A major study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC) for the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has found that 36% of software in use worldwide was pirated in 2003, representing a loss of nearly $29 billion to the software industry.
The study found that while $80 billion in software was installed on computers worldwide last year, only $51 billion was legally purchased.
In a country by country breakdown, the IDC study revealed that the piracy rate was highest in Eastern Europe at 71%, with dollar losses at more than $2.1 billion. In Western Europe, the rate was less at 36%, but dollar losses were even higher at $9.6 billion.
The study found that the size of a regional software market is the critical link between piracy rates and actual dollars lost. For instance, 91% of software installed in the Ukraine in 2003 was pirated, as compared to 30% in the UK.
But dollar losses in the UK ($1.6 billion) were about 17 times higher than those in the Ukraine ($92.1 million) because there is a much larger total PC software market in the UK than in the Ukraine.
In the Asia/Pacific region, the rate was 53%, with dollar losses totalling more than $7.5 billion. The average rate across Latin American countries was 63% with losses totalling nearly $1.3 billion. In the Middle Eastern and African countries, the rate was 56% on average, with losses totalling more than $1 billion.
In North America, the piracy rate was 23% and losses totalled more than $7.2 billion.