While the recording industry has been fighting a fierce battle todeal with the piracy of music, the software industry has beenengaged in the same fight, though not as openly. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has been keeping a track ofpiracy figures relating to software in Australia, and its recentresearch paints a sobering picture of how locals acquire thesoftware on their PCs. By the way of the BSA s and IDC s 2011 Global Software Piracy Study , it found that 23 per cent of software installed on PCs inAustralia is pirated. While this figure means that that the commercial value of piratedsoftware in Australia in 2011 is estimated to be worth $739million, the revelation does not surprise BSA Australia co-chair,Clayton Noble. |
We have been conducting this study for a number of years now, andthe absolute proportion has been falling over the years, which isgreat news, he said. The proportion of new copies installed that are pirated has beenfalling in Australia over a number of years, and that s a positivedevelopment for the software industry and for the Australianeconomy. For Noble, the results mean that people are buying genuine copiesof software more often, and this is not only helping members of theBSA that may have developed the product, but also helping out thechannel partners and retailers that are part of the eco-system that each of those BSA members relies on in Australia. However, it is an undeniable fact that one-in-four softwarepackages are being pirated in a developed nation such as Australia,which is something that Noble feels is not right. It s unacceptable that such a high proportion of softwareinstalled and used in Australia is pirated, he said.
To combat this, the BSA is trying to communicate to other peoplethat there are a lot of risks for consumers in using non-genuinesoftware. People think they can save a few dollars by getting a crackedcopy of software from the Internet, but they will get a surprisewhen they have security problems later on, such as data corruption,identity theft, or malware infecting their computers, Noble said. If a consumer didn't buy genuine software, they could be in for anasty surprise. So many people take the chance on using pirated software thatthey can t be sure on what they are getting, Noble said.
It s a worry for us and for our consumers, as much as for ourmembers businesses and the eco-system of resellers. Fortunately, the report found that Australia is the only country inAPAC where piracy has consistently dropped over the last eightyears, at a rate of one percentage point per year. While a constant reduction is nice, Noble admits that finding waysto increase this trend is something the BSA and its members were struggling with . We need to do more to get the message out to people about thebenefits of genuine licensed software, and the risks of usingpirated software, he said.
You don t know what you re getting with that mysteriousdownload or white label DVD. Raising awareness among consumers and businesses alike about therisks of using dodgy software, and the benefits of using genuine,is one thing that Noble thinks the BSA can do in the industry toreduce the piracy rate. Apart from that, the BSA also undertakes enforcement on behalf ofall its members, he said. For Noble, it comes down to getting the message out to businessesthat if someones want to take the chance on not paying forsoftware, then the BSA does take action on it to make it notworth the risk.
The harm to your business reputation, the damages you can beliable for, it s not a good economic decision to wait and see ifyou get caught, he said.
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