However, the commercial value of unlicensed software installed on personal computers in Vietnam reached US$412 million in 2010 compared to losses of US$353 million in 2009.

These are among the findings of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) 2010 Global Software Piracy Study, which evaluates the state of software piracy around the world. It is the eighth study of global software piracy conducted by the BSA in partnership with IDC, the IT industry’s leading market research and forecasting firm, for 116 countries around the world.

“This progress is the result of enormous efforts made by Vietnam’s government in recent years in improving legal framework for protection of software copyright and enhancing both educational and enforcement activities,” said Dao Anh Tuan, a spokesperson with the BSA. “To get Vietnam’s software piracy rate down to the regional level of around 60 percent in parallel with objective of making Vietnam a strong IT Nation, however, there are still much more work to be done by Vietnam’s government, including targeting piracy in consumer group for more education. And this would benefit Vietnam by way of increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and tax revenues for the government as studies have shown”.

BSA has been with the Copyright Office of Vietnam and the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism (MOCST) since 2008 in a partnership to tackle software piracy. Recently the Partnership has launched an educational campaign targeting retailers with the goal of reducing installation of illegal software in new PCs for consumers. “Be sure that you are selling just what you can and entitled to sell; the unauthorized copying of software program, with or without charging for it, is an offence under Vietnam laws”, said Mr Pham Xuan Phuc, the Deputy Chief Inspector of MOCST.

The Partnerships also plans to conduct educational workshop for Vietnamese universities and to produce an educational TV program in the form of game show. “Raising public awareness on respect of software copyright would help reduce software piracy rate, which in turn would not only improve Vietnam’s investment environment for foreign investors but also promote development of Vietnam’s software industry”, said Dr Vu Manh Chu, the Director of the Copyright Office of Vietnam.

This year’s Global Software Piracy Study also includes a new dimension: a public-opinion survey of PC users on key social attitudes and behaviors related to software piracy, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs.

The opinion survey found strong support for intellectual property rights, with seven in 10 respondents expressing support for paying inventors for their creations to promote more technology advances. Strikingly, support for intellectual property rights was strongest in markets with high piracy rates.

According to the study’s findings, the commercial value of stolen software in Asia Pacific totaled US$18,746 million. Globally, the value of software theft grew to a record US$59 billion - nearly double that when the study began in 2003. Half of the 116 geographies studied in 2010 had piracy rates of 62 percent or higher, with the global average piracy rate at 42 percent.

Emerging economies have become a driving force behind PC software piracy. Piracy rates in the developing world are 2.5 times higher than those in the developed world, and the commercial value of pirated software (US$31.9 billion) accounts for more than half of the world total, said the study.

“Today’s study shows that while piracy continues to threaten the global economy, people clearly understand and appreciate the value of intellectual property, especially its role in driving economic growth,” said Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO. “Software theft continues to stifle IT innovation, job creation, and economic growth around the world. This report clearly shows the importance of educating businesses, government officials, and end users about the risks of software theft - and what they can do to stop it.”

By Nam Pham - Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry - June 4, 2011