IT departments need software compliance officer: BSAA

Key to avoiding piracy, losing track of licences
  • (Computerworld)
  • 15 September, 2010 08:54

Having a member of an IT department responsible for software asset management is vital if businesses are to avoid mistakenly using pirated software or losing track of licences.

Arguing the case for a software compliance officer, co-chair of the Business Software Alliance of Australia (BSAA), Clayton Noble, said while some organisations intentionally used of pirated software and infringed software licences, a lack of organisation and proper record management was resulting in some organisations unintentionally breaching copyright laws.

“Some organisations just have no idea what they are doing and nobody is checking if they are paying for licences,” he said. “Having somebody in an IT department who is responsible for software asset management and centralising the software acquisition function is one of the most basic things that people we come across come to see as important.”

In an effort to curb the unintentional infringing of licences and the use of pirate software, Noble said the BSAA would provide educational tools for companies struggling with software compliance.

“As well as enforcing offences, we also have all sorts of tools and information that’s clearly available for organisations and businesses to make sure you’re compliant with your licences. We have software asset management in place to allow businesses to understand their use of licences,” he said.

As reported by Computerworld Australia the news follows the BSAA's increasing its reward for reporting software piracy from $5,000 to $20,000 during September and October.

The BSA works with around 24 members in Australia, and settled 12 cases locally last year.

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More about: BSAA, Business Software Alliance, Noble
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If BSA really wanted to empower organisations to take responsibility for their software assets, arranging for a national register of all software licence purchases, updated by vendors whenever they make a sale or renew a contract would be a more concrete contribution. (not public, just accessible by purchaser organisations to check their own records)

Then business management could become involved in ensuring compliance, rather than needing to delegate it to an expensive administrative officer or to IT.



Every time we find we are slow on software asset management, we find that its much cheaper to rebuild the computers with open source software. The BSA and BSAA are hurting more Australian software development companies by their threats of extortion than they are helping with license compliance. Their numbers show that is true by settling with 12 companies in one year but causing thousands to shift their businesses to using open source software. They need to get back on track with their message which is you need to make sure you software developers get paid and it doesn't matter if they are a major corporation like Microsoft or a small open source project. The developers need funding to continue their work.

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