One-third of computer software used worldwide in 2004 was illegally copied, according to a survey by the Business Software Alliance, a non-profit international organization.
The rate of piracy averaged 35 percent in the reporting year, down from 36 percent in the previous year, but the losses stemming from piracy came to $32.70 billion, up from $28.8 billion, it said.
The alliance, formed by major makers of business-use computer software worldwide, surveyed the use of business applications, operating systems and consumer software in 87 countries.
The countries with the highest piracy rates were Vietnam, with 92 percent; Ukraine, 91 percent; China, 90 percent; Zimbabwe, 90 percent, and Indonesia, 87 percent.
Those with the lowest rates were the United States, 21 percent; New Zealand, 23 percent; Austria, 25 percent; Sweden, 26 percent, and Britain, 27 percent. Japan was in eighth place with 28 percent.
In terms of losses, the United States -- even with the lowest piracy rate -- placed first with $6.65 billion, followed by China's $3.5 billion. Japan's loss was $1.79 billion, the eighth largest.
The group said piracy rates are generally high among emerging economies, such as China, India and Russia.
Rampant piracy negatively affects the global economy by stripping the software industry of growth opportunities, it warned.