Business Software Alliance Report Irks Some

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Randy Savicky
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Business Software Alliance Report Irks Some

software-piracy.jpgThe Business Software Alliance's (BSA) annual Global PC Software Piracy Study was recently released, which is a comprehensive report on unauthorized software around the world. Paul Berber who wrote an article titled "Lies, damn lies and the BSA" is none to happy about it either. Apparently, South Africa merited a 35% piracy rate, while their World Cup rivals, the Brits scored the 6th lowest piracy rate in the world. The U.S. scored a 20% piracy rate, which is lowest in the world. Score one for honest Americans! Though, I suppose stealing software and having a high piracy rate could be a badge of honor. All a matter of perspective I suppose.

BSA chairperson Charl Everton said, "A piracy rate of 35 percent is far from acceptable," she says. "As we emerge from the most severe global economic recession in 20 years, it is essential that we continue to engage with government, businesses, and consumers about the risks of stealing software - and to educate the market on the true impact that software piracy has on the South African economy."

The reason why he's upset? The methodology. He writes, "How was the 35 percent rate arrived at? It's a guess, or rather, a combination of guesses combined with some market data and presented as a final authoritative percentage."

The author isn't alone in his displeasure of the BSA:
Michael Geist, law professor and Canada research chair for internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, calls the BSA figures "bordering on deceptive".

"The BSA methodology is so suspect that there are enormous problems with placing significant weight on the study," he says. "Thousands of Canadians have been speaking out on copyright, arguing for a balanced approach and against attempts to falsely paint Canada as a piracy haven based largely on questionable data. "The political pressure to cave to the US' demands are intense, but many Canadians have grown sceptical of the outlandish claims of US-backed lobby groups."

Hey, if people can "game" the system by downloading software for free via P2P networks (Bit Torrent, Limewire, eMule), then surely the BSA can "game" their numbers.


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