Software piracy damages peaked in 2011
By Cho Mu-hyun
Software piracy incurred record losses from hi-tech companies last year.
According to a report on worldwide software piracy that surveyed 116 countries for 2011 by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Korea’s financial damages total 890 billion won ($815 million), the highest ever since the organization conducted its survey.
The figure was up 42 billion won from the previous year. The BSA attributes the increased losses to an increase in the amount of high-priced software copied following Korean economic growth.
Korea’s software piracy rate has been dropping steeply since the year 2000, when it was 56 percent, according to the report. It was 40 percent in 2010.
These rates are much higher than the 26 percent average in the 34 nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD’s average has dropped by 1 percent from 2010, raising concerns that illegally copying software is still rampant in Korea. However, this is lower than the global average of 42 percent, and 60 percent in the Asia and Pacific region.
Worldwide monetary losses stand at $63.4 billion, with $20.9 billion in Asia accounting for nearly one third. Software piracy is most rampant in China, which has an illegal copying rate of 77 percent with a financial hit of $8.9 billion.
In Mexico, Indonesia, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, countries also going through rapid economic development, losses are rising due to the increase in illegal piracy disproportionate to legal sales of computers and expensive software.
The United States and Japan, the two top nations with the lowest rate of software piracy, register 19 and 21 percent respectively. However, the U.S tops the charts in financial damage with $97 billion losses.
“There is urgent need for action because of the rapidly increasing damage caused by illegal software piracy,” said BSA Korea Chair Park Sun-young. “What we need most is for corporations to manage their software assets in order to increase productivity and competiveness.”
The BSA conducted another survey via Ipsos, Public Affairs on consumer awareness about software piracy. Out of around 15,000 people from 33 different countries, 57 percent answered that they were copying software programs illegally. 31 percent said they were constantly doing so, and 26 percent casually so, backing Kim’s assertion for the need for widespread education on the prevention of software piracy.