Software piracy continues to be a major problem worldwide, particularly in Russia and Asia.
According to a report released this week by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), worldwide piracy for 1998 was estimated to cost industry $11 billion last year.
Of the 615 million new business software applications installed worldwide during 1998, 231 million or 38 per cent were pirated. This represents an increase of 2.5 million more applications than were pirated in 1997.
The study estimates that in Russia, China, Indonesia and Vietnam more than nine out of 10 software applications are pirated. In Western Europe, the largest dollar losses to software piracy occurred in Germany ($479 million), the UK ($465 million) and France ($425 million).
Highest piracy rates were in Greece (74 per cent), Spain (57 per cent) and Ireland (56 per cent). The average piracy rate in Western Europe declined by three percentage points, from 39 per cent in 1997 to 36 per cent in 1998.
"Software piracy continues to be a significant problem around the world, costing millions in lost revenue and many hundreds of thousand of lost jobs," according to Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive, Business Software Alliance.
"It is unconscionable to think that the high rate of software theft worldwide would or should be tolerated. Clearly, further education and effective enforcement is necessary, but the BSA also calls on governments throughout the world to take a position of leadership when it comes to software ethics and legislation efforts,"
"The results of this latest study clearly indicate we still have a long way to go in eliminating software piracy around the world," said Ken Wasch, president of the Software & Information Industry Association. "Our attitude remains the same: zero tolerance for software pirates".
Although piracy still remains a big problem in China, both groups said they had gone along way to getting factories that duplicate pirated software on CD-Roms closed down, thanks to pressure from the US government on the Chinese government. They agreed, however that Russia still remains a huge problem.
Both groups called on US Congress to ensure that levels of statutory damages that can be imposed on software pirates are increased. "It's time to make life intolerable for software pirates," Wasch said.
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