20 Percent of Software used in US is Pirated, 41 Percent Worldwide

By May 12, 2009

Piracy is always in the news, but, in the wake of the Pirate Bay ruling and France’s approval of a “Three Strikes” law for copyright infringers, international governmental measures against piracy are getting tougher. Not so in the U.S., where anti-piracy efforts are lagging, according to a study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and IDC. “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,” according to the report’s U.S. press release. One-fifth of software used in the U.S. is


Globally, 41 percent of software used is pirated, while 44 percent is used legally. 15 percent is free or open source.

Piracy is down in 57 percent of the countries studied, is up in 36 percent, and remains stable in 16 percent. Though piracy is down or stable in many places, the revenue loss is growing, in large part due to emerging countries where piracy is prevalent.

Global losses due to pirated software went up 11 percent in 2008, totaling $53 billion in total losses. The U.S had the highest monetary loss -- more than nine billion dollars – even though it has the lowest software piracy rate in the world, “because it is by far the world’s largest software market” according to the press release.

Every dollar of pirated software equals three to four dollars in revenue for local IT service and distribution firms. A 2008 study predicted that cutting software piracy 10 percent over four years would create 600,000 new jobs and would generate $24 billion in world-wide tax revenue.

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