Global software piracy up 14 percent to $59 billion

The commercial value of pirated software has nearly doubled since 2003, jumping 14 percent in 2010 to nearly $59 billion.

While the overall piracy rate dropped last year by one percent to 42 percent it was still the second highest on record, according to a report published today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

Consumers across the world spent $95 billion on legitimate PC software, but according to the BSA this was offset by every dollar being spent on legally acquired software being matched by 63 cents worth of unlicensed pirated software.

The study showed that emerging economies accounted for over half of the pirated software, with a commercial value of $31.9 billion.

Central and Eastern Europe were alongside Latin America as the most likely to flout licensing laws, with 64 percent of PC software being pirated, while the Asia Pacific region also had a high rate with 60 percent of software.

This was followed by the Middle East which saw 58 percent of software not being paid for.

North America meanwhile held 21 percent, while Western Europe had a rate of 33 percent.

The US and Japan were tied for the lowest rate last year at 20 percent, though interestingly the US still actually came out top for commercial value of pirated software, with an estimated $9.5 billion.

China meanwhile saw $7.8 billion worth of pilfered software flood its market, while Russia saw $2.8 billion.

The highest rate for one nation was Georgia, a country possibly populated entirely by swashbuckling seafarers who laugh heartily in the face of licensing laws, with a massive 93 percent of pirated software accrued.

The most common method for consumers to flout anti-piracy laws, according to the report, was to pass on a copy of software to multiple users.

51 percent of PC users surveyed thought that such distribution was not illegal, something which the BSA believes we all need to be educated about in order to function as more law abiding citizens. Ah.

Public opinion sided largely with supporting intellectual property, as the report would say, with seven out of ten PC users taking the hard-nosed capitalist opinion that innovators should be paid something in return for their efforts.