Although industry losses through distribution and sale of illegal software are estimated to have reached €124m in Ireland alone last year, a recent study shows that piracy is indeed decreasing, with 36pc of all software used in Ireland being pirated in 2006 compared with 37pc in 2005.
Since the introduction of the Copyright and Related Rights Act bill 2000, piracy in Ireland has been steadily decreasing, from 56pc in 1999 to its current rate, which is the EU average.
“The ICT sector is of huge importance to Ireland. It is therefore vital that Ireland reduces its piracy rate and respects intellectual property if Ireland is to remain attractive to foreign direct investment and maintain competitiveness on a global scale,” said Kathryn Raleigh, director of ICT Ireland.
Further findings from the fourth annual Global Software Piracy Study for the Business Software Alliance (BSA) claims EU losses of €14.9bn, decreasing by one billion since last year.
Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO, said: “While we are seeing progress across the region there is still much to be done to address what is a significant, growing problem.
“Government, trade bodies and business must continue to tackle software piracy aggressively if financial losses, which impact the local economy and local IT industry, are to be reduced.”
Though piracy rates worldwide and throughout Europe are decreasing yearly, the BSA remains concerned about the Criminal Law Directive, which was voted upon recently by the European Parliament.
This directive may have implications for the use of the internet as a channel of distribution for software piracy.
Although the directive aims to create a uniform EU legislation for dealing with copyright protection and intellectual property, some built-in definitions could allow for the legal upload of software onto the web for others to download, as long as the uploader did not commercially profit from the action.
Francisco Mingorance, director of public policy for the BSA Europe, said: “This new directive could protect internet ‘release’ groups that sit at the very top of the pyramid of digital pirates and engage in online piracy for thrill and notoriety rather than for economic profit.
“Unfortunately, their actions still have a significant cost impact on the software industry and also assist the spread of viruses and other forms of malicious code.”
By Marie Boran