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New BSA Survey Indicates Campus Attitudes Invite Software Piracy

Piracy Ethics Are a Real Problem on Campus, Educators Say

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE via COLLEGIATE PRESSWIRE)--Sep 16, 2003--With student peer-to-peer (P2P) technology use on the rise, campus attitudes, if left unchecked, have the potential to open a floodgate for increased software piracy at U.S. colleges and universities, according to a survey released today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

In an attempt to measure the digital piracy attitudes of students, faculty and administrators at U.S. colleges and universities nationwide, an Ipsos survey(1) commissioned by BSA found that a majority of academics say downloading software is a real problem and nearly two-thirds of students say they would potentially download pirated software.

Most students surveyed, however, do not perceive that professors discourage software theft. Only 28 percent were aware of their institution`s software use policies. Of those, a slim majority say the policies are effective.

``Students aren`t being told, `Downloading unlicensed or illegal files is a mistake,``` said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of BSA. ``There have been positive advancements in P2P technology, but its misuse raises concerns. Education is ever more important to changing these behaviors. With P2P use on the rise, student and educator attitudes toward illegal downloading and file-swapping, if ignored, have the potential to become a gateway for increased software piracy on thousands of college campuses.``

Campus Attitudes About Software Piracy

The BSA survey marks the first step in a broader BSA initiative to study attitudes toward downloading, file-sharing and copyright law among university and college students, faculty and administrators.

According to the survey, more than three-quarters of faculty and administrators say it is absolutely ``not okay`` to download or swap files, yet less than one-quarter of students says it is wrong.

Additional findings include:

-- 23 percent of college and university students have downloaded software with only 32 percent paying for it all or most of the time.

-- 69 percent have downloaded music, with only 8 percent of them paying for it all or even most of the time.

-- 26 percent have downloaded movies, with only 4 percent paying for it all or most of the time.

-- More than 40 percent of educators say it`s ``okay`` to share or swap software to cut costs.

-- Despite their behavior, a majority of students (93%) endorse the intellectual property values of rewarding software developers and protecting intellectual property rights in order to encourage research and development.

``Our concern is that two out of five students report using P2P file-sharing programs to download commercial software and they are doing so more often than in previous years. Students can now distribute large files like software over the Internet much faster,`` Holleyman said.

Holleyman also announced that BSA is developing educational resources, including a Web site, to help higher education institutions address the piracy problem on campus. He applauded schools that have recently taken steps to address Internet use and downloading digital works in the wake of recent media attention around illegal music file-sharing activities on campus.

``Institutions of higher education would benefit from a close working relationship with the BSA and the leaders of America`s successful computer industry,`` said Sheldon Steinbach, vice president and general counsel, American Council on Education (ACE). ``Universities and the information technology industries already collaborate on high-tech issues. We should work together on the development of educational resources. Faculty, students and the private sector will benefit.``

Discouragement of Behavior Is Missing

``What we`re finding is that no more than a third of the students say that professors actively discourage them from swapping software or installing software on multiple machines,`` Holleyman said.

Other survey highlights include:

-- A strong majority of educators support enforcement of campus policies designed to prevent unlicensed software use on campus.

-- When it comes to university action against software piracy among students, however, only one-in-six faculty and administrators would endorse action more severe than limitation of computer usage rights, such as suspension or academic probation. Between one-fourth and one-third of educators would recommend no penalty, or are unsure.

``Intellectual property theft is both wrong and illegal,`` Holleyman said. ``Schools need to educate students about the consequences of commercial software piracy. If they don`t, many of these students are likely to take their piracy ethic into the business world.``

(1) Survey Methodology: This survey reports on Internet-based online interviews with 1000 university and college students and telephone interviews with 300 college and university faculty and administrators. It was conducted among a national cross-section of U.S. public and private higher education institutions. The margin of error for this study is +/-3% for the student population and +/-6% for the educator population.

The Business Software Alliance ( is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world`s commercial software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent one of the fastest growing industries in the world. BSA educates consumers on software management and copyright protection, cyber security, trade, e-commerce and other Internet-related issues. BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, Internet Security Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft, Network Associates and Symantec.

First published September 16, 2003

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