The software piracy rate in Australia has increased, placing it ahead of the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

An eighth annual BSA survey on global software piracy estimated Australian levels of unlicensed and pirated software at 32 percent: that equates to losses of around A$220 million (US$145 million) for 2002.

By comparison, New Zealand’s piracy rate fell to 24 percent. The piracy rate in the U.S. was 23 percent (which is currently the lowest piracy rate in the world for commercial software) and the U.K. recorded an increase of one point to 26 percent.

Chairman of the Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA), Jim Macnamara, said the local problem with piracy arose mainly because of a lack of software asset management from SMEs.

“Most (SMEs) do not have a dedicated IT department that can control the number of software applications and do not accurately control the number of licenses,” he said.

Macnamara claimed the research showed Australia was not developing as fast as other countries in copyright enforcement.

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