Business software piracy in the Asia-Pacific region has risen to its highest level in six years, prompting losses of $5.5 billion for software publishers in 2002, an industry body said on Tuesday.
The regional piracy rate rose for the third year in a row to 55 percent of software in use, a level last seen in 1996, the U.S.-based Business Software Alliance (BSA) said in a statement.
The first survey in 1994 showed a 68 percent piracy rate.
"The enormous losses in the region due to software piracy are particularly troubling," BSA vice president Jeffery Hardee said.
"If Asia-Pacific countries are to realize the economic benefits software generates in an economy, piracy levels must be brought down."
Middle East and Africa was the most improved region, reducing its rate to 49 percent in 2002 from 80 percent in 1994. The average piracy rate in Latin America fell to 68 percent in 2002 from 97 percent in 1994.
Western Europe had the lowest piracy rate of 35 percent in 2002, down from 52 percent eight years ago.