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London practices hit in computer piracy swoop

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Architects across London have been caught out following a two-month clampdown by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) on pirated software in the capital.

Among them was West End-based Archetype Associates, which has agreed to stump up £10,000 after underlicensed copies of Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk AutoCAD were found on seven of its computers. 

According to the BSA, one in five pieces of software in the capital is pirated. Sources have told the AJ that ‘software piracy was rife’ and on the increase due to more people setting up on their own.

The BSA also reported an eight per cent rise in ‘leads’ provided to the association, which offers payments to whistleblowers for information on practices using pirated products.

‘Software piracy is a major problem in London,’ said Alyna Cope, spokesperson for BSA’s UK Country Committee. ‘Following our campaign, enforcement action will be taken against  non-compliant businesses.’

Robert Klaschka, who has helped write the RIBA’s good practice guidance on IT, said: ‘There is never a good justification for software piracy. There may be people justifying piracy to the themselves because of the recession, however my experience is these are the same people that were using pirate software in the boom.’

Responding to the BSA investigation, Masoud Parvardin of Archetype Associates said: ‘We took these allegations very seriously and conducted a full audit into computer use. It was subsequently discovered some of our contractors, all of whom are either abroad or in liquidation, had been misusing software.

’We [had been] relaxed about the personal use of the stations and hence, we felt it would be our responsibility to sort out the issue.’

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