The Business Software Alliance (BSA) reveals that the cost to businesses caught using illegal software between July and October 2009 was more than $378 000 (R2 839 931.00) which included damages and the costs of purchasing business critical software.
Included in this figure is a settlement amount of R500 000.00 paid by Monitoring South Africa.
“We recently conducted an internal audit, which revealed that there was a shortfall in the number of licenses we had, largely as a result of exponential growth experienced by our business. As a result, we have put an IT audit process in place that ensures that all our license requirements are kept up to date,” says Anri Schwim, chief operations officer of Monitoring South Africa.
“The experience MSA has had in being upfront with our shortfall and the negotiations conducted with BSA were most friendly and accommodating and we encourage all companies to follow our example.”
Alastair de Wet, chair of the BSA South Africa committee, comments: "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%. We hope in future that businesses will opt to only work with legal and licensed products."
Fully-licensed software entitles organisations to support, services, patches, and upgrades from the software provider, further protecting themselves from viruses, data loss, and other operational risks.
De Wet adds: “We want companies to know that being caught publicly using unlicensed software can result in reputational damages, potentially affecting clients and contracts, as well as risking legal action. 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.”