Software Piracy in Georgia Amounts to an Economic Loss Of Nearly $450 Million
Microsoft Urges Education to Help Protect Consumers and Honest Businesses
ATLANTA - April 21, 1999 - Microsoft Corp. today released statistics showing that the sale and use of illegal software in Georgia emphasizes that software piracy is far from a victimless crime. Software piracy in the state in 1997 caused the loss of an estimated 4,600 jobs and $430.5 million in combined wages, tax revenues and retail sales.
The information was released as part of a national effort by Microsoft to raise awareness that software piracy hurts more than just the software industry. The data shows how software piracy - the theft of software through illegal copying of genuine programs or counterfeiting and distribution of imitation products - adversely affects local businesses and economies and diminishes the value placed on people's ideas.
"Georgia has a thriving high-tech economy, with more than 9,000 technology companies employing over 165,000 workers. We stand poised for even greater growth, but software piracy threatens to hamper these economic gains," said John Yates, chairman of the Georgia Technology Forum and board member of the Technology Association of Georgia. "Piracy has already cost the state too much in terms of jobs, wages and revenues. We simply can't afford to let this continue to erode our efforts to expand Georgia's high-tech development."
According to Microsoft, the 4,590 jobs lost to software piracy in Georgia translated into more than $157 million in wage and salary losses. In addition, the region lost nearly $23 million in tax revenues that could have instead contributed to federal and state improvement projects. International Planning & Research Corp. of Redmond, Wash., compiled the information using data from a 1997 international piracy study published by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software Publishers Association (SPA), along with additional data and analysis of piracy in the state.
Marty Paradise, general manager of Microsoft's Southeast District, said, "If we want our region to remain a technology hub, attracting innovative companies that bring strong revenues and job opportunities, we need to confront the menace of software piracy. That means educating people about the risks and the warning signs associated with purchasing and deploying pirated products."
Microsoft announced the Georgia data at its Explorer Conference and Exposition, which is being held April 20-22, 1999, at AmericasMart in Atlanta.
Chandran Rajaratnam, president of SoftChoice Corp., one of the largest software resellers in North America and one with a significant presence in Atlanta, emphasizes that the business customer is a particularly high-risk target for software pirates and a strong software licensing management policy is one of the most important weapons.
"Companies of all sizes need to be cognizant of the fact that there are dishonest resellers out there who may try to dupe them into installing pirated products that carry tremendous risks, such as missing files or viruses that can bring down a network," Rajaratnam said. "These business customers then have no legitimate access to tech service and support when they need it most. The unscrupulous reseller prospers while leaving the customer vulnerable and victimized."
The software industry is a significant driver of the current economic prosperity in the United States, accounting for the creation of more than 2 million jobs, $102.8 billion in software and software-related services, and payment of $7.2 billion in taxes. However, software piracy threatens the ability of the industry to continue to contribute to the American economy. According to a 1997 study by Nathan Associates Inc. of Arlington, Va., commissioned by the BSA, software piracy in 1996 resulted in the loss of 130,000 jobs in the United States, $5.3 billion in wages and salaries, and nearly $1 billion in tax revenues.
"As the data shows, software piracy is far from a victimless crime and must be fought on an industrywide basis if the United States is to maintain its global technological leadership," said Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of Microsoft Americas, who was in Atlanta for the Explorer Conference. "Cooperation among consumers, the business establishment and the legal community is essential to protect the intellectual property that is created in the high-tech sector."
Ayala noted that the software industry is working through the Business Software Alliance to fight piracy and raise the level of awareness about the importance of protecting intellectual property in the digital age. Based in Washington, D.C., the Business Software Alliance is the voice of leading software developers before governments and with consumers in the international marketplace. BSA members worldwide include Adobe Systems Inc., Attachmate Corp., Autodesk Inc., Bentley Systems Inc., Corel Corp., Lotus Development Corp., Microsoft, Network Associates Inc., Novell Inc., Symantec Corp. and Visio Corp.
Customers or resellers with questions about the legitimacy of Microsoft products should contact the Microsoft anti-piracy hot line, toll free, at (800) RU-LEGIT (785-3448), or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can obtain more information about software piracy by calling the Business Software Alliance anti-piracy hot line at (888) NO-PIRACY (667-4722) or sending e-mail to email@example.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft's corporate information pages.