Manufacturing Tops Software Piracy List

The retail value of pirated PC software was $9.1 billion in the United States alone in 2008, and $53 billion globally, according to a recent report from the Business Software Alliance.

Manufacturing tops the list of Top 10 U.S. industries with the highest number of reports of personal computer (PC) software piracy during 2008, according to a recent report by the Business Software Alliance (BSA, The BSA identified the Top 10 industries based on confidential reports of software piracy that the organization receives via its Web site and its toll-free hotline, 1-888-NO-PIRACY.

The theft and illegal use of software is a serious national and global problem, the BSA said. Software piracy strains technology companies’ ability to innovate and create jobs, harms local information technology (IT) services firms, saps government tax revenues, and increases the risk of cyber crime and security problems. Because 65 percent of all software in use worldwide in 2008 was of U.S. origin, software piracy has its largest impacts on the U.S. economy, the organization said. 

Confidential reports

On behalf of its member companies—software providers and their hardware company partners—BSA solicits and receives more than 2,500 confidential reports of PC software piracy each year from informants across the United States. The Top 10 industries most cited in confidential software piracy reports to BSA by actual informants in 2008 were:

1.    Manufacturing
2.    Sales/Distribution
3.    Service (general category)
4.    Financial Services
5.    Software Development
6.    IT Consulting
7.    Medical
8.    Engineering
9.    School/Education
10.    Consulting

“Managers in these industries need to know that PC software piracy is illegal and highly risky,” said BSA President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Holleyman. “Whether it occurs deliberately or by accident, software piracy significantly increases financial, legal and information security risks for the companies involved. The security risks also affect customers and the general public. In the midst of the current economic situation, we simply cannot afford to jeopardize the security of our most critical industries.”  

Cash rewards

The BSA data also show that the median age of informants is 36. Approximately 77 percent identify themselves as information technology personnel, and the rest are mostly sales personnel, managers, and audio/visual technicians.  In 2008, BSA said it distributed more than $136,000 in cash rewards to 42 individuals as a result of the solid information they provided on software piracy.  

According to the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Report (, an estimated 20 percent of the software programs installed in the United States in 2008 were unauthorized copies without legal licenses. The retail value of pirated PC software was $9.1 billion in the United States alone and $53 billion globally.

Business Software Alliance

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