The government needs an action plan to encourage the use of copyrighted software in Vietnam, especially in light of the nation’s imminent accession to the WTO, said Truong Gia Binh, chairman of the Vietnam Software Association (Vinasa).
Binh said the government could help software firms and the public have better access to copyrighted software by negotiating with domestic and international software makers and vendors for reductions in prices.
“This will gradually push software users to using copyrighted software,” Binh said. “But if software firms and the public do not respect copyright laws, international IT firms will not want to invest in the industry,” he warned.
The Law on Intellectual Property, scheduled to come into effect next month, will also help reduce the incidence of pirated software in Vietnam, according to the Vinasa chairman.
The Ministry of Post and Telematics put the value of Vietnam’s software and IT-related services last year at US$170mil, with exports reaching a value of $45mil. Annual growth in the industry is projected to reach 40, it said.
The nation now has over 600 software development firms employing about 15,000 people, mainly in HCM City and Hanoi, compared with 170 firms and 5,000 workers just six years ago, said Vinasa.
The world’s largest international market research firm. International Data Corp, predicted Vietnam’s IT sector could grow by 169 over the next four years if piracy was reduced by just 10 in the same period.
If the incidence of piracy remains at existing levels of about 90, the industry would grow by about 108, it estimated.
Globally, the IT industry is set to grow by 33 between now and 2010, according to the company.
If the global piracy rate average of 35 is reduced to 25, the industry would grow by 45 during the same period, the study predicted.
Global losses from software piracy amounted to $34bil in 2005, an increase of $1.6bil over the previous year, said International Data Corp.