later in the ultra-mega-pack for $40. I probably have close to $180 invested in Neverwinter Nights.

          Every time I feel guilty about this policy, I end up buying a game and being pissed off about it. The latest example was Doom III - I bought it, and played it, and it too has lackluster multiplayer and no replay value.

          It basically boils down to if you make good games, I'll buy. But, if you put out crap, I won't.

          However, it should be noted that this only goes for 1.) Games and 2.) MS Office. Now that I work for tech support in the CS department of a university, I have access to the MSDN Academic Alliance copy of Office, so that's now legal, but I used to pirate it. However, I also used to feel bad about it; since I knew that the only reason I was pirating it was because I needed to be able to create word documents for specific purposes (resume comes to mind), and it's what everyone else uses; I'd have been technologically happy with Open Office. But it's to the point where I've found free programs to replace all the little things I used to pirate.

          For example; CuteFTP - now I use FileZilla. Eudora - now Thunderbird. Nero - now I use burnatonce; though I'm still looking for a free (beer; possibly speech too) CD Burner that doesn't suck - burn at once burns images, and does it well, but doesn't do anything else. Photoshop - Gimp. Norton Corporate AV - now AVG Free. I don't even remember what I used before Exact Audio Copy. And I want to know where VLC has been my whole life.

          I've also stopped downloading TV programs and Movies. Movies basically because I never go to the movies anyway (baby) and anything that's good, I'll buy when it's on DVD (I'd rather sit at home comfortable and be able to pause). TV - now that I have Tivo, I don't miss anything; and I've sort of gotten over the need to archive everything; but should I want to archive, I can always use TiVo desktop, a program to strip the DRM from the files, and re-encode the MPEG2.

          So, basically, I'm pretty much proof of "if it's reasonably priced, I'd just as soon buy it". I'm also proof of "If you put out crap, and claim that piracy is hurting your sales, you're wrong: it's either too expensive, or it just sucks".

          • You've hit home on another point which I'm having to deal with right now.

            I've just been offered my first job from a family friend.. He runs a large business (Millionaire type large), now he needs someone to do basic data inputting and has offered me the job. Now I know that this will require me to own MS software. I have an old CD with MS works on it (came with an older PC) which contains spreadsheets, databases and a word processor. I don't have it installed and have no plans to do so, I use open office if
            • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Z34107 ( 925136 )

              Your dilemma boils down to one of two mutually-exclusive choice:

              • DO take the job and DO use Microsoft software
              • DON'T take the job and DON'T use Microsoft software

              Using one of their programs is not "giving into their monopoly." Open Office exists, and therefore Microsoft Office has no monopoly. Your aversion doesn't really seem to be based on anything tangible - i.e., Bill Gates raped me when I was little - but some kind of moral principle.

              Principles are cool. Everyone needs 'em. But, can you art

          • If you're looking for a good OSS burning program I have a couple of suggestions. If you're running Linux, then there's K3B. But if you're using windows, then you might want to take a look at CDBurnerXP ( []) (Windows XP not required). It's not open source, but it's free, and not just the trial version. It's free, with all the features, which there are a lot of.
      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Gonoff ( 88518 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:20PM (#14230450)

        So how does it take money from them if someone makes a copy of their software? They will not get any money from this person under any circumstances. If they can't steal a copy, they certainly will not buy one.

        As people here say so often, "piracy" can actually help producers. Someone copies a few games from company X. Eventually they may actually buy one. Why didn't they get it from company Y? Because they know that this lot makes stuff they like.

        • Re:hmm (Score:3, Funny)

          Your argument is so solid that you should convince some game authors to encode it into their licensing agreement. I can just see it now:

          You have to pay for this software. Unless, of course, there are no circumstances in which you would pay for it. In which case, you may copy it for free.
        • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
          Exactly. Frex, my first copy of WordPerfect was WP5.1 for DOS, as borroware of unknown origin. I got addicted to it, found uses for later editions, and over the years have bought every upgrade since (albeit mostly at OEM prices, but they still made sales to me) including some versions I don't even use, but I wanted to have a complete set. At last count I had 19 legal versions. All from one *highly satisfactory* copy of questionable provenance.

