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.