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Old 2009-05-12, 11:42 AM   #1
hugh
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Default Canada's software piracy rate estimated at 33%

Software piracy around the world continued to grow in 2008 because computer sales grew the fastest in countries with high rates of piracy, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said today.

Canadian rate 33%, U.S. rate 20%

Honestly, I find this embarrassing.


Study in .pdf form
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Last edited by hugh; 2009-05-12 at 12:50 PM. Reason: added link to study
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Old 2009-05-12, 11:56 AM   #2
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Did I read that right? i.e. a higher software piracy rate also equates to an increase in computer sales?
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Old 2009-05-12, 11:59 AM   #3
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No. They are saying that increasting computer sales in high piracy nations such as China raise the overall rate of software piracy.

Ie/ Sell ten new computers in China with an 80% piracy rates and ten new computers in the U.S with a 20% rate and the overall rate will go up.
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Old 2009-05-12, 12:24 PM   #4
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Did they explain how they arrived at these numbers? I'm skeptical when they don't even provide the most basic information a typical poll has, i.e., number of people surveyed and margin of error.

"Hi, I'm from the RIAA. Can you tell me how many songs you are illegally downloading?
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Old 2009-05-12, 12:34 PM   #5
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Say one million PCs are sold in a year. MS sells 600,000 copies of Windows and 90% of users of new PCs report using Windows. 60% report using MS Office but MS sells only 400,000 copies. You do the math.
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Old 2009-05-12, 12:40 PM   #6
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I am a little skeptical of these numbers as well. I would like to know how they arrive at their data. Also, call me naive, but I have a really hard time believing that "one in three pieces of software on Canadian computers is pirated". I can believe that perhaps 1 in 3 computers have pirated software, but 1 in 3 actual programs? Not a chance - especially if you include the amount of freeware programs out there which should bring the numbers waaaay down. Even if you take out completely the Firefoxes, Acrobat Readers, etc, 1 in 3? With all of the big businesses out there with valid commercial licenses? Out of all the people I know well, there may be one or two that have any pirated software, and I'd wager that even they would have less than 33% pirated software on their computers.
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Old 2009-05-12, 12:44 PM   #7
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The studies are done by IDC which is a noted research firm. I suspect the numbers are fairly accurate. I ignore the economic loss numbers because I think they are inflated but I'll bet the rates are pretty close.

If you review their methodology on page 17 of the report (link in post #1), I think most would agree that they have gone to significant lengths to get accurate data. Certainly I think more effort has been taken to arrive at these numbers than most other study's quoted in the press.

What is interesting is that Canada is 33% vs. 20% in the U.S. Even if the rate is somewhat off, you do have to wonder why Canadians have almost double the U.S. rate of piracy?

rsambuca, I recommend you look at the methodology. That 33% is commercial software. By definition, you can't pirate free software. Also note that a lot of software piracy is in business. Many small companies buy one copy of MS Office and then load it on multiple machines or buy 5 licences and load it on 10 computers kind of thing.
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Old 2009-05-12, 01:47 PM   #8
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Software piracy for retail sale is big business as well, worth billions of dollars a year. Some pirated software cannot be detected easily and ends up on web auction sites, retail web sites or in retail stores. I've also seen web sites that claim to be selling legal software but offer downloads at a huge discount, a sure sign it is not legal. Then there are OEM computers where the system builder installs OEM software but "forgets" to submit the license fees.
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Old 2009-05-12, 02:02 PM   #9
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I don't understand why anyone would steal ANY software. No matter what kind of program you're looking for, there's a freeware version of it somewhere. That's pretty much the only kind of software I download.

cheers,
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Old 2009-05-12, 02:31 PM   #10
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ok ... first of all I quick skimmed the BSA .pdf article and noticed a couple of things.

Canada is 17th out of 25 LEAST pirated countries out of the 110 countries studied.

It does note, however briefly, that it takes into account free software solutions.

