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Business Software Alliance makes antipiracy push

The BSA trade group sends 48,000 peer-to-peer-related takedown warnings and asks sites to shut down 18,000 auctions for the first half of this year.

The Business Software Alliance continues to battle distribution of pirated software on peer-to-peer and auction sites.

The trade group served more than 48,000 "takedown" notices related to BitTorrent files in the first half of this year and says BSA members lost an estimated $525 million in sales as a result of peer-to-peer piracy, according to a new BSA report called "Online Software Scams: A Threat to Your Security."

During the first half of this year BSA asked auction site providers to shut down more than 18,000 auctions in which 45,000 products, worth $22 million, were being sold, the report says.

The piracy problem on auction sites is so bad that the Software and Information Industry Association has said it was considering suing eBay.

The BSA warns consumers that buying pirated software can lead to software incompatibility and viruses, increased maintenance costs with no technical support, as well as identity fraud and privacy breaches.

One in five U.S. consumers who bought software online in 2006 reported problems, in a survey conducted by Forrester Research on behalf of the BSA. More than half received software that was not what they ordered; 36 percent said the software didn't work; 14 percent realized immediately that the product was pirated; and 12 percent never received what they ordered, according to the survey.

"Although consumers may think they are getting a great deal when they buy software from unfamiliar sources online, it is more likely they will receive a substandard product with hidden cybersecurity threats that may expose them to identity theft and the loss of thousands of dollars," the report says.