Software Piracy Dipped Slightly Last Year

By Agence France-Presse The global piracy rate for commercial software dipped slightly last year to 39% from 40% a year earlier, according to an industry study, which called the drop encouraging. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) survey on global software piracy released June 5 said the drop was the first since 1999. And it said the piracy rate is now 10 percentage points below the 1994 record of 49%. Still, the survey showed dollar losses due to software piracy increased 19% in 2002 to $13.08 billion. But worldwide, every country except Zimbabwe reduced its rate of piracy since 1994, the year in which the study was first commissioned, and the U.S. piracy rate hit an all-time low of 23% -- the lowest in the world. "It is welcoming news to learn that the worldwide software piracy problem has improved significantly since the release of the first study," said Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive of BSA. "We attribute this trend to the industry's success in implementing educational programs, working with governments to strengthen copyright laws and emphasizing good software asset management businesses practices that contribute to a safe and legal digital world." But Holleyman said piracy remains a rampant problem that makes it hard for companies to invest in new development of software. "It's critical to recognize that the industry is facing a spiraling Internet piracy problem," he said. Some countries still had a high rate of piracy, including Vietnam, where 95% of software was unauthorized in 2002, up from 94% in 2001, and Ukraine, with a 90% rate, up from 88% a year earlier. On a regional basis, North America's piracy rate was 24%, followed by Western Europe (35%); Middle East and Africa (49%); Asia-Pacific (55%); and Eastern Europe (71%). BSA is a Washington, D.C.-based international association representing software publishers. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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