Software piracy  losses in the Gulf states rose to $850 million (Dh3.12 billion) in 2011, up 11.55 per cent over the $762 million incurred in 2010 due to the unprecedented growth of the IT industry .
According to the ninth annual global software piracy study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA)  in partnership with IDC and Ipsos Public Affairs, the UAE is still the only Arab country ranked among the lowest-piracy countries in the world. Computer shipments to the Gulf last year stood at 6.3 million units, up from 5.2 million in 2010, an increase of 21.15 per cent.
The UAE’s software piracy rate rose by one percentage point to 37 per cent last year. Globally, losses from software piracy broke the $60 billion level for the first time in 2011. In 2010, the value of unlicensed software hit $58.8 billion, an increase of one per cent.
Despite the rise in value, the piracy rate hovered at 42 per cent in 2011. “We are committed to stepping up our anti-piracy initiatives in the Gulf region to curb piracy levels and we will continue to work closely with key government agencies and private sector organisations to create greater awareness about the negative impact of intellectual property rights violations and software piracy across the Gulf,” Jawad Al Reda, Chairman of BSA, Gulf region, said.
The UAE is leading the way in the Gulf when it comes to setting and enforcing rules and regulations that protect intellectual properties, and hence it has the “lowest percentage piracy rate in the region,” Nasser Samaenah, regional licence compliance manager, Adobe, Mena, said.