          Note the critical point there: I was so happy with the, ah, "unli
      • Re:hmm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lifewish ( 724999 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:50PM (#14230587) Homepage Journal
        True, there are a number of people with the "gimme" mentality. However, there are a few other factors to consider:

        1) Would these misers have been willing to splash out for the product anyway? Probably not. For example, a copyright infringer with 1,000 albums on his/her hard drive would never have been able to afford more than a couple of percent of that. In fact, being miserly, they probably wouldn't have bought more than five albums, if that, coming to a grand total of $15*5 = $75 lost sales at absolute maximum. Of course, the RIAA would count this as $15*1,000 = £15,000 of lost sales.

        2) To what extent is this countered by the increased exposure of the target demographic to the product? Say the above miserly copyright infringer uploads 2,000 copies of assorted albums to other people. Now say just 5% of recipients are honest (probably a low figure), and go out and buy just 5% of the albums they receive. The money spent is then $15*2,000*0.05*0.05 = $75 - cancelling out the original "loss" to the copyright holder. (No I didn't fudge my numbers, it was just a flukey estimate)

        3) (This one applies to music) How much of this actually goes to the artist? Since the misers who are forced to buy albums if the filesharing networks close aren't exactly publically-minded citizens, they'll just get their albums from the stores. By Courtney Love's arithmetic [], the record label gets about $50 profit from the $75 spent, whilst the artists get a total of $2.38 profit. Now, if the albums are downloaded and then paid for, the recipients are likely to be individuals who are sympathetic to the plight of musicians, and hence will often donate via a band's site or buy from an ethical label [], as I did just last night (despite being a poor student). Result: the artist is likely to get at least 1/2 the loot, a 1500% increase over the other system

        4) (This one applies to software) What happens when people want to use a superb tool like Lightwave in a professional context? They have to license it, or recommend that it be licensed. So, by not shooting down the bored teenage downloader who'd never be able to afford this $800 software, Newtek is able to sell several copies to the company he/she ends up working for. It's like farming only not.

        In conclusion, the positive side-effects of wide-ranging copyright infringement will often outweigh the negative side-effects, especially in industries where the content producers are getting shafted or where the product is most lucratively licensed in a professional context. There's probably an equivalent argument for films but my brain's dead.

        Speaking of ruptured braincells, there's at least two errors in the above calculations. I'm too tired to figure out how to correct them, so I'll just say: please give bonus points to anyone who finds three mistakes :)
        • Re:hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Z34107 ( 925136 )

          Would these misers have been willing to splash out for the product anyway?

          Does it matter? As an (apparently) wise person posted before me, if they won't pay for it, they shouldn't have it. It's only "too expensive" if too few people buy it.

          How much of this actually goes to the artist?

          Doesn't matter. Giant, big-name publishers don't provde revenue for the artist per se, but they provde advertising for the band's conserts, their primary form of revenue. Would you shell out big bucks to see a (in

      • Re:hmm (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cblood ( 323189 )
        For your argument to work you have to assume that all the people who make copies of programs would actually buy them if they were prevented from copying, A dubious assumption. The previous poster pointed out the positive effect of copying as an advertising medium. I don't know about video games but with music, the p2p sharing only helps emerging artists and has a small negative effect on established artists. It thus hurts the rich and helps the new struggling artists. Or to put it another way, It improves
    • Whats the economic incentive to pay for a software title that you can get for free?

      • Re:hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:31PM (#14230492) Journal
        I don't work on economics, I work in what I feel is right. I believe in supporting things I enjoy.. so I do so. People who don't believe this never will support things.
        • I don't work on economics, I work in what I feel is right.

          Wow, you were able to contradict yourself without even starting a new sentence.
          • Economics is money based not morale. If I work on economics then I will steal everything. If I work on morales I will support things I feel deserve supporting. O.o
            • "Working on morales" is no different than working on economics. Economics is the study of how people attempt to satisfy their unlimited wants with limited or scare resources. It does not mean you would steal everything you could. It does mean that supporting your principles is worth the opportunity cost of earning the required money to do so.

              Everything is economics, because it's a study of human behavior. Last time I checked, all humans had behaviors to study. Even those who aren't uber-capitalist pl

        • I am taking economics this semester(micro & macro) so I am looking at it from a businessman's perspective.

          I am downloading illegal mp3's as I type this from frostwire. Mainly because I am unemployed and broke currently. I did use Itunes previously to purchase music.

