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Software piracy rates remain stubbornly stuck

BSA calls for bigger stick to beat pirates

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Use of unlicensed software by UK businesses remains stuck at around 27 per cent, according to the latest study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

Worldwide piracy rates are also steady at a higher rate of 35 per cent.

UK figures have remained the same for the last three years prompting the BSA to call for tougher government action. It suggests that current penalties are not a sufficient deterrent against the use of counterfeit or unlicensed software.

A recent consultation on the law on damages from the Department of Constitutional Affairs backed the need for bigger fines, according to the BSA.

"Despite attempts to educate businesses, and increased efforts to enforce the licensing laws by the government and the industry, it is clear that more must be done," said Sarah Coombes, director of legal affairs at the BSA EMEA.

The use of pirated software by UK businesses cost local and international software publishers $1.67bn in 2006, according to a study conducted by analyst house IDC and commissioned by the BSA.

It's wise to view these figures with a degree of caution because previous estimates have equated every instance of pirated software use as a lost sale. And when even senior Microsoft execs acknowledge that use of pirated Windows leads to sales of Microsoft software over the long term, it becomes clear that the economics of software piracy are more complex than the BSA would have us believe. ®

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