Study shows Australia's software piracy rate remains higher than the US

Australia's rate of software piracy continues to remain high relative to other developed countries and shows no sign of falling.

Locally, software piracy has hit $545million per year, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

Undertaken by analyst firm IDC, the research shows that software piracy has risen 1 percent to 32 percent while software piracy in the US has fallen to 21 percent.

In New Zealand rates have fallen to 23 percent and the UK has a low rate at 27 percent.

This year's BSA global piracy study incorporated major software market segments including operating systems, consumer software and local market software.

In 2004, the worldwide rate of PC software piracy decreased by one percentage point to 35 percent.

This occurred despite an influx of new PC users from high piracy market sectors, such as consumer and small business, and the increasing availability of unlicensed software on Internet peer-to-peer file-sharing sites.

Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) chairman Jim Macnamara believes it is significant that Australia's software piracy rate continues to be substantially higher than other developed countries.

"Software piracy continues to be a major challenge for Australia and while nearly a third of all software used in this country is pirated it will continue to stifle the development of our local IT industry," Macnamara said.

"Software piracy costs local developers as well as international manufacturers, reduces tax revenue and costs jobs."

For the study, IDC used proprietary statistics for software and hardware shipments, conducted more than 12,000 interviews in 39 countries to confirm software piracy trends, and enlisted IDC analysts in more than 50 countries to review local market conditions.

BSA Asia vice president and regional director Jeff Hardee said the two biggest concerns were end user and Internet piracy, particularly with broadband penetration in Asia becoming greater.

"The message has to be heard by industry, but also by government, that they won't tolerate piracy," Hardee said. "We think that more education in Australia is necessary.

"And Australia could have slightly more support from government in education and enforcement."

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