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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Study: Russia Is World's No. 3 Software Pirate

Russia had the third-highest software piracy rate in the world in 2002, costing software companies nearly half a billion dollars in lost retail sales, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Business Software Alliance.

Top Software Pirates*
*Percentage of total software that is pirated.
Source: Business Software Alliance

BSA's annual Global Software Piracy Study found that Russia's piracy rate, contrary to government claims, actually rose last year to 89 percent, the same as in Indonesia and Ukraine and just a few points below world leader Vietnam at 95 percent and No. 2 China at 92 percent.

The report, which annually surveys piracy trends in more than 100 nations, said the global piracy rate dropped to 39 percent last year from 40 percent in 2001 and 49 percent in 1994, when the first study was done. The decline reversed a two-year upsurge brought about by the availability of illegal copies online, mainly due to higher software prices, according to the study.

In dollar terms, the report said piracy cost the industry only slightly more last year than in 1994, when losses were estimated to be $12.4 billion. Of the estimated $13.08 billion in piracy costs to the industry in 2002, the most damage was done in China and the United States -- $2.4 billion and $2 billion, respectively.

At 21 percent, the United States has the lowest piracy rate in the world.

In the nine years the study has been conducted, Russia's piracy rate has declined only 6 percent, and together with Ukraine, Russia now has the highest rate in Eastern Europe.

In 1994, Slovenia and Bulgaria had comparable piracy rates with Russia: 96 percent and 94 percent, respectively. But Slovenia has managed to lower its rate to 59 percent, while Bulgaria is now down to 68 percent. The Czech Republic has the lowest rate in the area, 40 percent, down from 66 percent in 1994.

The $492 million in losses Russia caused the legitimate software industry in 2002 was more than four times last year's figure and roughly half of all losses in Eastern Europe, according to the report.

Russian information technology specialists polled Tuesday, however, questioned the report's numbers.

"Since there are no precise methods of measuring the piracy rate, all the figures are only estimations," said Anatoly Karachinsky, president at IBS Group, Russia's leading IT company.

"I believe that the piracy rate in Russia has been decreasing, slowly but surely, as the economic situation in the country has been improving. Nothing happened last year that could have led to a rise in the piracy rate."