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Software piracy rate dropping but the fight continues

The latest piracy figures from the BSA and IDC reveal the long running war is starting to tip in favour of the industry

For ages the battle against the software pirates felt like a stalemate with the industry doing its best but the level of illegal applications being used remaining roughly the same year after year.

It might be too early to talk of turning points but over the last couple of years there has been real progress with the level of illegal products being used dropping from levels of 25% to now 22%.

The latest figures from IDC for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), which come out every two years, shows that there has been an improvement in the last few years but have been accompanied by a warning against complacency.

The UK continues to suffer one of the highest piracy rates in Europe, with £1.3bn of unlicensed software being used giving the industry plenty of targets to continue to focus on.

The BSA highlighted not only the money lost to the industry but also the dangers that the users expose themselves to with illegal products more likely to be infected with malware.

“Companies in the UK are continuing to put themselves at risk, despite the dangers of using unlicensed software,” said BSA | The Software Alliance president and CEO Victoria A. Espinel.

“Although it’s positive to see a general decline over the last five years, the use of unlicensed software in the UK remains higher than we’d like, especially given its significant commercial value,” she added.

Globally the piracy level remains fairly high at 39%. There might be a slight surprise that in certain industries, like namking and insurance the piracy rate was 25%, which is rather distrubing given the focus those verticals place on compliance.

At the same time as highlighting the ongoing battle with piracy the BSA used the opportunity to encourage customers to review their software estates and to consider using tools like Software Asset Management (SAM) to ensure they are not underlicensed.
“I would urge all companies, no matter what size, to wake up to the facts. Many CIOs working in businesses don’t know the extent of software deployed on their systems or if that software is legitimate," said Espinel.​

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