19 May 2012


The Business Software Alliance (BSA) media release about its annual report on 'software piracy' claims that
Well over half the world’s personal computer users - 57 percent - admit they acquire pirated software, the Business Software Alliance reported today in the ninth-annual BSA Global Software Piracy Study. Some users say they pirate all or most of the time, according to the study. Others say they do it occasionally or rarely. The net effect fueled a global software piracy rate of 42 percent last year.
The commercial value of all this pirated software climbed from $58.8 billion in 2010 to $63.4 billion in 2011, a new record, propelled by PC shipments to emerging economies where piracy rates are highest.
“If 57 percent of consumers admitted they shoplift, authorities would react by increasing police patrols and penalties. Software piracy demands a similarly forceful response - concerted public education and vigorous law enforcement,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman.
Supposedly the "value of PC software theft" in Australia reached $793 million in 2011 and 23% of "new software installed on Australian personal computers was pirated".

The BSA promotes several 'key findings'-
  • There is strong global support for IP rights and protections in principle, but a troubling lack of incentive for pirates to change their behavior in practice. Just 20 percent of frequent pirates in mature markets - and 15 percent in emerging markets - say the risk of getting caught is a reason not to do it.
  • The most frequent software pirates are disproportionately young and male - and they are more than twice as likely to live in an emerging economy as they are to live in a mature one (38 percent to 15 percent).
  • The most frequent software pirates also are the most voracious software users. They report installing 55 percent more software on their computers than do non-pirates. This gives them an outsized impact on the global piracy rate.
  • Business decision makers admit to pirating software more frequently than other users - and they are more than twice as likely as others to say they buy software for one computer and then install it on additional machines in their offices.
  • By its sheer scale, China has the most troubling piracy problem. China’s illegal software market was worth nearly $9 billion in 2011 versus a legal market of less than $3 billion, making its piracy rate 77 percent. Moreover, buyers in China spend just $8.89 per PC on legal software, less than a quarter of the amount buyers spend in other BRIC markets.
I'm pleased of course that there aren't hordes of female nonegarians in Bangladesh or Botswana busily engaging in "piracy" (and thence presumably graduating to illegal arms dealing, dope peddling, terrorism and other nastiness).

And of course -
IP theft is a global economic drain, stifling not only IT innovation, but job creation across all sectors of the economy ... Governments, especially in emerging markets where most of the theft is taking place, must take steps to modernize their IP laws and expand enforcement efforts to ensure that those who pirate software face real consequences.