Software Theft in Pakistan Totals $217million in 2010

From 2009 to 2010, installations of unlicensed software on personal computers (PC) in Pakistan remained constant at 84%, putting Pakistan in 15th place among the countries with the highest piracy rates.

However, the commercial value of this illegal software amounted to $217 million, its highest level since 2006.

This was said in an annual report published by Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international association representing the global software industry.

The study is conducted in cooperation with market research firm, IDC, and incorporates 182 discrete data inputs for 116 countries and regions around the world.

This year, it also includes a new dimension: a public-opinion survey of PC users on key social attitudes and behaviors related to software piracy, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. The opinion survey found strong support for intellectual property rights, with seven in 10 respondents expressing support for paying inventors for their creations to promote more technology advances. Strikingly, support for intellectual property rights was strongest in markets with high piracy rates.

The usage of pirated software in Pakistan is blocking the progress of the country and preventing it from benefitting from a huge investment opportunity in software development arena. Curtailing the piracy would encourage entrepreneurship in IT sectors, resulting in higher software exports as well as a greater market share in the business process outsourcing industry.

Emphasizing on the need for close coordination between the government and private sector to avoid software piracy Mr. Kamal Ahmed, Country General Manager, Microsoft, Pakistan said

“Software piracy has been an impediment in the way of foreign investment in the sector. Although the government has taken some initiatives to raise awareness in regard with elimination of software piracy and the protection of intellectual property, but clearly it is not enough.

Perhaps, the government and private sector need to enhance level of cooperation on this particular front so that a shared vision may be achieved and to educate the people about the benefits of using genuine software.”

Globally, the value of software theft grew to a record $59 billion which is nearly double that when the study began in 2003. Half of the 116 geographies studied in 2010 had piracy rates of 62 percent or higher, with the global average piracy rate at 42 percent. Emerging economies have become a driving force behind PC software piracy.

Piracy rates in the developing world are 2.5 times higher than those in the developed world, and the commercial value of pirated software ($31.9 billion) accounts for more than half of the world total. The most cited advantages of licensed software globally are access to technical assistance (88 percent) and protection from hackers and malware (81percent).

Among the common ways people to engage in piracy is to buy a single copy of software and install it on multiple computers. Strong majorities of PC users around the world believe intellectual property rights and protections produce tangible economic benefits: 59 percent globally say IP rights benefit local economies, while 61 percent globally say IP rights create jobs.

“Today’s study shows that while piracy continues to threaten the global economy, people clearly understand and appreciate the value of intellectual property, especially its role in driving economic growth,” said Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO. “Software theft continues to stifle IT innovation, job creation, and economic growth around the world. This report clearly shows the importance of educating businesses, government officials, and end users about the risks of software theft — and what they can do to stop it.”

You can download the complete report by clicking this link

  • Piracy is an issue. But here’s alot of many other problems. Apart from all this Windows original cd is Approx 7k to 8k.Pirated cd is now available in only Rs 20/- only. Who’s gonna buy ? We can buy a P4 machine in windows cd price.

  • OK… Our authorities are blind…. why invest billions in corporate when you can get all you need in Open Source…. Use Linux,, a free alternative…There are lot of choices and you can select from already popular e.g. Ubuntu/Fedora/LinuxMint/SUSE/ etc…. It has the potential of fulfilling all the needs of a common computer user to complex organizational task….

    Unless this OS is adopted by Govt. it is hard to wide spread in local market… Save the Tax Payers money….PLZ

    • There is no GSM operator that bases their operation on 100% free software or even 50% free software. Similarly for any large company (ISP, private hospital, industrial system, power plant, etc). All the companies in Pakistan who sell HR solutions or other backend internal softwares have to write on top of Windows or Oracle because that is what their target market uses.

      Secondly, there are not many success stories when it comes to free software. I can only think of a few like Canonical (makers of Ubuntu) or Red Hat. Look at their support offerings for desktop or server support and you will see that their prices are even out of range of most users/companies in Pakistan.

      I think it is pathetic that so many people here even pirate Red Hat Enterprise when they could easily install the free clone Centos.

      • There’s many successful migration stories from Windows to Linux, Linux is offering everything Now a days, for individuals as well as to corporate level, Novell is good example which transform the whole company, in Pakistan see Dollar and Aaj TV !

        • When larger companies switch from Windows to Linux, they still retain some commercial software. If you dig deep enough you will find commercial software used in some part of their operations. Backend database using Oracle for example. I think free software is weak for HR and business accounting.

          Going to 100% free software is possible for smaller firms, but not major ones. Even ones that do simple graphics design cannot switch because Gimp is nowhere near as powerful as Photoshop. It is like switching from a Maserati to a Honda 250 :)

          Novell is a bad example. I know someone who worked at a company that was bought by Novell many years ago. Novell is basically dead now.

