Victorian-based construction firm Telford Building Systems has paid an out of court settlement of $100,000 to the BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) after the firm used unlicensed Autodesk AutoCAD design software and Microsoft Office software.
BSA staff started talks with Telford representatives in February 2014 after the BSA received evidence that the company was using unlicensed versions of Autodesk and Microsoft software.
In addition to paying the $100,000 fine, Telford has to buy legitimate versions of AutoCAD and Office.
Speaking to Computerworld Australia, BSA Australia committee chair Clayton Noble said the fine was substantial due to the number of unlicensed software examples it found in Telford’s IT systems.
“The additional damages were quite low because when Telford was made aware of the issue, they talked to us and we had a prompt settlement discussion. The way they managed it meant that the damages were reduced from what they might have been.”
If a software piracy does proceed to court, damages can be much higher.
In September 2013, BSA member Microsoft Australia won a case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia against Melbourne trader Paul McLane who produced and sold counterfeit copies of Windows and Office software.
McLane, who traded as Software Paul, was ordered to pay $4994.95 in compensatory damages plus $300,000 in additional damages for repeated copyright infringements against Microsoft. The Court also imposed a restraining order which prevented him from selling pirated software in the future.
“This case serves as a reminder of the importance of using properly licensed software. Some businesses think they can save money by using unlicensed software, but they fail to consider larger financial and reputation risks they are taking,” Noble said.
To avoid hefty fines, companies should conduct software asset management (SAM) checks as part of their IT audit to ensure all business software is licensed, he added.
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