The Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the European Leisureties for counterfeiters. Software Publishers' Association (Elspa) have joined a cross-industry lobby group that will press the government for harsher penalties for counterfeiters and pirate organisations.
The alliance against counterfeiting and piracy, launched last week, has drawn together representatives from the manufacturing, video, music and software industries, and will push for tougher penalties in all areas of counterfeiting and piracy. This illegal activity is estimated to cost the UK industry £6.42 billion a year.
Lavinia Carey, chairwoman of the alliance, said: 'The maximum sentence that can be meted out at a magistrate's level for a second pirating offence is six months. We need to translate this into stiffer penalties.'
The BSA and Elspa, which together represent the world's biggest business and games software companies, have lent their support to the programme.
Terry Anslow, chief investigator at Elspa, told PC Dealer: 'The main problem with getting convictions today is that there are so many hotch-potch laws which need to be pulled together. But now that so many industry bodies have been united, we can try to start singing the same tune.'
Anne Edmonds-Smith, chairwoman of the BSA, added: 'It's important to become involved in any initiative that raises awareness. We're working at a European and local level so it's imperative we get involved at this grass-roots level.'
A representative at Microsoft said the software giant was looking to become more involved in the Alliance in its own right through the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact).
He added: 'We're looking at what the potential convergence of software, music, video and games onto DVD and the internet will mean for piracy. We believe the industry will be seeing counterfeiting spread across many mediums and markets, rather than just the specialist areas.'
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