          I remembered, IBM makes HUGE amount of money every year by selling Linux support and Linux based products. Also from Java (which is not as “free” but still costs Rs 0). But it is an insanely high cost. For example, WebSphere Portal + 12 month support is almost $1,400. People will instead use free software that will do 70% of the same tasks, but nothing free can handle 100%. But, for some people, 70% is enough.

  • you actually miss the Major point raised by Brother Shamshir !
    which is if you can’t pay or dont like to pay for the commercial software, switch to Open Source, Novell is not a bad example not even dead, they switch to SUSE, which is actually great Distro. talking about IBM not only supporting Linux, but also they have backbone of Linux in their very own company, now for the point on GIMP comparing with Photoshop ? thats not fair, GIMP can do almost all the basic to advance task for graphic’s (you need to learn about GIMP) but you can’t compare it with with Photoshop, which is high productive commercial tool.

    • I did not miss the point, I said it myself in my example about WebSphere. People who cannot afford it will use free alternatives which provide only 70% (maybe at most) functions of WebSphere, but for some people, 70% is enough.

      I have used Gimp since 1990s. Yes, that is my point, if you want to do simple stuff and some advanced, you can do it in gimp. I like gimp scripting too and easy to write plugins. But in graphics companies you need to do advanced things that it cannot do. You need Photoshop, even if you only buy photoshop elements (about $80).

      100% free is only possible in some areas. I do web dev and 100% of my tools, setup, servers etc are free software. People who do hardware design can sometimes (depending on tools and project) get to 90%. Free CAD software is still not as good, and routing software nowhere near advanced as commercial.

      Novell is gone, bought by Attachmate for very little money.

      It was very surprising, you think a company like Novell with so much history and products will be worth billions but it was only worth $2.2 billion. It also sold 800 patents to Microsoft for $450 million.

      • You need success stories? How about London Stock Exchange using Novell. They switched from Windows platform to Linux almost a year ago. But this doesn’t mean that they are running some free software. Windows .NET based TradElec keeps crashing so they migrated to SUSE and are using a commercial software called Millennium Exchange. FYI. Pixar Animation Studios uses linux platform, so are the DreamWorks & Disney, to name a few. These companies are doing very serious business.

        But my point was,actually, what if Govt. of Pakistan uses open source in their IT sector. They don’t need Photoshop like apps to run the day to day govt. business. I never said that it is going to be 100% free. Why use distro from Canonical or RedHat, build one for your self. It ain’t that hard. Invest half the money you are paying to run Windows & MS Office, in software development and you’ll have your own customized OS. Imagine 1000 systems running open source OS and Office application for Rs.0/-, on the other hand,1000 systems running proprietary OS e.g. Windows. A windows system will cost more than 10000 just for the OS and Office suite.

        Encourage Open Source at grass root level rather than building a nation who would be proud using pirated software. This will discourage the piracy.

        • — Encourage Open Source at grass root level rather than building a nation who would be proud using pirated software. This will discourage the piracy.

          There are two problems.

          1. When they start switching away from pirated software, the BSA and other organizations will start bugging them a lot more about current levels of piracy in the government. And believe me they can apply a lot of indirect pressure from their own countries in the West because Pakistan is heavily in foreign debt.

          2. This problem:


          In February 2010, the International Intellectual Property Association (IIPA)
          asked the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to put Indonesia, Brazil, India, the
          Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam on its “Special 301” watch list in part because
          of their policies encouraging the adoption of open source software (OSS) by
          government agencies.

          What is 301?

          The first thing we should do anyway, regardless of open source, is try to get local vendors to provide solutions. Local companies have provided solutions outside Pakistan, their product lines and developers can probably handle local government automation tasks

  • Piracy can only be eliminated by making legal software affordable

    Multinationals should first provide software on 80% discount for about five years and once the culture of using legal software evolves then they can make profit.

    I think big software companies purposely keep price at par with US and UK so that local industry and business can’t grow

    I witness these days that lot of laptops are being sold with DOS installed. So even big giants like HP, Dell, Acer, IBM are indirectly supporting piracy by not bundling OEM versions of OS.

  • Piracy starts from where? It doesn’t start from CDs or DVDs we purchase. From where software/etc on these DVDs comes from ? From warez websites mostly running on servers in Russia/Western Europe , Singapore, Hong Kong and openly say that you can do warez linking, and that DMCA will be ignored. US law DMCA which is against piracy is ignored by Hosting companies in these countries. File Sharing companies claim that they delete files after complaints but vendor can’t search and lodge complain against every link posted on warez websites.

    But such Domains of such websites mostly operated by Verisign like .com and Afilia for .org can be easily blocked. But ICE of US Government isn’t serious about taking huge action on such websites.

    So if you are feeling guilty after using pirated software you should know that Europe and US aren’t doing much (in fact promoting piracy) to shut down on piracy.

    • Yeah, but so what? Using pirated software, no matter where you obtained it from, kills the local software industry.

      It’s like how smuggling products into the country kills the local distributer channels and sometimes company pull out of market completely.

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