Software piracy costs UK economy £1bn


Software piracy costs UK economy £1bn

Simon Quicke
The piracy rate in the UK has remain unchanged in the last year indicating that the recession did not produce an increase in the number of users cutting corners to save money.

According to the latest figures put together by IDC on behalf of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) the level of piracy in the UK still stands at 27%, equivalent to £1bn worth of software.

As a consequence of the recession some in the software industry had anticipated an increase in piracy and although that hasn't happened little inroads appear to have be made in reducing the level of illegal software.

"£1bn is an awful lot of money to lose in a recession, and ultimately this will have an impact on the software industry and the UK economy. This study makes it clear that industry and government's efforts to reduce software theft in the UK are of vital importance," said Michala Wardell, chair of the BSA UK Committee. 

"As we emerge from the most severe global economic recession in twenty years, we will continue to engage with government, businesses and consumers about the risks of stealing software - and the true impact that software piracy has on the UK's economy," she added.

The IDC survey charts piracy rates across 73 countries and the expected recessionary behaviour of more illegal software being used was only seen in 19 countries the other 54 saw a drop in piracy levels.

Overall the global piracy rate increased from 41 to 43% fueled by high piracy rates in China, India and Brazil. For every $100 spent on legitimate software last year an additional $75 was stolen.

Some of the factors that prevented an increase in piracy were highlighted by IDC including the last few years of anti-piracy campaigning having an impact on users and the shift to netbook and laptop sales which often come with bundled legal software.

Robert Holleyman, BSA president and CEO, said that it would continue to take a no-nonsense approach to piracy to protect the creative industries and the wider economy.

"Piracy is limiting IT innovation, job creation, local economic growth and is robbing governments of vital tax revenues," he said.

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