Software pirates still at large in UK

Industry losing millions, says industry's watchdog

One in three of all business software applications is being used illegally in the UK, according to the latest research from the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Software piracy in the UK cost industry £290 million ($465 million) last year -- an increase of £80 million ($130 million) on the figures for 1997. And according to the BSA, the loss was "one of the highest experienced by any country in the world". Paradoxically, the report -- which was prepared by the International Planning Research Corporation -- also found that the 1998 UK software piracy rate was 29 per cent, down two percent on 1997. This suggests that while piracy rates may be falling, losses to the industry are continuing to grow in line with the size of the software market. The figures make grim reading for the software industry. It appears to show that there is a hardcore of offenders and that the programmes in place designed to deter the trade in counterfeit software are having little effect. "Almost one in three pieces of business software is being used illegally and this rate is totally unacceptable," said Mike Newton, campaign relations manager, BSA UK. "Software piracy continues to harm software developers and European economies and to impact on jobs. When are people going to understand the damaging knock-on effects of illegal software on their own business and on others?" he asked. Some in the software channel have argued that there isn't a level playing field in the industry and that encourages the trade in hooky software. For many years, an exclusive band of Microsoft's major OEM partners -- Dell and Gateway are two names that spring to mind -- have been able to buy MS product at significantly lower prices than smaller system builders. ®

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