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Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:59

The true cost of software piracy revealed

Ever wondered just how much the abuse of intellectual property rights is costing the software business in real money?

OK, let's forget the spin put on the piracy problem by the usual industry suspects. By which I mean the suggestion that the true cost of piracy is that it helps fund terrorists.

That is just silly nonsense, FUD designed to confuse rather than clarify what has become a growing problem.

You can also put to one side thoughts of how much money the Pirate Bay owners have been fined, whether they are going to pay it or not. That is just another distraction.

Look, truth be told, most everyone is guilty of software piracy to some degree. Ever used a free application for your business when the license actually says 'non-commercial use only' or maybe installed some software on more than the one machine your license actually covers?

No harm done after all, your little bit of piracy isn't costing anyone anything really, right? Wrong, according to new figures released by the Business Software Alliance. It puts the true cost of software piracy in the UK alone at some UKP £1.49 billion in 2008.

What's more, the BSA reckons that overall piracy levels in the UK have reached a point where last year some 27 percent of all software in the market was actually illegal. A 1 percent increase from the 2007 figures.

A BSA spokesperson says that "more needs to be done by the industry and the government to warn businesses and consumers of the risks associated with under-licensed software, from a legal, financial and operational point of view."

Of course, the industry spin machine is never far away from piracy statistics, and this is evident when you get the British Chamber of Commerce suggesting that employment figures could be impacted unless greater copyright protection is put in place.

Meanwhile, the BSA calls upon the British Government to support what it calls a 'light regulatory approach' to piracy and bring in a code of practise to be agreed between rights holders and ISPs. It also suggests working towards improved education and awareness of the issues surrounding piracy.

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