          According to economists I am a thief and I know I am. Morality is great but businesses and consumers need to pick something called the price point equilibrium. Basically it deals with quantity and price and demand drives the intersection wher
          • I disagree. I think there's more quality shareware around now than there was in the past ten years or so. One of the reasons that it may be less visible is that high profile applications have grown so much that individuals (who produce the majority of shareware) aren't able to produce a competing product. For example, my father wrote one of the first really good word processors (ran on the Apple II and included a small custom OS because Apple's wasn't sufficient). Now? Can't compete with the likes of W
    • Re:hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AtomicBomb ( 173897 )
      That depends on the type of software really. There are two sorts of software which has found an equibrium point that benefits from illegal copies.

      Game (esp those with multiplayer component) is one of them. I am not a gamer. But, I find quite a few of my friends who never buy any software before have change habit. First, they are now working and have decent income. More importantly, once they enjoy the copied game and notice there is a multiplayer they will just pop to the game shop to buy the game. Th
  • Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slash ... minus cat> on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:46PM (#14230295) Homepage Journal
    how will poor countries suddenly become rich just by fighting piracy? I mean, don't tax revenues come from MONEY EARNED BY THE PEOPLE? And how will people pay taxes on some money they DON'T HAVE in the first place?

    Yet another flawed "OMG look at all those stolen CD's we could earn so much money with this stuff" study.

    Perhaps if Microsoft stopped charging $200 for Windows and $2000 for Visual Studio, more people would buy their products legit.
    • Re:Question (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:02PM (#14230376) Journal
      Especially when "fighting piracy" really means "paying Microsoft"...

      Which ultimately means "all your base are belong to the USA".

    • Re:Question (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Taladar ( 717494 )
      More importantly, how will they become richer and get more employment by shipping money out of the country to mostly US software vendors instead of buying whatever stuff they buy now with the money they save on software and probably spend for something produced locally (like food, rent, ...).
      • Exactly. The BSA has to spin this. China, for example, would benefit massively from reasonable (read: similar to our constitution, not our laws) copyright enforcement. Performers would be able to make money from their albums or movies, and they would be higher quality. A lot of people who aren't willing to take the risk of being artists, or creative software developers, or even just inventors, would. The poor would still pirate content, but the middle and upper classes would be fueling an economic revo

    • Re:Question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Spad ( 470073 ) <> on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:09PM (#14230409) Homepage
      Especially when you consider that the vast majority of the software that is pirated in these countries is written and produced in the US and Europe, I fail to see how sending huge amounts of your GDP to foreign lands will help boost your economy.
      • Re:Question (Score:3, Funny)

        by Urusai ( 865560 )
        Works for the USA! Since we sent billions to Iraq, gas prices have gone up and American oil companies have made out like bandits. Talk about a tax windfall for social services!

        Now, if a country like Chad or Bhutan started pumping money into the USA, the resulting inflation could potentially make every man on the street a millionaire in the local currency. It would also make it easier for Americans to buy the fine products of Chad and Bhutan (copra? dirt?) which would boost the fortunes of copra/dirt mag
    • I also like the idea that it will help out the countries economies. Yeah right. Most of the BSA are big American corporations. If they reduce piracy by 10%, companies like Microsoft will increase revenue quite significantly. Sure it might help out the stores that sell software in those countries but that is a tiny drop in the ocean in comparison to how much money will be piped out of those countries and to the USofA.
  • The study concluded that countries with high software piracy rates have more to gain economically by protecting intellectual property rights.

    Given who conducted the study, the conclusion is hardly surprising.
    • The year is 1633 and the Inquisition has just found Galileo's advocacy of Copernicus' heleocentric universe heresey. Life imprisonment is the sentence. This of course is the greatest moment in IP history,,,,, The Year Galileo dies Issac Newton is born. No matter how hard you nail a box shut, the truth gets out. Lawyers and the Spanish Inquisition should stick to Monty Python skits and leave the geeks of the world alone so they can invent "The Next Big Thing" Then there will be even more NEW thin
  • False assumptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:49PM (#14230305)
    '2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in economic growth and $67 billion in new tax revenues'

    It's interesting that these BSA studies always assume that the money that is not spent on software is not spent anywhere else either.
  • by c0dedude ( 587568 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:50PM (#14230316)
    It'll probably take more than 2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in government spending and $67 billion in from tax revenues to cut the current global software piracy rate of 35% by 10%. Consider costs involved in prison and oversight of the millions of copyright violators, ignoring the burden of catching violators.
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:50PM (#14230320) Journal
    I'm no expert in economics, but the numbers quoted in TFA just don't make sense to me. I feel like there is a hidden assumption in this analysis. They are saying that countries that currently have massive "piracy" would, if only "piracy" were elimianted, have a gigantic boom in their IT sector. They say that Russia and China would see a massive increase in IT jobs and so forth.

