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Four Out Of 10 PC Apps Are Pirated, BSA Study Says

Otherwise legitimate businesses are primary offenders, according to study

Approximately 40 percent of software running on PCs is pirated -- much of it by businesses, according to a study published today.

In its Piracy Impact Study 2010, the Business Software Alliance found that much of the software piracy problem stems from companies that purchase too few licenses or are rooked into buying counterfeit applications.

"The most common form of software piracy is otherwise-legal businesses that purchase a couple of licenses and then install the software on hundreds -- even thousands -- of PCs," says Matt Reed, vice president of communications for BSA. "Business-level software piracy is one of our biggest challenges."

The commercial value of the pirated software is approximately $51 billion, according to the BSA. The study attempts to make an economic case for attacking the piracy problem, postulating that a 10 percent reduction in software piracy during the next four years would result in $142 billion in economic activity and the creation of some 500,000 new high-tech jobs.

"Software accounts for only 22 percent of IT spending, but it drives 51 percent of employment," Reed says. "Reducing piracy would have a very significant return when it comes to creating jobs, and it would give a big boost to the economy."

The BSA recommends that businesses embark on a more stringent effort to implement software asset management and educate employees on the dangers associated with illegal software downloads.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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