Berlin: Software piracy cost global businesses $47.8 billion (Rs2.02 trillion) in lost revenue last year, up 20% from 2006, according to a study that was to be released late Wednesday night or Thursday morning India time by an industry trade group. But the rate of unauthorized copying actually declined in more than half the countries measured, including some previous pirate havens such as Russia, as the authorities took steps to crack down on the practice.
The report, prepared for the Business Software Alliance, a group based in Washington whose members include most of the world’s large software makers, said the biggest country for software piracy in dollar terms remained the US, where $8 billion worth of software was pirated last year, up from $7.3 billion in 2006.
India was fourth on the list, behind China and Russia, with an estimated $2 billion in pirated software last year, up from $1.3 billion in 2006. India’s piracy rate fell 2 percentage points last year, to 69%.
Robert Holleyman, the alliance’s president and chief executive, attributed the losses around the world to faster economic growth in developing markets, which has brought more personal computers and unlicensed software onto the market. “The majority of illegal copying is being done by businesses, usually small and midsize businesses,” Holleyman said during an interview. “Although we have seen a decline in the piracy rate in most countries we studied, in those few, very large markets, there is still very fast economic growth, especially among small businesses.”
While the volume of losses from software piracy was highest in the US, the rate of software piracy there, estimated to be 20%, was the lowest of countries measured in the study. China remained the world’s second biggest location for illegal copying, with an estimated $6.7 billion in pirated software in 2007, up from $5.4 billion a year earlier. China's piracy rate was 82%, according to the report, unchanged from a year earlier.
Russia was at No. 3 with piracy losses estimated at $4.1 billion, up from $2.2 billion a year earlier. Despite the rise, piracy rate in the country declined to 73% from 80% in 2006.
Piracy rate there fell because of sustained prosecutions, continued training of police officers and an effective public information campaign.
©2008/THE NEW YORK TIMES