Intellectual property violations in the software industry reached a new high in 2010, increasing 14 percent over the previous year, according to a study published recently by the Business Software Alliance.
The report, entitled 2010 BSA Global Software Piracy Study, found that software piracy cost the software industry approximately $59 billion in 2010, a figure that the organization says has nearly doubled since 2003.
According to the BSA, a key driving force behind the trend is the rapid growth of PC shipments in emerging economies. The organization claimed that the report's findings show that software piracy is escalating despite widespread belief in intellectual property rights.
As part of the report, approximately 15,000 PC users, in 32 countries, were polled about their opinions on software piracy. The study found that the vast majority of users "believe in intellectual property rights and prefer legal software to pirated software."
According to the BSA, a key reason for the rapid growth of piracy is that many people do not realize they are using software illegally.
Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the BSA, said that the software industry is being "robbed blind." According to Holleyman, "the rates of theft are completely out of control" in the world's emerging economies.
"The irony is people everywhere value intellectual property rights, but in many cases they don't understand they are getting their software illegally," he said.