Industry alliance seeks tougher penalties for software pirates

Industry alliance seeks tougher penalties for software pirates

The Business Software Alliance of Australia (BSAA) is seeking tougher penalties from the Federal Government in a bid to tackle Australia's $286-million-a-year software piracy problem.

In a survey of 250 Australian distributors and retailers presented to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 92 per cent of the respondents declared software piracy to be a significant problem. More than half of the respondents estimated they were losing anywhere between 1 and 30 per cent of their sales revenue for the year because of piracy.

The BSAA submission called for the Government to increase criminal enforcement for software copyright, introduce statutory damages in civil actions for infringement of copyright, and streamline the law that deals with proof of ownership of the copyright.

With stricter actions against piracy, the BSAA is anticipating that Australia's rate of 33 per cent can be realistically reduced to American levels of 27 per cent, generating an additional $1.2 billion in sales and thousands of jobs, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

BSAA chairman Jim Macnamara, said: "The industry has poured lots of money into fighting this problem, with more than 160 civil actions against infringers brought before the courts, whereas they have seen only six criminal cases.

"It is time for the Government to support the industry as the results of the survey prove that software piracy is a major area of theft and criminal activity," he said.

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