MANILA, Philippines—Almost half of the world’s personal computer users acquire software through illegal means most or all of the time, according to a survey by the Business Software Alliance on PC users’ behaviors and attitudes toward software piracy and intellectual property rights.
Approximately 47 percent of the PC users use illegal software, and this figure is significantly higher in developing economies, the results showed.
Ipsos Public Affairs conducted the research on behalf of BSA by surveying approximately 15,000 PC users in 32 countries.
This included 400 to 500 in-person or online interviews per country.
“The study points to the fact that many pirates may not even realize they are betraying their own principles and breaking the law,” BSA Asia-Pacific managing director Lyn Boxall said. “BSA is committed to a program that focuses on creating further awareness and greater respect for intellectual property rights (IPR) of both foreign as well as local products.”
“We firmly believe a stronger IPR regime will benefit Asian economies as the IT industry plays an increasingly significant part of the regions’ growth,” the BSA official added.
BSA is an international advocacy group for the software industry, with nearly 100 software companies involved as members.
Given the results, the representative of BSA for the Philippines, lawyer Bien Marquez, stressed the need to educate Filipinos on legal software use.
“Even as the Philippine IT industry develops, many people, especially business owners, are still oblivious to what constitutes illegal software use, a fact that the BSA has been working tirelessly with the Philippine government to change through education and enforcement activities,” he said.
Marquez pointed out that the results of the study show that there is a strong appreciation for the value delivered by legal software.
“However, 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,” he added.
BSA’s latest study showed that the Philippines’ PC software piracy rate remained unchanged at 69 percent, while dollar losses due to piracy continued to increase, rising from $141.7 million in 2007 to $278 million in 2010.
The BSA study found that the majority of computer users in the developing world regularly acquire software through illegal means—such as buying a single license for a program and then installing it on multiple machines, or downloading programs from peer-to-peer networks—even though they express support for intellectual property principles.
It also found that a significant majority of software pirates in developing markets incorrectly believe that typically illegal means of acquiring software are, in fact, legal.
At the same time, they believe software piracy is common, and they think it is unlikely that software pirates will be caught.
Business decision-makers around the world exhibit behaviors and opinions that are similar to those of other computer users.
Five Asia-Pacific countries—China (which topped the list), Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia—were found to have business decision-maker piracy rates ranking among the top 10 of all countries surveyed.
Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPO-PHL) director general Ricardo Blancaflor expressed his disappointment over the Philippines being one of the developing economies suffering from software piracy.
“The IPO-PHL aims to foster a culture that recognizes the efforts of innovators and inventors and rewards them for their work,” Blancaflor said. “If we could lessen our dependability on pirated goods then, slowly but surely, we will be able to abolish piracy completely.”