The rate of software piracy in Ireland has dropped below 40pc for the first time in recent years, according to a new survey.
The 2004 Global Piracy Study conducted by IDC and published today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) finds a software piracy rate for Ireland of 38pc. This compares with 41pc in 2003. However, despite the reduction in piracy levels, the actual value of pirated software showed a 25pc increase over 2003 levels. This is because the total volume of software — both legal and pirated — in use in Ireland has been growing strongly, according to a spokesperson for the BSA.
The organisation warned that despite the slight decline in the piracy rate, software piracy was still very prevalent in Ireland and underlined the continued need to promote respect for intellectual property and compliance with Irish copyright law.
The survey also found that the value of lost sales to national and international software publishers in the EMEA region rose US$3bn to US$15.7bn.
For the study, IDC drew upon its worldwide data for software and hardware shipments and conducted more than 7,000 interviews in 23 countries.
Julian McMenamin, chairman of BSA Ireland commented: “Ireland continues to experience an unacceptable high piracy rate and trails behind the average EU country rate of 35pc and the UK rate of 27pc … There still remains the significant challenge of combating software piracy at all levels.
He continued “Ireland, although a small country in relative terms, enjoys a unique position worldwide — not only because of its position in the global ICT industry but because the Irish Government has one of the most stringent copyright laws in Europe.”
Welcoming the downward trend in piracy rates, ICT Ireland’s director Kathryn Raleigh nevertheless warned that it was “vital that Ireland reduces its piracy rates and respects intellectual property if it is to remain attractive to foreign direct investment and maintain competitiveness on a global scale”.
Steven Frantzen, IDC managing director for central and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, commented: “Piracy is still most prevalent in countries and regions where the software market is growing as personal computing becomes more integral to work and daily life. The 50-plus countries within the EMEA region represent a unique microcosm of global piracy. As close neighbours, high-rate piracy countries can learn from the experiences and methods of those with lower rates. Success stories of this kind in the past 10 years include Hungary, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.”
Beth Scott, vice-president of BSA EMEA, added that the stubbornly high piracy rate in Europe showed that rapid implementation of the EU Enforcement Directive, adopted in April 2004, was essential. The directive, now being implemented by some national governments, introduces new and best practice piracy and counterfeiting enforcement tools to the region.
Scott commented: “With the deadline for implementation only 12 months away, we encourage all governments to begin thinking now about how they can improve their intellectual property enforcement regimes. Today’s study demonstrates that attention is urgently needed to help reduce piracy rates and to enjoy the benefits that lower piracy rates bring.”
By Brian Skelly