A report that 11 people were convicted in China of violating Chinese copyright laws is most significant because of the cooperation and joint efforts between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and China’s Ministry of Public Security. These convictions are a good sign that software counterfeiters are risk which is critical to Microsoft who estimates it global sales at more than $2 billion. Unfortunately it appears that these 11 individuals who were convicted did not have millions in sales, but did account for about $200,000 of products. There is still a separate trial in China against other alleged counterfeiters of software products from Symantec and Microsoft.
Selling Counterfeit Software on eBay
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is actively pursuing sales of counterfeit software on the Internet in what it calls the Auction Litigation Program. In July 2008 the SIIA reported that Jeremiah Mondello pled guilty to counts of copyright infringement, mail fraud and identity theft for sale of counterfeit software on eBay. He was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison in addition to the confiscation of his computers and $220,000 in cash.
How Big is Software Piracy?
In 2008 the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and International Data Corporation (IDC) issued their 2007 Global Software Piracy Study. The BSA/IDC Study has a breakdown country by country, and some regions of the world are worse than others. The bottom line is that this BSA/IDC Study estimates that in 2007 about 38% of all software used in the world was counterfeit which accounted for approximately $47 billion.
Can the Software Pirates be Contained?
Counterfeit software is an enormous business and these convictions in China and the US should have an impact on other software pirates, but not all countries around the world are willing to pursue software counterfeiters. Given the percentage of illegal software in many countries it seems unlikely that it is possible to ever stop this software piracy. For instance the BSA/IDC Study indicates that about 21% of software in the North America is counterfeit with a value of $9.1 billion which is accounts for about 19% of all of the counterfeit sales in the world.