Rates of software piracy fell by 2% to 23% in the US in 2002, according to a study commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The BSA added it had collected $3.1m (£1.9m) in piracy-related settlements from 37 companies nationwide as part of its third annual campaign to raise awareness and educate businesses about the importance of using licensed software.
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While the rate of software piracy was down in 2002, it still cost the US economy $1.9bn (£1.2bn), up from $1.8bn in 2001, and led to the loss of more than 105,000 jobs, the alliance said.
"It is encouraging news that the US piracy rate has dropped from 2001, but there is no acceptable level of piracy," said Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive officer of the BSA.
"Our hope is that BSA's educational programmes, public policy initiatives and resources and tools for businesses will result in a continuing decline in software piracy rates."
Jenny Blank, BSA's director of enforcement, said there is no magic bullet to stop software piracy.
Blank said the BSA has been successful in getting its message out to businesses and plans to continue those efforts and enforce members' copyrights.
Blank added that the BSA is doing more outreach to children to get the message to them before they are out of school that software piracy is illegal.
"We want them to understand they should respect intellectual property, as they would any other property, before they reach the workforce."
Linda Rosencrance writes for Computerworld