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By | Kelly Fiveash 18th July 2008 11:58

BSA: Software piracy's 'tragic' impact on US society

Think of the children policemen

The Business Software Alliance claimed yesterday that software piracy in the US is costing the industry $11.4bn and local government $1.7bn in lost taxes.

The software multinational lobbying group reckoned that although four out of five pieces of software is legally bought in the US the remaining counterfeit material results in a “tragic” loss of revenues for companies and public services.

It claimed those losses translated into enough cash for local government to pay for 100 middle schools or 10,800 affordable housing units. Alternatively, said the BSA, 25,000 police officers could be hired and dispatched onto the mean streets of New York, Florida, California and Nevada, presumably to flush out pesky software pirates anywhere they might reside.

Hmm. Here’s a statement from a very socially-conscious BSA plucking at the heartstrings of caring-sharing Americans.

“The United States may have the lowest PC software piracy rate in the world, but still, one out of every five pieces of software put into service is unlicensed,” said BSA anti-piracy and general counsel veep Neil MacBride.

“Not only is this a problem for the software industry, but piracy also creates major legal and security risks for the companies involved.

“The most tragic aspect is that the lost revenues to tech companies and local governments could be supporting thousands of good jobs and much-needed social services in our communities."

The BSA-sponsored IDC study, available here (pdf), pinpointed eight US states in the report. It found significant variations from the national piracy figure of 20 per cent.

California and Nevada notched up 25 per cent, while Florida and New York’s rates were lower than the national average at 19 and 18 per cent respectively.

It attributed variations in the figures to a number of factors including frequency of volume licensing and locations of where companies are headquartered. The proliferation of NYC financial firms that are likely to invest in software management tools helped to reduce volume license misuse in that state, claimed the BSA.

The study covered piracy of all packaged software that runs on PCs. IDC used proprietary stats for software and hardware shipments when compiling the results, even though the analyst outfit has previously suggested that the BSA's sums on software piracy and license misuse were misleading because it looked at sale losses rather than retail value. ®

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