Losses due to the purchase of unlicensed software in Asia-Pacific in 2001 grew by 15.7 per cent in dollar terms to reach $US4.73 billion, according to a study released on Monday by anti-piracy organisation Business Software Alliance.
The rate of piracy in Asia grew from 51 to 54 per cent, BSA said, indicating that more than half of all software installed in 2001 was unlicensed rather than being bought from official sources. Coupled with the growing overall demand for software in the region, losses in Asia-Pacific now account for 44 per cent of total financial losses due to unlicensed software worldwide, according to BSA figures.
The unlicensed software use rate in Asia-Pacific fell steadily from 1994 to 1999, but showed consecutive increases in 2000 and 2001, BSA said.
Asia-Pacific contains countries which recorded among the highest unlicensed software use rates in the world last year, according to BSA estimates. These include Vietnam (94 per cent), China (92 per cent), Indonesia (88 per cent) and Pakistan (83 per cent).
Several countries saw increasing unlicensed software use rates, including India (up from 63 per cent to 70 per cent) and Malaysia (66 to 70 per cent), BSA said.
Sharp declines in unlicensed use rates were seen in Korea (56 down to 48 per cent) and Australia (33 down to 27 per cent). New Zealand retained the region's lowest unlicensed use rate of 26 per cent, according to BSA figures.
Japan accounted for the largest dollar losses at $US1.72 billion ahead of China at $US1.66 billion.
The major source of losses is at companies who copy software for use throughout their organisation beyond the number of licences they have purchased, BSA said.
The BSA study of software piracy 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, and multiplying that figure by the average price of business applications gives the estimated dollar loss.
BSA is a consortium of software vendors including Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec.
International Planning and Research carried out the study on behalf of BSA.