by Mike Masnick

BSA's Latest Made Up Software Piracy Numbers Parroted By The Press

from the um...-but-wait... dept

Well, Reuters kicks off the fun by doing what just about every news report on the latest BSA numbers on software piracy will do: accepting the billions and billions of dollars of "losses" quoted without once questioning the source. As has been explained numerous times, these numbers are complete rubbish, and it's about time the press stopped accepting them and started asking questions. First off, the dollars "lost" always includes any infringed piece of software, never once considering the fact that many users of copied software would never buy the software at the given price. In other words, no money was actually "lost" in those cases. Furthermore, these studies never take into account the fact that many times, copied software gets people hooked on the software so they do end up buying later versions when it can be afforded. Many people attribute the success of Microsoft products to how easily they were copied and distributed years ago. The article does note that the BSA changed their methodology this year, as they finally realized that people who replaced fee-based software with free (whether open source or freeware) offerings shouldn't be counted as "losses" due to "piracy." Of course, the article screws up the details and says that open source software is "shareware." Either way, these types of bad, one-sided studies, and the blind acceptance of the press makes certain assumptions that keep people thinking the wrong way about intellectual property industries. While the BSA and its member organizations believe they're protecting themselves, they're doing more harm by shrinking their potential markets unnecessarily.

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