Wednesday, 24 May 2017 18:02

Unlicensed software use costs Aussie companies $65K in damages Featured

Unlicensed software use costs Aussie companies $65K in damages Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Software industry advocacy group BSA The Software Alliance has settled four cases of unlicensed software use across Australia with $65,500 in total damages awarded against businesses.

The settled cases involved businesses in Victoria and Western Australia and two based in Quensland, including one for the highest settlement of $18,000.

The cases settled were:

  •        A $35,000 settlement with a Victorian retail fit out company. The business was found to be using unlicensed copies of Autodesk’s AutoCAD.
  •       A Western Australian construction company was found to be using unlicensed versions of Autodesk’s AutoCAD. The balustrade and fencing company settled for $10,000.
  •       A Queensland-based IT contractor has settled with the BSA for a total of $2500. The organisation was found to have installed Microsoft Windows on a number of computers which were subsequently sold on to      customers.
  •       A Queensland Training Institute has settled for $18,000 damages. The organisation was found to have unlicensed copies of Microsoft Office installed on company computers.

Each business caught using unlicensed software was required to purchase genuine software licenses for its ongoing use and had to pay copyright infringement damages.

“It’s important that businesses, no matter of location or industry, are vigilant when it comes to their software and ensuring that they are software compliant,” said BSA’s director of compliance for APAC Gary Gan.

“Businesses should look to implement an effective Software Asset Management (SAM) system in order to help them manage their software licences.

“In the long run, SAM systems will also help businesses cut costs, helping to advise on what software licences are still used and are needed for the business to operate effectively.”

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

And, he also says, the organisation is committed to its role in raising awareness of the risks to businesses using unlicensed software and the damaging effects that software piracy has on the Australian IT industry.

According to Gan, potential recipients must provide assistance and evidence to support the information, as may be required by the BSA’s legal advisers, in connection with any claim or legal proceedings initiated by the BSA members.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a 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).

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