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Software audits set to rise in tough market

Simon Quicke

Resellers advising customers about their software licensing requirements could be set for a busy time as the vendors turn up the notch in increasing audit levels to claw back potential lost revenue.

The warning about increased audits has come from compliance expert FAST Ltd which has noticed increasing numbers of customers being audited by vendors.

"Software publishers are getting a little bit more active and aggressive about the number of audits and revenue," said Andy Pearce, managing director of FAST Ltd.

"They are looking to generate 25% of revenues from companies that were under licensed," he added.

He quoted analyst research that revealed that more than half of customers had been audited in the last year and 23% had been audited twice.

"The key point is that both under licensing and over licensing are very prevalent," he said.

Other groups aiming to crackdown on the use of illegal software are also expecting an increase in activity.

"The Business Software Alliance (BSA) recognises that the current economic climate could have an impact on companies cutting corners and using unlicensed software to save perceived-costs," said Sarah Coombes, BSA's Senior Director for Legal Affairs, in EMEA.

"As with every year, the BSA intends to step up its enforcement work throughout 2009 to further drive down piracy across the UK," she added.

Yesterday the BSA put the cost of piracy in the UK at £1.9m based on the legal costs companies had faced pluis the expense of buying legal software.

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