- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Modern technology has made it easier than ever to pirate software, and more companies are doing it, according to a report issued yesterday by an industry group.
"It's not difficult at all, and that's part of the problem," said Bob Kruger, vice president of enforcement at the Business Software Alliance (BSA). "People can just take a disk and put it on more computers than they're licensed to do so."
Thirty-seven percent of all business software in use last year was stolen, costing companies worldwide an estimated $11.8 billion, the BSA said. Although the cost of software theft declined 4 percent from $13.2 billion in 1999, last year represented the first time in the study's six-year history that the world piracy rate did not decline.
Most businesses pirate software by installing one software program on multiple computers, and the Internet is making it easier for businesses to obtain unlicensed software. Ninety percent of software sold on Internet auction sites is pirated, the District-based BSA said.
"I'd be less than candid if I didn't say when progress is made on one front, another problem arises in another," Mr. Kruger said. "Internet piracy has grown to such a point that it threatens to make others seem quaint by comparison."
The United States reported a piracy rate of 24 percent last year, the lowest in the study, while Vietnam reported the highest rate 97 percent.
"It is more expensive to have unlicensed software than it is to have" licensed software, Mr. Kruger said. "The money lost to piracy could go to the research and development of new programs. Lost revenues equals lost jobs, lost wages, lost tax revenues. It affects the economy as a whole."
The U.S. software industry lost more than $2.6 billion to software piracy last year and cost the U.S. economy more than 107,000 jobs in 1999, according to a study by International Planning and Research Corp.
"The good news is, we think we're raising awareness," Mr. Kruger said.
The BSA investigates reports of software piracy and negotiates settlements with companies found to be using stolen software. Most probes begin with tips to the BSA's telephone hotline (888-NO PIRACY) and Web site (www.bsa.org).
Two area companies yesterday settled claims with the BSA after self-audits revealed that they owned more software programs than actual licenses.
The Adrenaline Group, a D.C. software-development firm, paid $103,713 to the BSA, while Employment Enterprises, a Manassas employment-services company, paid $160,000, according to Mr. Kruger.
"The Adrenaline Group grew from six to 60 employees over the past year and a half. The company's fast pace and tremendous growth has made it a challenge to keep current with personal-computer software licenses," said company President Greg DuPertuis. "Adrenaline worked with the BSA to address these issues quickly, and has taken appropriate action to ensure compliance going forward."


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