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Software piracy in Thailand dropped last year

 

Software piracy in Thailand dropped last year

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international association representing the global software industry, in partnership with market research firm IDC, announced its seventh annual global software piracy study, tracking PC software piracy rates in more than 100 economies. From 2008 to 2009, installations of unlicensed software on personal computers (PC) in Thailand fell by one percentage point to 75%. This seems to confirm an encouraging trend of decreasing piracy rates every year since 2006.

“This study makes clear that efforts to reduce software theft in Thailand are making a difference, but still have a long way to go in comparison to regional and global rates of software piracy. A rate of 75percent is still far from where Thailand’s software and IT community needs the rate to be for long-term sustainability,” said Ms. Varunee Ratchatapattanakul, BSA consultant. “As we emerge from the most severe global economic recession in twenty years, and now find the economy damaged by political unrest, we must continue to engage with government, businesses, and consumers about the risks of violating copyright laws for software – and the true impact that software piracy has on Thailand’s economy.”

IDC finds that for every $100 worth of legitimate software sold in 2009, an additional $75 was pirated. But this is an issue that affects more than industry revenues. Lowering PC software piracy can have significant economic benefits. A 2008 BSA/IDC study looking at the economic impacts of piracy found that lowering software piracy by ten percentage points over four years in Thailand could create over 2,000 new high-quality jobs and over US$1 billion in software industry revenues. In fact, IDC estimates that for every dollar of legitimate software sold in a country, there are another $3-$4 of revenue for local service and distribution firms. Piracy also puts consumers at risk by compromising their computer security, since pirated software often contains malware.

The fight against software piracy remains an urgent one. Thailand’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP) and the Economic and Crime Division (ECD), tasked with enforcing software copyright laws, have consistently worked to reduce software piracy. DIP has conducted outreach to the business community to help executives better understand their obligations for adhering to Thailand’s Copyright Act. Meanwhile, the ECD has conducted raids of companies using unlicensed software in all regions of the country on a consistent basis. In the first quarter of 2010, ECD conducted raids netting 56 million baht worth of unlicensed software.

Since 2006, Thailand’s software piracy rate has fallen five percentage points to the current rate of 75%.

“Now, more than ever, our global economy depends on a robust IT sector. Policies that promote innovation today – including robust protection for intellectual property such as software – will drive economic growth and prosperity in the future,” said Jeffrey Hardee, Vice President and Regional Director, Asia Pacific, BSA. “While we are glad BSA’s efforts to combat software theft have continued to make some progress, the study results reinforce the need for stronger and continued action moving forward.”

“Additionally, one other key lesson derived from the global financial crisis is the importance of building up an economy’s local IT sector and strengthening its immunity and foreign dependency. While most governments in the region have introduced fiscal policies to help key sectors like manufacturing get back on track, one major problem crippling a country’s software sector may have largely remained unaddressed,” added Hardee. “Local software entrepreneurs, distributors and resellers help create new jobs, contribute to economic growth, generate tax revenue for governments, and are a source of pride for their own nations. In particular, local software companies can be crippled by competition from unlicensed and stolen software in the market, not to mention piracy of their own products.”

The 2009 BSA/IDC Global PC Software Piracy Study covers piracy of all packaged software that runs on PCs, including operating systems, systems software with legitimate free software and open source software covered by the scope of the study. It does not include software that runs on servers or mainframes.. For more details or a copy of the complete study, visit www.bsa.org/globalstudy.