Taiwan’s software piracy rate fell 1 percentage point to a historical low last year because of growing awareness of intellectual property protection and the government’s crackdown on illegal PC software use, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) said in a study released yesterday.
The nation’s rate of PC software piracy declined to 40 percent last year from 41 percent in 2006, ranking No. 3 in Asia after Singapore and Japan, the BSA’s annual study said.
In other words, 40 out of 100 pieces of PC software used in local Taiwanese companies were illegal last year.
“Taiwan made some progress in improving software piracy last year because of rising intellectual property protection awareness in local corporations and the government’s ongoing crackdown,” said Sung Hong-ti (宋紅媞), co-chair of the Taiwan Committee of BSA.
However, the economic losses for the software industry caused by illegal use expanded 18 percent to US$215 million last year from US$182 million in 2006 because of the growing PC market, the study indicated.
Last year, local police seized more than NT$900 million (US$29 million) in pirated goods during numerous raids, the study said.
BSA is an international association representing global software developers. The study was commissioned by the organization and conducted independently by International Data Corp.
It would be a breakthrough, but a reachable goal, for Taiwan to reduce its piracy rate to the global average of 38 percent in the next two or three years, as most local companies are smaller in size and have limited resources to manage their software use, Sung said.
To reach this target, Sung said the government suggested stepping up piracy raids by adding more police officers to the 200-strong task force.
Of the 108 countries included in the annual PC software piracy study, the use of pirated software dropped in 67, and rose in only eight.
Because the worldwide PC market grew the fastest in high-piracy countries, the worldwide software piracy rate also increased by 3 percentage points to 38 percent last year, BSA said.
Industry losses from software piracy around the globe increased to US$47.81 billion last year, compared with US$39.7 billion in losses in 2006.
In the Asia-Pacific region, the piracy rate increased 4 percentage points to 49 percent last year from 55 percent in 2006 because of growing PC markets in emerging countries such as China and India.
The software piracy rate in China remained at 82 percent last year, while India declined 2 percentage points to 69 percent, the study said.