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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: Not Lost Sales
By eldakka on 5/12/2009 11:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
Would you walk into a convenience store, think that bag of Doritos was priced too high, and steal it?

Copyright infringement, aka Piracy, is not theft by ANY legal or moral definition.

The bag of Dorito's you just stole is a physical, manufactured item that is composed of physical items that cost real money to manufacture (potato, oil, spices, etc). By taking it, stealing it, you are depriving the store of a physical item that cost money to manufacture, transport and store. By stealing it, the shop has lost that money they have already spent in gaining that physical item. And as you have taken that physical item, the store cannot sell that item to another customer.

Copyright infringement however, incurs no cost to the copyright holder. It does not deprive the copyright holder of any physical item that they had to outlay money to manufacture that they are now out of pocket for. If someone makes a copy of a piece of software, they copyright holder still has the same piece of software available to sell to another customer, unlike with the bag of Doritos' where when it's gone, it's gone.

This is a better analogy for copyright infringement:
I go have a few drinks with a friend. They tell a joke that they just made up on the spot. We all think it's hilarious, so the creator of the joke writes' it down so that they don't forget it for later retelling. Next day, I email the joke to some work colleagues...oops, under the law I've just committed copyright infringement, woe's me!

RE: Not Lost Sales
By peritusONE on 5/13/2009 12:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying it doesn't take time to code these programs? If I spent 8 months coding a nice program, then people pirated it and never gave me a dime, I'm not gonna say, "Oh well, I'm not out anything, they aren't taking anything physical from me."

In my book of law and morals, copyright infringement IS theft. I created something and want to charge for it. You took it without paying. You stole my code and my time. Try convincing me that you didn't steal anything away from me.

RE: Not Lost Sales
By eldakka on 5/13/2009 11:50:46 PM , Rating: 2
What is in your book doesn't matter.

What matters is what is in legislation and court rulings (common law).

Neither in legislation or Common Law is copyright inringement stealing.

I'm not gonna say, "Oh well, I'm not out anything, they aren't taking anything physical from me."

You may not feel that way, but that is the way it is, suck it up.

If the 'nice program' you coded isn't nice enough to encourage enough people to pay for it to have made the 8 month investment worthwhile, then obviously it isn't a nice program to those who matter, the people willing to pay money for it.

But then, there are other ways to make money from the 'nice program' than by selling the non-physical, infinitely reproducible code. Charge for support. Charge for customizations. Take the program to a big company and use it as your resume, they may give you a well paying job because of the skills the program displays.

Just because you spent 8 months doing something doesn't mean you deserve or should be expected compensation for those 8 months. If you want that, get a job with a wage, rather than being a speculator.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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