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Economic downturn may lead to more software piracy

The economic downturn may lead to the increased use of illegal software, says the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast).

Fast questioned company...

The economic downturn may lead to the increased use of illegal software, says the Federation Against Software Theft (Fast).

Fast questioned company directors at a recent trade event and found that 79% felt businesses would be more likely to try and save costs by not being appropriately licensed, although it's not clear whether they were admitting their own temptation.

Fast's chief executive, John Lovelock, said, "When times are hard economically the automatic response is to look at ways to reduce cost. Our survey has highlighted a worrying trend that indicates that more and more companies are willing to risk breaking the law in the name of cost cutting."

The most effective, and legal, way of reducing software costs is to introduce a software asset management (Sam) programme to highlight unused software in the system, said Lovelock.

The survey also found that 80% of respondents felt that obtaining illegal software was "very easy", with 31.5% of the sample citing the internet as the easiest way to access illegal copies of software programs.

A further 22.5% cited peer-to-peer file sharing, 11.5% mentioned online auction sites, and 13.6% suggested car boot sales. Even the pub came in for a mention, suggested by 9.5% of the sample.

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