The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has announced the start of a two-month campaign which calls upon London businesses to eliminate software piracy.


It claimed that London businesses are responsible for more reports of software piracy than any other place in the UK, with one in five pieces of software in the capital being used illegally. The research from IDC, launched to coincide with the campaign, finds that London businesses are installing pirated software worth £149m each year.


The BSA is directly contacting over 1,000 London companies to offer a ‘Software Health Check,' encouraging them to complete and return a simple self-audit form. This will ensure the software installed is legal and licensed in a way that guarantees they are getting value for money.


It is also offering free consultancy from software asset management resellers to help businesses effectively manage their software assets.


Alyna Cope, spokesperson for the BSA country committee, said: “The current downturn in the economy does not negate the need for businesses to keep the software they are using up-to-date and legal. We want to promote the value of software and educate businesses in the capital on how it should be better managed, helping to save them money at a time when it is most needed and reducing the risk of facing legal action further down the line.”


The BSA claimed that it is already investigating several companies in the London area for using unlicensed software, which could result in legal action and the subsequent financial settlements and the unplanned purchase of legitimate software.


Cope said: “We urge London businesses to come forward and ensure that their software licencing is up to scratch, checking all software - from office productivity suites, to design packages and fonts.


“Software piracy deprives developers of the rewards of their work and innovation, with the greatest financial impact felt by smaller firms and start-up software companies, and we need to ensure resource and expertise is not being lost at the base of the sector.”