As many as 57 per cent of computer users are running pirated software, according to a new study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
According to the BSA report, an estimated $63.4bn-worth of software was pirated last year. As much as 34 per cent of global software piracy comes from Western Europe but most of the damage is being done in emerging economies such as China.
"The commercial value of software piracy is growing steadily," BSA director of communications Randolph Court told V3.
"That is because the emerging economies of the developing world are exerting greater influence on the global IT market."
The study shows that mature markets including the UK see far less piracy than emerging ones. Court blamed China's refusal to enforce harsher piracy laws for the discrepancy.
China is a rapidly growing market and according to the BSA has a 77 per cent piracy rate. The Chinese government has vowed to make improvements to their privacy law practices but have so far been slow to change.
"The piracy rate in China needs to come down much faster than it has been and legal software sales need to go way up," said Court.
China's illegal software market is worth close to $9 billion, but its legal software market is worth less than $3 billion.
The BSA report arrives as the debate over how to stop internet piracy heats up. Last month, the UK high court ordered leading internet providers to block access to file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.
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