eBay slammed over pirated software

Report claims at least 90 percent of all software available on eBay is illegal

A leading anti-piracy body has accused eBay over counterfeit software, claiming in a new report that "at least 90 percent of all software available on eBay is illegal."

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) is an association for software companies whose anti-piracy division acts rather like the UK's Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) in its efforts to combat software piracy in the workplace. Members include AOL, Adobe, IBM, Intel, Novell, Quark, and Sun, among many others.

During 2007, the SIIA received 427 reports of alleged corporate end-user piracy, and in 17 percent of the cases judged there was sufficient evidence to pursue charges.

The report revealed some interesting data regarding the types of software most commonly pirated in 2007. The largest share of software titles pirated fall into the 'productivity' category (34 per cent), compared to 23 per cent for 'operating system'. The 'document management' sector scored 8 per cent, the 'creative' segment scored 7 per cent and 'security' scored 6 per cent. 'Accounting', 'CAD', and 'mapping' each scored one per cent.

The study also named the top ten software titles infringed by companies in 2007, as well as the top ten infringed software titles on the Internet. It also lists the top ten infringed software titles on auction sites.

Indeed, the report reserved some of its harshest criticism for auction sites. "Some of the largest and most damaging counterfeiting and piracy problems take place on eBay and other auction sites," said the report.

"Consumers feel 'taken' when they buy software or any other product only to find out when it arrives that the software is a fake, and they did not get an instruction manual or can't get support from the software company," the report added.

"Auction piracy would not be such a big problem if SIIA and its members could get better cooperation from eBay and other auction sites," it said. "Unfortunately, these sites are often unwilling to take the actions necessary to reduce the high-volume software piracy taking place on their sites."

Last year, IDC said that the software industry lost US$28.8 billion worldwide through software piracy, with China topping the software piracy league.

The top ten software titles most frequently pirated by companies: (Sterling prices were sourced from Amazon's UK website)

  • Symantec Norton Anti-Virus (£29)
  • Adobe Acrobat (£267 for the complete package)
  • Symantec PC Anywhere (£89 for the full edition)
  • Adobe PhotoShop (£69 for Elements, £560 for full version)
  • Autodesk AutoCAD (from £895)
  • Adobe DreamWeaver (from £391)
  • Roxio Easy CD/DVD Creator (£59 for Easy Media Creator Suite)
  • Roxio Toast Titanium (£52 - Mac only)
  • Ipswitch WS_FTP (from US$99 to $250 for the Professional version)
  • Nero Ultra Edition (£59)

2007 Software Titles Most Frequently Pirated on the Internet:

  • McAfee VirusScan (£39)
  • Symantec Norton Anti-Virus (see above)
  • McAfee Internet Security Suite (£49)
  • Intuit TurboTax (from US$29 to $99)
  • Adobe Photoshop (see above)
  • Adobe Acrobat (see above)
  • Intuit Quicken Home and Business (US$99)
  • Symantec Norton pcAnywhere (see above)
  • Symantec Norton Ghost (£39)
  • Adobe Creative Suite (£999)

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