Study Finds One Fifth of Software in U.S. is Pirated

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The Business Software Alliance, an anti-piracy consortium made up of many of the software industry’s biggest players, has released its Sixth Annual Global Software Piracy Study. Conducted by research firm IDC, the study claims that antipiracy efforts in the United States have more-or-less stalled out, and that approximately one fifth of all software in use in the U.S. is pirated. At 20 percent, the United States has the lowest software piracy rate in the world, but the size of the U.S. software market also means the software industry is losing more money to piracy in the U.S. than anywhere else, with losses estimated at some $9.1 billion in 2008. Worldwide, the study estimates piracy accounted for more than $50 billion in lost revenue in 2008…and that’s leaving out the effects of exchange rates.

“We are continuing to make progress against PC software piracy in many countries, which helps people working in the U.S.-led global software industry. That’s the good news,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman, in a statement. “The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent in the United States and all over the world.”

Despite some progress fighting software piracy in markets like China and Russia, the study finds that worldwide piracy rates on home and business PCs rose from 38 percent in 2007 to 41 percent in 2008. Overall, piracy rates dropped in roughly half the 110 countries surveyed, were essentially unchanged in about a third, and rose in 16 countries. Topping the list with software piracy rates at or over 90 percent: Georgia, Bangladesk, Armenia, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, and Moldova. Only Austra, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Japan, and the U.S., were found to have piracy rates under 25 percent. China’s piracy rate has dropped from 90 percent in 2004 to 80 percent in 2008, while Russia dropped from 73 percent to 68 percent in the last year.


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