    I don't think so. They are assuming that there is a limitless demand for IT professionals that is not currently being satisfied. I don't think this is the case. These countries have a host of other economic and political problems that lead to many things, including not respecting other countrie's copyrights (oh no!) and having limited jobs for IT professionals. If they suddenly enforced copyright (and by this, it is implicitly meant the copyright of other countries) I don't think there would suddenly be a huge demand for copyright-enforcing bureaucracy.

    I just don't see why people who are used to making copies without obtaining permission will go along with, and support, such a system. Frankly the point of the whole article is "other countries have this nifty law that lets the government tax ethereal things... and it lets companies sue lots of people for ethereal things! These countries are rich! Do you want to be rich? All you have to do is impose laws that manage ethereal things (like ideas), and *poof* you have wealth out of thin air!"

    I don't believe in generating fictitious wealth using laws. It's barely sustainable for the countries that are doing it now; I just don't see how it would make sense for countries that don't have a history of such laws.
    • But you don't realize. It takes X programmers to make a program, and it is sold Y people. If you sell it to 2Y people, you can hire 2X programmers. Just ignore the fact that if it was impossible to pirate stuff, that most people would just do without most of the software they are pirating, either that or use a free alternative.
      • It takes X programmers to make a program, and it is sold Y people. If you sell it to 2Y people, you can hire 2X programmers.

        While that seems logical to us, to a company who's only worried about the bottom line, their logic would be "it only took X programmers to write the software in the first place, why pay for more to do the next version? We can pocket all the money our great sales are doing, and only keep the minimum number of programmers needed to do the job. In fact, we'll fire all our programmers a
        • It takes X programmers to make a program, and it is sold Y people. If you sell it to 2Y people, you can hire 2X programmers.

          This also ignores the fact that 2X programmers do not produce software in half the time. In fact, adding more people into the loop like this can actually lengthen the time it takes to complete a project.

    • by iseppo ( 937848 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:13PM (#14230427)
      I can cite you an assumption hidden in the text: "Although GDP is a measure of government and consumer spending plus business investment plus exports minus imports, for the purposes of this project IDC did not account for exports or imports." this GDP measure is fundamentally flawed, and is the only reason why this study comes to the conclusions it comes. When your piracy rates are high, then reducing it by 10% means more spent on licenses, and everything that is spent on licenses is considered to be the GDP of the country here. While common sense would say, that most of it will go out of the country. So this study is bullshit. I want to ask from the guys in BSA - when You give as examples like this, why would you expect we would act honestly?
      • You could also make the claim that by reducing enforcement of copyright on software, more software would be used - since supposedly all of this software is being used to make businesses more efficient and productive, you'd actually create more real growth by doing that, not less.

        Only if you postulate that most software wouldn't be written at all unless piracy is controlled, thus reducing future growth because the software needed won't be available, do you find any reason to enforce copyright. In the prese

    • I agree; I think in Tiawan and Russia and other piracy centers, software piracy is more of the effect of the economic situation, not the cause of it.

      It doesn't matter what the laws are; between buying legit software and eating, people will choose to eat. If you take away the option for getting software for free, they just will not have software.

  • by slasho81 ( 455509 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:51PM (#14230324)
    [...] countries with high software piracy rates have more to gain economically by protecting intellectual property rights. The study even claims potential global gains of 2.4 million new jobs [...]
    How do you gain economically by protecting intellectual property rights? 2.4 million new lawyers.
  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:55PM (#14230337)
    2.4 million new jobs...

    I think they mean 24,000 new jobs which in the US earn $100,000/year each. Outsourced overseas, that would be 2.4 million jobs at $1000/year each.

