The latest global piracy study by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has shown piracy rates dropping in the UK.
The UK rate fell one percentage point to 26 per cent in 2007, after staying at 27 per cent for the past three years.
However, Julie Strawson, UK committee chairman at the BSA, told vnunet.com that the laws still need to be tightened up.
"Software needs to be on a level playing field with other products," she said. "Why should a director face prison for the theft of cars, for example, but not for the theft of software? Particularly as it plays such an important role in our economy."
Strawson maintained that local Trading Standards offices need far more resources to investigate cases, and that a recent survey had shown a quarter of offices struggling to cope with demands on their time.
Britain has one of the lowest software piracy rates in the world. The US tops the chart with 20 per cent, while Armenia is bottom with an estimated 93 per cent of software in use coming from illegal suppliers.
The BSA said that the latest survey, carried out by analyst firm IDC, suggests that losses from piracy rose 20 per cent from 2006.
This was caused in part by the increase in the use of PCs and the falling value of the dollar. The overall piracy rate rose three per cent.
Asia and Eastern Europe are still the worst offenders, but Strawson claimed that there was good news in both areas.
Russian rates have fallen fast, doubling the value of the legitimate software market, as the government has cracked down on piracy.
China too is looking promising, she said, although at a rate of 82 per cent there is still a lot to do.
Piracy rates in China dropped just two per cent, but the recent decision by the Chinese government to ensure that all software in its offices is legitimate is a very positive step.
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