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BSA settles Australian software piracy cases

Software industry advocacy group, the BSA|The Software Alliance, has settled three court cases in Australia, awarded a total of $58,000 in damages following the unlicensed use of software programmes owned by its members - Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft - in breach of copyright law.

The first case, Meldan (Vic) Pty Ltd, trading as Granvue Homes, a project home builder, paid $35,000 in damages for the use of unlicensed software, following an audit which revealed use of unlicensed product keys for Adobe Acrobat, Autodesk, AutoCAD and and Microsoft Office software.

BSA says the Victorian settlement is the first for the state in 2016, following a record number of settlements for Victoria in 2014 and 2015 above any other state, “indicating an increase in Victorian business accountability in 2016 for software compliance”.

In another case, Sosan Pty Ltd, an architectural model maker in Brisbane, was found to be using Autodesk Building Design Suite in excess of their license entitlements. In addition to paying damages of $18,000, Sosan has purchased the necessary licenses to legalise ongoing software deployments.

The third case involved R King Enterprises (Mocare), a wholesale automotive products distributor located in Woodville North, South Australia, which was found to be using an unauthorised copy of Microsoft Server software. Mocare paid damages of $5,000 for the infringement, and is in the process of purchasing legitimate software licenses.

To ensure ongoing software compliance, each business has also agreed to undertake regular software audits which will be reported to BSA.

Tarun Sawney, BSA Senior Director – Asia-Pacific, said, “It is important for the Australian economy that unlicensed software be discouraged and infringing businesses be held accountable, particularly with the growing trend in illegal cyber activity".

“Unlicensed software not only compromises security and puts customer information at risk, it can also 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 any legal proceedings.

“We urge all businesses, whether large or small to conduct regular checks of software licenses and deployments, and implement an effective Software Asset Management (SAM) practice.

“A sound Software Asset Management (SAM) program with regular IT audits will ensure that businesses can avoid the damaging consequences of using unlicensed software and get the best return on investment from their software license purchases.

“We ask those who are aware of unlicensed corporate software use to report piracy.”

The BSA is offering up to $20,000 to eligible recipients who disclose accurate information regarding unlawful copying or use of the BSA members’ software.

Sawney says potential recipients must provide assistance and evidence to support the information, as the information may be required by the BSA’s legal advisers, in connection with any claim or legal proceedings initiated by the BSA members. For the full terms and conditions, click here.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).