Autodesk Announces $63 Million In Software Revenue Recoveries

Autodesk Announces $63 Million In Software Revenue Recoveries

Autodesk announced that it has recovered more than $63 million in North America since its Piracy Prevention Program began in 1989, and $3 million during the last year, from settlements with companies using unauthorized Autodesk software. This announcement coincides with today's release of the First Annual Business Software Alliance (BSA) and International Data Corporation (IDC) Global Software Piracy Study. As a founding member of the BSA, Autodesk educates customers and the general public about software piracy and its damaging effects on the economy and product innovation -- while aggressively seeking legal recourse against copyright infringers.

"We work with our customers to help them employ the latest tools and purchase options to ensure that they are using legally licensed software," said David Crane, director of government affairs and corporate counsel for Autodesk. "Good software management practices can go a long way toward addressing piracy, but we also call on government officials to increase criminal enforcement. Software theft -- and that's what it is -- undermines the economy generally and software innovation in particular."

The software industry suffers a much greater loss from piracy, compared to other industries, such as film and music. According to the study released today, the worldwide software piracy rate is 36 percent, reflecting a revenue loss to the software industry of more than $28.8 billion. The software piracy rate in the United States alone is 22 percent, representing a $6.5 billion loss of retail sales of PC software revenue. This translates into lost jobs, tax revenue, and product innovation. In comparison, the Motion Picture Association of America estimates that the U.S. motion picture industry loses in excess of $3 billion annually in potential worldwide revenue due to piracy, while the Recording Industry Association of America estimates its losses at $4.2 billion annually.

To find out where legal trade ends and software piracy begins or to anonymously report suspected software theft, visit or call Autodesk's Piracy Prevention Hotline at 1-800-NO-COPIES.

Programs like Autodesk Subscription provide customers with simplified software management and allow customers to stay up to date with the latest versions of Autodesk software, for an annual fee. Customers also receive a broad range of other technology and business benefits, including predictable budgeting. For more information, visit

Over the years Autodesk has been the most aggressive MCAD company in tracking down software pirates, and for good reason. I've heard that for every legitimate copy of AutoCAD, there are between one and three illegal copies. That is a lot of lost revenue. Every MCAD company faces the piracy dilemma, but Autodesk has been and continues to be the most visible and vocal in confronting the problem. The fact that software piracy (theft) hit nearly $29 billion in 2003 indicates that that value amounted to almost 60 percent of all legal global desktop software sales of $51 billion, according to the BSA figures. BSA suggests that piracy rates increased about two percent in 2003 over 2002. Since the onset of the Internet, software firms and media creators have suffered an acceleration in piracy as online file-sharing networks and "warez" trading sites have made it much easier to exchange several types copyrighted material, including software. Broadband Internet connections have also made it easier to download and pirate large applications, such as MCAD packages. Approximately 36% of the programs running on computers around the world are thought to be illegal copies of software, with the figure rising to 90%+ in China, Vietnam, and some countries in Eastern Europe. The lowest rates of piracy were the US at 22%, New Zealand at 23% and Denmark at 26%. The BSA said regional differences were caused by factors such as software prices relative to income, the strength of intellectual property protection, the availability of pirate copies, and cultural differences. "Unfortunately, the high-piracy regions are also the high market-growth regions," said BSA. Emerging markets account for more than 30% of new PC shipments, but less than 10% of PC software shipments. This disparity has a direct correlation to software piracy rates. At current rates, IDC predicts the retail value of pirated software will grow to more than $40 billion as the legitimate market grows to $70 billion over the next five years. But if piracy could be lowered by 10% over four years, IDC estimates that more than one million new jobs and $400 billion in economic growth would be created. All in all, a lot of money is being lost on a lot of different levels.

Report Uncovers ~5 Million CAD Solid Modeling Seats Worldwide

Wohlers Associates, Inc., in cooperation with industry analyst Joe Greco, has announced that 4.96 million mechanical CAD (MCAD) seats were installed worldwide through the end of 2003. This total includes both commercial and educational seats. The leading MCAD product family in cumulative commercial installations, according to the study, is Pro/ENGINEER, followed by CATIA, Unigraphics (including IDEAS), Mechanical Desktop, Inventor, SolidWorks, and Solid Edge. Among the MCAD products not counted were Alibre, KeyCreator (formerly CADKEY), OneSpace Designer, IronCAD, thinkdesign, VX CAD/CAM, and Cobalt (formally Vellum Solids).

"The MCAD industry experienced a moderate rebound in 2003," stated Joe Greco, a well-known analyst and author that focuses on the MCAD industry. "Both revenues and unit sales were up over the previous year," he said. "PTC's aggressive push into education has boosted the total installed base in a big way."

For four years, Greco has worked closely with Wohlers Associates to determine CAD solid modeling growth trends. This information has helped the company forecast the expansion and acceptance of machines for rapid prototyping and 3D printing, the primary focus of Wohlers Report 2004. This worldwide study presents the rapid prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing state of the industry in a 270-page softbound publication.

Wohlers Report 2004 sells for $425 in the U.S. and $445 in all other countries. The report's table of contents, as well as additional information on the rapid prototyping market and industry, are available at

Wohlers Associates, Inc. is an independent consulting firm that works closely with manufacturing organizations to identify the best approaches to rapid product development. As the company's principal consultant, Terry Wohlers tracks new methods and technologies to determine a strategic direction that gives companies an edge. His views and opinions come from years of collecting and analyzing market data, coupled with work as an advisor to major organizations in the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa.

I've known Terry Wohlers for several years and his annual Wohlers Report is a well-researched and continually updated "bible" of the rapid prototyping/tooling/manufacturing industry. I've also known Joe Greco for a number of years, as well, and have found him to be insightful as to the pulse of the MCAD industry. The number of MCAD seats worldwide put forth by this report is a good number, but seems to be a bit low by my estimates. Although hard to gauge, plain AutoCAD is still used quite extensively worldwide for mechanical design (if not, why do think that just about every competitive MCAD vendor is trying to court and steal away AutoCAD users?). Also, in Europe and Japan, AutoCAD Mechanical has quite an extensive following. Some of the MCAD applications not included have some pretty substantial numbers, as well. CADKEY (now called KeyCreator), for example, a few years ago had between 220,000-240,000 installed seats. So, by using the 5 million as a base number for the products included in their count, let's add MCAD applications not included, and although I hate to include these, pirated seats. All that combined, I arrive at a figure approaching 10 million worldwide, and probably a bit more. Any way you slice it, there are a lot of MCAD seats out there and a lot that have yet to be filled.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at Email Contact or 408.850.9230.

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