Despite the fact that the software piracy rate dropped by 1 percent in 2004, losses due to piracy soared $4 billion, to $33 billion, according to a global study released this week.

More than a third (35 percent) of the software installed on personal computers worldwide was pirated in 2004, down from 36 percent the prior year, according to a global software piracy study conducted by research firm IDC for the Business Software Alliance. The report noted that for every two dollars' worth of software purchased legitimately, one dollar's worth was obtained illegally.

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