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Study shows software piracy declining in many countries

Among those showing improvement is the U.S.

By Thomas Wailgum
May 15, 2008 12:00 PM ET

CIO - The results from the Business Software Alliance's fifth-annual study on global software piracy revealed some statistics that would put a smile on any software company executive's face: Of the 108 countries that are covered in the recently released report, the use of pirated software dropped in 67 countries. In just eight countries did the piracy rate increase.

For example, Russia's PC software piracy rate dropped seven points to 73%. (In the study, piracy rate is defined as the total number of units of pirated software deployed in 2007 divided by the total units of software installed.) "Russia's piracy rate is still high, but it is decreasing at a fast pace as a result of [software] legalization programs, government engagement and enforcement, user education and an improved economy," states the BSA study's findings. (A copy of the complete BSA study is available online.)

Many low-piracy regions, such as the U.S., U.K. and Austria, showed decreases — though they weren't huge — in their piracy rates. The three lowest-piracy countries were the U.S. (20%), Luxembourg (21%) and New Zealand (22%). The study also found that many developed economies continued to show gradual declines, including Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and Taiwan.

The BSA ranks the countries where software piracy is the worst for PC software vendors, and those where conditions are best:

The worst:

  1. Armenia
  2. Bangladesh
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Moldova
  5. Zimbabwe
  6. Sri Lanka
  7. Yemen
  8. Libya
  9. Venezuela
  10. Vietnam

The best:
  1. U.S.
  2. Luxembourg
  3. New Zealand
  4. Japan
  5. Austria
  6. Belgium
  7. Denmark
  8. Finland
  9. Sweden
  10. Switzerland

Market research company IDC conducted the study on behalf of the BSA, an international association that represents software vendors and their hardware partners, and pursues companies that use pirated software. The BSA's "Report Software Piracy Now" campaign, which promises up to a $1 million reward for "qualifying reports," is one way in which it goes after corporate offenders. (See "BSA Ups Reward for Turning in Software Pirates to $1 Million" for more on the BSA's mission.)

PC software piracy on the rise

Now, for what software makers don't want to hear: "However, because the worldwide PC market grew fastest in high-piracy countries," states the report, "the worldwide PC software piracy rate increased by three percentage points to 38 percent in 2007." (The median piracy rate is 61%.) Countries such as Armenia (93% piracy rate), Bangladesh (92%), and Azerbaijan (92%) led the way in software pirating.

By the end of 2007, there were more than 1 billion PCs installed around the globe, the report notes, and nearly half of them have pirated software running on them.

"We are making much-needed progress in the battle against PC software piracy, and that's good news for governments, end users, businesses and the industry," said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman, in a press release. "The battleground is now shifting, however, to emerging markets where many of our collective challenges remain."

This story is reprinted from, an online resource for information executives. Story Copyright CXO Media Inc., 2012. All rights reserved.
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