The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the international association established by the software industry to promote a safe and legal digital world, has announced that it has recently released the Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study, which revealed the biggest increase in global piracy in four years, jumping by three percentage points to 38 per cent in 2007. BSA has emphasised that the rapid growth of the IT industry in countries with weak copyright enforcement and expanding internet access have largely contributed to the global trend.
Despite the increasing prevalence of software piracy, the study also revealed that the GCC region has improved its anti-piracy performance through initiatives such as smart government policies, effective enforcement, end user customer education and vendor legalisation programs. The UAE has once again posted the best anti-piracy rating in the Gulf region.
"The latest Global Software Piracy Study by BSA and IDC indicates that global piracy has increased largely because of the unprecedented growth of the IT industry in areas where there are no committed efforts to control piracy. The spread of internet has likewise contributed to the current situation as access to pirated software has moved from the streets to the internet," said Jawad Al Redha, Co-Chairman, BSA.
"This situation underscores the need to sustain and even intensify our vigilance, as these threats will persist with the continued growth of the global IT industry. In view of this, I would like to commend our partners in the Gulf region for a successful job in improving their anti-piracy record. Our joint efforts with government authorities in the GCC show that collaboration between public and private entities deliver positive results," added Al Redha.
Of the 108 countries covered by the global piracy study, 67 were able to improve their piracy ratings, with only 8 reporting increases in piracy, although many of these countries had exceedingly high piracy ratings. The Middle East and Africa region maintained its piracy rating at 60 per cent for the second straight year.
The study also revealed that global losses to piracy in 2007 totalled nearly USD 48 billion, an increase of USD 8 billion over the previous year. Prior to the 2007 report, global piracy had been relatively stable as it stood at 36 per cent in 2003 and remained at 35 per cent for the next three years before the increase in 2007.
The study showed that 261 million PCs were shipped to consumers in 2007, a 16 per cent growth, with individual consumers and small businesses accounting for 66 per cent of the market. Nearly 700 million PCs were installed with new software, resulting in USD 80 billion in sales of PC software, which was an increase of 18 per cent.
“As the leading agency in the global fight against piracy, BSA will continue to work with IT communities, government agencies, consumer groups and the general public to promote a safe and crime-free digital society. Recently, we opened a BSA program in Ukraine, demonstrating how we are intensifying our efforts all over the world," said Al Redha.
"Through sustained efforts, we are confident of creating an ever greater impact in the future. In fact, our study has further revealed that if we can reduce global piracy by 10 points over the next four years, we will be able to generate thousands of new jobs, substantially increase tax revenues and build a stronger economy for all countries,” concluded Al Redha.