Calls on eBay and co to prevent easy sale by removing 'Buy it Now' function on suspect listings

BSA targets online auction

The BSA is hailing its success in halting the illegal sale of millions of pounds of software via the internet during the first half of 2008.

The Business Software Alliance said ahead of the release of its report into the threats associated with internet piracy that it had shut down 18,314 auctions around the world selling over 45,000 items of pirated software.

It added that the perceived anonymity of the internet had led to a rise in the view that it was a victimless crime, however, speaking on the eve of the report’s release, vice president of the anti-piracy and general counsel at the BSA Neil MacBride warned that attitudes have to change.

"The anonymity of buying over the web leads to the distorted belief that intellectual property theft is a victimless crime," he said. "Whilst many would not dream of shoplifting a music CD or package of software from a store, they are willing to go online to seek out copies of what is clearly illegal software.

"Ignorance is not an excuse – businesses should be making basic checks to ensure that what they are buying is authentic."

MacBride also said that the auction websites, such as eBay, must do more to protect their customers: "Auction sites must do more to protect consumers. To increase protection for their customers, auction sites should, at the very least, assume responsibility and highlight the risks to customers buying software online.

Asked how they would do this without them having to check every single auction for authenticity, he added: "Forging close collaborations with the software industry, auction sites could alert software companies of auctions posted and slow the process down by stopping the ‘buy it now function’ – providing more time to monitor and catch pirated software."

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