September 07, 2011

Pirated Software Now in Nearly Half of all Homes Across the World


While pirated software has long been an evil that software producers have understood is something they just have to deal with, a new study sheds light on the ever-growing problem. Software companies have been working to avoid the pirating of their products basically since the Internet was born, but in the business sector especially, those efforts have fallen short. Now a new report says pirated software on personal computers is in big boom phase.

A report issued by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) says that almost half of all personal computer users around the world are using some kind of pirated software.   Not surprisingly, the biggest contributor to stolen software is China. The world’s last remaining Communist power is well known for pirating all sorts of goods from movies, to software to clothing. The report does show that some of the “pirating” is worse than others. Included in the report are people who admit to having wholly illegal copies of software that they downloaded from sites like “Pirate Bay” that specialize in this kind of thing. Another group of people who admit to owning pirated software are those who own just one license key, but have used it over multiple installations on multiple computers.

It was also clear that China may actually be skewing the study a little further to the “pirated” column than is really reflected around the globe. While the entire world has less than 50 percent of users owning pirated software, China weighs in with 86 percent of users admitting to illegal materials. This is a problem for computer producers who are seeing China develop the fastest growing consumerism in that market in the world. 

A report released in May by the BSA showed that illegal downloads and installations cost the industry over $59 billion around the world. In the United States alone that number is still might impressive with an estimated loss of $9.5 billion. China actually comes in second in terms of value of the pirated software behind the US. According to the BSA Chinese software pirates cost the industry $7.8 billion last year. That number is up sharply from the year before.

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Edited by Rich Steeves