Reducing Software Piracy Will Produce More Jobs and a Stronger Economy

By ERIC J. SINROD

Thursday, Jan. 05, 2006

You might think that obtaining software from a friend or colleague without paying for that software is a fairly benign and a way to get something for nothing. Think again, especially when considering the global, collective ramifications of software piracy.

Indeed, according to a recent study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and International Data Corporation (IDC), cutting the current global software piracy rate of 35% by ten percentage points over the course of four years could yield 2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in economic growth and an additional $67 billion in tax revenues.

Moreover, while the global information technology sector is forecasted to grow by as much as 33% through the year 2009, a ten percentage point drop in global software piracy could spark the IT sector to increase 45% by 2009, according to the study.

On top of this, such a piracy reduction could provide 435 million people with job training benefits, heath care services for 45 million people, computers for more then 33 million school children, and college degrees for 6.6 million people, according to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development, as noted by the study.

And while the United States in fact has the lowest software piracy rate, the study concludes that the United States would benefit most from a global reduction in software piracy - to the tune of $125 billion.

Countries with the highest piracy rates could benefit in terms of the highest economic gains from reducing worldwide piracy, the study noted. For example, a ten percentage point decrease in piracy in China could generate 2.6 million IT jobs there by 2009. Russia, as another example, could have a tripling of its IT sector from $9.2 billion today to $30 billion in four years.

Any gains from software piracy are wrong and short-sighted when viewed in the big picture. As we enter this new year, let's all commit to use properly licensed or purchased software, and make our own best efforts not to be part of rampant worldwide piracy.


Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris (www.duanemorris.com), where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is (www.sinrodlaw.com), and he can be reached at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com. To receive a weekly e-mail link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an e-mail with the word Subscribe in the Subject line to ejsinrod@duanemorris.com. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.

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