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Survey: One-Fifth Of PC Software In U.S. Is Pirated

Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study reveals extent of PC software piracy worldwide
WASHINGTON, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governments and software companies are making progress in slowing the illegal use of personal computer (PC) software products, but progress has stalled in the United States, posing serious challenges to the high tech sector and cyber security.

These are among the findings of the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study released today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The study was conducted by IDC, the information technology (IT) industry's leading global market research and forecasting firm.

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 16.(1) 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.

In another sign of the scale of the problem, the monetary value of unlicensed software -- "losses" to software companies -- broke the $50 billion level for the first time. Worldwide losses grew by 11 percent to $53.0 billion in non-adjusted dollars, although half of that growth was the result of the falling U.S. dollar. Excluding the effect of exchange rates, losses grew by 5 percent to $50.2 billion. This compares to a legitimate PC software market of $88 billion in 2008, and a personal computer market of $244 billion.

The United States has the lowest PC software piracy rate in the world, 20 percent. However, it has the largest dollar losses from piracy, $9.1 billion, because it is by far the world's largest software market. Losses have risen steadily in recent years while the piracy rate has hovered around 20-21 percent.

"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.

"The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent in the United States and all over the world," Holleyman added. "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."

Negative Impacts of Piracy Go Far Beyond Software Industry

Software piracy affects much more than just the global software industry. For example, for every $1 of software sold in a country, there is another $3 to $4 of revenues for local IT service and distribution firms. High piracy thus means fewer jobs in IT services. A