Named and shamed IT company hits out at BSA

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Named and shamed IT company hits out at BSA

Lisa Kelly
An IT company named and shamed by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) has hit back at its treatment by the software licensing enforcement organisation.

The BSA, following a tip-off on its Web site, reached a £52,000 settlement with Amaze, an IT solutions company based in Liverpool. The settlement included £28,000 for unlicensed use of software and a further £24,000 to purchase of licences needed to operate legally.

Amaze chief executive officer Stuart Melhuish said a "disgruntled employee" contacted the BSA. The company "made a frank and open declaration and co-operated fully" with the BSA.

The discovery of the licence shortfall came after a period of significant expansion and the breach had been fully rectified.

Melhuish told CW360.com, "We are obviously disappointed having taken these measures that, of the 6,500 companies in Europe subject to enforcement actions in the last year, the BSA have chosen to single out Amaze, when we have fully co-operated and taken every step to amend the situation as rapidly as possible."

The BSA runs an online software licensing self-audit service, and promises that any data used will not be used to prosecute companies with a problem.

Mike Newton, programme manager for BSA in the UK, said, "If companies come to us with a problem, we will not prosecute. Otherwise, company principals face the consequences of unlimited fines and, at worst, imprisonment."

However, Mike Pullen, IT lawyer at Dibb Lupton Alsop, said users should be cautious of the BSA's approach.

"There is no way companies should condone breaking the law [by running unlicensed software], he said, but added, "Companies would have to think very carefully about using the amnesty to manage their risk.

"If, for example, they do a self-audit and find they are 90% compliant, they may judge it best to deal with the 10%, which is not compliant in-house."

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