Global software piracy cost $10.97 billion in 2001, down from $11.75 billion in 2000, claims the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an anti-piracy organization.

The BSA’s latest study estimates the use of unlicensed software in 85 countries by comparing the amount of legal software supplied to a country with the anticipated demand for software in that country. The difference between the two figures represents the number of unlicensed applications; multiplying that figure by the average price of business applications gives the estimated dollar loss.

Though estimated worldwide dollar loss fell by 6.7 per cent in 2001, the use of unlicensed software worldwide grew from a rate of 37 per cent in 2000 to 40 per cent in 2001. Four out of every ten programs used worldwide are unlicensed, BSA claims.

Loss-rates The Asia-Pacific market accounted for the largest losses at $4.7 billion – 54 per cent of software used is unlicensed.

Losses in Western Europe amounted to $2.7 billion, with an unlicensed-use rate of 37 per cent. The highest piracy rates were in Greece (64 per cent), Spain (49 per cent), and France (46 per cent) while dollar losses were biggest in Germany, France, and Italy, according to the study.

North America has the lowest unlicensed use rate at 26 per cent, with total losses estimated at $1.9 billion in 2001. Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Middle East/Africa all had unlicensed-use rates of over 50 per cent, according to the BSA study. Eastern Europe’s rate of 67 per cent is the highest of all the regions, BSA said.

Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO, believes that software piracy robs the global economy of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and billions of dollars in wages and tax revenues.

BSA is a consortium of software vendors including: Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Microsoft, and Symantec.