S'pore software piracy rate still high at 30%
SOFTWARE piracy in Singapore has dipped over the last three years but the Republic still has one of the highest rates among developed nations, a survey has found.
Almost one in three of programs installed in homes and offices here last year were unlicensed, according to a global survey released yesterday by industry watchdog Business Software Alliance (BSA) and market research firm IDC.
The survey had tracked PC software piracy in 116 countries.
Singapore's unlicensed software rate stood at 30 per cent last year, down from 32 per cent in 2013.
This puts Singapore fourth in the Asia-Pacific region, behind Japan and New Zealand (18 per cent), and Australia (20 per cent), and 18th place globally, behind other developed nations such as Switzerland (23 per cent) and Canada (24 per cent).
One reason for the Republic's piracy rate could be the cost-saving mindset of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said IDC's vice-president for custom solutions in Asia Pacific Victor Lim.
"SMEs and consumers tend to have a higher percentage of unlicensed software on their computers," he added. "It's always a cost-benefit analysis for them: 'Do I really have to pay so much money for software? Let me just take the risk of my system going down.'"
The most pirated kinds of software among enterprise or business users, according to Mr Lim, are productivity software such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office. Consumers tend to go for entertainment software such as games.
Using pirated software can lead to security breaches, noted BSA's senior director in the Asia-Pacific Tarun Sawney.
"If you don't have licensed software, you don't get things like patches that protect you from the latest malware or cyber attacks."
Piracy rates continue to fall globally, with 39 per cent of software installed not properly licensed, down from 43 per cent in 2013.
The best-performing countries were the United States at 17 per cent, followed by Japan and New Zealand, and Luxembourg at 19 per cent.
The worst were Libya and Zimbabwe, both with a 90 per cent software piracy rate.