South African companies have paid more than R3.64 million as a result of using unlicensed software in 2016. This is according to BSA|The Software Alliance.
The figure includes settlements of R1.66 million and the cost of acquiring new software to become compliant – R1.98 million.
During 2016, BSA said it received 230 reports alleging that member companies were using unlicensed software.
Most reports came via BSA’s No Piracy portal from current or former employees – including the amount of software installed without the appropriate licences.
“Software piracy negatively impacts software publishers and creates unfair competition for legitimate companies. It exposes organisations to legal, financial and reputational damage through security breaches and data loss,” said Darren Olivier, legal counsel for BSA.
The BSA listed several cases it presided over recently, including:
- Architecture firm Zulu Architectural Designers was found using unlicensed software of BSA members and is set to pay over R100,000 in damages.
- Midrand-based telecommunications firm Comsol paid nearly R80,000 in damages for copyright infringement.
In the end, both companies paid more from using unlicensed software than they would if they had used legitimate licences, said the BSA.
In South Africa, 33% of installed software is not properly licensed. This represents a value of $274 million, said the BSA.
This is a slight decrease from previous surveys, but there is still “a need for increased awareness on the risks of installing and using pirated software”.
To encourage compliance, BSA offers a reward of up to R100,000 to those who report piracy on its website.