India low on software piracy

By SiliconIndia   |   Friday, 22 September 2006, 07:00 Hrs
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Bangalore: India sees a positive sign in the software industry. The software piracy rate declined by 2 points to 72 percent, better than those recorded last year. The figures could be applauded, as India is one of the four countries in the Asia Pacific region to see piracy rates decline.

In spite of progress, there is no time to relax. As per the Business Software Alliance (BSA) the efforts are not still the enough and India needs to get more proactive to combat software piracy.

As compared to the efforts of other countries India still lacks behind. Robert Holleyman, president and CEO, BSA said, ”China and India have high piracy rates of 86 percent and 72 percent respectively, but if you check records of these countries during the last 18 months, China has fared better.”

As per Holleyman the Chinese government concentrated more on software than India, realizing that in order to have a healthy domestic market they had to check piracy. Their focused efforts thus resulted in a 4 percent drop in piracy rate.

He added, “Piracy challenges are not new to India, and by using the best practices from across the world the levels can be decreased.” Praising India he mentioned that there was no country where an anomaly between the vibrant IT export sector and the untapped domestic market existed.

As per the earlier IDC-BSA study, if piracy levels fell by 10 percent from 74 percent by 2009, there would be a tremendous impact on the domestic front, enabling the IT sector (excluding software and services exports) to grow from $7.4bn to $19.5bn. According to the study, there will also be benefits like addition of 1.15 lakhs jobs, contribution of $5.9bn to GDP, $386m in taxes and $8.2bn in revenues to local vendors.

Holleyman was in India to talk to state government officials and Corporates about the need to build partnerships in combating the piracy menace. BSA plans to embark on new educational and enforcement programmes encouraging partnerships in India in the next 18 months with a view to educate people on skills of managing software assets and knowledge of risk of using pirated software.

Commenting on the current Indian laws, he felt that the basic laws are fine but their enforcement needs to be looked into. He even pointed out the current backlogs in courts, adding that by having IP courts these could be solved. Some states like West Bengal have already started exploring the possibilities of instating them.

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