An unnamed recruitment firm in Melbourne has paid $11,190 to settle a copyright breach claim with industry advocacy group the Software Alliance (BSA), for the use of unlicensed Microsoft Office software.
The BSA has previously said software piracy is rife in Australia, with recent estimates putting the figure of unlicensed software in the county at 21%.
In addition to the damages, the recruitment firm must purchase legitimate software licenses.
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BSA Australia committee chair Clayton Noble told SmartCompany the organisation was tipped off by a person who knew about the unlicensed software use, via its web reporting form.
Noble said quite a lot of cases are reported to the BSA by those who know about piracy within a company.
The BSA believes the recruitment company had been using the unlicensed software since about 2010.
Noble says the using software without a licence is a copyright breach and the process the BSA goes through when someone reports a breach is to gather information into an affidavit and thoroughly check the veracity of the case.
“We then reach out to business using the software without a licence and let them know what has been alleged,” say Noble. “We then give opportunity to provide proof of licences.”
The next step, as was taken in this case, is to issue the business with a copyright infringement and negotiate a settlement of the matter.
Noble says the case highlights the financial risks businesses take if they use unlicensed, non-genuine software.
“The message is, if you’re using software without a licence, you are taking all sorts of risks. Not just legal, reputational and financial risks, but security risks.”
Noble says most counterfeit software is embedded with malware that will open your systems up to the risk of losing data or falling victim to cybercrime.
He recommended business look at BSA’s website to help them prepare a software asset management procedure. He says the benefit of this can be finding software licences you didn’t know you had.