The BSA tends to count every copied version of an application as a loss in money, as if every user running a copied version of a particular application would have bought it if he hadn't copied it. This is - of course - wrong, and thus the numbers the BSA gives out are in fact wrong.
But it's not that difficult, really. It's plainly forbidden to copy copyrighted software. It's forbidden to run software that you need a license for if you don't have one.
Also the reasoning that 'if you use software and make a profit with it' of course can't apply to games at all (or other entertainment software titles). Also the statement that 'I use Photoshop now for free and will buy it when I'm a graphics professional' can't be applied to games.
Another philosophical problem is that 'times have changed'. I remember the times when I had my Atari ST and the internet was not part of my life at all. (The 80s.) I only had two friends who also possessed an Atari ST, my other friends either did not have computers or used Macs or Amigas. So getting your hands on software titles for free (by warezing) was a completely different thing then. One of three would buy the software, two copies were made. Like that the software developer still made money, albeit less than if every one of us would have bought a copy.
Nowadays a kid connects to Hotline or Carracho servers and finds - with a bit of sweet talking and trading - archives with the newest titles. And oh so many of them. In the 80s I needed like 5 software titles plus maybe a game or 20. If I didn't find a title that did what I needed, I used GFA Basic to write it myself, if it wasn't too big a task.
So while back in the 80s software wasn't just available some klicks away and sharing software was mostly a private thing with (small) group dynamics and basically a positive feeling towards the developers, this has changed. People just grab everything they can. I know people who have every Photoshop and After Effects plugin ever made. Just to have them. They don't use it. But it's always a good trading argument for them. Actually, they don't really do anything productive on their computers. They're traders. They're addicted.
Sounds dumb? I remember myself. The summer of love, when Mac OS 8.0 Betas were the big hit on early Hotline servers. I would stay up half the night just to make sure that the 30 or so MB would dribble in through my 28.8Kbps leased line. In the morning I would - again - destroy the System of my PowerBook with it. And in the evening I would find a newer build on some or other Hotline server. Addiction? Yes, of course. I would have had a better time if I only downloaded one build per week or month, I could have done a lot more work on my computer (and gotten some sleep, too), but I was addicted to it. What excitement it was to test the themes 'Gizmo' and 'HiTech' with early builds of 8.0. How loud was the scream of everyone when they were removed before the final candidate stage. Hilarious, how the 'Special' menu in the Finder changed its name with every build ('Sunrise', 'Steve', 'S...'). It was a great time - and I was addicted to it.
My reasoning goes like this: Addicted traders don't really harm developers directly. They wouldn't buy the software titles. But they do indirectly by making the titles more widely available to users who *could* pay for the software but *don't*.
Kids who *need* expensive software for fun don't harm developers, because they could never afford to buy a license. But what they don't see is that there are alternatives. Do kids really *need* Microsoft Office v. X? They could use AppleWorks which is much less expensive. And they could buy the software or let their parents buy it for christmas. Photoshop? The 'Elements' version would be enough for most of the tasks. Use Graphics Converter for most of the missing features. But I didn't go that way myself when I was a teen, so I understand why people don't.
The people who *really* harm software development companies are the ones who sell copied titles. I know that in the late 80s a couple of friends of mine bought 150 games on about 200 floppy disks for their Amigas. An italian BBS sold such packages at a price we would pay for the empty disks. Many of the games sucked, but among them were at least ten titles they would else have bought themselves or gotten for christmas/birthdays, so actually there was money lost. And there are people selling copies of Adobe or Microsoft titles. Big time. Those are the criminals. And the buyers of course are the dumbasses, because they pay for something without earning the right to use the software.
I'm a bit sorry for the long post, but I think it's important to say in a thread like this what's really happening. Posts like 'where do I find macwarez' should not be in such a thread. Posts like 'I do warez but I don't worry' should not be here, either.
What could 'the industry' *really* do to make it better? I have a suggestion. As an example I'll use Photoshop, for it is about the most traded title in the WarezWorld:
Photoshop Elements (with even less features): Free.
Photoshop Basic (with a bit more features than Elements today, perfect for Webdesign but not Print): 90$.
Photoshop Full (like today's version): 299$.
Everyone would download the Elements version. Because it'd be free. It would be enough to learn how Photoshop works. If you'd really like what Elements would do, chances are high you'd spend the 90$ for the Basic version some day. And the lower price for the Full version would make professionals buy the licenses earlier in their cycle.
Similar models could be made for almost all graphics professional software titles like Illustrator, FreeHand, Flash (!), GoLive etc.
Mac user since 1987. Running Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on a MacBook Air 11" & an iMac 27" and whatever's newest for my iPhone 4s, iPad 3 and AppleTV 2.
Apple Certified System Administrator 10.6, Apple Sales Professional 2008-2011, Apple Certified Mac Technician.