The Business Software Alliance has settled with two morefirms north of the border in its ongoing pursuit of businesses that continue touse unlicensed software despite the highly publicised risks.
Mobile phone repair company Total Repair Solutions and motordealer 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 allegedlybeing under-licensed on Microsoft software, while John R Weir installedunlicensed copies of Microsoft, Symantec and Adobe software on a number of itsmachines.
“The continuing disregard for licensing law is a real causefor concern. With the economy entering a period of slowdown companies shouldmake sure they are compliant: no-one wants to face an unexpected bill afterfalling foul of the rules or encountering operational difficulties due toviruses,” said BSA UK County Committee chair, Julie Strawson.
Matt Fisher, director of Centennial products at software assetmanagement (SAM) specialists FrontRange said it was no surprise that incidentsof unlicensed software use seemed to be on the up.
“It is quite cyclical in the UK; we have a period of soft messagingfollowed by a clampdown,” he said.
“It also ties in with the economic situation. Vendors arenot making as much as they would like on licence sales so it’s in theirinterest 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 obviousmismanagement, but he added that the granular nature of office networks and thelack of clear control given to IT admins meant in most cases firms wereunwittingly committing piracy.
The BSA has been concentrating resources on its campaign in Scotland, largely around the Glasgow region, for over a year afterdiscovering that the area had a huge problem with pirated and unlicensedsoftware. In 2007, Glasgow Central MP Mohammad Sarwar acknowledged that thecity’s “poor software piracy record threatens [its] economic stability as wellas damaging its reputation” and urged local business to step up their effortsto prioritise effective asset management.
A recent IDC report suggested that by reducing softwarepiracy levels in the UKby just 10% over 13,000 new jobs could be created.