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Software piracy rates on the rise worldwide

IDC and Business Software Alliance report shows global software piracy up 3% in 2007

Worldwide software piracy rates increased overall last year, according to the latest figures from IDC and the Business Software Alliance.

The Fifth Annual BSA and IDC Global Software Piracy Study was released today, showing an increase of 3% in levels of software piracy to 38% in 2007. The growth in piracy was attributed to the rapid growth of IT and internet connections in emerging markets, that don't have strong intellectual property laws.

"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.

Global losses from software piracy amounted to $48 billion. In the Middle East and Africa region, the level of piracy remained flat, at 60%, for a loss of $2.4 billion, although piracy rates declined in most countries in the Middle East.

The UAE was the only country in the Gulf where rates of piracy did not decline in 2007, although rates remained flat and the country still has the lowest rate of piracy in the GCC, at 35%. Saudi Arabia has the next lowest rate of piracy, at 51%, followed by Qatar (54%), Bahrain (57%), Oman (61%) and Kuwait (62%).

The other Middle East countries in the study, Egypt, Lebanon and Yemen showed higher rates of piracy than the Gulf, at 60%, 73% and 89% respectively, although Egypt has cut rates by 3% since 2006, and only Yemen, a new addition to the study, ranked among the top twenty worst offenders worldwide.

Al Redha said: "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.

"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," he added.

The three countries with the worst piracy rates were Armenia (93%), Bangladesh (92%), and Azerbaijan (92%).

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