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Software piracy rife in public authorities

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11:24 CEST+02:00
Two senior figures in Sweden's computer industry have claimed in a national newspaper that the country's public organisations illegally copy computer software.

Writing in Svenska Dagbladet, John Hugosson, chairman of the Business Software Alliance, and Peter Bergh, director of the Swedish Software Association, claim that every fourth computer programme in Swedish state-run companies and public authorities is unlicenced.

In the country as a whole, these organisations are responsible for pirate copying worth 2.2 billion kronor, say Hugosson and Bergh.

A report in 2000 about the way in which public authorities' handle licencing and software found that only 6% of the organisations questioned were completely sure that they only used legal programmes while 22% said they seldom checked their software.

A follow-up was promised but no measures were taken.

"It's unacceptable that state authorities or companies don't bother to be correctly licenced and thereby contribute to a lack of public understanding about what's right," wrote Hugosson and Berg.

The pair have demanded that the government acts and introduces a policy of zero tolerance against pirate copying within the state sector.

At the same time, they are seeking a clear control and follow-up process for the way in which state organisations' manage their software.

Furthermore, they say, the spreading of copyright protected material on the internet should lead to a tougher punishment.

"The maximum penalty for breach of copyright should be raised to at least 4 years' imprisonment," state Hugosson and Berg.

They also called for increased resources for police and prosecutors who work with copyright protection.

TT/The Local

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