Business Software Alliance: Canadian Piracy Rate Shows Biggest Decline in the World Over Past 5 Yrs

The Business Software Alliance released its annual global software piracy report this week with new data that not only shows that Canada hit yet another all-time low but has experienced the biggest percentage decline in the world over the past five years. For the past few years, the BSA report has repeatedly found that piracy is declining in Canada. In 2009, Canada was characterized as a “low piracy country”, in 2010 the industry noted that Canada’s piracy rate was at an all-time low, and last year it dropped further to another all-time low.

The latest report says the Canadian piracy rate dropped further in 2011. In fact, over the past five years, the Canadian rate has dropped by 18% (from 33% to 27%), the sharpest decline in the world. No other country has seen its piracy rate drop as quickly. While there are ongoing concerns about the BSA methodology, it is striking that at the very time the U.S. and other lobby groups seek to paint Canada as a piracy haven, their own data suggests the opposite is true.


  1. The question their survey askes is:

    “How often do you acquire pirated software or software that is not fully licensed?”

    which I do not believe is applicable to most OSS. In particular GPL software which does not require any license to use. ONLY to redistribute. What I find most disturbing is this assumption that all software comes with a license because licenses can impose all sorts of obligation upon the purchases above and beyond a standard purchase.

    The whole idea of being bound by a license which you don’t even get to see until after the purchase needs to be squashed by courts or legislation.

  2. how is from 33% to 27% equals an 18% drop in piracy? Isn’t it a 6% drop? Pls clarify. Thanks.

  3. Keith:

    The percentage difference between 33 and 27 is 18% (27/33*100).

  4. Etdashou says:

    Mathematic from school

    33% of previous piracy * 18% of decline = ~6%

    33% – 6% = 27%

  5. Ray Saintonge says:

    As with so many “criminal” activities the passion to enforce increases as the crime rate goes down. If they could ever bring it down to zero the world would be more dangerous because we would be left with all these enforcers who have nothing to do, and time on their hands. As crime rates go down the unit costs of enforcement go up. At some point the costs of enforcement seriously outweigh the damage caused by the crime. Criminal enforcement of copyright infringement allows a number of industries to pass the heavy legal costs of pursuing minor infringement onto the general public.

  6. Anarchist Philanthropist says:

    I’m sure other findings like this do exist but have been “hushed” by the music industries so they continue to wage their war!

  7. free softwarist says:

    As much as humanly possible I don’t use proprietary software. I use free software licensed under the GPL, LGPL, MPL, BSD licenses etc.

    Of course the Business Software Alliance doesn’t like it when we do that…they’d rather crow about alleged “piracy” of the proprietary crap from Microsoft, Apple, Adobe etc.

    I read on a few tech forums the problems people were having with trying to get their $1000+ legally purchased Adobe software working. Sounded like hell.

    Give me Inkscape, The Gimp, Scribus anyday!

  8. free softwarist says:

    Also…can choose from a couple of hundred distributions of the GNU/Linux operating system.

    Record audio with Audacity! And the GNU/Linux based video editing software is getting pretty good.

    Do your office tasks with Libre Office or Calligra.

    For playing audio and video files, listening to podcasts you can use VLC Media Player, Miro, AmaROK, Rhythmbox, Banshee, Audacious…there are so many audio and video players for GNU/Linux that it’s hard to remember them all!

    Today there is very little technical reason to use proprietary software any more…the main reasons people do so are because of the proprietary software mega-corporations vendor lock-in.

  9. What?
    The kind of nonsense being reported on this infamous blog is insulting to everyone’s intelligence! Piracy *down* in Canada? Hah! So who are these BSA guys anyway, some paid TPB shills? Friends of that guy Falkvinge? Haven’t you Canucks gotten the memo? You’re on the 301 Special Report watch list!


    Oh. I see. Ahhhh… well I’m sure some junior staffer or intern must have accidentally released incomplete data that was not meant for publication!

  10. Open Source
    I wonder without piracy how many people would still use a property software rather than its viable free alternative.

  11. Math Time
    The drop from 33% to 27% is 6 percentage points. This 6 percentage points is 18% of the original 33%.

    (33-27)/33 = 6/33 = 0.181818… or 18 hundredths (18 per cent) in English 18 out of one hundred.

    The confusion comes from the language part. There was a drop of 6% from 33 to 27. This is a drop of 18% of the initial amount.

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