Software piracy cost companies $51 billion last year

Got an interesting e-mail a few hours ago detailing software piracy losses from the year 2009, also known as “last year.” The big, scary number is 51, as in $51 billion in losses. So says the Business Software Association. Reading the report, which is dripping with alarmist rhetoric, you’d think that Gaia herself were in danger. Don’t worry, guys, we’ll get through this.

The deal is that $51 billion worth of software was pirated in the year 2009, which is a 3 percent decrease from the previous year. When adjusted, however, the number is more or less the same. Adjusted means taking into account that most software growth occurred in emerging economies or whatever.

The BSA attributes the small drop (or at least not huge growth) in piracy to increased education campaigns and, yes, DRM. In these people’s eyes, DRM is a necessarily good thing because, well, look at the numbers! That’s funny, because just yesterday Rock, Paper, Shotgun published a piece about Ubisoft’s DRM as found in the new Splinter Cell game. As you might imagine, it was a DRM fail. RPS paid for the game like a true gentleman, and yet can’t play it because they happen to have a crummy Internet connection. That’s the reason why I honestly don’t give a damn when companies cry and cry about piracy losses: you’ve got honest, good people paying for your wares, and yet they can’t use them. Am I supposed to be mad at the person who spends $50+ on something he can’t use, or mad at the companies who are so concerned with losses that they implement measures that exacerbate the problem?

What are you gonna do?