A new report commissioned by the Business Software Association suggests that a 10 per cent drop in piracy in Australia would lead to the creation of 7000 local jobs and $5.05 billion in revenues for local IT companies.
Attempting to put a positive spin on the piracy issue, the BSA – a consortium of major software vendors such as Apple, Adobe, Autodesk, Borland, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec, commissioned IDC to research the positive contribution a reduction in piracy would make to the worldwide IT industry.
Reducing software piracy by just 10 percentage points worldwide would generate 1.5 million jobs and add $US400 billion to the world economy, according to the report.
Locally, such a reduction in piracy rates would massively benefit the channel, IDC spokesperson, Chris Fell, said. For every dollar large multinational vendors lose from piracy, that loss was multiplied several times over for local resellers, distributors, developers and integrators.
The piracy rate is defined as the percentage of software deployed in the market that is pirated or unlicense. BSAA chairman, Jim Macnamara, said there was a misconception in the market that piracy only hurt the major software vendors that the BSAA represented.
“What people forget is that they sell through channel partners who are a key part of the local economy,” he said.
Fell said services and channel companies would receive most of the benefits from reduced software piracy, but IDC was hesitant to report such benefits on a one-to-one ratio, as many channel companies were currently gaining economically at present from selling unauthorised or pirate software.
The IDC report said that Australia’s software piracy rate of 27 per cent was significantly lower than other countries in the Asia Pacific region. Even the mere drop of 5 per cent in piracy rates between 1996 and 2002 was heralded as a victory for the local industry.
“Increased demand for software and services helped the IT sector itself expand 12.4 per cent a year, creating nearly 40,000 jobs,” the report said.
While Macnamara conceded that the drop from a piracy rate of 50 per cent in the 1980s to the current estimate of 27 per cent was a remarkable achievement, he still found the figure unacceptable, particularly when considering the lower piracy rates in other developed nations.
“The question we ask is – what other industry is expected to bear these costs?” he said.