More than one in four copies of business software in the UK is illegal, according to a survey commissioned by anti-piracy watchdog the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
The group estimates that 26 per cent of all business software in the UK last year was illegally copied, the same figure as 1999, costing the industry around £370m. Across western Europe, more than one in three copies is illegal, costing the software industry an estimated £2.1bn.
Worryingly, for the first time in the study's six-year history the world piracy rate did not fall, increasing instead one point to 37 per cent. The worst culprits are eastern Europe and some Asian countries, where piracy rates regularly exceed 80 per cent.
Beth Scott, European vice president at the BSA, commented: "Although the piracy rates in several regions and countries have decreased, software piracy continues to rob the global marketplace of thousands of jobs, and billions in wages and tax revenues."
"It is also a potential barrier to innovation and product development around the world," she added.
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