PORTLAND (AP) – Software piracy is on the wane in Maine, according to a survey by a software industry group representing companies including Microsoft and Apple.

The state-by-state study, released Tuesday by the Washington, D.C.-based Business Software Alliance, found that Maine is second in the nation in reducing the amount of illegally copied software. The study was conducted for the group by the International Planning and Research Corporation.

Maine’s piracy rate dropped 11.1 percent from 2001 to 32.9 percent last year, according to the report, which found that state’s piracy rate created a retail loss of $17.8 million and a loss of 445 jobs and $14.6 million in salary last year.

Bob Kruger, BSA’s vice president of enforcement, attributed the reduction to increased awareness in the business community of the risks of illegally copying software.

“We hope that awareness and realization campaigns have brought about some positive change in the corporate business environment,” he said.

The survey was conducted by measuring the number of business software program applications per computer against the average number of software programs sold in the same market.

“Something has to account for that differential,” Kruger said.

The most popular software applications, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop, are also the most illegally copied, he said.

Nationwide, the study found that piracy dropped by 2 percent from 2001 to 23 percent last year. The study contends that software piracy cost the nation $1.9 billion, up from $1.8 billion in 2001, resulting in more than 105,000 lost jobs.

Across the world, the global piracy rates for commercial software has decreased 10 points from 49 percent to 39 percent, the study said.

The states that saw the most significant reduction in piracy percentages were, in order of drop: Louisiana, Maine, Oregon, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, South Carolina, Washington and Oklahoma, according to the study.

Illinois had the lowest piracy rate in 2002, followed by Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Washington, and Virginia.

Mississippi, Wyoming, North Dakota and Alabama had the highest piracy rates. Maine had the 12th-highest rate, the study said.

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