Washington: Piracy of software made by firms including Microsoft Corp. and Symantec Corp. may have peaked last year as the recession led to changes in consumer behaviour that kept illegal copying in check, an industry group said.
A slowdown in personal computer (PC) sales, combined with consumer education and enforcement efforts, spurred a drop in piracy in 54 of 111 countries studied by Washington-based Business Software Alliance, a lobby group representing major software companies, and market researcher IDC.
Piracy rose in 19 countries, according to the report released on Tuesday.
Driven by the growth of PC sales in China, India and Brazil, global piracy climbed to 43% of all installed software, up 2 percentage points from 2008. The rate represents $51.4 billion (around Rs2.32 trillion) of goods, unchanged from the year earlier when currency fluctuations are taken into account, the group said.
Unlicensed software allows firms in high piracy markets to compete unfairly against companies in low piracy markets such as the US that are paying for their software, Robert Holleyman, chief executive officer of the software trade group, said in an interview.
Georgia, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh led the list of the nations with the highest rates, each with at least 90%, according to the data. The US has the lowest rate at 20%, followed by Japan and Luxembourg with 21% each.
An estimated 79% of software installed in China is unauthorized, at a potential commercial value of $7.58 billion, the group said.
The piracy rate is 65% in India, representing $2 billion in value, and 56% in Brazil with a cost of $2.25 billion, according to the study.
It’s estimated that, for every $100 of software sold, an additional $75 worth of unauthorized versions enter the market. A typical scenario is a business buying a single legitimate copy and then installing it on dozens of computers to avoid paying licensing costs.