COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE
While global losses caused by software piracy increased by 15 per cent, in China the overall piracy rate has dropped significantly, according to a recent survey.
Incidence of piracy in China dropped at least 10 percentage points over the past three years from 92 per cent in 2003 to 82 per cent last year, according to a poll by research firm IDC Inc. of Framingham, Mass.
Canada’s software piracy rate went up by one percentage point from 33 per cent in 2005 to 34 per cent last year. The figure is slightly below the worldwide average which remains at 35 per cent.
The country remains among the top 20 countries with the lowest software piracy rates.
According to one analyst, the survey results belie perceptions that Canada is soft on piracy.
"While there are doubts about the methodology of the survey, the data further rebuts the claims that Canada is a piracy haven," said Dr. Michael Geist, Canada chiar of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa.
CAAST estimates Canadian economic losses from software piracy at around Can$890 million.
The survey results, which covered 102 countries across the globe, were announced yesterday by The Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft (CAAST) and its U.S. counterpart the Business Software Alliance (BAS).
CAAST is a software industry coalition of vendors and manufacturers against piracy.
A press release from the organization attributed the reduction in the piracy rate (and savings realized as a result) to the Chinese government’s "efforts to increase the use of legitimate software", and the country’s education and enforcement campaigns.
As a result of the slump, the legit software market in China grew to nearly US$1.2 billion (Can$1.3 billion) in 2006, an increase of 88 per cent over 2005 figures, CAAST said.
The survey said global losses from piracy in 2006 totaled US$39 billion (Can$42.8 billion), an increase of 15 per cent or US$5 billion (Can$5.4 billion) from the previous year. According to the survey, the five countries with the highest piracy rates were: Armenia (95 per cent), Moldavia (94 per cent), Azerbaijan (94 per cent), Zimbabwe (91 per cent), and Vietnam (88 per cent).
Countries with the lowest piracy rates were: U.S. (21 per cent), New Zealand (22 per cent), Japan (25 per cent), Denmark (25 per cent), and Australia (26 per cent).
The five countries with the highest losses were: U.S., China, France, Russia, and Brazil.
The study indicates that even relatively low piracy rates can translate into huge losses in large markets.
For instance, while the U.S. had the lowest piracy rate, it had the largest total losses.
A number of factors such as intellectual property protection, availability of illegal software and cultural attitudes contribute to the regional differences, according to John Gantz, chief research officer, IDC.