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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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June 24, 2005

Lies, Damn Lies and BSA Statistics

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Is the Business Software Alliance accused of using misleading statistics again? Is the Pope Catholic?

Last time it was copyright infringement estimates (The Economist Rails on Flawed BSA Piracy Study). Now, ZDNet UK has published a commentary accusing the BSA of playing fast and loose with software patent statistics (BSA Figures Do Not Add Up).

The BSA's latest study claims to prove that software patents are of equal importance to SMEs and large companies, a claim that political parties and some media organisations have taken at face value. But does the study really show that SMEs are of equal importance, or has the BSA presented the facts in a misleading way to lead people to the conclusions they want them to draw?
What do you think the answer is?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Abuse


COMMENTS

1. Lost sales? on June 24, 2005 9:02 PM writes...

If anything that is copied without a license means a lost sale then freeware means lost sales too. Ditto for copied public domain music.

Almost all the software I use on my computer is freeware. Because they are freeware, I admit I have more program than I need. For example, I have several version of text editors, graphics viewers, graphics editors, audio players, and so on. Since each of these installed programs means a lost in sale to the cartel, then I should feel bad about what I do, copying all those freeware programs?

Then I too should feel bad by going to free concerts. These also means loss of sales to the $100 per seat concerts (usually inferior to the free ones) I do not attend?

Then, by the logic of the cartel, these (freeware programs, public domain music, free concerts) should all be outlawed because they reduce the profits of the "legitimate" industry, the cartels?

There is no such thing as a loss of sale because someone decides not to buy a product or service. This is becasue the sale was never made to begin with and if the sale was never made it is because the potential customer is a free person that decides when and how to part with his money. To pretend otherwise is foolish. It is to pretend that customers can be forced to buy, that they are not free. I never heard so much nonsense.

Here is a thought: If each time that something is copied, say to a hard disk, is a lost sale, is the opposite, erasing something from the disk, a gain for the cartel? Per their ridiculous logic the answer is yes.

Rafael Venegas
http://www.gvenegas.com

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