Monday, 09 February 2015 15:15

Victorian businesses the biggest software pirates in Australia

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Victoria has won the dubious distinction of having the highest illegal software usage for the second year running, with the highest number of settlements, but with cases reported in NSW, QLD, SA and WA, too.

The BSA or Business Software Alliance has actioned 12 cases in 2014 where illegal software with an estimated value of $825,000 was found, while ‘urging businesses to undertake regular software audits as reports of cybercrime ramp up.’

The alliance says Australians ‘remained vigilant in reporting illegal software use in business’, with cases reported in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA and WA.

Almost three-quarters of cases settled originated in Victoria, which the BSA reports is ‘a significant increase from 2013 with Victoria and New South Wales registering 39% and 38% of settlements respectively.’

Architects and designers accounted for nearly one-third of settlements at 27%, while the engineering sector was close behind at 20%, with the remaining settlements ‘spread across a variety of industries including manufacturing, real estate, IT, recruitment and sales/distribution.’

Last year, the BSA’s ‘Global Software Study’ revealed that computer users cited the risk of security threats from malware as the top reason not to use unlicensed software.

With ACORN or the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network recently disclosing that Australians were reporting over 500 cybercrimes every week, the BSA says it is ‘now calling on businesses to ensure their software is properly licensed as a key step towards protecting their intellectual property and business processes.’

Roland Chan, Senior Direct of the BSA’s Compliance Programs, Asia Pacific said: “2014’s results prove that illegal software use remains a challenge in industries across the country, but they also show that Australians are prepared to take action in reporting these infringements.

“Our recent Global Software Survey showed that less than half of IT Managers said they were confident that their company’s software was properly licensed.

“With reports of cybercrime rising in Australia, it’s now more important than ever for businesses to ensure they have a formal policy on licensed software use to ensure the best possible security.”

“In 2015, the BSA will continue to work hard on educating businesses on the benefits of a sound Software Asset Management programme, helping them to avoid legal and security risks, and ensure they have the right number of licenses for their users.”

The BSA says it ‘remains committed to its role in raising awareness of the risks to businesses when using unlicensed software and the damaging effects that software piracy has on the Australian IT industry.’

The alliance notes that each business caught using unlicensed software was required to purchase genuine software licenses for its ongoing use, in addition to paying the copyright infringement damages penalty.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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