Vietnam recorded a PC software piracy rate of 81 percent last year, a reduction of 2 percent for two years in a row, compared to 83 percent in 2010 and 85 percent in 2009.

This was according to statistics released at a press briefing in Hanoi on May 17 by the International Business Software Alliance.

The alliance’s 2011 Global Software Piracy study showed the commercial value of the piracy was 395 million USD, representing a 4 percent decrease in value from the previous year.

“The decrease in software piracy is testament to the great efforts of the Government,” said Tarun Sawney, alliance senior piracy director for the Asia-Pacific region.

“Admittedly, there is still much work to be done and Vietnam faces a stiff challenge in reducing the level of piracy to levels found in the region or the world - 60 percent and 42 percent, respectively. However, I am confident that Vietnam is on the right track.”

He said the alliance worked closely with Government authorities in a Partnership in Protection of Software Copyright, which was established since 2008, to reduce software piracy rates.

Numerous education campaigns and software asset management seminars were conducted for the business community, including IT retailers and educational institutions.

Government outreach and crackdown campaigns were also the feature of initiatives conducted to drive down piracy rates.

To get statistics, Tarun Sawney said the alliance has to find how many new PCs are used each year and what software are they using and compares that with a survey on how much software is sold in Vietnam .

“In order to stimulate the use of legal software, we had to encourage the Government to conduct a public campaign that promotes respect for IP laws and deter piracy through implementation of stronger criminal and administrative sanctions,” said Tarun.

Ha Than, CEO of Lac Viet Computing Corp, said if 81 percent of consumers admitted they shoplifted-even rarely-authorities will react by increasing police patrols and penalties.

Software piracy demanded a similar response, concerted public education and vigorous law enforcement. Coming from the local software industry scene where they invested heavily into developing cutting-edge software solutions, they really needed all the help they can get from the Government to ensure a brighter future for themselves.

Some 36 percent of admitted software pirates in Asia-Pacific surveyed in the study, said they acquired software illegally “all of the time”, “most of the time”, or “occasionally”, while 27 percent said they “rarely” did so. The study also found that admitted software pirates in Asia-Pacific were predominantly male, with 32 percent aged between 18-24.

Alliance president and CEO Robert Holleyman said software piracy was a drain on the global economy, IT innovation and job creation. Governments must take steps to modernize their intellectual property laws and expand enforcement efforts to ensure those who pirated software face real consequences, he said.

He also said the global commercial value of pirated software climbed from 58.8 billion USD in 2010 to 63.4 billion USD in 2011.

Globally, the study found that piracy rates in emerging markets towered over those in mature markets-68 percent to 24 percent, respectively, on average-and emerging markets accounted for an overwhelming majority of the global increase in the commercial value of software theft, Holleyman said.-VNA