Counterfeit software has been linked with organised crime and drug pushing by the European Leisure Software Publishers' Association (Elspa) following a series of raids by drug investigators in the UK.
Eighty percent of software counterfeiters are associated with organised crimes according to research carried out by the Elspa Crime Unit.
"What people often do not realise is that often these people can be very serious and dangerous criminals, not the harmless Del Boy character that has come to be associated with counterfeiting. These people are using the profits they make from counterfeiting to fund much more sinister crime," comments chief investigator for the Elspa Crime Unit Terry Anslow in a statement.
Recent police raids by drug squads in Derbyshire and Chesterfield have uncovered evidence of wholesale counterfeit software being used to supplement drug pushing. Elspa estimates that the counterfeit software industry not only fuels other crimes but is damaging to legitimate software companies in the UK.
The British Software Association (BSA) estimates that the distribution and sale of counterfeit software costs software manufacturers in the UK £457m in lost sales last year alone. Elspa expects to see even more of a boom in the amount of fake software sold in the run up to Christmas.
Ironically, counterfeit Microsoft software accidentally found its way onto numerous computer systems within the UK police force.
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