LicenceWise Software Licence Risk Management • If you are wondering whether your company is using licenced software, here is some food for thought : • There are regulatory organisations such as the BSA (Business Software Alliance) , who are visiting over 2000 companies in South Africa to enforce piracy claims for the use of pirated software, • You may have lost proof of licencing or purchased invalid licences over the past few years where you could be exposed to litigation, • If you have recently received correspondence from the BSA you are on their hit list, • Some relevant industry information…….
BSA estimates that 38% of business software used in SA is pirated Information Technology Editor COMPANIES using pirated software may soon hear a knock on the door as auditors from KPMG drop in to assess their legal status. KPMG's forensic department will visit 2000 companies, many of which are already suspected of using forged computer programs or running them without a licence. The campaign is being led by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an antipiracy body with members including Microsoft, Adobe, the Softline Group and Symantec. The BSA launched this latest crackdown in September by sending letters to more than 28000 companies urging them to legalise their software. The follow-up visits are now under way, said Andrew Lindström, chairman of the BSA in SA. He is warning companies not to be complacent as the hefty fines, backdated licence fees and bad publicity imposed on software pirates could put them out of business. "We have 25 KPMG antipiracy agents around the country to cover all the major centres. They are calling ahead to make appointments with the chief information officer or the person who owns the company." Many of the 2000 target companies have already been fingered for flouting the law in tipoffs made to the BSA. A company receiving a visit may not necessarily be suspected of running illegal software, but it may mean exactly that, warned Lindström. "It's a combination of companies we particularly want to visit and others chosen at random." The BSA will litigate against any firm using software without a licence, said Lindström, the country manager of Adobe Systems. "For too long organisations have hidden behind the veil of ignorance. Organisations that are unlicensed should notify the BSA immediately to avoid any action for non-compliance." The auditors will visit companies from various industries over the next three months. A plea for directors to welcome the visits has been issued by Tony Wright, a partner in KPMG Forensic. The agents had been thoroughly trained to carry out the task and would emphasise the need for all software to be licensed and help each company to comply, he said. "Our agents will be presenting the downfalls of using unlicensed software and highlighting the common types of software piracy." The agents will also gauge corporate opinions about the BSA. KPMG agents on a mission to do away with piracyBy Lesley Stones, Business Day, 5 Nov 2002
That could prove enlightening, since the BSA and Microsoft in particular have been accused of heavy-handed and intrusive tactics in their previous antipiracy efforts. One recent campaign has been a "name and shame" scheme run by Microsoft, which has taken out newspaper advertisements naming those companies which have paid a settlement after being caught running pirated software. Research shows that 98% of SA's corporate decision makers are aware that piracy is illegal, but many believe they will not be caught. Moreover, it is seen as a victimless crime which directors may ignore or actively condone in an effort to save the considerable fees which software firms charge to use their products. However, the BSA's legal representative, Spoor & Fisher, is investigating more than 400 SA companies for piracy. They include major corporations which risk being publicly shamed when they reach a settlement or are taken to court. The BSA estimates that at least 38% of business software used in SA is pirated, with a retail value of R500m. That means the industry loses R1,4m a day and government loses R150m a year in taxes. The most common forms of corporate piracy are when companies download a program to more users than it has bought licences for, when staff download software from home, or when the original disc containing the software is a forgery. Others are caught out by buying computers pre-loaded with illegal software. About 700000 personal computers will be sold in SA this year and about 120000 will contain illegal software. Nov 05 2002 12:00:00:000AM Lesley Stones Business Day 1st Edition KPMG agents on a mission to do away with piracy
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