Software police clamp down on UK firms

The global anti-software piracy body has announced the results legal action against UK companies found to be using illegal software.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has today revealed out-of-court settlements have been agreed with several UK companies which were investigated for alleged use of illegal and unlicensed software.

The BSA enforcement team is claiming victory in tracking down the infringing firms - London-based Blitz Corporation, Genetics Limited of Ludlow, Sheffield-based MTL Group and Modular UK based in East Yorkshire - after being tipped off by informants who contacted the BSA via its website.

All four firms had reached what the BSA said were undisclosed, but "significant settlements running into tens of thousands of pounds" for flouting software licensing laws."

Offences ranged from running unlicensed copies of Adobe, Microsoft and Quark software on some 15 PCs, in the case of martial arts supplier, Blitz Corporation. Further investigation revealed it was also illegally using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) editions of Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista, as well as unlicensed student editions of QuarkXpress Passport and Adobe CS3 Master Collection.

Genetics Limited, a medical research company, and Modular UK Building Systems were found to be running illegal copies of Microsoft Office and Adobe and Autodesk software respectively.

And MTL Group, a company that specialises in contract manufacturing in the metal sector, was investigated for the alleged under licensing of several copies of Autodesk AutoCAD.

Sarah Coombes, BSA's European senior director of legal affairs, said software is often the most valuable business assets a company has. But, if not managed appropriately, it could be more costly to brand reputation and the cost of ownership than necessary.

"The BSA takes a firm line against the disregard of software licensing regulations," she said, adding that recent high-profile campaigns in Glasgow and Manchester have aimed to raise awareness of the risks of using illegal software, from both a legal and enterprise security standpoint.

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