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More education needed on software piracy says BSA

BSA study says piracy rates gradually improving but more education needed

The BSA is stepping up its anti-piracy efforts in the region, says Al Redha.
The BSA is stepping up its anti-piracy efforts in the region, says Al Redha.

The Business Software Alliance has called on government and private sector to do more to increase awareness of the impact of software piracy.

The BSA has just revealed the results of its ninth Annual Global Software Piracy Study, which showed software piracy in the Middle East and Africa region in 2011 was stable at 58%, the same as 2010, representing $4.2billion of unlicensed software in the region.

Globally the rate was also stable at 42%, as calculated by IDC estimates of the number of PCs in a country and the number of software units deployed in a year, versus the number of paid for software units. The figure represents some $63.4bn of unlicensed software worldwide, up from $58.8bn in 2010, off the back of increased PC penetration in emerging markets.

"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 right violation and software piracy across the Gulf," said Jawad Al Redha, Business Software Alliance Chair, Gulf Region.

The BSA said the figures represent gradual progress worldwide in fighting software piracy, but said that more could be done to increase public education and awareness of software piracy and IPR issues; to develop better technology protection for software and copyright materials; to strengthen IP laws and enforcement and in government entities leading by example in proper use of licensed software.

This year's study also included a survey of 15,000 computer users in 33 countries that together constitute 82% of the global PC market, around attitudes and behaviour with pirate software.

The survey showed the large majority of software pirates are young and male, and twice as likely to live in an emerging economy versus a mature one (38% versus 15%).

Business decision makers are also more likely to pirate software than other users, particularly in emerging markets. Typically they are twice as likely as other users to buy one copy of software and then install illegally on additional machines.

In the Gulf and Middle East region, piracy rates were generally stable, with no more than 1% deviation between 2010 and 2011 figures. The worst offending market by percentage of pirated software was Iraq, with 86% piracy, followed by Lebanon on 71%. In terms of market size, Saudi Arabia accounted for $449m of pirated software, from a rate of 51%, followed by Egypt and Iraq with $172m of pirated software.

The UAE had the lowest piracy rate in the Gulf, at 37%, comparable with a rate of 33% for the European Union.

"Our experience around the world suggests that when the Government becomes actively involved in driving long-term educational and awareness initiatives and taking appropriate enforcement action to ensure that those that pirate face real consequences, then significant reductions in software piracy rates become a reality for a country. This will benefit the local economy, drive IT innovation and support job creation," said Dale Waterman, Corporate Attorney for Anti-Piracy for the Middle East and Africa region at Microsoft, a member of the BSA.