Resellers lost out on $1.8bn worth of software revenue last year due to piracy, according to the latest report by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The BSA’s 2005 Global Piracy Study (GPS), compiled by analyst IDC, revealed that 27 per cent of the PC software used in the UK is illegal, which equates to a loss of $1.8bn in the UK in 2005.
Siobhan Carroll, regional manager for northern Europe at the BSA, told CRN: “This figure amounts to a huge loss in revenue for resellers. The whole channel is suffering.”
Although the UK percentage of illegal software used during 2005 had not increased since the BSA’s 2004 GPS report, the BSA said this highlights UK businesses’ continued disregard for intellectual property rights.
“Disreputable VARs need to be eliminated from the channel to stop them affecting the sales of legitimate resellers,” Carroll added.
Figures released by Microsoft last week revealed that 19 VARs have now been prosecuted through its Keep IT Real anti-piracy campaign, including a multi-million-pound case against the owner of VAR Oyster Computers, which made £1m from pirated Microsoft software (CRN, 22 May).
The BSA has claimed that while technologies such as broadband have increased the capabilities for copying and sharing software, education on intellectual property rights and piracy is still needed, together with government intervention.
Julie Strawson, chairman of the BSA UK, told CRN: “Education and enforcement of anti-piracy go hand in hand.
“Also, more needs to be done by the government to help prosecute the illegal use of software.”
Chris Bayne, managing director of software VAR Armstrong Consultants, said: “Some end-users are unaware that they are pirating software, such as by unwittingly stretching a software licence. Education would be a good step in reducing piracy figures.”
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