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Software pirates put sizeable dent in UK economy

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The UK is missing out on more than £1bn in lost taxes and the creation of over 13,000 new high-paying jobs over four years if we all took software piracy more seriously, according to a new report.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) claimed today in its annual "Global Software Piracy Study" – which was carried out by analyst firm IDC – that a reduction in counterfeit software by ten per cent over four years could add an extra £4.46bn to Blighty's economy.

The report said that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of PC software in use in 2006 derived from pirated copies, a figure that has remained unchanged for three years.

It also forecasts that the IT sector could be worth £52.1bn by 2011, propping up 638,000 jobs and creating £32.5bn in tax revenues annually.

However, it said those figures could be even rosier if we could get rid of the pirates.

IDC's chief research officer John Gantz said that reducing PC software piracy would benefit small business owners by cutting back the legal risks associated with using unlicensed software.

The BSA called on the government to make policy its recommendations which were first laid out in Gowers Review of Intellectual Property in late 2006.

It also wants the IP damages law to be strengthened, improved public awareness of the problem and to ensure that the public sector uses legitimate software.

Chair of the BSA UK member committee Julie Strawson said in a statement: "We must be stringent about protecting a robust IT sector and this study shows there is a compelling reason to do so - reducing software piracy delivers tangible benefits for governments and local economies." ®

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