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Piracy rates are the highest in developing nations

Piracy in the digital goods market runs rampant. Music piracy is what typically comes to mind when many consumers think piracy, but software is one of the categories that is targeted by pirates the most. The reason is that software like Windows operating systems and Office productivity suites are desired by many, but the high price puts them out of the reach of users particularly in developing nations.

A new joint report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and research firm IDC has found that losses to software companies from pirated products have topped the $50 billion mark for the first time ever.

According to the report, headway against piracy is being made by companies, law enforcement officials and governments, but in some areas -- like the U.S. -- anti-piracy efforts have stalled. The sixth annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study found that in 2008 the PC software piracy rate dropped in 57% of 110 countries included in the study. Nearly a third of the countries studied found that the software piracy rate remained the same.

The study claims that the worldwide piracy rate rose for the second year in a row moving from 36% to 41%. The rise in global piracy is mainly attributed to PC shipments growing the fastest in countries like China and India where piracy is much more rampant. China has recently cracked down on software pirates and convicted 11 for pirating Microsoft software.

BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman said, "The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent in the United States and all over the world. It undermines local IT service firms, gives illegal software users an unfair advantage in business, and spreads security risks. We should not and cannot tolerate a $9 billion hit on the software industry at a time of economic stress."

EWeek reports that the study does note that the global recession has affected the piracy rate to some extent. IDC chief research officer John Gantz said that consumers are keeping old computers longer in the current economy and consumers that hold onto old computers are more likely to install pirated software on the machines.

Gantz said, "Reduced buying power is only one of many factors affecting software piracy. The economic crisis will have an impact – part of it negative, part of it positive – but it may not become fully apparent until the 2009 figures come in."

The positive aspect according to Gantz is that the reduced buying power of the average consumer has them looking at netbooks, which are often bundled with legitimate copies of software. IDC predicts that the piracy rate will only increase with 460 million new internet users coming online in emerging markets over the next five years. These emerging markets are where piracy is most rampant with as much as 90% of software installed on computers being pirated versions.

The countries with the lowest levels of piracy according to the study were the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and Luxembourg -- all with piracy rates near 20%. The countries with the highest percentage of piracy included Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Zimbabwe -- all with piracy rates over 90%.

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RE: Crap Logic
By Hvordan on 5/12/2009 5:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
Most of companies making money on expensive software forgetting that someone have to learn it 1st so they can later work for company that using and paid for their software.

What looks better on your resume:
a) I cracked a copy of X and dinked around with it in my spare time for a couple of months
- or -
b) I took a class (or several) on X at some community college

The remainder of this post seems to argue that if I can't afford something I should be allowed to steal it.

RE: Crap Logic
By Motoman on 5/12/2009 5:37:25 PM , Rating: 3
I think the point is that if you can't afford something, you aren't going to buy it. Personally I'm not condoning piracy - but I am mocking the very idea that piracy is costing the publisher puch money...based on the notion that people who can't afford something aren't going to buy it anyway - whether they wind up with a pirated copy or not.

RE: Crap Logic
By Hvordan on 5/12/2009 6:11:59 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously if you can't pay for the product, I understand you won't buy it. ;-)

What I think is missing in the general debate is that you might have bought something else with similar functionality. The individual or company developing the alternative has now missed out on an economic opportunity. (One example might be Paint Shop Pro vs Photoshop.)

RE: Crap Logic
By Motoman on 5/12/2009 7:45:23 PM , Rating: 2
I think that most people probably either "need" PS so they can work in .eps formats (when .eps formats are required), or they need "something." Meaning, whatever was on their PC when they got it, or they'll get GIMP or something else.

Sure, there are people that will buy a similar item - but again, I think the number of people that can afford and want a similar item are already buying them. I don't see that demographic doing piracy instead.

RE: Crap Logic
By eldakka on 5/12/2009 11:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'd take a) myself. Why?

Most courses in a specific piece of software aren't worth the certificate they give at the end.

I've come across people who had certificates in Microsoft Office, or Excel, or whatever, and unless they had actual, real world 1year+ of experience, if it was a software product I'd never set eyes on, I could work out how to do what I needed to do while the so called trained person was still trying to work out how to login to the computer...

Most people (I am generalising) who do courses on specific software seem to be clueless and can't extend/adapt/evolve that knowledge to other systems. Whereas a 'tinkerer', who taught themselves Word or Excel or Access or VBscript or Javascript are more likely to be able to pick up another similiar product (Open Office, Lotus, PHP or what have you) and figure out how to do the same thing in that new product with minimal fuss. There will not be the classic expression of frozen panic I see on the face of an Office user when there is no Format->Cell menu. They'll go find the formatting for the cell under Data->Cell->Format for example.

RE: Crap Logic
By Hvordan on 5/13/2009 10:53:13 AM , Rating: 2
Omg.. Is *that* where format moved to?? ;-)

My point though is that you can't (or at least shouldn't) justify theft by claiming a need to further your education. That's a bit like saying you're going to learn how to drive by hot-wiring a car at the dealership because you can't afford driver's ed classes.

RE: Crap Logic
By eldakka on 5/13/2009 11:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I don't think theft can be justified on the grounds of furthering your education (unless you are learning to become a criminal of course ;).

However, as I have said in other posts, copyright infringement is not, legally speaking, theft.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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