Even Deutsche Welle falls into piracy loss trap


Screenshot of DW's report on software piracy

I'm an avid reader of Deutsche Welle's English news site and subscribe to their Twitter feeds because my dad is German, and they tend to be far less sensationalist and more factual than other news sources. Still, this recent story shows even they can fall into the trap set for them by large software companies.

Global software piracy cost more than $50 billion in 2009
Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: An amnesty campaign gives German business 30 days to register their software.

Some 43 percent of computer programs used worldwide were illegal copies in 2009, says the Business Software Alliance. Losses top $50 billion, and in some countries more than 90 percent of software is illegally copied.

Emphasis added by me.

I’m feeling déjà vu, all over again

Much like media companies complaining that piracy is costing them billions a year, I'm skeptical of reporting such as this. They're assuming that people pirating software:

  • all people pirating software can afford legitimate copies
  • all people pirating software would buy legitimate copies

Emphasis (along with all the other words) added by me, again :).

I've yet to see any evidence in support of these points, and plenty against. Perhaps corporations are in a different boat to consumers, but with the current financial situation you could understand why some would skimp on licences in place of more tangible expenses.

I don't use pirated software because I can afford to buy it, and because I've given up expensive luxuries such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro. The Gimp, Inkscape and Final Cut Express may have less features, but I can afford them!

What I will say is their reporting that pirated media can be a security risk was spot on, whether it be due to trojan horses or from the fact they're more difficult to patch owing to vendors understandably not wanting to support them. But that's a topic for another post.

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