Sunday, May 24, 2009

Global losses from priacy exceed $50 billion

For the first time, a rise in losses of 11 percent means that piracy levels have now reached $53bn. These are the latest findings by International Data Corp. (IDC), who perform an annual study on software piracy.

Experts say this is due to unprecedented growth in the IT industry in parts of the world where there were no committed efforts to control piracy.

Overall illegally-copied programmes represented 41 percent of all software sales, three percentage points more than in 2007. Global piracy had increased as a direct result of unprecedented growth in the IT industry in parts of the world where there were no committed efforts to control piracy. The spread of the internet and access to high-speed broadband had contributed to the problem pirated software has moved from the streets to the internet, he said.

The information publicly released by the IDC highlights the status in specific areas of the world, including the Middle East.

A press release issued by the IDC reveals that the biggest disappointment in our region is that losses from software piracy in the GCC has leapt by 48 percent. Gulf states lost $590m to software piracy; yet, the only bright spot in our region was revealed to be the UAE, ranked as a low-piracy country. It was in the 20th spot in the 2007 report, and is at the 21st spot for 2008.

Otherwise, the situation in Arab countries seems disturbing, especially the region’s largest IT market, Saudi Arabia, in which piracy is up a whopping 60 percent in 2008. Details on every country are available to those who obtain this report from IDC.

People take the discussion of piracy lightly. But the reality is that piracy has a significant impact on the economy, in every country.

A previous IDC study estimates that a ten point reduction in PC software piracy in Jordan would deliver nearly 500 new jobs, $14 million in tax revenues, and $47 million in economic growth.

Government who implement strict policies against trading in pirated software and conducted a number of raids can possibly gain some of these benefits.

Additionally, countries who take a serious stance on piracy, experience an increase in direct investment from international software firms, and can develop as regional IT centers. This is something that Jordan seeks to achieve.

But, history has shown, that the education of users regarding piracy, and the establishment of incentives to ‘go legal’ have been the best measures. Delivering value to users, and understanding the economic reality of specific regions is one way to promote legal software use. Amidst this global economic recession, this approach may be the only viable one for the software industry!


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