Monday, August 11, 2003

An actual victory?

(File this one under "Hoist by own petard")

The BSA has claimed a victory by reducing the level of piracy in the U.S. by 2% last year, even though the total is up $100M (piracy amounted to an estimated total of just short of two billion dollars last year, by their calculations).

Something's not quite kosher in the report. (I wish someone would hire an honest mathetician. Or, at least, explain their math to me.) If piracy increases one hundred million dollars and causes a loss of an additional 105,000 jobs (equates to $950 per job, which also doesn't sound correct), how does piracy decrease 2%? Do you get the feeling that someone is using a random number generator?

I also love the blanket statement of "Piracy depletes available funding for valuable research and development causing the staggering job losses and billions of dollars in lost wages and tax revenues." Most "innovation" is done by small companies prior to buy-out by larger corporations. Of late, piracy has mostly affected those companies who have the least to do with innovation and the most to do with the purchase of those same companies.

I live in a city where the BSA successfully stomped out piracy by causing the city government to cough up $$$ because they couldn't match the number of licenses to the number of computers in use (question: how many of you actually rec'd paper certs when you bought your machine?). Nevermind that the purchase of additional paper cost the city government enough $$$ that they had to "not hire" at least five $20K employees to cover the cost of the purchase of additional licenses. Based on the reasoning that no criminal charges were filed, it was an honest mistake and "saved" more jobs (by BSA's logic) than it deleted. (Note: we're also a member of the list of states where piracy is the least prevalent!)

Based on the logic used in BSA's annual report, I can claim a victory for ecology because I've slowed global warming by 2% by getting 30 of my friends to switch from aerosol hairsprays to pump-based even though there's an extra 300,000 people on the planet due to birth rates. Proof? Our local ocean temp was 15 degrees cooler this year than average.

My final question: given BSA's altruistic intentions of "promoting a safe and legal digital world", why haven't they weighed in on the SCO/IBM/Linux Intellectual Theft issue?