This week BSA published the latest edition of its “Global Software Survey” which reveals the various piracy rates around the world. The survey, which only looks at PC software, shows that piracy rates worldwide dropped to 37 percent in 2017, down from 39 percent two years earlier. The commercial value of the pirated software dropped by eight percent, to $46.3 billion globally.
While this is a positive sign for the industry, the BSA is never going to admit that it is winning any fight. The report said “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. Although the overall commercial value of unlicensed software has also been declining, the majority of all countries in the survey still have unlicensed rates of 50 percent or higher.”
In the US, for example, ‘only’ 16 percent of software is used without permission, but in other parts of the world, rates are well over 80 percent. In countries where the average consumer has little money to spend, piracy rates are often very high.
This includes many African countries, such as Libya, where 90 percent of all software is used without permission. The same is true for Eastern Europe and Asia, where Armenia, Belarus, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and others have piracy rates above 80 percent.
What this suggests is not that the BSA should be allowed to nuke such countries from space, but that the price of software in those countries is too high. The BSA moans that software piracy hinder economic growth. At the same time, they could also subject people to malware risks, as more pirated software is correlated with more malware, the group warns. But the reality is that if you are trying to run a publishing company in Bangladesh you cant afford to have all your money allocated to paying the many hundreds of dollars per seat that some software companies are demanding.