The Business Software Alliance has settled with two more firms north of the border in its ongoing pursuit of businesses that continue to use unlicensed software despite the highly publicised risks.
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Mobile phone repair company Total Repair Solutions and motor dealer John R Weir Ltd are both facing a lean Christmas after paying settlement costs of £20,000 and £24,582 respectively. Additionally, Total Repair has now paid out £100,000 to acquire correctly licenced software.
Renfrewshire-based Total Repair was slammed after allegedly being under-licensed on Microsoft software, while John R Weir installed unlicensed copies of Microsoft, Symantec and Adobe software on a number of its machines.
“The continuing disregard for licensing law is a real cause for concern. With the economy entering a period of slowdown companies should make sure they are compliant: no-one wants to face an unexpected bill after falling foul of the rules or encountering operational difficulties due to viruses,” said BSA UK County Committee chair, Julie Strawson.
Matt Fisher, director of Centennial products at software asset management (SAM) specialists FrontRange said it was no surprise that incidents of unlicensed software use seemed to be on the up.
“It is quite cyclical in the UK; we have a period of soft messaging followed by a clampdown,” he said.
“It also ties in with the economic situation. Vendors are not making as much as they would like on licence sales so it’s in their interest to work in this way,” he added.
In the case of the firms fingered by the BSA this week, Fisher said that to warrant such big fines there had likely been some obvious mismanagement, but he added that the granular nature of office networks and the lack of clear control given to IT admins meant in most cases firms were unwittingly committing piracy.
The BSA has been concentrating resources on its campaign in Scotland, largely around the Glasgow region, for over a year after discovering that the area had a huge problem with pirated and unlicensed software. In 2007, Glasgow Central MP Mohammad Sarwar acknowledged that the city’s “poor software piracy record threatens [its] economic stability as well as damaging its reputation” and urged local business to step up their efforts to prioritise effective asset management.
A recent IDC report suggested that by reducing software piracy levels in the UK by just 10% over 13,000 new jobs could be created.