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A Blackpool-based building services company has become the latest firm to be caught using unlicensed software and forced to pay out thousands to get itself on the right side of the law.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has revealed that George Morrison, a building services engineering company, has settled to the tune of £10,000 after being caught using unlicensed Microsoft and Autodesk products.
The BSA has been using a steady stream of cases as a way of promoting the risks customers face when they try to cheat the industry by failing to pay for the applications they use.
Philippe Brière, chair of the BSA UK Committee, said that the abuse of intellectual property had to be seen as a serious offence.
"Settlements such as this one can seriously damage a company's reputation and are evidently costly. What's more, the use of unlicensed software exposes businesses to significant security risks," he said.
Julian Swan, Director, Compliance Marketing EMEA, at the BSA, said that although sometimes the use of illegal software was not deliberate it needed to be handled by management.
"Mistakes tend to happen when a company's management perceives software licensing solely as an IT problem, without recognising that failure to manage software properly could expose their company to legal redress, not to mention operational failure," he said.
He added that the obvious solution, one which resellers are also pitching well, was Software Asset Management (SAM) which would give users a clear idea of their assets and licensing responsibilities.