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A plateau in software pirates' pillage.

Software piracy still runs rampant, invoking fear in the hearts of publishers. But according to the results of a study done by the Software Publishers Association (SPA), smoother sailing may lie ahead. In the United States, $2.4 billion was lost to software piracy in 1990, down from $2.5 billion in 1989 and $2.9 billion in 1988.

Although the loss to piracy exceeds previous estimates, over the last four years business software units sold per hardware unit increased for both the DOS and Macintosh markets.

"Though the study documents serious problems," says David Bradford, chairman of the SPA's Copyright Protection Fund, "we are encouraged by indications that piracy rates seem to have dipped recently, coinciding with intensified efforts by the industry to educate computer users about software copyright infringement and their legal obligations."

Note, though, that these piracy estimates are conservative. In the study, each unit of software sold is compared to a PC purchased in the same year. However, users of older PCs presumably purchase a portion of that-software. Had that been taken into account, the ratio of software to hardware sold would decline, reflecting a larger loss to piracy.

Business Software Units Sold Per CPU
 (US Sales)
 Macintosh DOS
 1987 2.03 1.31
 1988 2.88 1.47
 1989 2.87 1.57
 1990 2.55 1.78

Expected Ratios: Macintosh, 5 units/CPU; DOS, 3units/CPU

Amount of Piracy by US Business Software Users
 Macintosh DOS TOTAL
1987 $219 million $2.1 billion $2.3 billion
1988 $298 million $2.6 billion $2.9 billion
1989 $299 million $2.2 billion $2.5 billion
1990 $535 million $1.9 billion $2.4 billion

Data obtained from the following sources: SPA Publishers Software Sales Report, Dataquest, and other industry sources. Calculations were derived by multiplying the shortfall between the actual and expected software unit purchases per CPU by the average price of a business software package.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:software piracy statistics
Publication:Security Management
Date:Dec 1, 1991
Previous Article:Good guys and bad guys - who's who?
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