The Business Software Alliance (BSA) says business caught using illegal software paid out about R3,416-million in damages and for the purchase of business-ritical software, as a result of a radio and print advertising campaign run during October 2008.
The campaign offered a reward of up to R100 000.00 for leads and information that resulted in a settlement related to the use of unlicensed software.
"The fight against piracy is an ongoing one and we continue to look for ways in which to bring down South Africa's piracy rate from 34%," says Alastair de Wet, chairman of the BSA South Africa committee.
"We have seen how a reward campaign of this nature has prompted end users, and in turn some organisations, to rethink how they manage software. We hope in future that businesses will opt to only work with legal and licensed products."
In addition to this campaign, the BSA will also be running an e-mail-based initiative aimed directly at organisations and their key business, governance, and IT decision makers.
De Wet explains: "Our goal with the email campaign is to give organisations the opportunity to take control and effectively manage their software assets. We are aiming to support organisations who would like help in their licensing needs, rather than waiting for BSA's legal team to come knocking on their doors."
The BSA received more than 800 leads in January and February 2009, from across the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region, an 8% increase compared to the start of 2008.
"We want companies to know that publicly being caught using unlicensed software can result in reputational damage for companies, potentially effecting clients and contracts, as well as risking legal action," says De Wet. "We are urging software users, to be an active part of the fight against piracy, either by reporting companies that are using unlicensed software, or by requesting an assessment of the organisation's current licenses."