Business Software Alliance demands overhaul of UK IP law

By Stuart Sumner
12 May 2011 View Comments
Skull and crossbones on the shift key of a computer keyboard to represent internet piracy

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has called on the government to review UK damages law as it revealed that £1.2bn of unlicensed software was installed in the UK in 2010.

The BSA recently conducted a study in partnership with analyst firm IDC, which found that installations of unlicensed software on computers in the UK has remained at 27 per cent for the past two years.

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The organisation wants an increase to the amount of damages that can be awarded in cases of intellectual property theft.

It hopes this would provide a greater deterrent than the existing law, under which only damages equivalent to the cost of the software license are permissable.

Sarah Coombes, senior director of legal affairs at BSA EMEA, said: "The current damages law isn't tough enough to deter those businesses that still think it is acceptable to use unlicensed software. The Ministry of Justice acknowledged this in 2007, suggesting this issue would be addressed, but no progress has been made to date.

"Legislation that strengthens the availability of court-awarded damages would act as a deterrent for those that continue to use illegal software. The UK IT industry is a dynamic sector that supports almost 600,000 high-skill, high-salary jobs and contributes billions of pounds in taxes each year, and we need tougher IP laws to protect it."

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