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Pirates not ready to walk plank

Software theft up in face of Microsoft heavies

For the first time in six years, piracy figures have increased across the world.

Software piracy increased by one percent over 2000 in western Europe, according to research done by the International Planning & Research Corporation on behalf of the BSA (Business Software Alliance).

In the UK 26 percent of all business software in use is illegally copied. Conducted across 85 countries, the study found one third of all business software is pirated. It is estimated this costs the industry around £370m.

"The study highlights the serious impact of copyright infringement with piracy losses exceeding £8.25bn worldwide in 2000," said Beth Scott, vice president of BSA Europe. "Software piracy continues to rob the global marketplace of thousands of jobs, and billions in wages and tax revenues."

Most software companies are cracking down on illegal software, but it is still growing. Microsoft has been extremely vocal in its condemnation of piracy of late, and claimed a victory recently over serious fraudsters. It seems though that this isn't tackling the problem effectively enough.

"There is still more to be done, but companies need to ensure they have an effective software management scheme in place," said Julia Phillpot, anti-piracy manager at Microsoft UK. "We have teams who target counterfeiters and who check users are acting within their licences."

"People struggle with the concept of intellectual property rights," added Phillpot. "Often people don't realise they are [committing an offence] but sometimes they just don't care."

Although western Europe was the region with the second lowest piracy rate, it experienced the second highest financial loss, £3bn. The worst fraudsters were found in eastern Europe and in some Asian countries, including China and Indonesia, where piracy rates regularly exceed 80 percent.

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