A software industry anti-piracy body has said that “at least 90% of all software available on eBay is illegal.” The report by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) says that “some of the largest and most damaging counterfeiting and piracy problems take place on eBay and other auction sites.”
The SIIA acts for some of the biggest names in software, including Adobe, McAfee, Quark, Corel and Symantec, and targets those believed to be selling pirated software on eBay through the VeRO program and through legal action. Citing several successful cases from 2007, SIIA say they expect to see “many more suits being filed in 2008. As additional targets are identified and approved by SIIA members, SIIA will be filing suits against these targets on a regular basis.”
But, say the SIIA, piracy would not be such a big problem if they had more assistance from eBay and other auction sites: “unfortunately, these sites are often unwilling to take the actions necessary to reduce the high-volume software piracy taking place on their sites.” The SIIA provides a “certified software reseller program” to help customers distinguish those selling genuine software; sadly at the time of writing, this has only three eBay sellers and one Amazon seller listed on their website, so perhaps more work is needed to publicise the benefits of membership.
Buyers who have been duped into buying copied software are urged to take action. The “Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” program offers a reward of up to $500 for those reporting illegal sellers. I’ve long thought that buyers are at least half the problem with software piracy: faced with a potential bill for Â£580 for the genuine version of Photoshop, it takes a strong-willed buyer to resist the lure of a cheap copy, whether its from eBay or a car boot sale. So perhaps they’ll be able to put their reward money towards the genuine articles.