Government has a role to play in fighting piracy

Opinion

Government has a role to play in fighting piracy


There will have been few eyebrows raised at the announcement that the UK software piracy figures have stayed the same at 27% with a quarter of the country using unlicensed products.

The fight against piracy has not relented in the past few years, if anything it has stepped up aggressively with numerous public settlements against guilty users caught out by the Business Software Alliance, but when it comes to reducing that number produced annually by IDC research there has been little improvement.

One of the consequences of years of fighting piracy is that as different approaches are tried and tested it perhaps becomes clearer what options are left that have not yet been used.

The one option that is emerging as one that certainly needs to be beefed up and have more impact is the threat of major penalties and the fear that they will provoke to those that use illegal software.

The BSA has been active using settlements and naming and shaming but what this really needs is the government to take action and introduce a much more robust intellectual property protection regime.

Luckily things are already under way and the coalition has asked professor Ian Hargreaves to look at this area. He has taken recommendations from a wide range of people and business groups, including the likes of the Federation Against Software Theft and the CBI, and should report in the next few weeks.

All eyes will be on what he recommends and then the appetite the government has for introducing measures into law.

As the latest piracy figures show all too clearly the battle to reduce the amount of illegal software use in the UK needs to take a fresh tack and Hargreaves and the government are being looked at to provide a fresh set of answers.

This was first published in May 2011

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