BSA's Canadian Piracy Numbers Based On Hunches, Not Actual Surveys

from the bogus-stats-as-always dept

For years, we've been raising questions about the incredibly bogus stats the BSA puts out every year. There are so many problems with them it's incredible that the group continues to release them each year... and much worse that the press and politicians quote them as if they're factual. However, Michael Geist has discovered that they're even worse than originally thought. In digging deeper into the questionable claims of the report by The Conference Board of Canada that was basically a cut and paste from various industry groups, Geist noticed that the report relied on some BSA data. So he asked for more info on how the BSA determined the "piracy" rate of software in Canada. How many people were surveyed? What was the methodology?

In response, Geist found out that no one in Canada was surveyed, and BSA (and IDC who created the report) simply made an educated guess, assuming the piracy rates weren't all that different than they were in past years. Yet this hunch, based on no actual data, is being used as a definitive source of piracy numbers in Canada? Even more noteworthy, both the BSA and The Conference Board report use these numbers to support the silly claim that Canada is somehow one of the worst offenders when it comes to supporting "piracy." But what was the reason for not surveying companies in Canada?
"Countries that are included in the survey portion are chosen to represent the more volatile economies. IDC has found from past research that low piracy countries, generally mature markets, have stable software loads by segment, with yearly variations driven more by segment dynamics (e.g. consumer shipment versus business shipments of PCs) than by load-by-load segment."
So... just to get this straight. IDC doesn't bother to survey Canadians about software piracy, because it considers Canada to be a "low piracy" country. So it just makes up the number... and then the BSA, other lobbyists, research groups, the press and politicians (including the US Trade Representative) use these made up numbers to support the claims that Canada is a high piracy country. Doesn't that seem like fraud?
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Filed Under: canada, copyright, piracy, plagiarism, stats
Companies: bsa, idc, the conference board

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  1. identicon
    Robert A. Rosenberg, 27 May 2009 @ 6:40pm

    Funny Statistics

    In response, Geist found out that no one in Canada was surveyed, and BSA (and IDC who created the report) simply made an educated guess, assuming the piracy rates weren't all that different than they were in past years.

    OK. Even if we assume/pretend that that the rate of piracy is stable, where did last year's (or the year before they stopped measuring it and just did a Cut and Paste of the prior year's figures) come from?

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