|Govt to act against piracy|
Thursday, 14 January 2010 02:00
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has called for increased collaboration between business and government, saying not enough is being done to fight software piracy in the country.
Following the release of a white paper by the organisation on fighting software piracy, the BSA says SA is lagging in enforcing piracy legislation and that collaborative projects need to be initiated.
Charl Everton, vice-chairman of the BSA SA committee, notes that the BSA has approached certain government departments and is looking to initiate a programme in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry.
“Unfortunately, from a piracy perspective, not enough is being done. We are not connecting well with government.”
Everton says the impact of software piracy is real and negatively affects the entire economy. The BSA says locally software piracy accounted for more than R3.1 billion in industry losses in 2008.
Reducing the current 35% piracy rate by even 10 percentage points would have a multiplier effect, increasing economic benefits, generating 1 200 additional jobs, R480 million in tax revenue and R6 billion in spending in the local IT sector over the next four years.
“There is very little collaboration and knowledge about licensing. And we need to do more and use these kind of studies to drive activity around piracy,” says Everton.
The BSA says government should focus on implementing effective and durable policies to reduce software piracy and improve the protection of intellectual property.
The white paper, which draws statistics from several International Data Corporation (IDC) reports on software piracy and the IT sector, cites increased GDP; a positive impact on employment; productivity gains and heightened innovation as additional key benefits of reducing software piracy.
Conducted by the IDC, the study reveals that, proactively driving the fight against software piracy, government and other public sector authorities stand to gain through job creation and tax income generation and government-led IT initiatives.
“Government departments are using the same software that business is using, but because of the scale of government, they`re not often aware if they`re compliant and adhering to licensing agreements and legislation,” says Everton.
Everton adds that the programme with the DTI will focus on legislation, enforcement, education and collaboration in an effort to reduce piracy both in the public and private sectors.
“We`re excited about the successes we have seen in Russia and Greece, and believe that SA can learn from these markets. But it is going to take true collaboration between all key stakeholders, to ensure that current copyright legislation is effectively implemented, as well as ensuring that end-users are educated about the dangers of using pirated software,” says Everton.
The BSA notes that, while approaches are different in varying markets, the outcome should always be to achieve marked reductions in software piracy.
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