Software Piracy Rates Increase Worldwide, Study Finds
Article by George Norman
On 13 May 2009
The last time we were confronted with the software piracy issue was when Microsoft announced WAT (Windows Activation Technologies) in Windows 7 and when Mininova introduced a new content recognition technology that would filter out copyright infringing torrents. Our attention is once again drawn towards software piracy by a study that shows worldwide piracy rates have increased from 38% in 2007 to 41% in 2008. According to the study, which was conducted by IDC and the Business Software Alliance (BSA), entitled the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study, the high piracy rates took a $53 billion toll on companies that specialize in developing software products.

According to the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study, in the 110 countries included in the study, piracy rates went down; the catch is that with PC shipments growing considerably in countries like China and India, where piracy rates are quite high, the overall figure went to 41%.


“In 2008, the rate of PC software piracy dropped in about half (57) of the 110 countries studied, remained the same in about a third (36), and rose in just 161. The worldwide PC software piracy rate rose for the second year in a row, from 38 percent to 41 percent, because PC shipments grew fastest in high-piracy countries such as China and India, overwhelming progress elsewhere,” explained the Business Software Alliance.

Here are some of the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study’s key findings:
- Emerging markets account for 45% of the global PC hardware market and less than 20% of the global PC software market. The difference is made up of pirated software, which accounts for about $40 billion per year.
- The countries with the lowest piracy rates are: US, Japan, New Zealand, and Luxembourg. Piracy rates in these countries are of about 20%.
- The countries with the highest piracy rates are: Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Zimbabwe. Piracy rates in these countries are of about 90%.
- Piracy rates according to regions: Central and Eastern Europe 67%, Latin America 64%, North America 21%, European Union 35%.

"We are continuing to make progress against PC software piracy in many countries, which helps people working in the US-led global software industry. That’s the good news. The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent in the United States and all over the world. It undermines local IT service firms, gives illegal software users an unfair advantage in business, and spreads security risks. We should not and cannot tolerate a $9 billion hit on the software industry at a time of economic stress. The proven ‘blueprint’ for reducing piracy is a combination of consumer education, strong intellectual property policies, effective law enforcement, and legalization programs by software companies and government agencies. The progress seen in so many nations is proof that this anti-piracy strategy works,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman.

Tags: BSA, Business Software Alliance, Software Piracy, IDG
About the author: George Norman
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