Software Piracy a Headache

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK

Reducing Africa’s average of 60 percent software piracy by a rate of 10 percent would have a multiplier effect and increase economic benefits, suggested a new study released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The study said the economic benefits could be in the form of as many as 24 000 additional jobs generated, US$600 million in tax revenues, and US$3.4 billion in spending in the local IT sector over the next four years.

The study further suggested that a reduction in software piracy on personal computers (PCs) over the next four years in Africa and the Middle East could create a stronger local information technology sector, generate new high-paying jobs and contribute significantly to ongoing tax revenue.

“When countries take steps to reduce software piracy, everyone stands to benefit,” said Alistair de Wet, compliancy manager for Adobe South Africa and spokesperson for the BSA in Africa.

“With more and better job opportunities, a stronger, more secure business environment, and greater economic contributions from the already robust IT sector, reducing software piracy delivers tangible benefits for governments and local economies.”

The study found that for every US$1 spent on legitimate packaged software, an additional US$1.25 is spent on related services such as installing the software, training personnel and providing maintenance services. Most of these benefits, it said, are accrued to locally-based software services and channel firms.

PC software piracy is said to be as high as 91 percent in Zimbabwe, and generally above 80 percent in Africa.

“Reducing PC software piracy is important for business owners and SMEs in order to reduce the legal and business risks of using unlicensed software,” said Thomas Hansen, General Manager for Microsoft West, East and Central Africa, which is a BSA member company.

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