New study demonstrates that global software piracy costs U.S. manufacturers jobs, revenue and innovation

Economic impact of global software theft on U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and innovation
by Prof. William Kerr and Dr. Chad Moutray

Intellectual property theft harms not just the owners of IP but the entire U.S. economy. We focus on the economic impact of one such practice, software theft, on the United States manufacturing sector. Software theft results in cost savings that firms can use to charge lower prices than their rivals, or invest in additional labor, capital, or R&D.

The study finds find that global software theft has imposed significant costs on the U.S. manufacturing sector over the past decade. Piracy cost U.S. manufacturers $239.9 billion in revenue from 2002-2012 and decreased U.S. GDP by $69.6 billion. During this period, the U.S. manufacturing sector lost over 42,000 jobs due to global piracy.

Addressing global software theft provides an opportunity for economic growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector. We estimate that reducing the global software piracy rate by 2.5 percentage points per year for 4 years would create 27,239 new manufacturing jobs, add $8.7 billion dollars to U.S. GDP, and generate $29.0 billion in revenue to manufacturers.

Survey of NAM members finds manufacturers united in supporting action against piracy and IP theft


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State-level economic impact of global software piracy on manufacturers

We estimate the impact of global software theft on each state's manufacturing sector in two ways:

  1. Increase in manufacturers' revenue if global piracy were reduced 10% over 4 years
  2. Cost to manufacturers' revenue of global piracy from 2002-2012

Move your cursor over a state to see the impact of global software theft.

Case studies: company and industry perspectives on harm from global software theft

To further understand the impact of global software theft on U.S. companies, we present case studies on innovative U.S. companies and industries grappling with unfair competition from emerging markets:

Solar industry: global piracy
harms U.S. innovation

AVTECH Software Inc.: domestic production
leads to security and innovation



Matt Lavoie

Senior Director of Media Relations, Communications
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
Direct: (202) 637-3085

Brian J. Raymond

Director, Technology and Domestic Economic Policy
National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
Direct: (202) 637-3072

Milan Politi 

Keystone Strategy 
Direct: (212) 381-0729