One in three software programs in the world is pirated? Might be, according to a study by the Business Software Alliance.
Among key findings:
-The piracy rate in the Asia/Pacific region was 53 percent, with dollar losses totaling more than $7.5 billion.
-In Eastern Europe, the piracy rate was 71 percent, with dollar losses at more than $2.1 billion.
-In Western Europe, the rate was 36 percent, and dollar losses totaled $9.6 billion.
-The average rate across Latin American countries was 63 percent, with losses totaling nearly $1.3 billion.
-In the Middle Eastern and African countries, the rate was 56 percent on average, with losses totaling more than $1 billion.
-In North America, the piracy rate was 23 percent. The losses totaled more than $7.2 billion.
Here's a link to an English-Language version of the study. (UPDATE: The link was bad. A link to a PDF of the study is on the right hand side of this page.)
The process to fight piracy is a good example of what Taggert has identified as arms races. The ongoing dance between those seeking better protection and those looking for ways to break the protection could last for a while, with no clear winner. Harping on my continual comparison, we need only think of the drug war to see the potential for long-term, high-cost efforts on both sides that ultimately result in the same outcome we have now: for those who want it, pirated software will be possible, and one it is, it will be made available to others at far lower cost than the original privacy breaking. The payoffs of breaking the protection are high enough to insure some people will do so, with the frequency of such an event increasing as the certainty of being caught diminshes as happens in places with softer intellectual property laws.
Of course, making code open-source across the board could be one major swipe against piracy. Delivery methods are more proprietary, harder to recreate, and far more controllable in the long run. Code can be had, but help installing it, good tech support, documentation, free updates, and more; well, that just might cost you. Digital music could be cheap, but a blank CD might run you 10 bucks a pop. Could it be that content, in the digital age, is simply becoming a commodity?