Software thefts in Saudi Arabia cost developers almost SR1.7 billion, according to a major study conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
“Although the piracy rate in Saudi Arabia reduced marginally, the successful cooperation efforts with the Ministry of Culture and Information represented by the Directorate of Copyright and BSA will continue over the coming year to maximize the impact of the awareness programs,” said the BSA in its study released in Riyadh yesterday.
The study said software piracy rate in Saudi Arabia was at 51 percent in 2011, meaning more than half of programs that users installed were unlicensed last year. The worldwide piracy rate was 42 percent.
The commercial value of this piracy in 2011 was SR 1.68 billion, an increase of SR 128 million compared to the year before. The piracy rate dropped marginally by one point, said the study.
Thirty-one percent of admitted software pirates surveyed say they acquire software illegally “all of the time,” “most of the time” or “occasionally,” while 26 percent say they do so only “rarely.”
The study also found that admitted software pirates are usually males aged between 25 and 35.
Referring to the need for stringent restrictions, the study said the laws governing this sector must enforce tighter rules and continue the gradual increase in the overall average penalties. “This is the way to check the violations and to bring to book those who don’t care and commit piracy,” said Mohammad Al-Dhabaan, lawyer and BSA representative in Saudi Arabia.
Speaking on this occasion, Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO, said: “Software piracy persists as a drain on the global economy, IT innovation and job creation. Governments must continue to take steps to modernize their IP laws and expand enforcement efforts to ensure that those who pirate software face real consequences. Piracy is the first enemy and main innovation killer and our efforts will continue to fight piracy as a means to support the government efforts to create a knowledge economy.”
Globally, the study finds that piracy rates in emerging markets tower over those in mature markets — 68 percent to 24 percent on average — and emerging markets account for an overwhelming majority of the global increase in the commercial value of software theft. The most frequent software pirates are disproportionately young and male — and they are more than twice as likely to live in an emerging economy as they are to live in a mature one (38 to 15 percent).
Business decision makers admit to pirating software more frequently than other users — and they are more than twice as likely as others to say they buy software for one computer and then install it on additional machines in their offices. “Globally, there is strong support for IP rights and protections in principle, but a troubling lack of incentive for pirates to change their behavior in practice,” said the study.
“Just 20 percent of frequent pirates are in mature markets — and 15 percent in emerging markets — say the risk of getting caught is a reason not to pirate software,” it said.
This is the ninth annual study of global software piracy conducted by BSA in partnership with IDC and Ipsos Public Affairs, two of the world’s leading independent research firms. The study methodology involves collecting 182 discrete data input and assessing PC and software trends in 116 markets.
This year’s study also included a survey of 15,000 computer users in 33 countries that together constitute 82 percent of the global PC market.
The BSA is the leading global advocate for the software industry. It is an association of nearly 100 world-class companies that invest billions of dollars annually to create software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. Through international government relations, intellectual property enforcement and educational activities, BSA expands the horizons of the digital world and builds trust and confidence across the board.

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