Are you a software pirate? 57 percent of the world's computer users confess to pirating software according to a recent Business Software Alliance (BSA) survey.

Researchers surveyed 15,000 people from 33 countries and asked a direct question on software stealing: "How often do you acquire pirated software or software that is not fully licensed?" This year's survey result of 57 percent is up from 42 percent in 2011.

According the the BSA findings, 5 percent of computer users "always" use pirated software, while 9 percent admitted to using pirated software "most of the time." Another 17 percent said they "occasionally" obtained pirated programs, and still 26 percent more acknowledged they "rarely" acquired pirated software.

The research also found that 38 percent "never" acquire unlicensed materials, while 5 percent refused to answer this question on the survey.

More study highlights:

  • Piracy is most rampant in countries with emerging economies.
  • The United states has the largest market for software, spending 42 billion, and the lowest piracy rate at 19%.
  • The top three countries with the highest piracy rates are Venezuela at 88 percent, Indonesia at 86 percent, and China at 77 percent.

The commercial value of what the software industry has lost to theft now hovers around $63.4 billion, up from $58.8 billion in 2010 according to the BSA. They claim one reason for such an increase in stolen software is due to a rise in PC shipments sent to countries with emerging economies, because these countries typically have higher piracy rates than countries with matured economies.

Lawmakers around the world are still deciding how best to handle digital piracy within the entertainment and software industries. Just this week, Japan made its first arrest in video game piracy from their county's new Unfair Competition Prevention Act, put into effect in December, 2011.

According to some in the software industry, the term "piracy" means different things to different people and their interpretation of their actions. "There's a mile-wide gap between what people say they believe in principle, versus what they do in practice," says CEO of BSA, Robert W. Holleyman II in an interview. This begs the question of how much weight to put on the BSA survey. If people don't actively say what they believe in principle and what their actual pirating habits are, how are the results of the survey to be taken as a serious a representation of the percent of people participating in software theft?

The Business Software Alliance is a large, international IT group, spanning 80 countries, who members include companies such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft, and Adobe. Their goal is to "promote conditions in which the information technology industry can thrive," in a secure and prosperous manner. This information was gathered from the BSA's ninth edition of their Global Software Piracy Study.

For more information on this study, watch the (overly dramatic) video below and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Check out the following gallery to see which countries relay the most spam:
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  • #9: Pakistan

    Pakistan relays <strong>3.3 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #8: Poland

    Poland relays <strong>3.9 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #7: Brazil

    Brazil relays <strong>4.3 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #6: Italy

    Italy relays <strong>4.9 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #4, Tied: Russia

    Russia is tied with Indonesia for fourth place, relaying <strong>5 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #4, Tied: Indonesia

    Indonesia is tied with Russia for fourth place, relaying <strong>5 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #3: South Korea

    South Korea relays <strong>5.7 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #2: United States

    The United States relays <strong>8.3 percent</strong> of all spam.

  • #1: India

    India relays a whopping <strong>9.3 percent</strong> of all spam to computers across the world.

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