Three quarters of UK businesses believe Government cant tackle software piracy

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A shocking 72% of business leaders believe that the Government has lost the battle against software piracy, according to a survey of 350 business leaders conducted by FAST IiS, the not-for-profit organisation promoting the legitimate use of software.

The lack of faith in the Governments ability to tackle the problems of software piracy was also borne out from the fact that 77% of them were not even aware of Government plans to tackle IP theft as outlined by the Gowers Review in December 2006.

Key findings included:

    * 67% of business directors surveyed believe that it is very easy to secure unlicensed software via the internet or peer-       to-peer file sharing sites
    * 54% believe that it is simple to acquire unlicensed software via the internet
    * A further 32% said they would turn to a file sharing network to download illegal software
    * 31% of those questioned believed that somewhere between 20-40% of software in businesses was unlicensed, 34% stated it could be as high as 60% while a staggering 17% stated that the figure could be as high as 100%
 
John Lovelock, Chief Executive FAST IiS, stated The Governments response to the problem of IP theft, the Digital Britain Interim Report, was virtually unknown with 77% of respondents unaware of its existence. A further 59% remain unaware of the proposed Digital Rights Agency, and of those that had heard of it, 60% believed the new quango would be ineffective. What does that say about the Governments proposed solution?

Whats more, an astounding 68% of company directors surveyed at the recent channel trade show believed that companies would try to cut costs by under-licensing their software due to the current economic downturn.

John added: The Government is not tackling the costly issue of online software piracy and other digital content theft and it is clear that despite Gordon Browns commitment to implement the recommendations of the Gowers Review into intellectual property its not being taken seriously as businesses remain spectacularly unaware of its recommendations.

FAST IiS has consistently called on the Government to put in place an effective enforcement regime that treats online theft with the same severity as physical theft, which was committed to by Government, in order to bring order to a lawless marketplace, he added.

The software industry is a vital part of the economy and deserves the same protection from online theft as counterfeit consumer goods.

Knockoff handbags sold on online auction sites get the attention of the courts, but software, a high value contributor to the UKs GDP doesnt seem to warrant the same protection under current laws. Enough is enough, theft is theft whether a handbag or a computer program is stolen and its time the laws of the land reflected this, concluded John.

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