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Software group: Antipiracy helps economies

An antipiracy group is hoping to convince international governments, trade associations and companies that copy protections can generate jobs and tax revenue.

    The Business Software Alliance is hoping to convince international governments, trade associations and companies that cracking down on piracy pays.

    The group, an antipiracy organization with members including Microsoft, Adobe Systems, and Cisco Systems, is planning to release a study Wednesday suggesting that increasing copy protections could generate jobs and tax revenue.

    The study, commissioned by the BSA and conducted by IDC, found that in general, nations with the lowest piracy rates had the largest IT sectors, as measured as a share of the countries' gross domestic product(GDP). Conversely, countries with high piracy rates, such as China and Russia, had the smallest IT sectors.

    "Overall, the countries that have the poorest record of IP (intellectual property) rights have slower rates of IT growth," BSA CEO Robert Holleyman said.

    The BSA said that reducing software piracy could speed the growth of the IT industry, which in turn could create jobs and bolster weak economies.

    The study, which examined 57 countries, also predicted that a 10-point reduction in the rate of piracy over four years could generate 1.5 million jobs and $64 billion taxes worldwide, and double the IT sector in countries such as Russia. The report said the resulting taxes could then be used to fund education, health care and law enforcement.

    "When people are using software but they're using a pirated version, they're not paying the government the tax revenues it should be receiving," Holleyman said.

    Piracy has been an increasing problem for the software industry, in part because the Internet makes it so easy to copy and distribute programs. As a result, the BSA has continually tried to quantify the effects of unauthorized software in an effort to drum up support from lawmakers and law enforcement. The organization estimates that 40 percent of all software programs worldwide are pirated, though the group has come under fire for overestimating the cost of piracy.

    In this report, the BSA suggests that governments and companies educate the public about legal software use, adopt stronger laws tailored to digital copying, and crack down on organized crime syndicates that run piracy rings.