Feeds

Software pirates should offer up more booty, says BSA

Damages for unlawful software use not high enough, says industry body

High performance access to file storage

Software companies should be entitled to bigger damages for the use of copied software, industry lobby group the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has said.

Damages law needs to be changed so that companies are entitled to damages greater than the current rate of the equivalent to the cost of the software which has been copied, the body said.

"The current damages law isn't tough enough to deter those businesses that still think it is acceptable to use unlicensed software," said Sarah Coombes, senior director of legal affairs at BSA. "The Ministry of Justice acknowledged this in 2007, suggesting this issue would be addressed, but no progress has been made to date.

"Legislation that strengthens the availability of court awarded damages would act as a deterrent for those that continue to use illegal software," she said, according to a statement on the BSA website.

The BSA has published a 2010 Global Software Piracy Study in which it claimed that the value of unlicensed software being used in the UK was £1.2bn.

"Sales of personal computers surged 14 per cent globally in 2010, compared with just 4 per cent in the previous year, as the computer industry rebounded from the recent recession. On the strength of that robust growth, businesses and consumers bought nearly $95bn worth of PC software – but illegally installed another $59bn worth. This means that for every dollar spent on legitimate software in 2010, an additional 63 cents worth of unlicensed software also made its way into the market," the 2010 Global Software Piracy Study said (20-page/2.89MB PDF).

Commercial software piracy globally has nearly doubled since 2003 to value $38bn, the report claimed.

The report said governments should lobby retailers to sell low-cost software to turn illegal software users into customers.

Governments should promote measures that encourage customers to self-audit their software usage, the report said. Governments should also be encouraged to conduct public education campaigns to promote better respect for IP laws and deter piracy, it said.

The report was issued shortly before a major report into the state of the UK's IP framework is due.

Professor Ian Hargreaves, chair of Digital Economy at Cardiff University, is expected to advise the Government on how to overcome barriers to economic growth that exist within rules and regulations covering how IP is created, used and protected.

Hargreaves is leading the Government's Review of Intellectual Property and Growth, which was announced late last year.

The review will see if the UK IP framework needs to be relaxed to provide more support to digital businesses.

Speaking to industry representatives in November 2010, the Prime Minister had said he wanted to see a US-style approach to IP laws, including a 'fair use' exemption to allow copyrighted material to be used freely without permission under certain conditions.

However, submissions to Professor Hargreaves' review panel indicated strong opposition to the idea from a range of media industry bodies including ITV, the CBI and News Corporation.

An imminent review of EU laws on IP, also due this month, will likely offer similar protections to creators' rights.

The government has already promised to modernise the current copyright system, with simplified payments and minimal transaction costs, in response to Hargreaves' review as part of the Treasury's Plan for Growth (131-page/1.7MB PDF). The report also commits the government to no further broad IP rights reviews during this Parliament.

The review will also include recommendation to free up access to "orphan works", where the original rights-holder cannot be contacted, according to the Treasury report.

Mr Hargreaves is also expected to recommend legalising copying works to a different format for private use, such as converting tracks on a CD into a digital music library, according to a Sunday Telegraph report.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.