BSA Admits Calculated Losses Due to Swedish Software Piracy Entirely Hypothetical

It’s another blow to the studies that are put out by the industry to highlight the problems of piracy – one of the studies published by the Business Software Alliance to highlight the problem in Sweden is apparently “built on flat fees and estimates”. In other words, they effectively gave an educated guess.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

Will the pirates who believed all along that the copyright industry was making up these statistics on losses due to piracy please raise you hand? A new report in a Swedish news site, IDG, recently reported (Google translation) that officials from the BSA are now admitting that their own statistics shouldn’t be treated seriously or should be treated like a pinch of salt. From the report:

Business In its latest report, the BSA stated that 25 percent of all software in Ireland is pirated. It without having spoken to a single Swedish company. “You should probably not see these numbers as completely accurate,” says BSAs Sweden Chef John Hugosson.

In 2008 was 25 per cent of all benefit programs in Sweden pirated. The economic losses for the Swedish IT industry for the period amounted to almost three billion dollars. It strikes the broadcasters’ association BSA stated in its latest market survey, which was properly space both in Swedish and international media.

The conclusions drawn without a single American has been consulted in the matter. BSA has not contacted either the Swedish company, vendor or computer users in the process of investigation. Both the rate and loss figures for Sweden are built on flat fees and estimates, in turn, based on market research in other countries.

Further, the calculation of the industry’s losses to all the pirated versions of any program on the Swedish market would yield full license revenue for software companies – that is entirely hypothetical figures.

There’s no shortage of people who have argued for years that one download does not equal one lost sale. This latest revelation, for those that have been arguing this, seems to only confirm what they have believed for quite some time – even if it is just the study for Sweden.

Already, there’s been some notable discrepancies between IFPI piracy statistics and the need to put Canada on a “Special 301 report” priority watch list, not to mention the fact that the Special 301 report put Canada on a priority watch list gave some people reason to doubt the USTR reports accuracy entirely.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that the copyright industry is getting the United States to put in place a law that would force the government to pressure other countries into, among other things, reform copyright laws to the copyright industry’s standards because the math behind the numbers to prove the copyright industries point are increasingly looking like they aren’t really adding up. But at the very least, the BSA had the courage to admit this, so that deserves some credit, right?

[Hat tip: Michael Geist]

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.



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