The cost to the UK channel of pirated software went up by £200m to a total £1bn in 2004, according to analyst firm IDC.
However, the 2004 Global Piracy Study, released last week by IDC and the Business Software Alliance (BSA), showed that the piracy rate in the UK dropped from 29 per cent in 2003 (CRN, 11 June) to 27 per cent in 2004.
Siobhan Carroll, regional manager BSA northern Europe, said two-thirds of software piracy occurs in the business community. "While campaigns help to raise awareness of the problem, the support of the government will be crucial in bringing the rate down," Carroll said.
She added that the new European Enforcement Directive, which comes into play next year, will help.
Mike Newton, UK programme manager for the BSA, said: "Resellers are running more seminars and events to raise customer awareness of piracy and also of the benefits of Software Asset Management [SAM]. Last year the discussions were all about licence compliance, but customers are more receptive to SAM because it helps control their software budgets."
Ian Goodwin, general licensing manager at VAR Softcat, said: "It is VARs' responsibility to work with customers and make sure they are managing their software as an asset."
Patricia Peter, head of corporate governance at the Institute of Directors, said illegal software can have a devastating effect.
"If a company is charged with software piracy, it faces losing its reputation," she said. Peter added that better communication between IT managers, resellers and the board is needed to stress the importance of using correctly licensed software.
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