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BSA: Software Piracy Cost $50 Billion in 2008

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 49 comments

According to a study by the Business Software Alliance, pirated software accounted for 41 percent of all software used on PCs in 2008, up from 38 percent in 2007.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) released the results of its Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study, conducted by research firm IDC, which found both positive and negative findings.

In 2008 the rate of PC software piracy dropped in 57 of the 110 countries studied, remained the same in 36 countries, and rose in just 16. (The subsets do not add up to 110 because there is no prior year data for one country, Georgia.)

Despite the fact that most countries have falling piracy rates, the worldwide software piracy rate rose for the second year in a row, from 38 percent to 41 percent.

The BSA attributes this rise to growing PC shipments in high-piracy countries such as China and India, which tipped the averages.

The lowest-piracy countries are the United States, Japan, New Zealand, and Luxembourg, all near 20 percent. The highest-piracy countries are Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Zimbabwe, all over 90 percent.

Even though the U.S. only had a piracy rate of 20 percent, it still managed the largest dollar losses from PC software piracy with $9.1 billion in 2008 purely because it is the largest software market in the world. The total monetary value “losses” of unlicensed software to piracy hit a record high $50.2 billion.

“We are continuing to make significant progress against PC software piracy, which helps people working in the IT industry as well as the wider economy and society. That’s the good news,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent all over the world. It undermines local IT service firms, gives illegal software users an unfair advantage in business, and spreads security risks.

The BSA also said that software piracy “increases the risk of cyber crime and security problems,” and gave the example of “the recent global spread of the Conficker virus has been attributed in part to the lack of automatic security updates for unlicensed software.”

The Alliance backed up its claim by saying that in a 2006 study, the IDC found that “29 percent of Web sites and 61 percent of peer-to-peer sites offering pirated software tried to infect test computers with ‘Trojans,’ spyware, keyloggers, and other tools of identity theft.”

Check out the full report here (PDF).

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    solymnar , May 14, 2009 11:32 PM
    Saying that pirated software was used d/not = software sales lost.

    Someday these analysts will get a clue on that.
  • 11 Hide
    matt87_50 , May 15, 2009 12:31 AM
    if ppl all of a sudden couldn't pirate software, they would just use the free-ware equivalents. the software market is the same as any other market (that doesn't have some horrible monopoly) you don't tell us how much something costs, we, the consumer decide how much something is worth.
  • 10 Hide
    Hitokage , May 14, 2009 11:57 PM
    Bullshitter's Anonymous?

    If someone pirates something, they had no intention of paying for it, you didn't lose a sale, you just didn't make one.
Other Comments
  • -3 Hide
    jsloan , May 14, 2009 11:10 PM
    can anyone say china, india, ect...
  • 3 Hide
    danimal_the_animal , May 14, 2009 11:16 PM
    "Crickets chirping"
  • 16 Hide
    solymnar , May 14, 2009 11:32 PM
    Saying that pirated software was used d/not = software sales lost.

    Someday these analysts will get a clue on that.
  • 8 Hide
    dragonfang18 , May 14, 2009 11:33 PM
    ARRRG! Keep it up me mateees! ARRRRG!
  • 0 Hide
    SAL-e , May 14, 2009 11:41 PM
    Ha. I was wandering why we have so many propaganda news this week. The BSA is back with their studies. How much the dirty pirates are costing us?! I have simple math task for everyone to solve. Let accept that the "losses" are really $50.2 billion and there is magic that allows to remove the "piracy" this will result in $50.2 billion less money spend for hardware because software and hardware are complementary products. How much the software sells will drop if less hardware is sold?
    The numbers of those studies is very questionable. They have only single purpose to full the propaganda in order to request more protections for failing business model. Selling copies in today reality is doomed. The software companies need to find new business model.
  • 8 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , May 14, 2009 11:45 PM
    Do they realize most people wouldnt buy the software if they didnt get it illegally? If i didnt pirate microsoft word, i would use open office. If i didnt pirate all my games, i would play online games. Only a few things are worth it, those are the things that make money

    If games went $50 may i would buy a couple. If photoshop wasnt $700
    i would probably buy it, it would have to come down to about $50 maybe.
  • 2 Hide
    Dave K , May 14, 2009 11:52 PM
    I think if some magic came about that made pirating impossible you'd see software sales go up slightly short term. Long term you very well might see sales DECREASE relatively as the advancement of computing in third world countries slowed. The VAST VAST majority of people pirating software would never buy it so they might as well be making up their "we lost this much" number.

    I think the way the software industry SHOULD look at the problem is as an indication that they need to think of more affordable ways to market their product.
  • -1 Hide
    sdgamer , May 14, 2009 11:53 PM
    Lies, damn lies, and statistics....

