Global anti-piracy group the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has issued a set of guidelines for online auction sites to follow to help prevent the sale of counterfeit software.
According to the BSA, more than 90 per cent of software sold through internet auction sites is pirated, costing the industry $13bn in lost revenue. It wants auction sites to make consumers more aware of the dangers of buying online.
The BSA has published the Model Business Practices on Intellectual Property for Internet Auction Sites on its website (www.bsa.org). The group said it aims to prevent the listing, sale and distribution of counterfeit software programs.
Margot Miller, legal counsel for the BSA, said: "We have developed these global standards which we hope auction sites will adopt. If auction sites comply with the guidelines it will greatly help consumers' experiences buying online."
The Model Business Practices include:
- prohibiting sellers from offering infringing software
- taking responsibility for keeping illegal software off their site, including actively reviewing their site to identify and promptly terminate infringing auctions
- responding quickly and effectively to reports of infringing auctions
- posting prominent educational messages on their site.
Amazon.com is the first auction site to meet the standards set out in the model, and the BSA is hoping other auction sites will also "assume responsibility for keeping pirated products off their sites".
The BSA, which offers up to £10,000to individuals that provide information on the use of illegal software, recovered tens of thousands of pounds worth of pirated software in a raid on a London home last month.
The group also filed lawsuits against "dozens" of individuals for selling counterfeit software through online auction sites including QXL, Yahoo, Ricardo and eBay.
The illegal copying and distribution of software programs generated losses of £457m last year, it said.
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