KSA software piracy cost US$414 million – report

Ayman Al Takrori, Deputy General Manager of Intellectual Property, Microsoft Arabia

The Global Software Piracy Study conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the world advocate for the software industry, in partnership with International Data Corporation (IDC), covered 116 countries, and revealed that commercial losses caused by software piracy in the Kingdom increased from $304 million in 2009 to $414 million in 2010.

The study underscored the reality of software piracy in KSA during a time when many emerging markets are making concerted efforts to tackle software piracy. The study found that software piracy in developing nations was 2.5 times higher than in developed markets, and the total worldwide commercial value of pirated software in 2010 was US$59 billion, nearly double when the first study was conducted in 2003.

“The study reveals that piracy in the Kingdom is still at 52%,” says Ayman Al Takrori, Deputy General Manager of Intellectual Property, Microsoft Arabia. “While there have been several well intended anti-piracy initiatives and the partnership between public and private stakeholders in certainly improving, we need to sustain and increase them to achieve better results.

Al Takrori adds that Microsoft is working to address the risks posed by counterfeit software, which can have a devastating impact on the livelihoods of consumers, the productivity of small businesses, and the overall economies of emerging nations. “Every year, millions of consumers and businesses are hurt by counterfeit software which they have acquired unwittingly. High quality counterfeit software, which looks like genuine software and which we are finding regularly in the Kingdom, can contain dangerous viruses, spyware and other malware that can have a large impact on consumers,” he observes.

Al Takrori adds that as methods to manufacture and sell counterfeit software are becoming more sophisticated, there is an urgent need for greater awareness of this critical problem. In fact, says Al Takrori, international police organisations such as Interpol have announced there is growing evidence of criminal syndicates setting up their own manufacturing plants and distributing software via sophisticated networks throughout the world. “This counterfeit is definitely making its way into the Kingdom,” he added.