Software piracy estimated to cost $400B

Cutting the global piracy rate by 10 percent over a four-year period could generate 2.4 million new jobs, $400 billion in economic growth and $67 billion in tax revenue worldwide, a new published study has claimed.

The research, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), estimated that every one-point drop in software piracy could yield $40 billion in economic benefits by jumpstarting growth in the global information technology (IT) sector.

The study also concluded that while the global IT sector is currently projected to grow 33 percent through 2009, a 10-point reduction in software piracy could spur the global IT industry to grow 45 percent larger by 2009.

The BSA-commissioned study assessed the IT sector's economic impact in 70 countries worldwide and the benefits that accrue to countries that tighten and enforce their intellectual property laws and work to educate the public about the impact of piracy. With 1.1 million businesses worldwide, the IT industry contributes nearly $1.7 trillion a year to global economic prosperity.

"When countries take steps to reduce software piracy, just about everyone stands to benefit," said Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO. "Workers have new jobs, consumers have more choices, entrepreneurs are free to market their creativity and governments benefit from increased tax revenues."

Globally, a 10-point reduction in software piracy could generate $67 billion in new tax revenues worldwide. Based on Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development figures, the study pointed out that this new revenue could provide 435 million people with job training, health care services for 45 million or computers for over 33 million school children.

"With this report, we are able to further quantify the positive benefits that countries across the world can experience as a result of stronger intellectual property protection and greater education and awareness," said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. "It provides a comprehensive snapshot of what we have known all along: Reducing software piracy delivers real results in the form of more funding for education, job training, health care and overall economic growth.",

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