San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Software Piracy Rates Down Here, Up in Region

LATIN America pirated 66% of thesoftware it used in 2004, up from the previousyear and a figure almost twice theworld average, according to a study publishedlast month. This means that two inthree copies of software installed on theregion’s computers last year wereobtained illegally.The study suggests Costa Rica is theonly one of the 18 Latin American countriesstudied in which piracy rates dropped lastyear, from 68% in 2003 to 67% in 2004.The study, published by the BusinessSoftware Alliance (BSA) and carried outby the technological research firmInternational Data Corporation (IDC),also says regional economic losses resultingfrom the crime increased from $1.26billion in 2003 to almost $1.55 billion lastyear.Seven Latin American countries areamong the 20 top nations in the world forsoftware piracy: Paraguay (83%); Bolivia,El Salvador and Nicaragua (each 80%);Venezuela (79%); Guatemala (78%) andthe Dominican Republic (77%).“Every copy of software used withoutproper licensing costs tax revenue, jobsand growth opportunities for burgeoningsoftware markets,” said BSA presidentRobert Holleyman.About one-third of all software used isillegally copied, but over the next fiveyears, that percentage could double, withthe value of pirated software nearing $200billion.The study estimates total revenue lossesworldwide because of software piracyat $33 billion in 2004.The software piracy rate in LatinAmerica is higher than that in the otherfive regions included in the study. Thenon-European Union countries had a rateof 61%, the Middle East and Africa 58%,the Asia-Pacific region 53%, the EuropeanUnion 35% and North America 22%.BSA announced its intention to redoubleefforts to better educate people aboutthe assorted costs of the crime as a meansto confront the growing availability –mainly via the Internet – of pirated software.To carry out the study, IDC used analystsin more than 50 countries to evaluateconditions in the local computer markets,but also incorporated its own statistics onsoftware exports and more than 7,000interviews performed in 23 countries.

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