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Piracy rates are the highest in developing nations

Piracy in the digital goods market runs rampant. Music piracy is what typically comes to mind when many consumers think piracy, but software is one of the categories that is targeted by pirates the most. The reason is that software like Windows operating systems and Office productivity suites are desired by many, but the high price puts them out of the reach of users particularly in developing nations.

A new joint report from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and research firm IDC has found that losses to software companies from pirated products have topped the $50 billion mark for the first time ever.

According to the report, headway against piracy is being made by companies, law enforcement officials and governments, but in some areas -- like the U.S. -- anti-piracy efforts have stalled. The sixth annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study found that in 2008 the PC software piracy rate dropped in 57% of 110 countries included in the study. Nearly a third of the countries studied found that the software piracy rate remained the same.

The study claims that the worldwide piracy rate rose for the second year in a row moving from 36% to 41%. The rise in global piracy is mainly attributed to PC shipments growing the fastest in countries like China and India where piracy is much more rampant. China has recently cracked down on software pirates and convicted 11 for pirating Microsoft software.

BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman said, "The bad news is that PC software piracy remains so prevalent in the United States and all over the world. It undermines local IT service firms, gives illegal software users an unfair advantage in business, and spreads security risks. We should not and cannot tolerate a $9 billion hit on the software industry at a time of economic stress."

EWeek reports that the study does note that the global recession has affected the piracy rate to some extent. IDC chief research officer John Gantz said that consumers are keeping old computers longer in the current economy and consumers that hold onto old computers are more likely to install pirated software on the machines.

Gantz said, "Reduced buying power is only one of many factors affecting software piracy. The economic crisis will have an impact – part of it negative, part of it positive – but it may not become fully apparent until the 2009 figures come in."

The positive aspect according to Gantz is that the reduced buying power of the average consumer has them looking at netbooks, which are often bundled with legitimate copies of software. IDC predicts that the piracy rate will only increase with 460 million new internet users coming online in emerging markets over the next five years. These emerging markets are where piracy is most rampant with as much as 90% of software installed on computers being pirated versions.

The countries with the lowest levels of piracy according to the study were the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and Luxembourg -- all with piracy rates near 20%. The countries with the highest percentage of piracy included Armenia, Bangladesh, Georgia, and Zimbabwe -- all with piracy rates over 90%.

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RE: Not Lost Sales
By nosfe on 5/12/2009 1:16:14 PM , Rating: 2
what do you mean 500$? the standard version is over 1k around here and the minimum wage is under 200$ Geee, i wonder why people don't buy it

RE: Not Lost Sales
By Hvordan on 5/12/2009 4:14:59 PM , Rating: 2
What feature of PS does a minimum wage worker need that a cheaper alternative cannot provide?

RE: Not Lost Sales
By JediJeb on 5/12/2009 6:06:49 PM , Rating: 2
All of them, unless you are saying a minimum wage person can not also be a very creative artist wanting to break into the business. Depending on where the person lives this price could be the barrier to becoming a great well known photographer.

RE: Not Lost Sales
By Hvordan on 5/13/2009 10:44:04 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct in that a minimum wage worker can be a creative artist and since I gave the impression that PS would somehow be too sophisticated for a mere minimum wage worker, I apologise.

However, I would suspect most of the users of pirated versions of PS are not creative artists and use it because there is a pirated version available, not because there is a need for it.

What the average person does need is a capable editing program for a decent price, but will not end up buying an alternative because they have access to a "free" version of PS.

RE: Not Lost Sales
By nosfe on 5/13/2009 2:58:18 AM , Rating: 2
minimum wage is a good indicator of where the country's economy is. You can be sure that the average wage isn't higher than in the US but the price of Photoshop is almost double around here.

Here's a nasty thing, the master collection costs 2.5k in the US but it costs 4.5k around here, whats up with that? it would be cheaper to just take a plane to the US, buy it there and come back

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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