ECONOMY

Greece a champion of software piracy

Brussels – Almost two out of three software programs available in Greece are pirated, according to a report released by the Business Software Alliance yesterday. The alliance, made up of most of the big software companies in the world, said that software piracy has decreased significantly since its heyday in the mid-1990s, but still costs software vendors around $13 billion a year. States, of course, also lose out in tax revenues. Greece is the champion in software piracy in Europe (not including the former Eastern bloc states), as a percentage of all products on offer. The report said that last year 63 percent of all software in circulation in Greece was pirated, down from 87 percent in 1994. The report estimated that a further 10 percent drop in software piracy would bring in 140 million euros in tax revenue and would result in the creation of 2,000 jobs in the sector. It would also increase Greece’s GDP by 500 million euros. Following Greece, in 1993, were Spain, with 77 percent of all circulating software being pirated, Ireland (74 percent), Italy (69 percent), Portugal (65 percent) and the Netherlands (64 percent). Last year, Spain and Italy were joint second, at 47 percent, followed by Germany (43 percent), Ireland and Portugal (42 percent) and the Netherlands (36 percent). Finns were the most law-abiding of all Europeans, with only a quarter of the software being pirated. Overall, software piracy in western Europe – Norway and Switzerland were included in the survey, in addition to EU countries – fell from 52 percent in 1994 to 35 percent in 2002. Often, the most pirated products are expensive software packages, such as Microsoft Office. However, professional programs also fall victim to piracy.