The European Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa) has seized over #20 million of pirated software in the first half of this year, an increase of more than 50 per cent on the same period in 1996.
The breaking up of two big copying plants in Glasgow and Aberdeen, as well as the discovery of a large stock pile of imported counterfeit software from the Far East, made a big impact on the ever growing piracy market. The association made 39 successful prosecutions in the period and has 30 more pending.
The period also saw a massive increase in calls to Elspa ? up 70 per cent on last year. John Loader, chief investigator at Elspa, said small dealers had responded well to its calls for help now that they understood the benefits. He also claimed that customers were becoming more aware of the problems associated with pirated software, such as lack of support and frequent bugs.
Loader said all types of software were at risk, especially Office Pro and the top games titles, which are sold mainly through mail-order, street markets and car boot sales.
Elspa pointed out that courts are toughening up their attitudes to software piracy, with criminals receiving harder sentences. But Loader conceded that some forms of piracy were harder to control.
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