Soars to $59bn; double the total in 2003
The commercial value of software piracy grew 14% to an all time high of $58.8bn in 2010, according to a new report.
The study by Business Software Alliance (BSA), a company that tracks online piracy, found that rise in software piracy in 2010 was almost double the total in 2003.
The 2010 BSA Global Software Piracy Study said, "Just six years ago, the commercial value of the PC software that was being pirated in emerging economies accounted for less than a third of the world total. Last year, it accounted for more than half — $31.9bn.
BSA senior director of legal affairs Sarah Coombes said the current damages law is not tough enough to deter those businesses that still think it is acceptable to use unlicensed software.
"Legislation that strengthens the availability of court awarded damages would act as a deterrent for those that continue to use illegal software," she said.
Half of the 116 geographies studied in 2010 had piracy rates of 62 percent or higher, and two-thirds saw at least one software program pirated for every one that was installed legally.
The report said that piracy rate dropped in 51 of the 116 geographies studied in 2010 and went up in only 15. But, crucially, regional average rates rose by 1 point in both Asia-Pacifi c and Latin America — two economic hotbeds of the developing world.
Pirated software has risen in areas that have registered growth such as in Asia and other emerging countries, which is a problem for large software makers such as Microsoft. It also means that businesses in emerging markets can avoid costs that their competitors incur.
China and Russia top the usage of pirated software, with almost 80% of programs in use being pirated ones in China, while 65% of software in Russia is pirated.
The US, with 20% of pirated software, is at the bottom with Japan and Luxembourg.