The software industry is calling for greater powers from the European Commission (EC) to crack down on pirates and counterfeiters.
Antipiracy groups and the legal community are concerned that delays in the introduction of a European Union (EU) enforcement directive is hindering the fight against counterfeiting rings.
The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) said prosecuting offenders under current legislation was often too difficult and costly.
"It is too expensive at the moment. We need something more streamlined and a simplification of the process to protect the rights of software publishers," said Paul Brennan, general counsel at Fast.
The proposed EU directive, which was announced in 2000, has yet to be published. But it is likely to include remedies for searching premises, closing down illegal operations and confiscating assets.
Brennan also called for changes to UK law, such as a statutory offence of defrauding, which would be easier to prosecute than breach of copyright or conspiracy to defraud.
The enforcement directive is aimed squarely at pirate and counterfeiting operations and should not affect business users of software directly.
Hamish Sandison, partner and head of the international IT group at law firm Bird & Bird, said organisations actually stand to benefit from any crackdown on shoddy products.
"It should not worry business users," he said. "It is about products off the back of a lorry, and if businesses acquire these inadvertently there is an issue with the quality and they are not going to be able to get the technical support."
He said the directive is about protecting the rights of software suppliers.
"The software industry has fallen behind in terms of legal protection compared to the film and music industries. It has to gather and make very serious representation to the EC."
But Brennan said organisations still need to address the issue of managing software licences to avoid unwitting illegal use.
"The message to businesses is still manage your resources and get compliant," he said.
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