7 out 10 software installed in PH unlicensed: BSA

After years of gradual decline and hovering for sometime at 69 percent, the software piracy rate in the Philippines went up to 70 percent in 2011, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said in its latest report.

The 2011 BSA Global Software Piracy Study, which was released on Tuesday, May 15, showed that the 70-percent piracy in the country has taken away an estimated commercial value of $338 million (approximately P14.6 billion).

With the new piracy rate, 7 out 10 software installed are unlicensed, the report said.

The resurgent local piracy puts into doubt the intensified anti-piracy efforts being waged by the government, particularly the Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team (PAPT) composed of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Optical Media Board (OMB), the Philippine National Police and its latest member, the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPHL).

Globally, 57 percent of computer users admitted they have acquired pirated software, with some users saying they pirate all or most of the time while others say they do it occasionally or rarely.

“If 57 percent of consumers admitted they shoplift — even rarely —authorities would react by increasing police patrols and penalties. Software piracy demands a similar response: concerted public education and vigorous law enforcement,” Roland Chan, BSA senior director for marketing in Asia Pacific, said in statement.

In Asia-Pacific, 36 percent said they acquired software illegally “all of the time,” “most of the time” or “occasionally,” while 27 percent said they “rarely” do so.

The study also found that admitted software pirates in Asia-Pacific are predominantly male, with 32 percent between the ages of 18-24.

“Software piracy persists as a drain on the global economy, IT innovation and job creation,” BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman also said in statement.

“Governments must take steps to modernize their IP laws and expand enforcement efforts to ensure that those who pirate software face real consequences.”

Globally, the study found that piracy rates in emerging markets tower over those in mature markets — 68 percent to 24 percent, on average — and emerging markets account for an overwhelming majority of the global increase in the commercial value of software theft.

This helps explain the market dynamics behind the global software piracy rate, which hovered at 42 percent in 2011 while a steadily expanding marketplace in the developing world drove the commercial value of software theft to $63.4 billion.

Other findings from this year’s BSA Global Software Piracy Study include:

Globally, the most frequent software pirates are disproportionately young and male — and they are more than twice as likely to live in an emerging economy as they are to live in a mature one (38 to 15 percent).

Business decision makers admit to pirating software more frequently than other users — and they are more than twice as likely as others to say they buy software for one computer and then install it on additional machines in their offices.

Globally, there is strong support for IP rights and protections in principle, but a troubling lack of incentive for pirates to change their behavior in practice. Just 20 percent of frequent pirates in mature markets — and 15 percent in emerging markets — say the risk of getting caught is a reason not to pirate software.

“Under-licensing of software within businesses continues to be a key contributor of software piracy. Beyond the damage done to the IT sector and supporting ecosystem, such activity harms local and regional market competition. It is crucial that governments across the region take strong measures — not just through education but also through enforcement — to protect the interest of honest businesses and ensure fair competition,” said Victor Lim, vice president, Asia-Pacific consulting operations at IDC.

This is the ninth annual study of global software piracy conducted by BSA in partnership with research firms IDC and Ipsos Public Affairs.

The study methodology involved collecting 182 discrete data inputs and assessing PC and software trends in 116 markets. This year’s study also included a survey of 15,000 computer users in 33 countries that together constitute 82 percent of the global PC market.