43 % of computer users in India admit that they have acquired pirated software, Business Software Alliance (BSA) has reported in its 2011 BSA global software piracy study. The whitepaper is a product of studies conducted by IDC and IPSOS Public Affairs, two of the world's leading independent research firms. The IPSOS study included a survey of 15,000 computer users in 33 countries that together constitute 82 percent of the global PC market.
Some users said that they pirate all or most of the time. Others said that they do it occasionally or rarely. The net effect was to fuel a software piracy rate of 63% last year in India, down by 1 point from 2010 findings, meaning more than 6 out of 10 programs that users installed were unlicensed. The commercial value of this piracy rose to a record RS 13,783 crore.
"If 43 percent of consumers admitted they willfully violate traffic signals regularly, authorities would react by increasing traffic police checks and fines. Software piracy demands a similar response, marked by concerted government and industry led public education around the benefits of legal software, and strong and regular law enforcement actions. Consumers must be made aware that pirated software also poses serious IT/cyber security risks. Additionally, a lack of information in companies on how to put in place adequate policy and process controls around IT assets procurement, deployment and usage is a strong contributor to the slow decline in software piracy rates. Government must look at creating a "National IP Enforcement Task Force", under the umbrella of the "National IP Policy", which the Indian government is currently working on", said Keshav Dhakad, BSA's chair, India committee.
20 percent of admitted software pirates in India surveyed in the study say they acquire software illegally "all of the time," "most of the time" or "occasionally," while 23 percent say they do so only "rarely." The study also found that admitted software pirates in India are predominantly males, between the age group of 25 to 34.
"Software piracy persists as a drain on the global economy, IT innovation and job creation. Governments must take steps to modernize their IP laws and expand enforcement efforts to ensure that those who pirate software face real consequences," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO, BSA.
Globally, the study finds that piracy rates in emerging markets tower over those in mature markets . This helps explain the market dynamics behind the global software piracy rate, which hovered at 42 percent in 2011 while a steadily expanding marketplace in the developing world drove the commercial value of software theft to $63.4 billion.
Other findings from this year's BSA Global Software Piracy Study include:
· Globally, the most frequent software pirates are disproportionately young and male and they are more than twice as likely to live in an emerging economy as they are to live in a mature one (38 to 15 percent)
· Business decision makers admit to pirating software more frequently than other users and they are more than twice as likely as others to say they buy software for one computer and then install it on additional machines in their offices
· Globally, there is strong support for IP rights and protections in principle, but a troubling lack of incentive for pirates to change their behavior in practice. Just 20 percent of frequent pirates in mature markets and 15 percent in emerging markets say the risk of getting caught is a reason not to pirate software.
"Under-licensing of software within businesses continues to be a key contributor of software piracy. Beyond the damage done to the IT sector and supporting ecosystem, such activity harms local and regional market competition. It is crucial that governments across the region take strong measures, not just through education but also through enforcement, to protect the interest of honest businesses and ensure fair competition," said Victor Lim, VP, Asia/Pacific consulting operations, IDC.