    That's the same math they use to count a single 40x CD burner as 40 burners when they bust a piracy ring.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:56PM (#14230341)
    cure cancer, the common cold and aid. IT will also result in zero-point energy power plants, and FTL vehicles. The benefits if IP patents just keep rolling in...
  • The huge amount of money these companies make from record sales seems to have no place to go. Innovation isn't in great amount, but traditional styles of thinking and cut-throat business tactics seem to be. They seem to not know where to spend it, so they use it to fight piracy to try to make more. They just don't have the minds recruited to be able to plan out and detail market strategies that could take advantage of the person who downloads a rom to try it, so he could buy a game later at Gamestop when
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:58PM (#14230350)
    Also, 127.92 million manufacturing and engineering jobs will be lost because nations with tough IP laws lose the competitive edge brought by investment (both foreign and domestic) in R&D and technological development, 143.84 million additional lawyers will need to be trained to enforce newly implemented IP laws, and 538 trillion dollars will be lost over the next thirty years as the economic output of heavily-IP-restricted onetime global heavyweights drops to next to zero.

    See? Making up numbers is fun, and very educational. But I'll bet mine are just as accurate.
  • Hrm (Score:3, Informative)

    by VirexEye ( 572399 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:59PM (#14230357) Homepage
    The money you save by pirating software will just be spent on other things you can't pirate... like hardware. The government still gets its sales tax no?
    • The money you save by pirating software will just be spent on other things you can't pirate... like hardware.

      Just so you know, your post is being displayed on my Panasoanic monitor, and I'm replying using my Logitake keyboard and mouse.

  • against global software piracy and potential global gains . . . .

    Why is everything nowdays called global: "global warming", "the global war on terror", and now "global software piracy". It suggests that things are all around the world the same. Well, let me tell you, those people in Pakistan that survived the earthquake, would hope for a little "global warming", as long as it happens in their village and this winter of course. But I digress...

    Why don't people start solving their problems at home? Probably i
    • by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
      The reality is not that everything around the world is "the same", but that the world is an increasingly interconnected place. For thousands of years, people living on one side of a mountain wouldn't ever know about the huge city on the other side. Now, we have the ability to travel nearly anywhere on the globe, and we also have things like global supply chains. No matter what you choose to do, you will affect people all over the world, and millions of other people are affecting your life. Martin Luther
  • by Chaffar ( 670874 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:59PM (#14230362)
    "When countries take steps to reduce software piracy, just about everyone stands to benefit," said Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO. "Workers have new jobs, consumers have more choices, entrepreneurs are free to market their creativity and governments benefit from increased tax revenues."

    The problem that these people fail to see is that third-world countries can't afford to pay the "normal" (i.e US) prices for software. The numbers the BSA is throwing around is just mind-boggling... $ 400B in economic growth, what the fsck ever. I don't think most of those people would actually replace their pirated copies with the original, just because they can't afford it.

    The message they're trying to convey is "OMG that's all we're missing out on because of piracy?", but it doesn't hold water. I'm not condoning piracy, but it really pisses me off when I see the "guys in the suits" blabbering inane propaganda and throwing around numbers to justify their existence.

    And if the study includes PC games in the "pirated software" category, this makes it even worse, because the numbers will be again vastly inflated. In third-world countries, copies cost anywhere from $1 to $3, so anyone who goes out and buys games wouldn't leave without at least 3 DVDs, even they never play the games they bought. Which wouldn't be true if the prices were in the $35-55 range.

    • Businesses can afford it and so can the communist government. This would create wealth and more people would be able to afford it.

      Also whats to stop the Chinesse and Indians from starting their own software companies and selling photoshop euqilivants for $40? They can afford that but they wont due to piracy. Why pay?

      The problem with outsourcing is that more companies from India and China where %100 of their employees down to the CEO make 1/6th the amount of an American and past the costs to the consumer. Th
  • by TakaIta ( 791097 )
    2.4 million new jobs ?? Wow. I wonder what those people will do. Would that be programmers that fix the bugs before software is being released? Or would that be programmers that build extensions to the software, so it can be sold at a higher price? Or are that programmers who build completely new innovative software products that will be sold?

    Or will that be lawyers who earn their money in patent cases?

    Somehow something is very very wrong with the reasoning that if people would have paid for what they p

    • But you can't just add up all virtual losses, and state that that is the total amount of money that will magically pop up when everybody would be paying.

      Sure you can! If you work for the BSA, the MPAA, the RIAA, the SPA, Congress and/or Orrin Hatch.
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:06PM (#14230389) Homepage
    Adobe/Macromedia/MS wouldnt have such a huge market penetration. Young pirated software users are the key. Get them hooked onto your product and most likely when they grow up they will buy your software. Kinda like me :)

    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:14PM (#14230432) Homepage
      This is very true. I wonder how quick free/Open Source software would take off if suddenly, all the expensive commercial software was impossible to pirate, or if they just made it too risky to bother pirating. Most people wouldn't choose MS Office over OO.o, if they were forced to fork over the $500. Same thing goes for photoshop, visual studio, and all that other high priced software with cheap/free alternatives.

