The actual economic cost of software misuse and piracy could be significantly higher than current industry estimates, V.i. Labs has warned.
On the eve of the release of this year's IDC/Business Software Alliance (BSA) annual global cost of piracy study, the figures from last year's report have been called into question by the anti-piracy software vendor.
V.i. Labs makes tools that can be used by vendors to prevent and track the misuse of their product, and take action against those using unauthorised versions.
Using data collected by its software, V.i. Labs said its tools have uncovered $1bn (£600m) in lost revenue opportunities for its customers.
This figure is calculated by multiplying the number of unique machines on which pirated products are installed by the list price of the application in question.
The vendor claims that this method suggests figures put forward by the BSA, whose 2009 report claimed that the worldwide value of pirated PC software was $51bn, could be far higher than previously thought.
Victor DeMarines, product vice president of V.i. Labs, said: "For our sample customer size, one billion is a huge number and may even point to a more significant risk to intellectual property globally than what has been estimated by the BSA.
"Our Piracy Pipeline comes from real use of unlicensed software, and the fact that our customers [are] continually growing the number of infringing users [they are finding] suggests that the $1bn that has been identified is just the beginning."
Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing for EMEA at the BSA, said: "The BSA's annual IDC study has been running for almost a decade. Both this and the V.i. Labs research show global software piracy remains at unacceptable levels."
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