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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 9, 2008
Information technology
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Software Piracy Still a Problem
July 9, 2008   
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Poland is number four on a blacklist of European Union countries that use illegal software, after Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, according to the latest report by the Business Sftware Alliance (BSA), an organization that promotes the safe and legal use of software.

The percentage of pirated software installed on personal computers in Poland did not change between 2006 and 2007, staying at 57 percent, though losses incurred by software producers in this country increased to $580 million.

"After three years of falling at a rate of 1 percent annually, software piracy has stopped at 57 percent," says Jarosław Kierczuk from the Autodesk company who is chairman of the BSA's Polish committee. "One can say that the downward trend has halted, which is a disturbing sign given that the level of software piracy in Poland is among the highest in the EU, and that the countries that have a higher rate, which means Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, have all reported decreases."

Software piracy affects more than just the computer industry's income. Another BSA report from this year shows that limiting software piracy by just 10 percent over four consecutive years in Poland would strengthen the country's IT sector by generating zl.2.68 billion for the economy and creating almost 2,000 new, well-paid jobs. A 10-percent decrease in software piracy would also yield some zl.270 million in extra tax revenue for the government.

Bartosz Malinowski from the Adobe company, who is vice-chairman of the BSA's Polish committee, says the problem is compounded by the fact that there is public consent to the theft of intellectual property in Poland. The rights of software producers are often violated by companies that themselves make a living from intellectual property, such as advertising agencies, graphic design studios and architectural companies, Malinowski says.

According to the BSA, software piracy could be reduced by educating users on the value and importance of intellectual property rights and the danger of using illegal software. It is also necessary to increase the efficiency of the justice administration system and enlist the support of public administration in combating software piracy.

Bartłomiej Witucki, spokesman for the BSA in Poland, says, "The software piracy rate in Poland confirms earlier concerns that a rate below 50 percent cannot be achieved for as long as there is public consent to the theft of intellectual property. The second most important problem are lengthy court proceedings. Unlike the former problem, which requires long-term education of users, the latter issue seems possible to deal with in a relatively short time. However, this requires a radical improvement in the work of the court system."
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