A Global Software Piracy Study from the Business Software Alliance (BSA), shows that software piracy cost the South African economy R1,5-billion in 2006, despite a decline in the overall piracy rate. 

The study was conducted independently by (IDC).
“While there is progress in the region with South Africa 25% below the 60% regional average for Middle East and Africa, the economic impact to our economy is on the increase,” says Stephan le Roux, chairman of the BSA. “Government, trade bodies and businesses must continue to tackle software piracy aggressively if these economic losses are to be reduced.”
South Africa’s piracy rate is on par with the global rate of 35% and has been listed in the report as one of 20 countries with the lowest piracy rate, while Botswana (81%), Zambia (82%) and Zimbabwe (91%) have some of the highest piracy rates by international standards.
With emerging economies experiencing higher piracy rates than developed countries, there was an increase to the Middle East and Africa piracy rate from 57% to 60% over the past year.  The Middle East and Africa’s average is 26% higher than that of Western Europe.
The economic losses in the study refer to the “retail value of pirated software” which represents losses to packaged software vendors and channel partners in the wholesale-to-retail distribution chain.
“The increased economic losses are due to inflation and the influx of new users in the region. Other countries which have experienced the same phenomenon include Kenya, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia and Turkey,” says Le Roux.
In South Africa, the BSA has embarked on an aggressive advertising and experiential marketing campaign to inform South African businesses of the risks associated with the use of pirated software. The organisation is also targeting 2500 businesses suspected of using illegal software with audit letters requesting them to conduct an immediate software audit.
“It is only with a multi-faceted, multi-year educational effort, including private and public sector commitment that South Africa will be able to significantly lower its piracy rate,” concludes le Roux.
Key findings on global piracy figures include:
* Software installed on computers total more than $100-billion;
* Software paid for total $65-billion;
* Packaged software loss totals almost $40-billion;
* The global piracy rate is about 35%; and
* Total losses were up 15%, to nearly $40-billion, from 2005.