Thursday, May 15, 2008

Canadian Software Piracy Rates Largely Unchanged in Five Years

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) today announced that Canada's PC software piracy rate decreased one percentage point from 34 per cent to 33 per cent in 2007. While Canada remains among the top 20 countries with the lowest software piracy rates globally, the average piracy rate has remained above 33 per cent since 2003, and continues to lag behind the United States, where the rate decreased one percentage point to 20 per cent. Losses to the Canadian economy due to software piracy increased from $784 million to $1.07 billion.

The fifth annual study, conducted by global market research and forecasting firm IDC and released by BSA worldwide, shows the global piracy rate increased from 35 per cent to 38 per cent in 2007, with losses increasing from $39 billion to $48 billion.

"While it's encouraging to see a slight decrease in Canada's software piracy rate, the fact that it has not changed significantly over the past five years indicates there is more work to be done," said Michael Murphy, Chairman of the BSA Canada Committee. "Stricter laws and penalties in other countries including the U.S. have proven effective in helping curb software piracy. If we want to reduce piracy in Canada and its impact on the country's IT industry, copyright reform legislation is long overdue."

Key global findings from the study include:

Among the 108 countries studied, PC software piracy dropped in sixty- four countries, and increased in only eleven. However, because the worldwide PC market grew fastest in high-piracy countries, the worldwide piracy rate increased by three percentage points to 38% in 2007.

Among the larger emerging economies, Russia's piracy rate dropped a remarkable seven percentage points to 73% from 2006 to 2007. The reduction is the result of legalization programs by vendors, enforcement and education by the government and anti-piracy groups, agreements between vendors and local distributors to bundle legal software with hardware.

Lower piracy regions and markets like Japan, North America, and Western Europe have among the highest dollar losses. These markets are so large that piracy at relatively low levels can generate significant losses.

Since the size of the PC market grew significantly in 2007 and the value of the US dollar dropped nearly seven percent against other currencies, global losses from piracy rose by $8.5 billion to $48.2 billion worldwide.

Globally, businesses and consumers will spend nearly $400 billion on PC software over the next four years, according to IDC estimates. Assuming piracy rates do not change during this period, more than $225 billion worth of software will be pirated.

"This study shows that government and industry anti-piracy efforts are delivering software piracy reductions in many countries; however, rapid PC growth in higher-piracy emerging markets translates into an overall increase in global piracy," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. "We expect this trend to continue, meaning industry and government must increasingly focus their efforts on combating piracy in these emerging economies."

A BSA economic impact study released in January found that reducing software piracy in Canada over the next four years by 10 percentage points could contribute $2.7 billion to the economy, generate more than 5,200 high-paying jobs and add $875 million in additional tax revenues for federal, regional and local governments by 2011.

For more details or a copy of the complete study, visit

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