Nearly three out of 10 business software packages in the UK are pirated, according to new figures from IDC.
The analyst's 2003 Global Piracy Survey, conducted for the Business Software Alliance (BSA), found that 29 per cent of British business software is unlicensed, compared to 37 per cent for Europe.
Last year's study, which used a different methodology, put UK piracy at 26 per cent.
Mike Newton, UK spokesman for the BSA, said in statement: "The fact that nearly one third of all business software used in the UK is illegal is a serious concern for the software industry.
"But the effects will be a lot further reaching as the impact hits government tax revenues and jobs in the wider IT sector."
The BSA has called for the government to take specific action to curb the problem, including swift implementation of the EU enforcement and copyright directives, and the speeding up of moves to implement digital rights management technology across Europe.
Janet Anderson, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Intellectual Property Protection in the UK, said in a statement: "These figures show that the sale and use of illegal software continues to be a major challenge for the UK government and software industry.
"And with the growth of the internet this looks set to become an even tougher challenge.
"This problem is hampering innovation in the software industry. A reduction in software piracy could also benefit UK citizens through increased tax revenues.
"We are committed to working with the UK software industry to tackle this problem through effective education and improved legislation."
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