BSA Australia settles 14 cases of software piracy in 2012

Alliance chair Clayton Noble reports that more people are coming forward to blow the whistle on software piracy.

Fourteen cases of software piracy totalling $440,237 were settled in Australia, according to new statistics from the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

In addition to paying the copyright infringement damages bill, each business was required to purchase legitimate software licenses for its ongoing use.

For example, Melbourne manufacturing company Alternative Plastics Pty Ltd and its sister firm Alternative Plastics Australia Pty Ltd were fined $50,000 in September 2012 for reportedly using Autodesk unlicensed software programs.

The BSA also upped its reward money from $5,000 to $20,000 for whistle blowers during July 2012 by bringing back a reward incentive that it last offered in 2010.

According to BSA Australia chair Clayton Noble, the 14 software piracy settlements were a “considerable increase” on past years.

In 2010, the BSA received 161 reports of illegal software use received by the organisation last year. Software piracy occurred across a range of industries including design, services, architecture, software development and media. This compared with 2009 when it received 95 reports of pirated software use.

According to the 2011 BSA Global Software Piracy study, Australia’s software piracy rates are decreasing at the rate of 1 per cent every year.

“Despite this trend, a large number of Australian businesses still take the risks of using unlicensed software,” Noble said in a statement.

“In 2011, 23 per cent of all new PC software installed in Australia was illegal, with a commercial value of $739 million.”

He added that every Australian business should implement a Software Asset Management (SAM) practice and conduct regular checks to ensure that it is not at risk from using unlicensed software.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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Filipa Preston


While software piracy is still a significant issue in Australia, software waste is a much bigger concern. Organisations in Australia alone waste millions of dollars on software they no longer need or on licence types that are inappropriate for their needs. Each software asset management project we have delivered has saved an organisation in the region of half a million dollars. By this measurement alone, just one project can save a company the total fines issued by the BSA in Australia in the whole of 2012 ($440,237).

The challenge is that most of organisations (around 80% in our experience) only look into software optimisation when they are forced to - such as during a software audit, merger or their annual licencing true up of a licencing agreement. This is due to a complete lack of focus or willingness by senior executives to gain visibility and control over their software use (who is using what, where and when) on a proactive basis. Yet it is this proactive management of software that yields such significant long-term savings for the business, not the reactive, scrambling for control during an audit.

No organization should be excused for running illegal software, but systematically wasting resources is just as big a crime.

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