The online delivery of antivirus and other applications will help reduce software piracy rates, according to Symantec.
Software firms say that software piracy costs them billions of dollars a year. Last December, a survey conducted by IDC on behalf of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) -- which represents vendors including Microsoft and Symantec -- claimed that almost one third of business software in Australia is pirated.
This piracy rate is likely to fall as applications are delivered online or as a service by ISPs, instead of being sold through retail channels on CDs and DVD, according to David Sykes, vice president of Symantec Asia Pacific.
Sykes gave an example where pirates took just a few days to break the copy protection on one of Symantec's newest retail products.
"We have a bunch of guys in Brisbane that are writing digital rights management for our products globally," he said.
"We put our Norton 2007 products out in September and I think it took four days for a DRM code-breaker to be posted on Web sites."
According to Sykes, when applications are delivered online -- or through a third party such as an ISP -- the game will change.
"Yes, it will go a long way to addressing that issue," he said.
"Being in an online environment, a service provider can say, 'sorry, you haven't paid your bill, I am not defragging your disk anymore, I am not scanning you for viruses anymore.' That is a very different world to the one where you have got to do your annual renewal."
Sykes was speaking the day after Microsoft revealed it receives around 500 calls per month to its Australian anti-piracy hotline (1800 639 963). The company recently launched a massive crackdown against piracy by announcing it had filed 50 criminal and civil actions globally, including three in Australia.