    How do we quantify speculation?
  • 6 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , May 14, 2009 11:55 PM
    Hello, how can I help you?
    Visitor: Hi, I would like to know why photoshop is $700
    Randy: Hi there.
    Randy: I'll be glad to help you with that.
    Visitor: Thank you
    Randy: Are you referring to Photoshop CSI'll stay online while you place the order.
    Visitor: Yes, I want to know why it is so exspensive, thats almost as much as my computer.
    Randy: Please be informed that you will get $50 as discount if you place the order now.
    Randy: Would you like to place the order for it now?
    Visitor: I need it for school, is there any way to get it cheaper?
    Randy: May I know whether you are a higher education student or a teacher or K-12 student?
    Visitor: I am a senior in high school
    Randy: Okay.
    Randy: Let me check that for you.
    Visitor: Thank you
    Randy: The full version of Photoshop CS4 Extended is priced at US $299.
    Randy: Shall I forward the direct link to purchase it?
    Visitor: Im a student, I live on my own, and I cannot afford that price?
    Randy: Let me check that for you.
    Randy: The full version of Photoshop CS4 Extended is priced at US $199 under student version.
    Randy: Shall I forward the direct link to purchase it?
    Visitor: Yes thank you

    Lol brought it down to $200
  • 10 Hide
    Hitokage , May 14, 2009 11:57 PM
    Bullshitter's Anonymous?

    If someone pirates something, they had no intention of paying for it, you didn't lose a sale, you just didn't make one.
  • 2 Hide
    outacontrolpimp , May 14, 2009 11:58 PM
    Adobe Font Folio 11
    * Upgrade from US $1,599.00
    * Full from US $2,599.00
    Exactly my point, $2,600 for some fonts.

  • 1 Hide
    chaosgs , May 15, 2009 12:01 AM
    "If someone pirates something, they had no intention of paying for it, you didn't lose a sale, you just didn't make one."

    Not only is that true, but i wander how and where they get those numbers? I didn't know they were counting and i don't know how they count those numbers.
  • -6 Hide
    silversurfernhs , May 15, 2009 12:26 AM
    50 billion not going to the rich guys imo
  • 1 Hide
    hemelskonijn , May 15, 2009 12:28 AM
    Only 30 percent in the netherlands according to the chart, imho that not to shabby knowing that 28 percent of the dutch people cant afford to buy descent software on a regular base.

    The again i guess its about busyness software ... which can be translated to a lot of people running a pirated version of windows XP on their home computers (according to an article in a magazine a bit back about 48 percent).

    Imagine all these 48 percent of the windows xp users switching to BSD or Linux based systems which are way more affordable.
    And now imagine when will the big software vendors lose more money if every one ran pirated but common software or when they run free and open source software ?
  • 11 Hide
    matt87_50 , May 15, 2009 12:31 AM
    if ppl all of a sudden couldn't pirate software, they would just use the free-ware equivalents. the software market is the same as any other market (that doesn't have some horrible monopoly) you don't tell us how much something costs, we, the consumer decide how much something is worth.
  • 1 Hide
    crisisavatar , May 15, 2009 1:55 AM
    matt87_50if ppl all of a sudden couldn't pirate software, they would just use the free-ware equivalents. the software market is the same as any other market (that doesn't have some horrible monopoly) you don't tell us how much something costs, we, the consumer decide how much something is worth.


    I like that line of thinking +1
  • 2 Hide
    Harby , May 15, 2009 2:10 AM
    Thats a load of crap.

    90% of the people that download stuff like adobe photoshop and the likes are people that would never buy it in the first place.

    So no, illegal downloads != lost sales
  • 6 Hide
    Sicundercover , May 15, 2009 2:29 AM
    So the failing economy is responsible for all other forms of business losing money but products built by 1's and 0's isnt effected by it?

    So they are saying they didnt lose money for the same reasons many others have but instead its due to piracy?

    Ok, let me try this again. When the automotive business goes under its the economy, but when the digital industry loses money its because of Piracy?

    Wait Wait, Im still not getting it. Did internet Pirates cause Crysler to go bankrupt?
  • 1 Hide
    foody , May 15, 2009 3:06 AM
    Companies like Adobe should almost be happy people are doing this. The people and companies that actually NEED these products generally buy them anyway while average people like you and me give these products a lot of good rep. I know if software Adobe Photoshop and Sony Vegas weren't potentially free, most people wouldn't know or care about them at all. This raises more interest in the subject which potentially results in more people going into career fields utilizing these products because an interest was sparked from a torrent. But it is still stealing... maybe 50/50 good and bad eh?
  • 1 Hide
    megamanx00 , May 15, 2009 4:01 AM
    Many people who pirate software may well not have bought it anyway. Yes software piracy is a problem and causes lost sales, but just how much seems inflated some what.
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