Global software piracy levels dipped slightly last year, bucking a previously upward trend, according to industry lobby group, the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The amount of pirated software worldwide fell by one percentage point to 39 per cent in 2002 as a result of improved education and more aggressive moves to prevent the distribution of illegal copies of applications online.
This follows two years of rises that were blamed partly on increases in internet-based piracy. While the global piracy rate has dropped from 49 per cent in 1994, the year of the BSA’s first study, to 36 per cent in 1999, it grew again to 40 per cent in 2001.
Robert Holleyman, the BSA’s president and chief executive, said the main source of piracy was still those businesses that purchase one copy of a package legally but install it illegally to run on multiple unauthorised computers.
Despite the improvement, however, he warned that the struggle to combat software theft was far from over. It cost the industry $13 billion in lost sales last year, some $2 billion more than in 2001 due to the weakness of the dollar.
North America and Western Europe continued to have the lowest piracy rates at 24 per cent and 35 per cent respectively, whereas Eastern European countries such as Russia and the Ukraine and Asia Pacific countries such as China and Vietnam showed piracy levels of more than 90 per cent.