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Building Firm Pays £10,000 Over Unlicensed Software

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Audit exposed George Morrison’s use of unlicensed Microsoft and Autodesk products

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has agreed a settlement worth £10,000 with Blackpool-based company George Morrison over its use of unlicensed software products.

The building services engineering firm was found to have been using products from Microsoft and Autodesk without a license.

Blowing the whistle

The BSA told TechWeekEurope that George Morrison had been using Autodesk’s AutoCAD software and Microsoft Office without a license and as part of the settlement it will no longer use either of these products.

Whistleblowers are encouraged to make confidential reports of suspected software piracy through the BSA website with the promise of financial rewards for useful information. The BSA took £2.2 million from UK businesses for piracy in 2010 and said that its enforcement efforts were being aided by disgruntled employees reporting their employers’ lax licensing regimes.

TechWeekEurope understands that the copyright infringements were uncovered by a self-audit that George Morrison was requested to complete after an anonymous complaint was made via the BSA’s web portal.

“Companies must recognise that the abuse of intellectual property rights is a serious offence and will not be accepted,” said Philippe Briere, chair of the BSA UK Committee. “Settlements such as this one can seriously damage a company’s reputation and are evidently costly. What’s more, the use of unlicensed software exposes businesses to significant security risks.”

The BSA says that piracy costs the software industry billions worldwide and released a report in September 2010 that claimed the UK could be missing out on as much as £5.4 billion in lost economic activity by 2013. However many commentators dismissed the findings of the report as “propaganda”.

The alliance has also called Birmingham an “illegal software hotspot” after it was revealed that the city was the source of 15 percent of piracy reports in the UK.

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