BSA demands tougher penalties for software pirates


Anti-piracy body the Business Software Alliance (BSA) wants the Government to introduce tougher penalties for businesses caught using unlicensed software.

Citing figures from the latest edition of the BSA's Global Software Piracy Study, the group claims the commercial value of pirated software in the UK topped 1.2 billion last year.

Software should be the thing businesses invest in, not scrimp and steal.

The report was jointly compiled by the BSA, IDC and Ipsos Public Affairs and featured responses from 15,000 computer users across 33 countries.

It also claimed that 27 per cent of UK computer users admitted to using pirated software, while 77 per cent said the risk of getting caught offered little deterrent.

The research also claims that, across Europe, business decision makers are more likely to pirate software and misuse licenses than other types of users.

As a result, the BSA wants firms caught using pirated software to face larger financial penalties to compensate the IT industry for the unlawful use of its intellectual property (IP).

Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive of the BSA, said: "Software piracy persists as a drain on the global economy, IT innovation and job creation.

"Governments must take steps to modernise their IP laws and expand enforcement efforts to ensure [people] who pirate software face real consequences."

Across the globe, the commercial value of pirated software rose from $58.8 billion in 2010 to $63.4 billion last year, the study revealed.

The emerging economies were pinpointed by the BSA as being the driving force behind much of this piracy, as these countries now account for 56 per cent of the world's new PC shipments.

China was reported to have the "most troubling" piracy problem, as the illegal software market was valued at nearly $9 billion, which is three times the value of the legal software market.

The cost to business of Chinese counterfeiters was the subject of a recent IT Pro report, which highlighted the sale of fake iPads and Windows 7 software in the country.

Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing for EMEA at the BSA, said the study suggests the need for a fundamental change in how people view and acquire software.

"Software should be the thing businesses invest in, not scrimp and steal. Anyone who uses software they haven't paid for should face hefty consequences," he said.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.