Despite all efforts by the industry to fight software piracy, the use of unlicensed software is still a widespread problem. According to a recent report published by the Business Software Alliance, 39 percent of software installed on PCs around the world in 2015 was not properly licensed, costing the industry billions in lost revenues. In the United States alone, the commercial value of unlicensed software installed in 2015 amounts to $9 billion, with worldwide damages estimated to be five times as high. The rate of unlicensed software varies widely across different regions, as our chart illustrates. Unlawful use of software is particularly widespread in China, Russia and Indonesia.
Besides being illegal, using unlicensed software comes with another risk: the BSA found a strong correlation between unlicensed software and malware. According to BSA’s analysis, those who use unlicensed PC software are significantly more likely to run into problems with malware at some point. This finding is particularly important to businesses trying to minimize vulnerability to cyberattacks. According to industry estimates, a successful cyberattack costs the affected organization $11 million on average, and that is not counting the potential reputational fallout should customer data be compromised.
This chart shows the commercial value of unlicensed software used in selected markets around the world.