BSA: Piracy costs software industry over $50 billion in 2009

By on May 11, 2010, 2:55 PM
According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), software pirates snatched more than $50 billion straight out of developers' pockets last year. The organization's annual report says that some 43% of all software used on computers worldwide in 2009 was pirated, up from 41% in the year prior. In total, the firm believes piracy losses amounted to $51.4 billion. That slight growth in software theft is mostly attributed to the rapidly expanding PC market in countries such as Brazil, India, and China.

The highest piracy rate was found in Georgia, where an estimated 95% of all software installed was illegal. Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Moldova, Armenia, and Yemen followed with 90% to 92% of software being illegitimate. The US, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Australia had the lowest piracy rates, with figures ranging between 20 and 25%. The Asia-Pacific region in general pirated an estimated 59% of all software, supposedly costing the industry $16.5 billion.

Obviously not every pirated copy translates to a lost sale. Considering that and other factors, we don't have to tell you that these numbers should be taken with a degree of skepticism, but we will anyway: Take these numbers with a degree of skepticism!




User Comments: 19

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Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

All I can say is "what utter rubish!"

matrix86 matrix86 said:

OH NOES! 50 BILLION DOLLARS!!! Looks like the CEOs are going to have to downgrade from their 5 Ferrrari's and 200 million dollar mansions. HOW WILL THEY EVER SURVIVE!?!?

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Cue the obligatory post by TomSEA proclaiming with 50% accurate guesswork (+/- two standard deviations) that the $51.4bn is in actuality underreported by at least X% * in five.....four....three....

(* Where X is any random number that pops into his head)

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

I take this whole article with a degree in skepticism. The BSA is nothing more than an alliance of major software developers as shown by my link.

[link]

Of course these guys are going to inflate big numbers. There is absolutely no way to tell exactly how much damage piracy has really done because these software companies make up numbers to gain sympathy.

"The highest piracy rate was found in Georgia, where an estimated 95% of all software installed was illegal. Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Moldova, Armenia, and Yemen followed with 90% to 92% of software being illegitimate. The US, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, and Australia had the lowest piracy rates, with figures ranging between 20 and 25%. The Asia-Pacific region in general pirated an estimated 59% of all software, supposedly costing the industry $16.5 billion"

Ignoring the numbers, do you notice a pattern? Piracy is taking place the most in countries where software is not readily available or offered.

"Obviously not every pirated copy translates to a lost sale." ....exactly. This is just made up hysteria by software companies. This article (while I wouldn't believe the exact figures) [link] said in the US alone, the US spent around 20 BILLION on games alone. So wouldn't that leave around 30 BILLION left unaccounted? So why wouldn't they just say "we lost 30 BILLION"? Because they want to make it sound worse than it is.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

Darkshadoe said:

There is absolutely no way to tell exactly how much damage piracy has really done because these software companies make up numbers to gain sympathy.

Precisely Funny how they come up with all these reports on how much money was lost due to pirating alone, yet we never see those reports. There's no doubt piracy puts a dent into the pockets of these companies, but is it really enough to to worry about? Doubt it.

AfricanTech said:

pfft! fantasy numbers - probably 0.5% of these "pirates" woud buy the software if they could not "pirate" it. Look at where your highest levels of "piracy" exist - the poorest countries in the world i.e. people who cannot afford to buy at the "first world prices". Albeit subjective and based on my personal experience only, there is a marked increase in the environment around me of people switching to Ubuntu and Open Office - previously the people who I now observe running Ubuntu and OO would have "pirated" Windows and MS Office.

Timonius Timonius said:

If software were released with no international restrictions, that is released on the same day literally everywhere this would reduce software piracy. As it stands this does not always happen for various reasons and someone somewhere has to wait 6 months for a legit version to show up on their shores. Of course, if they are impatient, they will snag a pirated copy. And when it finally does hit their shores the price is too high and the sales are too low leading to the publisher not taking that region seriously for sales and release dates.

On another note. Who says that 'every' pirated copy is translated into loss of sales. Most developers can't be bothered with demo versions (or even trial versions) of their software (due to cost, time, and support restrictions). So one would 'pirate' the copy, artificially inflating the pirated numbers, to try out the software and later purchase it if it is worth the price.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Obviously not every pirated copy translates to a lost sale."

While that is no doubt true, it conveniently allows people to blow off the fact there there ARE in fact sales that are lost due to piracy. Funny how everyone wants to ignore that little caveat while regurgitating their usual lame excuses to pirate.

Everyone here knows where I stand on piracy, I'm not going to rehash it all. But I look at these figures as skeptical as I did the sales figures in the earlier article. The only thing for sure is piracy is considerably more prevalent in the eastern European and Asian nations than anywhere else. I took a business trip to Singapore, China about two years ago and there are street markets with dozens of stalls filled with nothing but pirated software. It was unbelievable. Windows Vista 64-bit Ultimate Editions for $20 - any game you could possibly imagine for $5 - $10. All with authentic installation codes. Crazy stuff.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

matrix86 said:

OH NOES! 50 BILLION DOLLARS!!! Looks like the CEOs are going to have to downgrade from their 5 Ferrrari's and 200 million dollar mansions. HOW WILL THEY EVER SURVIVE!?!?

Simple they'll fire more employees.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well Eastern Europe has a long history of copying things, not due to the desire to steal, but rather that was the only way you could obtain certain/most songs/books/movies. So now that its available, most people just prefer to do it the old fashioned way. Old habits die hard.

And as far as patent law and Asia are concerned, I think those are mutually exclusive concepts.

Guest said:

All I can say is this - I want that button on my new keyboard

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

... I took a business trip to Singapore, China about two years ago and there are street markets with dozens of stalls filled with nothing but pirated software. It was unbelievable. Windows Vista 64-bit Ultimate Editions for $20 - any game you could possibly imagine for $5 - $10. All with authentic installation codes. Crazy stuff.

Whoa, you must have made out like a bandit ! Although $20 for Vista seems a little pricey to me...unless they were throwing in a free Rolex

In related news...Singapore Airlines and China Southern Airlines reported a sudden upsurge in air ticket and two-day hotel accomodation requests.

tengeta tengeta said:

Smoke crack?

Who the hell would actually buy most the stuff they stole? Lets just be serious here? Yeah, almost no one would buy any of it. Maybe Windows, maybe a couple of games.

Does it justify it... not really, but it also makes a statistic like this more like... well modern statistics, complete BS.

RealXboxMaster said:

China, Hong Kong , Korea are among the BIGGEST pirates of all. They clone our hardware Software, handbags, movies , games..etc. Don't blame us just because the "Internet" is @ full speed and esposed to billions of user who download thier pirated software, movies,games...etc.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

tengeta said:

Smoke crack?

Who the hell would actually buy most the stuff they stole? Lets just be serious here? Yeah, almost no one would buy any of it. Maybe Windows, maybe a couple of games.

Does it justify it... not really, but it also makes a statistic like this more like... well modern statistics, complete BS.

I don't steal an awful lot as i can usually pay for it, however I do buy stuff I first stole, for example, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, i first got off a bit torrent website and installed it, then brought it a month later.

jink said:

Probably about 3% out of any of the "free" software I have on my computer I *might* pay for if necessary but most likely use a freeware alternative or not at all. I think I'm pretty much like every one else - so -

a) Loss = 50 * .03 = ~ 1.7 Billion dollars . i consider this an almost superfluous amount relative to the industry size.

b) The industry needs to consider the effects of anti-piracy measures on sales. Let's just say the more money they put into anti-piracy, the more this investment ends up supporting freeware alternatives.

Guest said:

"out of developers" ahhaa hahaha aha like im going to belive it...

Guest said:

they lost 50 billion $..... they did not loose it, they just didn't win it. "instead of $100 billion profit, i made only $50 billion so i lost 50" that is how a CEO thinks

w1n74mas0ch1sm w1n74mas0ch1sm said:

Lame

Fabricating "stats" is sooo much easier than actually expending time and effort

Who is lowering the bar?

Or are people becoming more cretinous? How "credible" do people believe the Business Software Alliance to be? with their PFA numbers? [Pulled From Air: the not-crude version].

Eighty quadragillionbazillion dollars lost this week to elven teen piracy!

Piracy kills kittens!!

Save the kittens or puppies will die!

...

when did FAILING to earn become synonymous with losing?

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