Bogus Stats Again: BSA Puts Out Its Yearly Propaganda About Software Piracy

from the aren't-we-done-with-this-yet? dept

For the 9th year in a row, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization that mainly represents Microsoft's interest, has put out its ridiculous "Global Software Piracy Study", which argues that tons and tons of software is being pirated, and if only people paid for it, there would be $63.4 billion more going to software companies. We've been criticizing the ridiculously laughable methodology of the report since it began, and even have seen the company that does the research, IDC, admit that the BSA exaggerates what the report actually says. We've done multiple detailed analyses of how the BSA's stats are misleading (or just flat out bogus). And yet, because there are magical numbers involved, the press just loves to parrot the claims without any skepticism.

This year's report is no different. It's more of the same ridiculousness, with a clueless press reporting (totally inaccurately) that the study says that software piracy "costs" the economy $63.4 billion. That's simply not true. What the report did find was not actually surprising or even very interesting. It's that people in developing countries tend to infringe more often. You probably knew that already, but if you wanted evidence for that, you shouldn't look to the BSA and its bogus stats, but a thorough, comprehensive and independent review of the market, such as the one done by Joe Karaganis and SSRC last year. That report found the reason that there was increased piracy in developing markets was because clueless companies don't realize that people aren't going to pay a month's salary for a single digital good.

Of course, rather than recognize it's their own business model failings at issue, the BSA is once again using this report to call for "tougher penalties" for infringement. This despite the fact that no study has ever shown that such penalties actually drive more people to buy.

Thankfully, at least some people are calling the BSA out on its bogus report, such as by noting that it's political propaganda designed to get legislation like SOPA and PIPA passed. The reality, of course, is that it shows how out of touch the BSA is with the innovation economy today, instead working to lock up and protect the interests of its major funders: Microsoft, Symantec and Intuit. Those companies are threatened by upstarts with better business models, and the best they can do is to support legislation that will lock down the internet, causing more harm than good for true innovation.

The "Bogus Stats Again" report from the BSA isn't about dealing with piracy. It's a way of white washing an agenda of protectionism for some large software companies who don't want to compete or to adapt.
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Filed Under: bogus stats, bsa, pipa, software piracy, sopa
Companies: idc, intuit, microsoft, symantec


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  1. icon
    Dixon Steele (profile), 16 May 2012 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Any thoughts on how to make it work?

    Price it at what you believe is the revenue maximizing price, don't waste effort trying to combat the piracy that will inevitably result since it doesn't actually represent lost sales, and recognize that the wide user base that results from piracy can be a huge benefit as it locks in your products and encourages others to buy them when they're actually able.

    Take the time and money that would have gone into anti-piracy efforts, use it to improve your product and your relationships with users.

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