Pirates Steal $34 Billion in PC Software in 2005
June 12, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
“Grrrr. Aaargh! Tie that scurvy dog to the yardarm!” With so many open source operating systems and office automation programs in the world these days, you might be thinking that software piracy would be a thing of the past. But not so, according to the Business Software Alliance, which estimates that some $34 billion in PC software was pirated from software makers in 2005.
This was an increase of 5 percent compared to the amount of PC software pirated in 2004. Ironically, the rate of piracy was steady, but the amount of PC software sold increased at 5 percent, too. BSA did not say what effect that open source software had had on the piracy rate, but the advent of Linux and OpenOffice have surely been a factor. Still, one in three copies of PC software licenses are, on average, pirated, and as you might imagine, the companies that sell such software are pretty unhappy about it.
The piracy rate (as a percentage of the total value of software sold and stolen) for PC software in the United States was 21 percent in 2005, and the U.S. market accounted for some $6.9 billion in lost revenues to software suppliers. The rate of piracy in China and Pakistan was 86 percent, and it hit 87 percent in Indonesia and 90 percent in Vietnam and Zimbabwe. The piracy rate was 36 percent across Europe, which is consistent with the 35 percent piracy rate worldwide for PC software.
The BSA did not provide software piracy estimates for operating system, middleware, and application software on servers. But it sure would be interesting to see those numbers.