Pirated Software Dips 37 Percent, But Is Still Commonly Used

The Software Alliance (BSA) published “Global Software Survey,” the latest edition of its report on pirated software, which reveals that the use of pirated PC software declined 37 percent in 2017, down from 39 percent two years ago. The report also states that the value of pirated software dropped 8 percent to $46.3 billion worldwide. BSA, which supports Adobe, Microsoft, Symantec and other software companies via legal action and lobbying, said that piracy is still widespread in some countries.

TorrentFreak reports, for example, that 90 percent of the software in Libya is pirated. “Despite a global two-point drop in unlicensed software installation rates during the last two years, unlicensed software is still being used around the globe at alarming rates, accounting for 37 percent of software installed on personal computers,” stated BSA. “The majority of all countries in the survey still have unlicensed rates of 50 percent or higher.”

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In fact, the rates vary dramatically country-by-country. In the U.S., 16 percent of software is used without permission but “in countries where the average consumer has little money to spend, piracy rates are often very high.” That’s why there are higher rates of piracy in many African countries as well as those in Eastern Europe and Asia, including “Armenia, Belarus, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and others” with piracy rates above 80 percent.

These high piracy rates stymie economic growth, said BSA, and “could also subject people to malware risks, as more pirated software is correlated with more malware.” The African Governance and Development Institute, however, said high piracy rates “increases literacy and the spread of knowledge,” and, in 2017, then-Romanian president Traian Băsescu told Bill Gates that pirated software helped his people develop computer skills and “improve their creative capacity in the IT industry.”

For that reason, BSA focuses more on discouraging piracy by emphasizing security risks, “while encouraging governments to modernize laws, facilitate enforcement, and increase public awareness.”