AL leads global ranking of software piracy


By Ricardo Cesar from São Paulo, Valor Econômico - 19/05/2005

Of every three computer programs acquired in Latin America in 2004, two were pirates - unauthorized copies of the original products. The figure, released by the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (Abes) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) based on a worldwide survey by consultancy IDC, places the region as a leader in the global ranking of software piracy. Latin America also recorded the largest increase in illegality in the sector worldwide - 3% -, from 63% in 2003, to 66%.

With an unauthorized software sales rate of 64% last year, compared to 61% in 2003, Brazil recorded its first increase in piracy in ten years, when the index began to be measured. André de Almeida, legal advisor to BSA in Brazil, notes, however, that the survey methodology has changed since 2003, making comparison with previous periods imprecise. In 2002, the last year using the old methodology, the piracy rate in the country was 55%. In 1994, the rate was 77%.

The IDC study reveals that in 2004 the national software market stopped moving US $ 659 million due to piracy. The amount exceeds the tax evasion recorded in 140 by US $ 2003 million, which was US $ 519 million. Across Latin America, the loss reached $ 1,54 billion last year. The numbers were estimated using the known dimensions of the legitimate software market and using the piracy rate to calculate the retail value of the software that was not paid.

The result places Brazil as the tenth country in the world that loses the most revenue due to software piracy. In this regard, the lead is with the United States, which stopped generating US $ 6,64 billion with illegal programs in 2004. The number, however, is due to the huge volume moved in the American market. Proportionately, the USA is the country with the lowest index: 21%. At the other end, Vietnam is the leader, with 92%.

The countries with the highest volume of piracy in Latin America in 2004 were Paraguay (83%), Bolivia (80%) and Venezuela (79%). Although it pulls the regional average down, Brazil is 29 percentage points above the world sales rate for illegal computer programs, which was 35% last year. In absolute numbers, software piracy caused a loss of approximately $ 33 billion worldwide. In the period, the global market for computer programs generated around US $ 90 billion, according to IDC.

Photo: Carol Carquejeiro / Valor

André de Almeida, BSA consultant:
worldwide losses of $ 33 billion

Almeida says that in 2004, approximately R $ 3 million was paid in compensation to software copyright holders by companies that used illegal computer programs in Brazil and were sued. The BSA representative believes that the piracy rate should drop in the country in the coming years as a result of governmental actions to protect intellectual property. "It took a lot of effort, but the government finally understood that piracy is not a problem for private companies, but a social issue," he says. “It is not just the software producer that suffers, but there is an entire damaged economic chain. Many jobs stop being generated and there is a drop in tax collection. ”

Although the study does not point to the sectors in which piracy is most accentuated, Jorge Sukarie, president of Abes, says that the problem is more serious among residential users and small businesses.