Software piracy remains stable, says BSA

The level of PC software piracy in the UK is level, according to international anti-piracy lobby group the Business Software Alliance. The group's research has shown that the piracy it measured has stayed at 27%.

A survey conducted for the BSA by research firm IDC found that despite industry and BSA efforts to curb business piracy, the levels of infringement were stable.

“The UK remains in a situation where almost one out of every three software installations is illegal,” said Sarah Coombes, director of legal affairs for the BSA in Europe. “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.”

“While it’s obvious that non-payment of taxes or disregarding health and safety legislation can put businesses in jeopardy, software piracy is frequently ignored,” said Julie Strawson, the vice chair of the BSA’s UK Member Committee. “Yet aside from the damage done to the economy, using illegal software can increase security risks such as viruses and render companies ineligible for technical support or product upgrades. Those companies caught using illegal software risk also serious damage to their reputations.”

In Europe the piracy rate as measured by the BSA has dropped by one per cent, to 34%.

The BSA believes that a consultation paper produced by the Department for Constitutional Affairs on the law of damages backs its claim that financial penalties for copyright infringement should be increased as a deterrent to infringers.

“Following on from The Gowers Review earlier this year, the consultation is a welcome step in the government’s re-examination of how intellectual property theft should be tackled," said Coombes. "Improving the processes by which the software industry can protect its IP rights and ensuring penalties are high enough to act as a deterrent is something that requires urgent attention if the government is serious about the UK’s success as a knowledge economy."