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Software piracy is the unauthorized copying or distribution of copyrighted software. This can be done by copying, downloading, sharing, selling, or installing multiple copies onto personal or work computers. What a lot of people don’t realize or don’t think about is that when you purchase software, you are actually purchasing a license to use it, not the actual software. That license is what tells you how many times you can install the software, so it’s important to read it. If you make more copies of the software than the license permits, you are pirating.

 

Dob in a business software pirate and you could score the prize of a holiday for two in the Caribbean – that’s the latest offer from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) as it seeks to enlist a wider range of informants.

The promotion is being run as an interactive quiz on BSA Australia’s Facebook page.

Entrants are asked to answer five questions about software piracy and also have the option to proceed to the BSA Australia Web site to report “cases of business software piracy that they may be aware of” – in most cases presumably a disaffected employee dobbing in the boss.

The winner scores a flight for two to their choice in the Caribbean as well as $2000 spending money. If their dob-in leads to a successful legal case launched by the BSA they’re also eligible for a reward of $5000 +.

Says BSA co-chair Clayton Noble: “This competition represents a shift in strategy for the BSA. Historically we have generally marketed to a core audience of business IT decision makers but as the market has evolved more people are now involved in the IT decision making process.

The BSA is currently running a campaign called the Software Compliance Check, which aims to raise businesses’ awareness of software licensing best practice. As part of the campaign, the BSA is asking businesses to undertake a license check on a variety of software products.

The campaign will focus on various regions throughout Australia, with the first phase already underway, and is promoted through local media and business groups.

Businesses are asked to self-assess their software licensing via a straightforward online questionnaire available at www.bsa-compliance.org/au

The Business Software Alliance has recently fined a Melbourne engineering company $150,000 for allegedly using software without a licence in an out of court settlement.  Something to consider if you or your employer thinks they may not be compliant

In addition to paying the fine, the company is now required to buy the required software licences and implement software asset management (SAM) software to prevent future software infringements.

So now might be the time, especially as the quiet time for most of us approaches, to consider performing a self-audit.  Give us a buzz if you would like assistance or are concerned if you may not be compliant.

On a lighter note, this is the last Boffin for the year and a sign that the silly season is upon us.  With that said, we wish you, your colleagues, family and friends all the best for the festive season and we will see you back in 2012.

 


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