One In Three SMEs Knowingly Use Unlicensed Software

Small firms use unlicensed software to save money, but the BSA warns it will cost them more in the end

Nearly a third of companies use unlicensed software in an attempt to cut costs, according to a new survey. Small firms could run the risk of hefty fines for using unlicensed software warned the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

The organisation said growing businesses are especially likely to own fewer licences for software than they need. It also warned that firms going through mergers are especially liable to break copyright laws.

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More than you bargained for

The survey found that nearly a third (30 percent) of UK small businesses admitted to installing software onto more PCs than their agreement allows or using the wrong kind of licence for their organisation.

Cost cutting is a major incentive for infringing copyright law. Another 30 percent of businesses would buy the wrong kind of licence to save money. According to the BSA, this is a “false economy as unlicensed software use often leads to enforcement action”.

The research suggested that growing businesses are particularly likely to have too few licences for their software.  Well over a third (39 percent) of businesses surveyed often allocate additional PCs and software to employees before paying for additional licences.

Businesses going through a merger and acquisition are also susceptible to falling foul of copyright law.  The sturdy found that 86 percent of organisations surveyed (with 25-250 employees) have either seen the same or more mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity in the past five years.

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