Microsoft products prevalent in UK piracy cases

MicrosoftMicrosoft products are involved in more than half of the piracy cases handled by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), the organisation revealed.

FAST has published data showing that infringements against Microsoft Office and Windows are at the centre of almost half its cases. Piracy of other products from the Seattle-based giant push the total proportion of FAST cases involving Microsoft in the United Kingdom up to 54 percent.

Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Creative Suite account for a further quarter of all cases handled by FAST. Each of the frequently pirated pieces of Microsoft and Adobe software is often used in corporate offices and the creative industry, and as such has implications for businesses.

Michala Wardell, head of anti-piracy at Microsoft UK, said: "Businesses that use pirated software frequently run into a whole host of problems, such as identity theft and credit card fraud. They then have to spend many hours trying to reverse the impact [of] the counterfeit software."

Cases seen by FAST show at least some businesses and organisations have pirated software. In April, FAST reported on an unnamed company that used more than £100,000 of unlicensed software, and helped Perth and Kinross Council legitimise its operations at a cost of £67,675.

When whistleblowers report such cases to FAST, its legal team looks into the details. In the past it was uneconomic to pursue action against software pirates, but FAST is now finding it cheaper and easier. The anti-piracy organisation now wants to see stronger legal deterrents too.

Roy Crozier, of the law firm Clarke Willmott, said: "Unless we have the possibility of 'statutory' damages or 'pre-established' damages which result in infringers facing the possibility of having to pay a multiple of the licence fee which would ordinarily be due this situation will continue."

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