BSA has long highlighted the ways properly licensed software creates value for enterprises and economies. For example, a body of research shows that fully licensed software improves productivity and efficiency by reducing exposure to viruses and other security vulnerabilities — meaning fewer system malfunctions, downtime, and IT repair costs. It also comes with value-added services such as access to upgrades, patches, and manufacturer support services, including training and problem resolution.
These benefits add up — helping firms to reduce costs and drive further investment. That, in turn, delivers more enterprise-level production and, ultimately, national economic growth.
Yet, for just as long, we have heard counter-arguments that pirating software is economically beneficial, because it gives users the productivity benefits of software without the overhead costs. (Never mind that piracy is against the law.)
But new research conducted for BSA by INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools, conspicuously undercuts the pro-piracy argument. It finds that properly licensed software adds an average of three times more value to national economies than pirated software. Moreover, the greatest returns on investment in legal software come in emerging markets where piracy rates are highest.
Competitive Advantage: The Economic Impact of Properly Licensed Software evaluates eight years’ worth of data across 95 countries. It finds that increasing use of properly licensed software by just 1 percent would add $73 billion to the global economy. A similar increase in pirated software would add $20 billion — meaning there is a $53 billion advantage associated with licensed software.
The study serves as new evidence that investments in properly licensed software pay huge dividends, and that governments should view curbing piracy as a growth opportunity. That requires putting in place strong laws and enforcement mechanisms to protect the intellectual property rights of innovators — and, importantly, it requires governments to lead by example by using only fully licensed software.
In a sluggish global economy, no country can afford to leave billions of dollars on the table by letting software piracy persist.
To download the study, go to: www.bsa.org/softwarevalue.