BSA fines Alternative Plastics Australia $50,000

Melbourne manufacturing company penalised after investigation found it was using unlicensed Autodesk software

Business Software Alliance (BSA) Australia has reached a settlement with Melbourne manufacturing company Alternative Plastics Pty Ltd and its sister firm Alternative Plastics Australia Pty Ltd for reportedly using Autodesk unlicensed software programs.

Under the settlement, the two companies will pay $50,000 in copyright infringement damages and be required to purchase legitimate versions of Autodesk software.

The BSA, acting for its member Autodesk, commenced proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia on 17 April 2012. In addition to the settlement of the case, the BSA also settled with the directors of Alternative Plastics and Alternative Plastics Australia, who could have been held personally liable for authorisation of the copyright infringement.

In depth: How businesses can avoid software piracy: BSA

According to BSA Australia committee chair Clayton Noble, cases such as this should remind Australian businesses about the importance of using properly licensed software.

“Some businesses think they can save money by pirating software, but they don’t consider the larger financial and reputation risks they are taking,” he said in a statement.

“Aside from the risks associated with getting caught, they’re also jeopardising the security of their company’s computer systems and data if they don’t use validly licensed software receiving important security updates, which can lead to even larger costs.”

According to BSA’s Global Software Piracy Study 2011, the commercial value of pirated software in Australia was worth US$763 million for new unlicensed software installations in 2011.

Research conducted by Australian consumer advocacy group Choice during July 2012 for a parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing revealed that Australian consumers are paying around 50 per cent more than US consumers for computer software, hardware, music downloads and computer games.

According to Choice head of campaigns Matt Levey, a selection of 44 popular home and business software products were, on average, 34 per cent more expensive in Australia than in the US.

“We found that with one Microsoft software development product, it would be cheaper to pay someone’s wage and fly them to the US and back twice, getting them to buy the software while they’re there,” he said at the time.

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