ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE ON THE PROBLEM OF DIGITAL PIRACY



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The Business Software Alliance (BSA) and International Data Corporation (IDC): 2007 Global Software Piracy Study

In its 2007 review of software piracy, a study commissioned by the BSA and performed by the IDC concluded that worldwide losses attributable to software piracy totalled close to $48,000,000,000 (billion). The same 2007 global software piracy study calculated that the weighted average for worldwide software piracy was 38% for newly acquired desktop, laptop, and tablet computers in the countries studied. It should be noted that the BSA has updated these piracy results in subsequent studies.



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Credit for 2007 Software Piracy Data:
  1. Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study
  2. Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study - Piracy Rates and Losses




Count Country Region Piracy Rate (% Percent) Piracy Loss ($ Millions)


The following table provides a statistical snapshot of the above-mentioned 2007 piracy study.

Summary Country 2007's Piracy Rate 2007's Piracy Losses
Weighted Average Rate and Total Losses Planet Earth 38% $47,809,000,000
Mean (Average) Piracy Rate Costa Rica, Mexico, and Oman 61% $423,088,496
Median (Middle or Center) Piracy Rate Turkey 64%  
Maximum (Highest) Piracy Rate Armenia 93%  
Minimum (Lowest) Piracy Rate United States 20%  
Mode (Most Frequent) Piracy Rate Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland 25%  

As the snapshot illustrates, of the countries reviewed in the 2007 software piracy study, the mean or average worldwide piracy rate was 61%, or an average (per country) loss of about $423,000,000 (million). The median, center, or middle worldwide software piracy rate was 64%. The minimum or lowest worldwide software piracy rate was 20%. The maximum or highest worldwide software piracy rate was 93%. The mode or most frequently occurring worldwide software piracy rate was 25%.

Understanding Human Behavior

Naturally, theft or dishonesty is not the only reason why some humans engage in digital piracy. Some additional factors to explain why humans engage in digital piracy include:

  1. Poverty - Citizens in poorer countries are desperate to join the computer age but cannot afford to purchase the most popular and versatile software applications. Piracy provides one option for the poorer members of society to join and to experience all of the benefits of the computer age.
  2. Lack of awareness - Citizens are not aware of all available options for consuming software applications such as the existence of open-source, free, and low-cost computing options such as the following ones:
  3. Convenience and price - For buyers of pirated digital products, the pirated copies are conveniently available at a steep discount below the manufacturer's or retailer's selling price. For sellers of pirated digital products, piracy decreases their business costs and increases their revenue stream.

Perhaps the predominant motivating factor to explain why some humans engage in digital piracy is this: Duplicating and file-sharing technologies make it very easy to anonymously pirate digital content coupled with the small chance of getting caught in the first place and the even smaller chance of being prosecuted in a court of law. Software piracy reduces to another case of the mostly-everybody's-doing-it syndrome. Duplicating and file-sharing technologies cause some humans to compromise or relax their moral and ethical system of values.



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