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World to get $73bn if it would only use licensed software - survey

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Ditching dodgy software can rescue not just the UK from its financial worries, but the entire world, or so says the latest study from the Business Software Alliance.

The BSA, comprising vendors including Microsoft, CA, Adobe, Apple and others, commissioned biz school INSEAD (once known as the Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires) to traipse around Blighty and 94 other countries.

INSEAD found a one per cent rise in licensed wares would boost national GDP by £2bn, versus £470m from a similar hike in pirated software.

Quid pro quo, paid-for software would deliver £1.6bn in additional economic value to Blighty's fragile economy, helping the country post meaningful growth figures.

"Using properly licensed software reduces the risk and creates operating efficiencies that go direct to the bottom line for business," said Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing at the BSA EMEA.

But it's not just good for business - keeping the BSA wolves lawyers from the door - but "government, law enforcement, and industry" should behold the magical economic healing powers too.

Every £1 spent on legit licensed software has an "estimated" ROI of £37, versus £24 for a pirated version, the BSA said.

Yet the economic boosting effect was not limited to this sceptred isle: the WHOLE WORLD can also benefit. A one per cent rise in paid-for software would inject an "estimated" $73bn into the global coffers, compared to $20bn from pirated wares.

Eduardo Rodrigeuz Montemayor, senior research fellow at INSEAD, said putting cash into the pockets of software vendors would make us all better off - but to do, this governments must get tough on software pirates.

Establishing robust IP laws that protect vulnerable software giants, enforce them and lead by example by initiating software asset audits were needed to feel the full impact, he added.

Matt Fisher, boss at software compliance firm License Dashboard, said this was "more of the same" from the BSA "as they continue to miss opportunities to strike a chord with their target audience".

He said making "high falutin'" claims about the financial benefits of non-pirated software will not cut piracy rates because businesses, not nation states, are using it.

"The statistics themselves also warrant some heavy scrutiny. I think anyone would question the validity of a claim that licensed software offers more economic value than pirated - and frankly who cares? Economists might, but do software managers? Probably not," said Fisher.

The next BSA study is expected to move on to how licensed software can prevent global warming, speed up man's mission to Mars and discover the meaning of life. We'll keep you posted. ®

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