Software piracy rate in India declines to 64%, loss at $2.7 bn

The commercial value of software piracy grew by 14 per cent globally last year to a record total of USD 58.8 billion. However, in India, it declined to 64 per cent from 65 per cent in 2009, according to the 2010 BSA Global Software Piracy Study.

"The trend of piracy rate decline in India is positive for the industry. End-users in India value the fact that software has been developed with great efforts. There is a need to spread awareness on piracy," Business Software Alliance Director–India Lizum Mishra said.

"A lot of end users are not clear on the legitimate and illegitimate use of software," she added.

BSA estimates show that the commercial value of unlicenced software installed on personal computers in India touched USD 2.739 billion in 2010, whereas the global losses stood at USD 59 billion.

The study found Georgia has the highest piracy rate of 93 per cent, while the lowest was observed in the US, Japan and Luxembourg at 20 per cent. The piracy rate was higher in countries neighbouring India, like Bangladesh (90 per cent), Sri Lanka (86 per cent) and Pakistan (84 per cent).

Though Mishra did not share a break-up of the market segments accounting for the most piracy, she said most of the losses to industry from piracy are due to the illegitimate use of software by business houses.

In total, India's piracy rate has dropped 10 percentage points since the year 2004, when it stood at 74 per cent, and thus, the drop has been continuous, but very slow.
To accelerate the rate of decline in software piracy, Mishra said there is a need to have a strong enforcement agency in the country that specialises in the subject of Intellectual Property Rights.

When asked about the approach of software companies to the existing legal machinery of India, Mishra said the courts are overburdened with cases and the timeline of getting the cases resolved can take too much time.

"Once a case is filed,  you are not sure when it will it come up for hearing," Mishra said.
However, Mishra mentioned that the government response to curbing piracy in the country has been positive.

"The government, especially the Department of Information Technology, has shown sincere effort in curbing piracy. They have hired an agency to run an awareness campaign," Mishra said.

The study was conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in 116 geographies in 2010.

On the global level, the association found half of the 116 geographies studied had piracy rates of 62 per cent or higher and two-thirds saw at least one software programme pirated for every one that was installed legally.

During the year, the piracy rate dropped in 51 of the 116 geographies and went up in only 15. Regional average rates rose by 1 point in both the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, which are considered the economic hot beds of the developing world.

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