Pirates drag anchor on IT industry

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A 10 per cent reduction in piracy in Australia would boost the local industry by $5 billion, said anti-piracy lobby group, Business Software Association (BSA).

Four out of ten software programs – or 40 per cent – used worldwide today are pirated. The organisation's Australian chapter said that rate was “conservatively” estimated to be 27 percent in Australia.

Reducing the piracy rate to 30 percent globally would lead to the creation of 1.5 million jobs and increase economic growth by US$400 billion, was the finding of a report into the worldwide impact of piracy on the software industry, carried out by analyst firm IDC and released by US-based BSA. It would also generate US$64 billion in new taxes to help governments fund public programs like education, health care and law enforcement, the IDC study stated.

In addition to boosting local industry revenues a possible A$5billion (US$3 billion), reducing the rate of business software piracy in Australia 10 percent by 2006 could increase the local IT sector to nearly A$35 billion (US$21 billion), create 7,000 new jobs and generate another A$728 (US$437 million) in tax revenues, the report claimed.

Managing director of IDC Australia, Chris Fell, said the study shows strong evidence of the direct harm software piracy can inflict on the local Australian economy.

Fell noted that even a marginal five per cent reduction in software piracy would result in significant benefits to the economy, due primarily to the increased economic activity that flows to local channel partners and service firms from the sale of software.

Chairman of the BSAA, Jim Macnamara, said the report shows the software industry is an important engine for economic growth, and intellectual property needs to be protected and developed.

"Reducing piracy delivers benefits to a lot more than the companies that sell software. Strong intellectual property protection spurs creativity and opens new business opportunities for local entrepreneurs. That, in turn, drives up spending in the local economy and increases tax revenues that help fund important public services,” Macnamara added.

Illegal copying and use of business software is estimated to cost the software industry in Australia around $200 million a year, according to BSAA research.

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