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Channel suffers as piracy reigns

Channel suffers as piracy reigns

Piracy continues to plague the Australian software industry, costing $US341 million per year, according to a new global report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

While developers and global vendors are most obviously affected, distributors are claiming the channel is also hurting.

The new report, undertaken for the BSA by research company IDC, found almost a third of software in Australia is pirated. In comparison, US software piracy was 22 per cent.

BSA Asia-Pacific vice-president, Jeff Hardee, said the sale of counterfeit software from resellers was less of an issue. The BSA was more concerned about businesses buying one copy of a type of software and making many copies for use across their organisation, he said.

Hardee was unable to put a dollar figure on losses to the channel, but software piracy meant lost revenue that hinders the growth of businesses and the recruitment of extra staff. Curbing it would help grow the IT sector, he said.

Research company, IDC, which compiled the survey, agreed that many jobs were at stake in the global IT economy. There were about 50,000 software companies globally, including 10,000 across the Asia-Pacific, it estimated.

Express Data general manager of marketing and operations, Peter Masters, said the channel’s share of the $US341 million piracy losses would be significant.

“It has cost us all,” Masters said, “The channel is strongest in SMBs, where piracy is most prevalent.”

Masters rejected a view that high prices encourages copying, claiming software had become very affordable. To ensure its products were from genuine sources, Express Data assigned its own serial numbers on boxes, he said.

Software vendors were also attempting to address the issue, he said. For example, Microsoft was taking a lead in fighting piracy. Adobe was also tackling the problem through its new CS software range that can only be activated twice.

Alongside traditional software piracy, the BSA report found there was an increase in the distribution of illegal product through the Internet. This had been fuelled by spam and growing access to faster download speeds through broadband.


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