Large number of countries has provided legal protection for software under copyright laws. However, the differences in the scope, duration and object of protection are so wide from one country to the other and the interpretations given by tribunals within the same country sometimes so much at variance that many software firms have to rely on other protective measures or turn to patent protection and trade secrecy. The copiers deprive the software publishers of adequate revenue, the lost sales dissuade companies from developing new products and prevent them from lowering the high prices of software that is one of the biggest reasons for illegal copies. Copying makes it also impossible for the national software industry to get off the ground in many countries.
Computer piracy losses in Europe fell in 1992 to $4.6 billion from a record $5.3 billion in 1991. The decrease in European losses added an estimated $700 million in revenue to the software publishing and distribution industries and created 8,000 new jobs. There were $11.5 billion in worldwide losses during 1992. By 1993, the US claimed the highest level of legal software in use, accounting for 65% of the legal market.