Use of licensed software can boost Indian economy

Use of licensed software can boost Indian economy

Summary: An 1 percent increase in use of licensed software generates almost US$1.3 billion in national production, compared to US$554 million from a similar increase in pirated software, according to BSA and INSEAD study.


The increasing the use of properly licensed software could boost the Indian economy, compared with allowing similar growth in the use of pirated software, according to a study by The Software Alliance (BSA) and INSEAD.

For example, increasing use of properly licensed software by 1 percent would add US$20 billion to the U..S economy, US$7.6 billion to the Japanese economy, and US$1.2 billion to the Indian economy, according to the joint report Competitive Advantage: The Economic Impact of Properly Licensed Software released in May.

Use of pirated software is a common malaise in small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India. Most SMBs, especially those in non-technology domains, use pirated software for office productivity, publishing, designing, and accounting. Recently, software majors like Adobe and Microsoft have started offering software as a subscription at very competitive prices to convert such customers to genuine software.

(credit: BSA and INSEAD)

The study states that an 1 percent increase in use of licensed software would generate almost US$1.3 billion in national production, compared to US$554 million from a similar increase in pirated software--a staggering US$739 million in additional economic value!

The study also finds that each additional dollar invested in properly licensed software has an estimated return on investment (ROI) of US$75. This compares to a US$19 return from each additional dollar worth of pirated software put into use.

While the government should establish strong and modern intellectual property laws that protect software and other copyrighted materials on PCs, mobile devices, and in the cloud, there is a definite need to step up enforcement of intellectual property rights with dedicated resources as well as raise public awareness about the risks of software piracy. 

"Using properly licensed software reduces risk and creates operating efficiencies that go directly to the bottom line for enterprises," said Yolynd Lobo, BSA's director for India.

Lobo added the study confirmed that licensed software was not just good for firms--it was an important driver of national economic growth. Government, law enforcement, and industry in India should take every opportunity to reap these potential gains by reducing piracy and promoting use of properly licensed software.

BSA is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to promoting a "safe and legal" digital world. Insead is one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools.

Topics: Piracy, IT Priorities, India, SMBs

Abhishek Baxi

About Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an independent digital consultant and a freelance technology columnist based in India. He writes on consumer technology and trends for several leading print and online publications.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Bias, Much?

    As soon as I saw the name "BSA", I knew exactly how much credibility to give this "study"...
    • This goes so beyond the "broken windows fallacy"

      (Pun not intended, but very a propos anyways).

      Maybe we could call it the "casino fallacy". Money does change hands, and is therefor counted as "economic activity". But just because we can measure money changing hands, doesn't mean that the over-all economy benefits. Or that the direct customers or bystanders benefit, either.

      Is there a "cigarettes/smoking-tobacco fallacy"?
  • How much would free Sotware boost the economy

    Another question, perhaps more valid, would be: how much would the economiy grown if India used open source software, and used the money that would otherwise go to large multi-nationals overseas to developing local software development skills. I'm sure that would have a much bigger effect on the economy.
  • licensed software

    Do you work for M$ ?

    Use open source
  • 'BSA is non-profit' -- Funny!

    It seems rather silly to claim that the BSA is a 'non-profit organization' when in reality all the members are for profit companies, and the BSA was formed to represent their interests. The BSA is very much a 'for profit organization.' The profit just goes directly to the members of the BSA and only indirectly to the BSA itself.
    • Re: The profit just goes directly to the members of the BSA

      Actually, any money it gets from lawsuits on behalf of its members is kept for running its own operations, not passed on to its members.
  • Report Software Piracy

    The one thing we can agree on is that software piracy hurts developers. If you or someone you know if required to use illegal software at work, please have him or her report it to BSA.