Canadians less likely to pirate software

By Christopher Walsh
May 15, 2011
Graph shows piracy in markets (Dark: Developed, Light: Developing)
Graph shows piracy in markets (Dark: Developed, Light: Developing) -BSA
According to the Business Software Alliance, piracy rates in Canada continue to fall, despite the fact that sharing software on the Internet in Canada remains clouded in legal limbo. On that point, Canadians may still be confused about what is legal and what isn't when it comes to software licensing.

Estimates released by the BSA estimate that only 28% of software in Canada is pirated compard to around 64% in Central and Eastern Europe and 60% in the Asia-Pacific region. Figures released are from the Business Software Alliance which represents a group of large software firms.

The US has recently added Canada to its watchlist of countries where intellectual property rights are trampled upon, though it remains higher than the North American average, Canadians are less likely to install pirated software than any Europeans and far less likely than Asians.

Canada's rate of software piracy is at an all time low, apparently dropping 6 percentage points since 2006. Perhaps software purchases have seen a spike recently because it might be cheaper to buy a DVD-rom than to download one.

Public opinion surveys show that Canadians actually are in favour of legal software in theory and perhaps the recent drop in piracy rates are a reflection of that. 60% of Canadians said they believed that developers should be rewarded for their innovation.

The BSA Canada chairman Michael Murphy said "while these findings show that progress has been made in reducing the software piracy rate in Canada, there is still more work to be done on behalf of Canadian businesses and consumers alike. The further we reduce software piracy, the better it will be for the Canadian economy."

North America as a whole experiences the lowest rates in software privacy for PC users at only 21%, while Western Europe follows with slightly higher numbers at 33% for 2010.

Software piracy costs the industry around $59 billion per year.