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Tuesday, 05 May 2009 02:52

BSA warns consumers to resist pirated software in downturn

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The financial crisis and the consumer need for lower costs products has brought about a rise in temptation to purchase pirated goods in Australia, and drawn a warning from industry groups for consumers to resist the temptation to buy counterfeit products.

A coalition of industry bodies, comprising the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) and the Australian Toy Association, has issued the warning to consumers following a national Newspoll survey revealing that almost two thirds (64%) of consumers believe it was ‘much more tempting’ to buy or obtain pirated products in the current economic climate.
 
Clare Wharrier, co-chair, Business Software Alliance Australia, said today that, now more than ever, “it’s crucial that individuals and businesses say no to piracy because it directly undermines Australian industry and discourages local innovation and creativity.”

“Australian innovation and creative industries rely on the protection of intellectual property rights and this issue not only affects specific industries, but the Australian economy as a whole.”

According to Wharrier, the national survey of 700 respondents last month, commissioned by the coalition, found that despite the increase in temptation, 74 per cent agreed that pirated products have a negative impact on the economy.

The coalition says it has been estimated that a reduction in piracy by 10 per cent over the next four years would generate an additional 3,929 jobs in Australia’s software industry, and that according to an IDC Piracy Impact Study last year, the reduction would result in AU$1.9 billion in local industry revenue and AU$4.3 billion in additional GDP.
 
CEO of the IEAA, Ron Curry, revealed that, in the gaming industry alone, the cumulative economic impact of piracy was $840 million, and that a rise in pirated goods against the current economic backdrop puts Australia at risk of falling behind in its drive to become a ‘smart economy’.

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And, in the case of the toy industry, there’s a serious warning from Beverly Jenkin, CEO of the Australian Toy Association, that “purchasing pirated goods means putting children at risk from unsafe toys.”

Jenkin says that pirated goods also adversely affect consumers financially, “through the risk of being ripped off, as well as finding that the products are of inferior quality.”
 
According to the survey, the majority of people said that knowledge of the tangible effects of piracy – as well as the personal risk – makes them less likely to buy pirated goods.

Eighty percent of respondents revealed that knowing they could support organised crime would make them less likely to buy or obtain a pirated product, and a similar proportion (78%), also said that knowing they could be harming Australian businesses and jobs would make them less likely to support piracy.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) manager for economic operations, Commander Ian McCartney, said intellectual property crime was not victimless and the manufacture, distribution and sale of counterfeit goods funded organised crime.

“Counterfeiting and piracy has far reaching impact and the AFP is committed to investigating and prosecuting producers, organisers and distributers of offending products.”

Other key findings of the survey included:        

•    More than two thirds (73%) said knowing they could incur a fine or conviction would make them less likely to buy counterfeit goods.

•    Eight in 10 (78%) said knowing the product is of inferior quality would make them less likely to obtain a pirated product.

•    Those aged 18-34 years (73%) were significantly more likely to agree that it is much more tempting to buy pirated goods, than those aged 50 years and over (53%).

•    78 per cent of females and 68 per cent of males said that knowing you could be fined or receive a conviction would make them less likely to buy or obtain a pirated product.

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