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Piracy of PC software sinks

Rate in Korea dips below int’l average for first time, according to new report

May 12,2010
Some folks abroad associate South Korea with technology, kimchi or the country’s belligerent neighbor to the north. Those in the software world, however, often tie it to something else: piracy.

While Korea has long been a hot spot for counterfeit copies of software, however, the nation appears to be making some substantial strides in combating piracy, according to a new report.

A joint study by the Washington D.C.-based Business Software Alliance - an international trade organization - and Massachusetts IT research firm IDC found that 41 percent of software installations in Korea last year were unlicensed, down from 43 percent in 2008.

The dip is particularly significant because it marks the first time since the organizations began tracking such data that Korea fell below the global average, which actually rose 2 percentage points to hit 43 percent. The study examined PC piracy in 111 nations.

“We think the Korean government’s recent efforts to fight piracy coupled with the public and private sectors’ higher awareness of it has paid off,” said Byun Jin-seok, chairman of BSA Korea. “The Korean government should use it as momentum to become an advanced country in terms of intellectual property rights.”

The study incorporates a complex set of factors including availability of legitimate software, PC shipment growth and available distribution channels.

Although Korea improved, it still has a ways to go. Korea’s PC software piracy rate was still much higher than the average of 27 percent for countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The United States had the lowest piracy rate, at 20 percent, followed by Japan and Luxembourg, both with 21 percent.

The report also noted that 2009 was a “good year” overall for battling software piracy considering that many observers feared a sharp spike in unlicensed software due to the global economic recession.


By Kim Hyung-eun [hkim@joongang.co.kr]



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