Piracy is stronger than ever in the digital world
-- none are safe from the reach of pirates. The media typically reports chiefly
on the harmful effects of these crackdowns, but what good might they
yield? This was the angle taken by a recent
study by IDC IT Markets,
which investigated the possible beneficial financial impact of increased
efforts to cut software piracy worldwide.
piracy, which Romania
says is akin the foundation of its statehood, accounts for billions in lost
revenue worldwide. China has a piracy rate of 82%, while Vietnam has a
piracy rate of a whopping 88%. Reducing this piracy by only 10% would
generate $40 billion USD in economic growth and $5 billion
USD in tax revenue for the region, according to the IT firm helping with the
IDC analyst Marcel Warmerdam states, "In a country with a high piracy rate like Vietnam, a local
software entrepreneur is not going to develop software because it will be
stolen. That means high piracy countries don't develop a local software sector
and that's bad because software helps companies become more competitive."
The IDC study also covered 42 other countries. If piracy was cut in these
countries by 10% over the next four years, the study estimated that it would
generate 600,000 high-tech jobs in the U.S. and abroad. It would also
generate $141 billion USD in new revenue and
provide $24 billion USD in new global tax revenue.
Countries could hire IT experts to help fight piracy, which would both
strengthen their economy and foster a high-tech industry, the study
states. It points out that if China cut its piracy by 10%, the additional
IT personnel needed would allow it to surpass the U.S. for the largest IT
workforce. It points out that if Russia did the same, it could surpass
India in IT force size, possibly bringing relief to the economic-stricken
On the home front, a percent reduction would lead to 32,000 new jobs and add an additional $41 billion USD to our economy.
The study does note that most of the jobs created from fighting piracy will be
overseas. Since Asia has by far the highest piracy rates, it would have
the largest job influx with 435,000 new jobs
stemming from the theoretical reduction.
While the study is certainly in the realm of theory, it provides an interesting
perspective on the benefits of cutting piracy in a time when public sentiment
remains very sympathetic towards pirates.