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Software piracy losses drop 29% in 2011: report

Revenue losses from illegal software reproduction sharply fell last year on the back of the government’s sweeping drive against online piracy, a report said Wednesday.

Losses from software piracy totaled 214 billion won ($188 million) last year, down more than 29 percent from a year ago, according to the Korea Software Property-Right Council.

“The results reflect anti-piracy laws and the government and authorities’ ongoing drive to clean up software counterfeiting,” said Kim Eun-hyun, chairman of the non-profit body, which monitored 118 online service providers and portals.

Software piracy on the Internet has become a multi-billion-dollar crime in recent years, weighing heavily on the fast-growing industry at home and abroad.

The latest survey named Microsoft Corp. as the biggest victim. Its Windows platform was illicitly duplicated in 23,473 cases last year, up almost 16 percent from 20,261 in 2010.

The Hangul word processor by Hancom Inc., a Korean office solution giant, came in second with 16,990 cases, trailed by U.S.-based Autodesk Inc.’s AutoCAD design tool with 11,005.

By company, Microsoft remained on top with 35,020 cases. Adobe Systems Inc., Hancom and Autodesk followed with 18,550, 16,990 and 14,605, respectively.

In monetary terms, Autodesk suffered the biggest losses of 81.3 billion won.

To rein in unbridled distribution of copyrighted materials and adult content, the Korea Communications Commission in November began requiring data storage and file-sharing services companies to be registered under the media regulator.

Despite some signs of improvement, the SPC noted that nearly nine out of 10 piracy cases still occurred through online storage sites such as Webhard, inflicting 197 billion won in losses on software developers in some 85,000 cases last year.

Piracy via online communities and blogs rose 2.4 percent on-year to more than 10,800 postings in 2011, causing 17 billion in damage.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)
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