Don’t get caught without a licence
1st November 2012
In these austere times, it’s prudent to cut costs. But don’t make the mistake of cutting one corner too many (otherwise known as breaking the law) to save a few bob.
When was the last time your business audited its software licenses? Are you sure your software licenses are up to date? Have you bought any used hardware recently that came with software installed? Or did one of your staff get you a ‘good deal’ on the latest Adobe Creative Suite when he was on holiday in Thailand?
Software piracy and unlicensed software is big news and big money. It’s one thing having a rogue copy of Assassins Creed III stashed under your bed and blind eyes have no doubt been turned upon the discovery of such ‘crimes’.
But if an SME is found to be using unlicensed or unregistered software or, worse, illegal pirate copies they can expect serious trouble.
Keeping your software licenses up to date should be a part of your basic business activity, like paying staff or keeping accounts up to date. Overlook it at your peril.
Ignorance is no defence – as First Choice Facilities Ltd found out recently. The safety specialists were forced to pay out close to £100,000 for lapses in their Adobe, Autodesk, Microsoft and Symantec product licenses.
The money was split between fines (£18,000 and new licenses (£81,000) after BSA – The Software Alliance, carried out an investigation at the Isleworth-based firm.
The investigation was the result of a whistleblower raising the alarm and First Choice blamed the lapse on an acquisition oversight. A plausible enough excuse, but not enough to elicit any sympathy from BSA.
Hardly surprising when a BSA report from earlier in 2012 pointed out that more than a quarter of PC users in the UK (27%) admitted to obtaining pirate software – a total theft that BSA values at £1.2 billion. The report also found that more than 77% expect to get away with it.
If you thought that most of the culprits in these figures are probably home users you could be right, but the survey points out that European business decision makers were twice as likely to install software bought for one machine, onto several.
BSA is now calling for tougher measures to protect creative industries and their intellectual property – as many of these are vital to the economic growth of the UK.
If you are in doubt over the authenticity of any software or unsure how to keep within the law, BSA has a number of tools and resources to protect you from piracy and to keep you on the right side of licensing legislation.