Global PC software piracy up because of China, India

PC software piracy was on the upswing in 2008 for the second year in a row, because PC shipments grew fastest in high-piracy countries like China and India, according to a study released Tuesday by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The study, conducted by research firm IDC, estimates that 41 per cent of PC software installed around the world was obtained illegally last year, said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman in a web cast introduction to the study on the BSA Web site.

The rate of PC software piracy worldwide was 38 per cent in the previous year.

Free or open-source software accounted for 15 per cent of PC software installed, while paid-for software accounted for 44 per cent, BSA said.

The value of unlicensed software, which is seen as losses to software companies, crossed the US$50 billion level. Excluding the effect of exchange rates, losses grew by five per cent to $50.2 billion in 2008. The legitimate PC software market was $88 billion in the same year.

The lowest-piracy countries are the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and Luxembourg, with piracy rates of around 20 per cent. The highest-piracy countries are Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Zimbabwe, with piracy rates of over 90 per cent, BSA said.

The largest loss from piracy at $9.1 billion, however, came from the U.S. because it is by far the world’s largest software market, according to BSA. Losses have risen steadily in recent years from the U.S., while the piracy rate has hovered around 20 percent to 21 per cent, BSA added.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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