One in four instances of software installed in Australia during 2009 were pirated, according to a new research report produced by IDC. The report, commissioned by the Business Software Association (BSA), claims the total impact of this loss in software sales as $US2.25 billion. The report also pegs the rate of return to the Australian economy resulting in a 10 per cent reduction in piracy rates at some 3786 new jobs, and a $US338 million increase to Australia’s GDP over a two to four year period. It also claims an increase in tax revenues of $US44 million over the same period. Looking at the combined 42 countries examined in the report, IDC found that the global impact of software piracy in 2009 was $US45 billion resulting in total losses of revenue, employment and taxes from related sectors in excess of $US110 billion. In determining this result IDC said its analytical model factored in the relationship between spending on software and spending on related IT services and distribution using current, country-level market data and forecasts for the number of high-tech companies and employees; the taxes they pay; and the rate of PC software piracy and its commercial value. In using this model, IDC estimated that lowering piracy by 10 percentage points per country in four years would globally deliver almost 500,000 new high-tech jobs, more than $US142 billion in new spending and about $US32 billion in new tax revenues. “More than four out of 10 software programs installed on personal computers around the world last year were pirated,” the report reads. “Most of this unauthorised software use occurs in otherwise legal businesses that may, for example, buy licenses to install a program on 10 PCs but then install it on 100 or 1,000. “In other cases, software piracy involves more overt criminal enterprises selling counterfeit copies of software programs at cut-rate prices, online or offline.” In putting forward its recommendations for cutting piracy the BSA said public education was critical in creating the needed “fundamental shift” required in public attitude toward software and intellectual property. Within businesses initiatives such as the implementation of software asset management (SAM) systems were needed to better manage and optimise software purchases, utilisation and maintenance. Better enforcement of stronger copyright laws along with governments fulfilling their and obligations under the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) were also required, the BSA argued. The BSA also reiterated its call for the creation of specialised IP enforcement units at the national and local level and providing dedicated resources to investigate and prosecute IP theft. As reported by Computerworld Australia, the BSA of Australia has also called on companies to create dedicated roles within IT departments to address software compliance and has also upped its bounty for those dobbing in software pirates.
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