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$8 billion lost to piracy in Asia Pacific last year: IDC-BSA study news
Our Corporate Bureau
18 May 2005

Mumbai: Fifty-three percent of the software installed on personal computers in the Asia Pacific was pirated in 2004, the same level as in 2003. However, losses due to software piracy increased from US$7.5 billion to almost US$8 billion.

These are among key findings of a global software piracy study released today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the international association of the world's leading software developers. In April, 2005, BSA and NASSCOM had kointly launched a hotline to track down software piracy in India. (See: ) The independent study, which indicates that software piracy continues to be a major challenge worldwide, was conducted by global technology research leader IDC.

"Worldwide, one out of every three copies of software in use today has been obtained illegally," said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman. "These losses have a profound economic impact in countries around the world.Every copy of software used without proper licensing costs tax revenue, jobs, and growth opportunities for burgeoning software markets."

In 2004, the world spent more than $59 billion on commercial packaged PC software, up from $51 billion in 2003. However, over $90 billion was actually installed, up from $80 billion the year before.

Launching the study in Singapore, Jeffrey Hardee, vice president and regional director, Asia, said, "Software piracy remains a major concern for Asia Pacific countries. While many governments have taken steps to better protect intellectual property rights, much remains to be done in order for there to be substantial reduction in software piracy levels. The software industry is a proven engine for growth. Strong resolve in ensuring IP protection is essential if countries in the region are to see continued innovation and investment."

The study finds that software piracy rates in Asia Pacific range from a high of 92 per cent in Vietnam to a low of 23 per cent in New Zealand. The Asia Pacific region has the fourth highest average piracy rate and three of the world's top five pirating countries are in the region.

The study also finds that online piracy poses a major threat to countries. Without strong copyright laws and enforcement of those laws, online piracy, spam, auction sites and P2P systems will proliferate alongside internet usage.

During 2004, an additional 44 million people began using the internet in the Asia Pacific region. The fastest growing internet populations are those in emerging countries; China alone will add 100 million new internet users over the next four years.

Additionally, online piracy is also facilitated by increases in broadband penetration, since this enables users to send and download more quickly larger files such as software programs. According to IDC estimates, in 2004 more than 7.5 million more households in Asia Pacific gained broadband access, expanding the total number of broadband-enabled households to over 33 million.

Among the other key findings:

  • Although piracy rates decreased in 37 countries, they increased in 34 countries. They remained consistent in 16 countries.
  • In more than half the 87 countries studied, the piracy rate exceeded 60 percent. In 24 countries, the piracy rate exceeded 75 percent.
  • The countries with the highest piracy rates were Vietnam (92 percent), Ukraine (91 percent), China (90 percent), Zimbabwe (90 percent) and Indonesia (87 percent).
  • The countries with the lowest piracy rates were the United States (21 percent), New Zealand (23 percent), Austria (25 percent), Sweden (26 percent), and United Kingdom (27 percent).

The graph below illustrates average piracy rates by region of the world:

"Piracy is still most prevalent in countries and regions where the software market is growing as personal computing becomes more integral to work and daily life," said Martin Kralik, associate director, Asia-Pacific Consulting, IDC. "However, we have learned from places such as Taiwan that adopting policies to protect intellectual property is key to curbing piracy."

"Once a high-piracy locale, Taiwan has managed to drive software piracy levels down significantly, with the government sending a strong message that it would not tolerate software piracy while at the same time working with the industry to launch educational campaigns. The Taiwan government also put in place a regulatory regime to help prevent optical piracy, and has raided software piracy rings that were profiting from illegal software," noted Kralik.

"The BSA is committed to education programs, policy initiatives and enforcement efforts that have an impact on the piracy problem. The continued influx of new users in Asia Pacific, and the increased availability of pirated software through the Internet and P2P networks, underscores that continued education is a must," said Hardee.

"BSA will continue its efforts to stem the growth of piracy and thus stimulate local economies, create jobs, generate tax revenue, and encourage investment in technological innovation for the future."

IDC used proprietary statistics for software and hardware shipments, conducted more than 7,000 interviews in 23 countries, and enlisted IDC analysts in over 50 countries to review local market conditions.

also see : BSA - NASSCOM anti-piracy hotline announced

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$8 billion lost to piracy in Asia Pacific last year: IDC-BSA study