According to the most recent BSA Global Software Survey in 2018, software piracy in the United States is reported to be at 15 percent (down from 19 percent in 2011), yet has a commercial value of $8.6 billion (down slightly from 9.7 billion in 2011).
The United States has the highest commercial value of unlicensed software among all countries. Compare this to the commercial value of unlicensed software in China ($6.8 billion), and factor in strong intellectual property (IP) protection laws, and you can see why the United States represents a significant (and attractive) opportunity to convert software pirates to paying customers.
Generating Revenue from Software Piracy in the United States
Given that many software vendors are based in the United States, it makes sense that the U.S. is the starting point for many license compliance programs using forensic evidence. Looking back to the beginnings of CNC Software’s compliance program, chief legal officer Gary Hargreaves, shared on a recent Piracy Impact Podcast that, “We are a U.S.-based company. So we said ‘let’s do the United States first. We understand those laws better than other places, so let’s try that here for a year, see how it’s going. And then look to the companies that are working with us on that as to where we should grow next. Where do they see the largest infringements, and that type of thing? And that seemed to work.”
Despite the falling piracy rates in the U.S., Hargreaves also noted that re-infringers are “definitely an issue” and that “once a pirate always a pirate,” and that they have caught some infringers three times – perhaps assuming that after a period of time that CNC would no longer be looking for pirate activity from them.
The takeaway here is that the United States remains a rich market for software vendors to convert pirated use. Our Revenue Services team and partners typically take an “inside sales” approach to infringers in the United States that treats them like sales leads and are often converted through letters and phone calls, with a smaller percentage requiring an escalation to a litigation approach.