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article imageReport: Software piracy totals $58 billion, rising in Africa

By Andrew Moran     May 13, 2011 in Internet
Washington - According to a new report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), $59 billion worth of software was stolen across the globe in 2010. Software piracy rates continue to rise in Africa with nations, such as Zimbabwe, maintaining rates of 91 percent.
The Business Software Alliance published the 2010 Global Software Piracy study this week and the numbers are quite troubling for the software industry. Majority of the emerging countries, such as Brazil, China (80 percent) and India, account for more than half of money lost due to software piracy.
Georgia topped the list of nations with the highest illegally copied programs with a 93 percent rate. The poverty-stricken nation of Zimbabwe was a close second with 91 percent, and Bangladesh, Moldova and Yemen were tied for third with 90 percent.
The nations with the lowest rates were the United States (20 percent), Japan (20 percent), Luxembourg (20 percent) and New Zealand (22 percent).
The BSA’s eighth annual study suggested, though, that piracy rates on the African continent are rising.
Although the market for personal computers has doubled, the software piracy rate in South Africa is 35 percent at a commercial value of $513 million. Its neighbor just to the north, Botswana, has a piracy rate of 79 percent at a commercial value of $15 million.
The survey found out that there is nationwide awareness of the difference between legal and illegal methods to purchase software. South African participants also agreed that licensed software was much better than unlicensed.
Furthermore, 61 percent believe intellectual property rights create jobs and 78 percent said intellectual property rights provide economic benefits.
“This tells us that despite an increase in the number of PC shipments last year, some progress has been made in keeping software piracy rate in South Africa at bay,” said BSA’s enforcement manager, Renee Luus, reports IT News Africa. “However, there is still much more work to be done-the further we reduce software piracy, the better it will be for the South African economy in terms of fostering IT innovation as well as job creation.”
From there, the numbers continue to rise. Zambia, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria all maintain piracy numbers of 82 percent at a total commercial value of more than $300 million. Other countries, such as Libya, Senegal, Kenya and Tunisia have their figures between 72 percent and 88 percent.
Egypt and Morocco have one of the lowest software piracy rates of 60 percent and 65 percent.
“Today's study shows that, while piracy continues to threaten the global economy, people clearly understand and appreciate the value of intellectual property, especially its role in driving economic growth,” said BSA President and CEO, Robert Holleyman, reports Business Live.
“Software theft continues to stifle IT innovation, job creation, and economic growth around the world. This report clearly shows the importance of educating businesses, government officials, and end users about the risks of software theft - and what they can do to stop it.”
More about Business Software Alliance, South Africa, Software piracy, 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, digital robbery
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