BSA claws back £6.5 million from EMEA pirates

UK software cheats keelhauled to the tune of £2 million.

pirated software

More than 1,000 legal actions relating to software piracy have resulted in fines totalling 6.5 million for companies in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region so far this year, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The breakdown is 2.5 million in settlement fees and a further 4 million to legalise the software and ensure the errant companies were fully licensed.

"One company's use of unlicensed software was so extensive that a settlement of nearly 200,000 was agreed," said Sarah Coombes, senior director of legal affairs for the Business Software Alliance. "In the current economic climate, businesses should not run the risk of flouting copyright laws and opening themselves up to potential legal and financial sanctions."

Infringements in the UK accounted for just over 2 million. This is more than double the UK bill for the whole of last year and the regional total is 500,000 more than the same period of 2009.

The cost to UK companies could keep rising because BSA estimates that more than a quarter of the software in use today is unlicensed. The promise of a reward of up to 10,000 for every successful conviction has also been offered by BSA to encourage people to come forward with information.

Piracy fines can reach up to 100,000 for each program copied but often the cases do not reach the courts because guilt is easily proven. Out of court settlements also helps the accused company to avoid the adverse publicity that would ensue.

BSA only offers its reward for prosecutions that involve the misuse by businesses of its member companies' products. Current members include Adobe, CA, IBM, SAP and Symantec.

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