According to a new study by the Business Software Alliance 29% of software on the UK's computers is pirated.

However Eastern Europe's figures spike first to 50% and then to 71% in places. That means the average across all surveyed regions is 37%.

A new counting system means that consumer software, presumably including games, is now included which led to increases for most countries across the board. For the UK the statistical recalculation of 3% cost $1.6billion in lost revenue, and generally piracy costs almost £30billion worldwide.

The Business Software Alliance plans to catch them young and talk to schoolchildren in a bid to prevent piracy taking root as an accepted means of obtaining software. We'd also recommend they take a leaf out of the games industry's book as it has developed the kind of protection software that sometimes can even stop the original legally bought game from working and sometimes even stop other games from different companies.

As multiplayer games explode, the developers and publisher themselves also have their own means to combat pirates, simply by zapping both/all occurrences of duplicated keys. Codemasters' FADE technology lets the copy happen but then features of the game start to disappear over time until the game becomes unplayable. Ubi Soft has gone one further with its games refusing to install if certain CD Burning and duplication programs are found on the hard disk with a search. So it's not all doom and gloom for the industry and the figures do mean that 71% of UK computer users can't be bothered with the black art of successful piracy and would rather buy it and get the box, manual, and some minimal support in the business arena.

The BSA warned businesses to audit their computers properly to avoid being fined for piracy and unauthorised material on their hard disks.

Figures: Business Software Alliance