So, this was really weird. I was having an instant messenger chat with a colleague here about the various “three strikes” proposals that have been popping up around the world, and he asked me whether or not the BSA had taken a stance on the issue. I noted not remembering hearing anything from them on it, and assumed that it was because the BSA mainly focuses on business users, for which a three strikes policy is not really an issue, and that the BSA would hopefully realize that cutting people off from the internet would almost certainly hurt the software industry a lot more than help it. But, literally 10 seconds after I sent that last text, I flipped over to my RSS reader and up popped an article about how the BSA has come out in favor of a three strikes plan. Freaky.
Guess I should have known better than to assume the BSA was smarter than the RIAA on this issue. As the article at Ars explains, the BSA tries to put in a bunch of caveats about due process and judicial oversight, but spends a bunch of time in its statement explaining how ISPs can get around all that due process and judicial oversight by simply putting three strikes into their contractual language — meaning that they can just decide on their own to cut users off. Good luck with that.
More troubling, however, is that when questioned about the new statement by Ars Technica, the BSA said it was necessary because “last year our industry lost over $50 billion (USD) worldwide.” Hmm. It’s really quite troubling that the BSA still stands by these numbers when they’ve been debunked so thoroughly over and over again. They count the “retail value” of every piece of software as being “lost,” which is clearly a lie. Five years ago, the research company that runs these studies for the BSA, IDG, flat out said that the BSA was wrong in claiming that “the retail value” of the software is the same as “losses.” So why does the BSA continue to get away with claiming it?