Report: For Every $2 Spent on Legit Software, $1 Goes To Pirates

A new study / survey results conducted by the U.S. Business Software Alliance (BSA) claims that the rate of global software piracy has been static for three years even if the cost to businesses is still rising. The conclusion is that for every $2 spent on legitimate software, $1 goes to pirates.

BSA CEO Robert Holleyman explains how static isn’t necessarily a good thing: “The bad news is that overall global piracy rates have remained stagnant… Overall dollar losses have gone up because the overall market is growing.”

The good news (or bad news, depending on your perspective) is that piracy actually declined in 62 countries from 2005 to 2006. But most of that decline is apparently offset by the growth in demand for computers in certain areas of the world were software piracy is rampant.

The report claims that 35% of all software installed on personal computers in 2006 was obtained illegally. And it goes as far as to estimate $180 billion of losses to the software industry over the next four years if things don’t change. Of course, that number is extremely exaggerated in that it includes full price dollar values for software that has never been (and probably never will be) adopted at certain prices in certain places.

Piracy in China, the second largest market for personal computers, has gone down 10% over the last three years. But the torch has been passed to the Middle East and Africa, where increased piracy is more than making up for the decrease in China.

The world’s worst (or best?) software pirates are in Armenia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan where only 1 in 20 programs used are legal. For being the most law abiding on the list, the U.S., New Zealand, and Japan still have close to 1 in 4 programs pirated.

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  • Michael

    Just remember to take statements from the BSA with a grain of salt. This is from an organization that wants to consider the money you pay for software as “lease” payments. Their principle member, Microsoft, now claims 235 patent infringements within Linux.

    I don’t dispute that software piracy exists. I simply dispute the numbers they post on the impact of it. Most of the time, software piracy increases revenues by exposing people to the software and giving them a chance to learn it before they pay for it.