The cost to businesses of unlicensed software use reaches eight-figures in the first six months of 2009 in Europe, Middle East, and Africa reached R26-million in damages and a further R51-million to purchase business-critical software to ensure license compliance.
And this figure doesn't include companies’ legal fee expenditure, says the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
In South Africa the cost to businesses reached more than R3-million.
“BSA conducts more than 30 legal actions every working day in EMEA,” says Alastair de Wet, chairman of the Business Software Alliance. “In the current economic conditions, I am concerned that so many businesses continue to flout copyright laws by using unlicensed software, opening themselves up to the risks of legal and financial consequences, which could harm companies’ cash flow.”
BSA secured its second-ever biggest settlement in EMEA in June 2009 against a German company, with damages and licensing costs amounting to more than R11,6-million. This case demonstrates the serious financial consequences of using software illegally.
In South Africa, the BSA is planning to launch an email-based initiative aimed at organisations and their key business, governance, and IT decision makers. The main objective of this email campaign is to give companies the opportunity to take control and effectively manage their software assets.
The BSA is aiming to support organisations who would like help with their licensing needs, rather than waiting for BSA’s legal team to come knocking on their door.
BSA receives around 100 leads a week about companies using unlicensed software from people and organisations concerned about this illegal activity.