      • expensive commercial software was impossible to pirate

        Does not compute.

        This is what they fail to realize. There is no software that's not crackable, short of things who's dependance on the internet will wreck their functionality if taken away (WoW).

        There will always be a way to decompile, step through, and find the part of the software that says "Authenticity Check returns(good)" and pass that to any part of the program that asks for it.

        • Then they'll start pushing for mandatory use of hardware that only allows trusted signed programs and operating systems to be loaded. That such hardware would just happen to not allow for an Open Source model is merely a happy coincidence.

        • It's a "what if" kind of thing. I know that there is no protection scheme that can't be broken. The other way is to convince governments to make it so risky to pirate (with fines or jail time) that people would rather pay the money than risk getting caught with pirated copies.
  • Stop trying to catch pirates. Charge a fair price for stable software with good tech support and consistent upgrades and patches. Users pay for the support now and in the future. They pay for the official version to protect against viruses and spyware.

    I'm anti-copyright so I see how software is worthless based on supply and demand. Companies can't protect the bits, they can only charge for the physical portion and service.

    By ending the policing, they can lower their prices, bringing in more users. Data
  • Software piracy has got to be the most overlooked form if piracy. thepiratebay has 1.8 million downloads of Quake 4 clocked (not sure if they are complete, but that's 1.8 million potential sales), and I think I remember Doom 3 having like 30,000 seeds at it's peak. It dissapoints me as a potential software developer since the developers often get shafted from what I've seen (I recall reading the Publisher gets almost as much if not more money then the developer in many cases from sales). As much as I hat
  • BSA says:

    In Soviet Russia, copyright laws make YOU rich!

    No, wait...
  • BSA = BS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by psycln ( 937854 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @08:14PM (#14230715) Homepage Journal
    BSA or just BS?

    May 19th 2005
    From The Economist print edition

    Software theft is bad; so is misstating the evidence

    IT SOUNDS too bad to be true; but, then, it might not be true. Up to 35% of all PC software installed in 2004 was pirated, resulting in a staggering $33 billion loss to the industry, according to an annual study released this week by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a trade association and lobby group.

    Such jaw-dropping figures are regularly cited in government documents and used to justify new laws and tough penalties for pirates--this month in Britain, for example, two people convicted of piracy got lengthy prison sentences, even though they had not sought to earn money. The BSA provided its data. The judge chose to describe the effects of piracy as nothing less than "catastrophic".

    Intellectual property

    But while the losses due to software copyright violations are large and serious, the crime is certainly not as costly as the BSA portrays. The association's figures rely on sample data that may not be representative, assumptions about the average amount of software on PCs and, for some countries, guesses rather than hard data. Moreover, the figures are presented in an exaggerated way by the BSA and International Data Corporation (IDC), a research firm that conducts the study. They dubiously presume that each piece of software pirated equals a direct loss of revenue to software firms.

    To derive its piracy rate, IDC estimates the average amount of software that is installed on a PC per country, using data from surveys, interviews and other studies. That figure is then reduced by the known quantity of software sold per country--a calculation in which IDC specialises. The result: a (supposed) amount of piracy per country. Multiplying that figure by the revenue from legitimate sales thus yields the retail value of the unpaid-for software. This, IDC and BSA claim, equals the amount of lost revenue.

    The problem is that the economic impact of global software piracy is far harder to calculate. Some academics have shown that some piracy actually increases software sales, by introducing products to people who would not otherwise become customers. Indeed, Bill Gates chirped in the 1990s that piracy in China was useful to Microsoft, because once the nation was hooked, the software giant would eventually figure out a way to monetise the trend. (Lately Microsoft has kept quiet on this issue.)

    The BSA's bold claims are surprising, given that last year the group was severely criticised for inflating its figures to suit its political aims. "Absurd on its face" and "patently obscene" is how Gary Shapiro, boss of the Consumer Electronics Association, another lobby group, describes the new ranking.
  • Confuse people via the media.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @08:32PM (#14230790)
    When will they release a study that finds affordable software prices sell more software and limits piracy?

