Seven leading software companies have announced a 60-day truce in the battle against unlicensed software inviting companies to come forward and legitimise illegal software without the risk of legal action or penalties.
Announcing the truce the Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) said illegal software copying is costing Australian distributors and retailers almost $300 million a year.
The truce will start on May 1 and run for 60 days ending on June 30, 2001; terms and conditions are available at www.bsaa.com.au.
BSAA research indicates that almost one third of PC software in Australia is illegal, which is even higher than the US.
Under the truce BSAA chairman Jim Macnamara said organisations can review their software installations and sort out any illegal copies or breaches of licences over the next 60 days.
"Many organisations are afraid to own up to illegal software because of the risk of legal action, and many are unsure how to take the first steps towards becoming legal," he said.
Global Business Software Alliance (BSA) president Robert Holleyman, who is in Australia meeting federal government representatives, said piracy could hinder local opportunities in the e-economy.
"Countries with a high piracy rate of intellectual property such as software, which is the engine of the e-economy, will miss the boat," Holleyman said.
Participating software companies include Adobe, Autodesk, Macromedia, Micrografx, Manufacturing and Management Systems, Microsoft and Symantec.