Reducing the rate of software piracy in Ireland could significantly boost growth in the domestic technology sector, a study by the Business Software Alliance claims.
Research commissioned by the watchdog group found that a 10-point drop in Ireland’s software piracy rate could create more than 1,800 new technology jobs and contribute around €460m to the economy. It could also boost local industry revenues by more than €395m and generate €235m in additional tax revenues.
In percentage terms this would boost job creation by 37.5pc, contribution to GDP by 47.8pc and IT tax revenues by 49.7pc.
The Irish IT sector is currently worth around €2.2bn, according to IDC, which carried out the research on behalf of the BSA. It has forecast that the domestic technology market will grow by 7.5pc between now and 2009. The BSA contends that the value of the local IT market could increase by 50pc if the software piracy rate came down to 28pc from the current level of 38pc. Throughout the EU, the average rate of software piracy is 35pc.
Kathryn Raleigh, director of ICT Ireland commented: “The ICT sector is of huge importance to Ireland – it employs over 92,000 people and has a turnover of €52bn. And of the 10 major software companies in the world, seven have a substantial base in Ireland. It is therefore vital that Ireland continues to reduce its piracy rates and to respect intellectual property, if Ireland is to remain attractive to foreign direct investment and competitive on a global scale”.
Julian Mc Menamin, chairperson of the BSA in Ireland, said that this country’s position as a leading software exporter means that it stands to gain more from an economic point of view than any other country if the current levels of software piracy are reduced. “More needs to be done to protect the value of intellectual property in terms of education, legislation and enforcement if Ireland wants to realise the potential benefits the IT industry can bring,” he said.
The full research findings can be viewed online at www.bsa.org/idcstudy.
By Gordon Smith