By Adeyemi Adepetun
Usage value of unlicensed software in Nigeria appears to be plummeting; this is going by the latest statistics from the Business Software Alliance (BSA).The report obtained by The Guardian on Monday, the June edition, with the title: Software Management: Security Imperative, Business Opportunity, it revealed that as at 2017, rate of installation of unlicensed software was 80 per cent valued at $123 million. Reviewed almost every two years, the rate as at 2015 was still 80 per cent but valued at $232 million.
According to the study, which informed that organizations now face a nearly one-in-three chance of encountering malware when they obtain or install unlicensed software, it noted that as at 2013, the rate was 81 per cent, which was valued at $287 million, while in 2011; it was 82 per cent with $251 million in value in Nigeria.Simply put, unlicensed software are pirated ones. Pirated software is anything distributed without compensating the rights holders (unless it’s intended to be free).
Meanwhile, the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has elected a new president in the person of Dr. Yele Okeremi. He takes over from Olorogun James Emadoye.BSA explained that in the Middle East and Africa, the overall rate fell one point to 56 per cent, despite having rates in two markets increase by one point and four markets that didn’t change. It stated that the region was still just one percentage point lower than the highest rate in the world. Within the region, several countries are among the highest users of unlicensed software globally, including Libya at 90 per cent, and Zimbabwe at 89 per cent. By contrast the United Arab Emirates (32 per cent), South Africa (32 per cent), and Israel (27 per cent) are enjoying greater benefits from licensed software.
In all, in Africa the value was $4,159 million in 2011; $4,300 million in 2013; $3,569 million in 2015 and $3,077 million in 2017.The American company with operations in more than 60 countries around the world noted that dealing with the malware associated with unlicensed software can cost more than $10,000 per infected computer for a worldwide total of more than $359 billion.
The BSA Global Software Survey calculates unlicensed installations of software that runs on PCs — including desktops, laptops, and ultra-portables, such as netbooks.Okeremi, who promised to take over from where his predecessor stopped, especially in ensuring that ISPON becomes a full-fledged institute and chartered, said the report showed that there has been a drop in consumption of software.
According to him, there is need to respect Intellectual Property (IP) right. He stressed the need to tightening the loose around software development in the country.Okeremi said local software developers must be respected, stressing, “IP theft kills innovation.”
Meanwhile, BSA explained that one key component of its survey was a global survey of more than 22,500 home and enterprise PC users, conducted by IDC in November 2017. The survey was conducted online or by phone in 32 markets that make up a globally representative sample of geographies, levels of IT sophistication,Globally, BSA noted that years of education and enforcement, and a growing understanding of the benefits of properly managing software assets, have led to a modest decrease in unlicensed software use.”From 2015 to 2017, the worldwide unlicensed software rate declined 2 percentage points from 39 percent to 37 per cent and the commercial value of unlicensed software dropped eight per cent in constant currency to $46.3 billion globally,” it stated.
Although some of the decline in the unlicensed software rate comes from declining PC shipments, IDC estimates that roughly 60 per cent of the drop comes from increased software compliance, suggesting that many are now coming to understand that improving software compliance can make sense for business. Despite this progress, the majority of software in more than half of the markets surveyed is unlicensed — demonstrating the need for continued progress.
Although the unlicensed software rate dropped across all regions, it would have dropped significantly more except for emerging markets, which have a higher than normal unlicensed use rate of 61 percent, and account for a larger share of unlicensed software (75 percent) in 2017 than in 2015 (70 percent).BSA alerted the world to the fact that the number of malware attacks, as a result of using unlicensed software, continues to grow exponentially both in number and in sophistication.
These attacks are also becoming increasingly expensive. The average malware attack costs a company $2.4 million. Each infection can lead to costly downtime, lost productivity, lost business opportunities, and additional IT labor costs to help mitigate the attack. To the extent that the infection leads to company downtime or lost business data, it can also seriously affect the brand and reputation of a business. Making matters worse, the economic cost of these infections continues to grow — up 20 per cent since 2014. Malware-related activity now costs the global economy a startling $600 billion yearly, or 0.8 per cent of the global GDP.
Meanwhile, to unlock the vast new jobs, tax-base enhancements, and economic benefits that come from organizations that are able to take full advantage of the latest technology-driven advancements, governments have a set of common sense and concrete steps they can take to reduce their unlicensed software rate and bring greater resiliency to their economic sector.
These steps, according to BSA include government itself leading by example; increase public education and awareness; modernize lawsa to account for new innovations and creation of a conducive environment for enforcement.BSA noted governments are the largest users of software in the world. As with all organizations, they can benefit from reducing risks, improving their technology accountability, and adopting SAM practices.
The Alliance said governments should ensure that legal frameworks provide effective means for redress and promote collaboration among stakeholders to reduce software copyright infringement.