The IT sector is the most frequent perpetrator of software piracy, according to the Business Software Alliance's (BSA) analysis of 2003 settlement cases.
Out of 50 settlements, IT firms made up 24 per cent, construction/engineering and architecture/design combined came to 27 per cent and educational organisations made up eight per cent.
Last year the BSA launched an asset management website, www.justasksam.co.uk, to help firms avoid being under- or over-licensed.
Siobhan Carroll, regional manager northern Europe at the BSA, said the organisation was disappointed by the results.
"The IT sector is supposed to set an example rather than proliferate piracy," she said.
Offenders were a mixture of developers and IT services and consultancy firms. "These kind of firms are tech savvy and know how to copy CDs and use websites," she said.
"The BSA relies on resellers to provide support and guidance to customers and help them understand how important it is to be software-compliant.
We are aiming to reduce the number of prosecutions in 2004, and hope the channel makes more use of our online services."
Deanna Slocum, anti-piracy manager EMEA at Macromedia, a member of the BSA, said: "A lot of IT managers actually think that they are fine, but aren't aware of what employees are downloading onto their company's system.
"VARs must continue educating customers to avoid the pitfalls of being caught using unlicensed software."
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