    Thats the real truth. Even the pirates understand that :)

    You think they pirate software because they're trying to undermine their local economies? :) Dare i say, they are pirating software to IMPROVE the standard of life of all, giving ALL a fair chance to enjoy life in a world that says if you cant "pay" you cant play. A world that would leave the poor behind only because they cant afford to buy food.

    The pirates arent going anywhere because the companies keep treating people like cash batteries. They're people that deserve a fair chance to enjoy $5000 software packages.

    Jesus would pirate software ;)
  • Yeah right (Score:2, Interesting)

    by koan ( 80826 )
    As soon as people have to pay for it 80% of the software houses out there will dry up and blow away.
    Software pricing is heinous as is music and video pricing.

    Lower the price and people won't really need to or want to pirate software.
  • The countries that have the highest amount of software piracy are those countries who's citizens earn such a low annual income that they simply cannot afford to buy the software. To enforce against software piracy in such countries is to suppress the knowledge and expreience, education of the citizens of those country.

    Vietnam is such a country and I recall they wanted into WIPO or WTO... but were told that they needed to reduce software piracy before they would even be considered for entrance. How they resp
  • There was a time, 20 years ago, when all software, including business software, was copy protected. It caused businesses no end of headaches. So the software industry, except for games, switched to no copy protection, and simultaneously the BSA took out full page magazine ads that said "don't copy that floppy" and warned of hundred thousand dollar fines.

    That's why to this day you can copy the media of just about any software without worrying about things like funky formatted sectors.

    Too bad the BSA is going
  • atrategy for battling Open Source.

    A few years back, I decided to abandon all software I was not either entitled to use (open source, freeware, paid licenses, etc...) and could not afford to own.

    For a while It was a real bitch, but then things changed. While I've been a Linux user since the mid 90's, I really didn't fully explore OSS until about 2000. What I found was that a lot of software is simply not necessary. Using the software I had in more creative ways, or simply learning (again) to work without some software has had clear benefits to me, both in terms of dollars saved and in terms of just being able to work in the first place.

    Today, I own a coupla pieces of commercial software and the rest is all OSS. That more than piracy is resulting in lost sales. If they really succeed in cutting down on piracy, the OSS side of things is just going to get a lot worse for them and they know it.

    The only solid way to keep the proprietary, "pay as often as we can get you to pay to compute" model sustainable is to change the rules of the game such that OSS alternatives are driven back underground. This continues to happen where multi-media applications are concerned, but that's not enough. Getting Ogle from another country really does not affect anyone as the DVD player devices are all bundled with some goofy player anyway.

    Getting OpenOffice, GIMP, web browsers, development tools, etc... back out of the mainstream will make a big difference. I suspect the approach will be to slowly move legislative opinion in this direction, then deal with citizen complaints through "access programs" very similar in nature to what the big phama companies do today.

    Can't afford that lifesaving drug? Simple, if you beg and prove you really, really are gonna die without their property, they will "give" it to you rather than do the right thing.

    Software companies are going to end up trying the same things, IMHO.

    I regularly write my elected representatives about OSS issues. I let them know I write OSS software and why and what value the growing body of OSS software brings to anyone willing to participate. Participation can be as simple as just using the software of your choice or as involved as developing, training, distributing, etc... We all benefit.

    Oh, the one biggie I always mention is the fact that OSS is unique in that value received is more than value contributed for everyone involved because no material goods are required to make use of the combined result. This is important because many industry (closed industry) lobbiests equate this value proposition as an "unsustainable ponzi type scheme" that does more harm than good as it takes advantage of contributors without "closing the value chain". Translation: We can't compete with free and the world (read government) needs us here.

    Back on topic: The IP battle is imporant here in the US because we have outsourced darn near everything else, yet we still consume an awful lot per capita. Unless the world can be convinced that IP is viable, we are going to become increasingly hard pressed to restore that balance in the coming years.

    On one hand, I'm not looking forward to us having to figure that out. And IP is an easy out. On the other, I sure don't want OSS going anywhere because it's primary value to me is not the cost savings, but the near total computing freedom that comes along for the ride.

    One of my favorite computers happens to be an older SGI computer. OSS keeps that machine viable. Any of us, who know what we are doing, can take pretty much any combination of computing hardware we can get our hands on and be productive with it. As time goes on, I find this to be quite compelling in that I can continue to compute just the way I want to, not how I am told.

    IP takes all of that away and I KNOW that's a bad thing, simply because being left with no alternatives means near total control of our computing environment. History has shown time and time again that scenario never is

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen