According to a study performed by IDC for the Business Software Alliance, global software piracy is increasing. The study shows that in 2008, 41% of all PC software installed was pirated, resulting in an purported loss of $53 billion to companies. This compares to the 2007 figures, showing 38% of software having been stolen. All the while, global sales of PC software rose by 14% last year to $88 billion.

Surprisingly, piracy in the United States only accounts for about 20% of the total market, the least worldwide, according to CEO of the BSA, Robert Holleyman. Despite that fact, he says, the US has the highest single dollar loss. The bulk of the theft is attributed to small businesses, where they might run 50 PCs and only pay for the rights to install software on 25 of those systems. Other countries in the lower percentile include Japan at 21%, New Zealand at 22% and Australia at 26%.

A few of the countries that saw declines in piracy includes China, who went from 90% in 2004 to 80% last year, and Russia who dropped a total of 5% last year, to 68%. The improvement in China is collectively because the government decided to use legitimate software and ISPs have cooperated in combating piracy. Countries with piracy rates of 90% or higher include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Georgia, Moldova, Sri Landa and Zimbabwe.