RealTime IT News

Are Your Co-Workers Pirates?

Nearly 30 percent of business people could be classified as software pirates, even though 81 percent say they would not violate copyright laws, according to a new survey conducted jointly by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) and KPMG LLP.

In the report Doesn't Everybody Do It? Internet Piracy Attitudes and Behaviors, SIIA and KPMG found that, of 1,004 business people surveyed, more than half said they were unaware of corporate policies governing intellectual property, and 54 percent said they do not know if it is permissible to redistribute information from online sites they subscribe to. The report indicated that 23 percent believe it is permitted.

"This survey tells us that the serious nature of software and content piracy is not clearly communicated to Internet users in the workplace," said Barbara Carbone, national industry director for KPMG's Software and Services practice. "The business community needs to do a better job of educating its employees about Internet use, or risk fines, lawsuits or other incidents that can arise from conducting business in a digital workplace."

SIIA said 69.5 percent of respondents reported using the Internet to acquire software and 22 percent reported subscribing to business information services. Most of those users were unaware of the proper legal use of those products.

"Theft is still the heart of the issue, and software and information companies must be on the alert for those who would steal or borrow their most valuable assets: their intellectual property," said Roger Carlile, partner in charge of KPMG's Forensic & Litigation Services practice.

According to the report, the problem seems to be much more widespread with information from business content sites than it is with software. The report indicated that fewer than 10 percent of consumers and 16 percent of business users admit to redistributing software. Meanwhile, 21 percent of business users said they have downloaded digital content from information services for which their employer does not have a paid subscription, and nearly half of those who access unauthorized subscription services reported redistributing content at least once. Only 7 percent said they redistribute content more than once a week.