A new study from the BSA (Business Software Alliance) paints a troubling picture for the software industry. Although the global rate of piracy decreased by an entire percent from 2003 to 2004, the total financial losses increased by $4 billion. In total, nearly one third of all software currently used around the globe is pirated.
While one third represents the average global rate of piracy, the rate in some countries is considerably higher than others. For example, outside of Western Europe and North America where weak anti-piracy laws exist, piracy rates are staggering. The rate of piracy in Vietnam is 92%, Ukraine 91%, China 90%, Zimbabwe 90% and Indonesia 87%.
The United States had the lowest rate of piracy (21%), however it had the greatest financial losses ($6.6 billion.) This total is nearly double the financial losses in China, where the software market is considerable lower despite the greater rate of piracy.
In addition, another key finding of the study found that more money was spent ($59 billion) on commercial PC software in 2004 - up from $51 billion in 2003. However, when pirated software was taken into account, over $90 billion was actually installed in 2004 (up from $80 billion in 2003.) This equates to $33 billion in losses, a number exacerbated by the growth of the PC market and the weak dollar against other currencies.
With the proliferation of broad band and easy to use file-sharing/P2P networks, software piracy is easily achieved. However physical piracy remains the mainstay of the software piracy world, as exact digital copies of Microsoft Office 2005 sell at a considerable discount from the genuine article.