Half of world prefers stealing software to buying it

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) really must be upset, because it’s just put out an announcement that about half of the world is using illegal software.

Not just once or twice – “most or all the time”, it says. Using Ipsos Public Affairs for research, it questioned 15,000 PC owners in 32 countries and assumed the figures it got could be accurately scaled. 

The survey finds that the emerging markets are the highest for software theft. In its statement, the BSA doesn’t examine quite why pirated copies are profligate, but perhaps it has something to do with income and very expensive proprietary intellectual property.

Not so, says the BSA. It’s because they’re ignorant. “Significant majorities of software pirates in developing markets incorrectly believe that typically illegal means of acquiring software are, in fact, legal” it says in a statement. It thinks the answer is to take a hard line on IP law enforcement and education.

The biggest pirates are still in China. China is aware that it has a ‘problem’ with piracy and has recently made attempts to go public on a crack-down, but critics argue that it’s an inherent and strongly rooted issue that won’t shift.

India is surprisingly low, but it depends who they asked.

While the West does appear on the list it is more savvy and enthusiastic about open source and free software, which we’re guessing this BSA group isn’t crazy about either.