However, the number of firms taking disciplinary action in 2003 was down significantly from 32% last year, said Fast. The number of dismissals has also declined dramatically from 36% in 2002 to 18% in 2003.
Fast's report found that software compliance is gaining a higher profile within organisations, with 77% describing it as a board issue, compared to 56% last year.
Geoff Webster, chief executive of Fast, said, "It is good to see that board-level executives are increasingly taking software piracy seriously."
But Webster added that businesses are still not getting the message that it is a legal requirement to provide proof of ownership licences. Some 54% of respondents to the survey said that, if required, they would find it either hard or very hard to provide a proof of ownership licence.