Saturday, April 24, 2010

Polish firms willingly reach for pirate programming

From: WBJ
The incidence of business use of illegal computer software increased in 2009, but the penalties incurred decreased. While 281 businesses were caught out last year – 6.5 percent more than in 2008 – fines totaled only zl.821,000.

According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization of the world’s largest software companies, Polish firms were turning to pirate software in an attempt to cut costs during the economic downturn of 2009.

“A significant outbreak was noticed in the first half of the year,” BSA Poland coordinator Bart?omiej Witucki said. He said this spike paralleled increased retrenchment rates and that the recently unemployed were informing on their former employers.

But the increased number of revealed cases did not coincide with the size of fines issued.

Total penalties were 41 percent less than in 2008. Of z?.821,000, compensation cost zl.747,000 and legitimate software cost zl.74,000. That compares to zl.1.4 million in penalties in 2008, of which zl.1.2 million was spent on compensation and the rest was spent on acquiring legal programming.

“We evaluate each situation individually. If we could see that the financial condition of a company using pirate software isn’t the best, we went for a compromise and agreed to milder penalties,” Mr Witucki said. “It is not in our interest to force a company to declare insolvency.”

BSA research shows that in 2008 illegal programming was installed on as many as 56 percent of Polish computers – only one percentage point less than in 2007. That is equivalent to losses to software companies in the amount of $648 million. Statistics for 2009 will be revealed mid-May.