According to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), West Australian (WA) businesses are leading unlicensed software settlements in 2015 with over one third of settlements related to WA businesses with penalties tallying up to $100,000 for using unlicensed software.
The BSA has most recently received information from ex-employees of two new WA businesses, Gastech and Offsite for unlicensed software use, which included Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit software, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks software, and Siemens Solid Edge Software.
Gastech denied the allegations, but following an audit request from BSA member organisations, the BSA says Gastech ‘took steps to reformat (wipe) the hard drives of its computers and could therefore not refute the evidence provided by the informant.’
We are told that ‘Gastech agreed to settle the dispute by payment of $50,000 to the BSA and agreed to purchase licensed software. The informant received a financial reward for reporting unlicensed software use to BSA Australia.’
A similar case sees ‘Offsite,’ a WA manufacturing business, also reformatting (wiping) the hard drives of the ex-employee’s computers.
As a result, the BSA says ‘Offsite was also unable to refute the information provided by the ex-employee.’
Offsite is said to have ‘denied that it had infringing software in the amounts alleged by the ex-employee. However, following legal discussions, Offsite agreed to pay $30,000 and agreed not to infringe Autodesk’s copyright in future. The ex-employee was also financially rewarded for reporting unlicensed software use to the BSA.’
The BSA reports that the number of ex-employees reporting the illegal use of software ‘has increased significantly in the last year.’
The association says that ‘people start to realise the use of unlicensed software could put companies who do the right thing in a disadvantageous position when it comes to bidding for business or just being able to keep afloat in a highly competitive market, creating an unfair playing field.’
Tarun Sawney, BSA Senior Director for the Asia Pacific said: “It is important for Australian business that illegal software be discouraged, particularly with the growing trend in illegal cyber activity.
“Illegal software not only compromises security and puts customer information at risk, but can result in financial losses for the business, as information can be intercepted and repurposed for others’ financial gain.
“Not to mention the impact to the reputation of the organisation, business and its employees during court proceedings.”
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Information on the use of unlicensed software in business organisations can be lodged at the BSA’s website.
The BSA says it ‘provides a reward of up to $5,000 for any information that results in a successful action and settlement against the company.’
The BSA ‘recommends that local businesses of all sizes undertake regular checks of their software licenses and deployments, and implement a sound Software Asset Management (SAM) practice.’