Senators urge FTC to crackdown on software piracy

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"This unfairness harms the affected companies and their employees, as well as consumers and the broader economy," the senators wrote. "It also stifles innovation by forcing law-abiding American businesses — large and small — to compete against those businesses that reduce their operating costs through the use of pirated IT."

In November, 39 state attorneys general wrote a similar letter to the FTC, asking it to use its powers against "unfair methods of competition" to protect American companies. The attorneys general said that some of America's largest trading partners steal 80 to 90 percent of the software they use, giving them an unfair edge.

The senators urged the FTC to work with the state attorneys general to protect the American firms.

The senators who signed the letter are Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), David Vitter (R-La.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.).