Web Design Brisbane - Raycon Web Design Brisbane - Raycon


View full article list

How to avoid a 10 year jail term and huge fines

Grant Hersey

Over the past year our IT audits have found an alarming number of businesses are missing appropriate licensing documentation for the software on their computers. This leaves them vulnerable to prosecution for Software Piracy. There can be many reasons for a missing software license eg an employee took it home, it was misplaced over the years, it was lost in a refurbishment or a move etc. but in the eyes of BSAA that may not be a valid excuse.

The governing body BSAA (Business Software Association of Australia) which polices software piracy may not view these reasons as acceptable unless you are able to prove you are the appropriate Software Holder Authority. The BSAA has actively targeted small companies and has made no secret of their willingness to target small organisations with the announcement last year of their "no business too small" campaign. Most commonly missing is Microsoft Office & Microsoft Windows CD's and these carry heavy fines.

Case 1 - A Melbourne based company found itself in trouble with the BSAA after a tip-off from an ex-employee. The BSAA paid this ex-employee a reward of AUD$5,000 for providing information about illegal software products which led to an out of court settlement in lieu of fines and jail terms.

Case 2 - In this case, an Australian citizen was pirating and selling software illegally. The case is pending his extradition from Australia to the US for prosecution. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years jail and a fine of up to $US500,000.

"BSA will continue to work with governments to enact policies to protect software intellectual property as well as implement programs to raise business and consumer awareness about the importance of copyright protection for creative works. Lowering the piracy rate will stimulate local economic activity, generate government revenue, create job growth and cultivate future innovation," Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of BSA.

The piracy rate in the Asia/Pacific region was 53 percent, in Eastern Europe it was 70 percent, in Latin American countries it was 63 percent and in the Middle Eastern and African countries it was 55 percent. If you purchase software from overseas, it is likely to be a pirated version and therefore penalties will apply as one business found out when purchasing software on EBay. We highly recommend you purchase your software from a reputable dealer or IT Professional.

If you need help to work out if you are vulnerable to prosecution for software piracy please contact us directly.

View full article list