The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is calling for a joint crackdown on illegal software use from both the government and the channel to help tackle the UK’s stubborn piracy problem.
A joint study between the BSA and IDC revealed the UK’s piracy levels stood at 27 per cent in 2006 for the third year running, at a cost of $1.67bn to the industry.
Julie Strawson, vice chair, BSA UK committee, said: “The government needs to take action because unless there are more deterrents with significant penalties, no business will put software piracy at the top of their agenda.”
She added that the channel has a major role to play in educating firms on the dangers of illegal software.
“Resellers need to stress how illegal software can bring a network to a halt and is unsupported, cannot be patched or upgraded and will end up wasting time and costing money,” she said. “That is on top of the risk of a significant fine and possible jail sentence if caught using it.”
Michala Alexander, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft UK, said: “The negative impact of counterfeiting and other forms of software piracy extend from the firms who wrote the software, through the ecosystem of local VARs, down to individual consumers.”
Ross Miller, managing director of VAR Trustmarque Solutions, said: “One of the things we see is firms buying up software from Eastern Europe, which more often than not is pirated. The reseller community has to identify and report those companies. This is something we do automatically.”
Miller agreed that more government involvement would help, but also said organisations such as the Institute of Directors and Confederation of British Industry should get involved to educate top level directors about the dangers of piracy.
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