New Zealand pirates face new foe

The newly formed local chapter of the Software Publishers Association intends to be complementary to the Business Software Alliance.

The newly formed local chapter of the Software Publishers Association intends to be complementary to the Business Software Alliance.

Both organisations have a brief to fight illegal copying of software, but the SPA--which has more than 1200 member companies around the world--says it has a different focus.

“We’re on the same team, as it were,” says New Zealand legal adviser Barbara Sullivan, of the Wellington-based law firm Henry Hughes.

“But we’ve got a slightly broader base, with some members from the entertainment industry.” However, the SPA says the most important difference is that it focuses very much on education programmes.

“The BSA tends to specialise in litigation,” she says. This doesn’t mean the two organisations do a kind of “good cop-bad cop” routine, though--the SPA does prosecute, and the BSA does conduct some seminar programmes.

One, perhaps significant, divergence between the two is in their estimates of the level of software piracy here.

The BSA’s most recent estimate puts the value of illegal software here at $58 million: the SPA says it’s $11.8 million. However, Sullivan says the SPA figure is conservative, and doesn’t include losses by distributors and resellers or loss of GST.

“Also, the piracy figures cover businesses only--not home or educational software. What’s more, they’re worked out by calculating the amount of software purchased when someone buys new computer hardware--it doesn’t include software bought for computers that are already installed.”

The organisation also has a software audit kit downloadable from its Web site and, as does the BSA, has a free phone line (0800 763 892) for any queries.

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