Piracy Could Rise As Economic Downturn Starts to Bite

Vendor advocacy groups are appealing to peoples’ moral compass to stop illegal downloading

Industry bodies with a vested interest in making sure their gear is not pirated have joined together to plea to Joe Public not to illegally download or by imitation goods that aren’t the real deal.

However, the industry bodies are appealing to people’s sense of decency as opposed to waving a big stick, which comes on the back of a survey commissioned by the bodies.
The national survey of 700 respondents commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA) and the Australian Toy Association found that despite the increase in temptation, 74 percent agreed that pirated products have a negative impact on the economy.

The Newspoll survey revealing almost two thirds (64 percent) of consumers believe it is ‘much more tempting’ to buy or obtain pirated products in the current economic climate.
Clare Wharrier, Co-Chair, Business Software Alliance Australia said, “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.”

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. According to an IDC Piracy Impact Study (2008), the reduction would result in AU$1.9 billion in local industry revenue and AU$4.3 billion in additional GDP.

“In the gaming industry alone, the cumulative economic impact of piracy is $840 million,” said Ron Curry, Chief Executive Officer, IEAA. “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’.”

“In the case of the toy industry, purchasing pirated goods means putting children at risk from unsafe toys,” said Beverly Jenkin, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Toy Association. “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.”

The majority of people surveyed 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. A similar proportion (78 percent), also said that knowing they could be harming Australian businesses and jobs would make them less likely to support piracy.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 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.