European software piracy-fighters the Business Software Alliance (BSA) shut down 13 websites in the UK and many more around Europe between April and June this year.
The sites, which included dodgywarez.co.uk and phoenix-cd-solutions.co.uk, were removed following reports made by the trade body to the UK police that they were offering illegal software.
In total, the BSA has removed 713 websites across Europe since the start of the year. Software piracy is perceived as easier through the internet, via which the BSA expects two-thirds of all software to be distributed by 2005.
Mike Newton, campaigns manager for BSA UK, said: "Our message to those who believe they can hide behind the massive world of the internet to offer software without a licence through their web pages is that they will be caught or fined."
The BSA said that to create a safe, secure and legal internet, and to support its anticipated growth, strong copyright protections and effective enforcement mechanisms must be implemented globally.
However, the BSA's activity may be just a drop in the ocean. According to analyst IDC, there are some 840,000 websites worldwide selling illegal software and passing it off to consumers as genuine.
Indeed, the BSA said 29 per cent of all business software is pirated, and this figure rises to half of all software used by small businesses - costing the IT industry more than $12bn in jobs, wages and revenues.
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