Court settlement fees for illegal software use have generated more than £1.8m in the past five years, according to internal figures from the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The BSA told CRN that many companies have also paid out significant sums to legalise their software assets.
The organisation said settlement funds have been reinvested back into its programmes to fund educational campaigns and raise awareness of the risks associated with illegal software use and the benefits of an effective software asset management (SAM) policy.
"As long as the piracy problem exists, enforcement will continue to be one of our lines of defence. We would prefer to work with companies to help them manage their software assets, which is why most of our funds are spent on educational activities," said Siobhan Carroll, BSA's regional manager for northern Europe.
Figures from analyst IDC show that 29 per cent of business software used in the UK is illegal, with the European average standing at 37 per cent.
Simon Gay, consultancy practice leader at Computacenter, said this could be the tip of the iceberg. "Most organisations are still unclear on this issue," he said. "SAM is the key to prevention of illegal software use as well as over-buying of applications."
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