The commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers in Canada reached US$1.066 billion in 2010 as 28 per cent of software deployed on PCs during the year was pirated. These are among the findings of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, which evaluates the state of software piracy around the world.
“At 28 per cent, Canada’s piracy rate is at an all time low, dropping six percentage points since 2006,” said Michael Murphy, Chairman of the BSA Canada Committee. “While these findings show that progress has been made in reducing the software piracy rate in Canada, there is still more work to be done on behalf of Canadian businesses and consumers alike. The further we reduce software piracy, the better it will be for the Canadian economy.”
This is the eighth study of global software piracy to be conducted by BSA in partnership with IDC, the IT industry’s leading market research and forecasting firm, using a methodology that incorporates 182 discrete data inputs for 116 countries and regions around the world. This year’s study also includes a new dimension: a public-opinion survey of PC users on key social attitudes and behaviors related to software piracy, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.
The opinion survey found strong support for intellectual property rights in Canada, with 68 per cent of respondents saying we should reward inventors for their creations to promote more technology advances. Strikingly, the global survey found that support for intellectual property rights was strongest in markets with high piracy rates.
The survey also found widespread recognition among Canadians that licensed software is better than pirated software when it comes to technical support (92 per cent), security (83 per cent) and reliability (81 per cent).
However, across the globe the survey found that many PC users lack a clear understanding of whether common ways of acquiring software, such as buying a single program license for multiple computers or downloading a program from peer-to-peer network, are likely to be legal or illegal. In Canada, a majority of respondents said that peer-to-peer, lending software and street markets are illegal, but 59 per cent believe that auction sites provide legal software. Almost two-thirds said installing multiple copies at home is legal.
“Clearly, there is a strong appreciation for the value delivered by legal software,” said Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO. “The results reinforce the need to educate users that software downloaded from P2P networks is often illegal, and installing software purchased for one computer on multiple home or office PCs is piracy.”
Additional findings from the study include:
- The commercial value of stolen software in Canada totalled US$1.066 billion. Globally, the value of software theft grew to a record $59 billion — nearly double that when the study began in 2003.
- Half of the 116 geographies studied in 2010 had piracy rates of 62 per cent or higher, with the global average piracy rate at 42 per cent.
- Emerging economies have become a driving force behind PC software piracy. Piracy rates in the developing world are 2.5 times higher than those in the developed world, and the commercial value of pirated software ($31.9 billion) accounts for more than half of the world total.
- The most cited advantages of licensed software globally are access to technical assistance (88 per cent) and protection from hackers and malware (81 per cent).
- Among the common ways people in engage in piracy is to buy a single copy of software and install it on multiple computers.
- Strong majorities of PC users around the world believe intellectual property rights and protections produce tangible economic benefits: 59 per cent globally say IP rights benefit local economies, while 61 per cent globally say IP rights create jobs.
“Today’s study shows that while piracy continues to threaten the global economy, people clearly understand and appreciate the value of intellectual property, especially its role in driving economic growth,” said Holleyman. “Software theft continues to stifle IT innovation, job creation, and economic growth around the world. This report clearly shows the importance of educating businesses, government officials, and end users about the risks of software theft — and what they can do to stop it.”
The 2010 BSA Global Software Piracy Study covers piracy of all software that runs on PCs, including desktops, laptops, and ultra-portables, including netbooks. This includes operating systems, systems software, such as databases and security packages, and applications software, with legitimate free software and open source software covered by the scope of the study.
New this year, BSA retained Ipsos Public Affairs to survey more than 15,000 business and consumer PC users in order to provide more insight into key social attitudes and behaviors related to intellectual property and the use of licensed versus unlicensed software. The surveys were conducted, online or in-person, in 32 markets that make up a globally representative sample of geographies, levels of IT sophistication, and cultural diversity.