It does not indicate how it was able to calculate the numbers. Who's computers were polled for this? Is this corporate computers that have pirated software on them? If so shame on them! However, if you've surveyed home computers I'd sure as heck like to know who's voluntarily saying they've got pirated software installed on their computer.

Also, the rate of piracy is almost directly related to GDP. Poorer countries are more like to have pirated versions of very expensive software like Windows operating systems or MS Office packages. However, the companies in these countries are also getting huge price breaks from these manufactures when they are found to have illegal software and are approached by companies like MS. The thought is we know you can afford much but what can you afford to go legal? In Canada and US that mentality isn't there so small business or advanced home users are forced to pay huge dollars for apps ($700 for MS Office 2007 Pro or how about $200 for Photoshop Elements)! And in Canada we are one of the most internet savvy countries so finding pirated versions of software is increasingly easy.

Talk about a rock and a hard place for those folks that want to go legit.
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Old 2009-05-12, 02:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supervij View Post
I don't understand why anyone would steal ANY software. No matter what kind of program you're looking for, there's a freeware version of it somewhere. That's pretty much the only kind of software I download.

cheers,
supervij
Granted there are an increasing number of really good open-source software solutions many times it is difficult to convince all parties that such a switch is worth while. Or that software is not the industry standard for that field.

Even though in both cases the open-source software maybe superiour.
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Old 2009-05-12, 03:09 PM   #12
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From the PDF:
Quote:
IDC estimates the losses to the software industry based on the value of the legitimate software it replaces. The legitimate value is a blend of the retail price of the legitimate software, OEM pricing for bundled software, volume license prices for enterprises, prices per unit in legalization deals, and the zero cost of free software.

Does this “value of pirated software” represent a real loss to the industry?
And after some cold-war era logical acrobatics they arrive at this answer to their question:
Quote:
This analysis opens up the possibility that not only does the value of pirated software represent true losses to the industry, but that it might even underrepresent them.
In other words, nothing has changed since The Economist called their methodology "BSA or just BS?"
http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2005/06/4993.ars

One more thing.
The article has a lot of numbers. And some effort was made to simplify the "consumption" of it.
Leaving aside the non-objectivity of the study, hasn't there been at least one person that would suggest attaching error bars to the numbers calculated?

It's plain ridiculous to go into analysis of what a 1% improvement in a country has done when the number itself must have at least 10 times bigger +/- attached to it. And I strongly suspect the error bars are bigger than the numbers...
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Old 2009-05-12, 03:26 PM   #13
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granduncle, thanks for that repeat of a previous post and link to a four year old article and your standard defence of piracy which is too blame the creators of it.

FWIW, I get pretty tired of people defending piracy and those who shoot down attempts to quantify it and the damage it does. So what if the number is somewhat inflated? The numbers are still staggering!

I should think that you should be railing against Canadians who steal but instead you justify it and blame the creators of the software.

I know many people who have lost their jobs because pirated software killed their product or service. I also know that many excellent software products have been discontinued over the years because of piracy.
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Old 2009-05-12, 03:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh View Post
granduncle, thanks for that repeat of a previous post and link to a four year old article...
You are welcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugh View Post
...and your standard defence of piracy which is too blame the creators of it.
Where does this come from?

I believe, to tackle a problem you should assess it properly.
Piracy is a problem. But BSA reports are lobbyist writings dressed up as scientific research.
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Old 2009-05-12, 04:21 PM   #15
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I think one of the major factors is Canada's "free" internet. Very few ISPs block access to certain sites and block file sharing programs. We're pretty much free to download whatever we like with almost no consequence.

I've also heard that downloading copyrighted material for personal use is not illegal here, only distributing it is. But this may be 100% false.

In the end, the problem is that people who buy software pay far more than the software is worth because they are paying for the software that people steal. However, if joe-everyone got the same discounted prices that companies like Dell gets for their OEM machines, I think more people would simply purchase it.
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