The majority of pirated software in the Czech Republic can be found in households. According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), households account for 60% of all illegal software. However, thanks to the falling number of firms using pirated software software piracy in general accounts for about 39%.

“Cheap computers and fast internet are a suitable mycelium for the spread of illegal software. The long-time trend of declining software piracy may temporarily slow down,” BSA’s spokesman Jan Hlaváč said.

The biggest players on the market like, for example, AutoDesk that produces software for designers or Adobe specialising in graphic programs want to toughen their practices this year. “We have strengthened our team for uncovering the illegal use of our products. However, we have been able to solve most of the piracy cases in an out of court way,” said Jan Bucek of Autodesk, refraining from elaborating about the firm’s specialised department.

A record number of companies have joined the anti-piracy alliance last year. “This is the first time that 12 companies have joined our league in a year,” Hlaváč said. BSA is thus now representing companies like Corel, CyberLink and Quark.

Now especially companies with less than 100 employees will be in the viewfinder of the 19-member BSA. “Smaller firms often do not care about the legality of the software they’re using. They ignore or disregard licence conditions and often also want to save money by not buying the necessary licenses,” Jan Hlaváč said.

Still, the Czech Republic belongs among 30 countries with the lowest occurrence of illegal software. Currently, it holds the 29th position.

Nevertheless, the losses for the domestic software business are growing and currently represent about CZK 3 billion a year.

According to the IDC analytical company, especially the bigger companies are successful in curtailing the spread of pirated software thanks to their well-functioning control mechanisms. “These include the administration of the used software, monitoring of the purchased computer equipment, the existence of internal rules for work with software and training for employees,” Hlaváč said.

Software producers have been preventing the massive spread of piracy software in households by means of special offers. For example Microsoft was offering its Office package with a 50% discount last year. Also popular are free student versions as the companies expect that students will buy full versions after finishing their studies.

Last year BSA concentrated on fighting against the copyright infringement of fonts. “In practise, fonts are often treated in multi-licence agreement, which say on how many computers the font can be used depending on the amount of payment for the licence,” Hlaváč said. This year, BSA is planning to concentrate on launching campaigns in the corporate sector. “We would like to address dozens of thousands of companies and, in cooperation with software producers, point out those companies which may be using illegal software in the long term,” Hlaváč said.