South African engineer hit with R100,000 demand for pirated software

A South African engineer was recently caught with an unlicensed copy of Solidworks on his computer, and developer Dassault Systèmes demanded licence fees of over R100,000 when they discovered the violation.

Solidworks is a computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering tool for Windows PCs that specialises in the modelling of three-dimensional solids.

The engineer, who spoke to MyBroadband on condition of anonymity, said while the software was installed on his company-issued laptop, the company he worked for had nothing to do with it.

He loaded Solidworks on his laptop because he was experimenting with 3D printing and he wanted to learn the software.

Dassault Systèmes detected that he was using an unlicensed copy of Solidworks and somehow linked it to the company he works for.

The director of the company received a letter from Dassault Systèmes’ lawyers in South Africa demanding payment of over R100,000.

After explaining the situation, the engineer said they were able to negotiate the licence fee down to around R86,000, which the company is holding him responsible for.

Solidworks software
Solidworks software

MyBroadband contacted Dassault Systèmes for comment on the matter and asked how they were able to detect the unlawful use of their software.

Dassault Systèmes did not respond by the time of publication.

However, a local reseller of the software provided feedback about what licensing options are available for hobbyists who might want to learn Solidworks.

“We have programmes where we sponsor start-ups and incubator spaces with free commercial licenses for a period to help them start their business,” said Quintin Burger, chief marketing officer of MECAD Systems.

One South African start-up that has seen success through this programme is Mellowcabs, Burger said.

Burger said that a hobbyist licence for Solidworks will also be released later this year through a special programme for fabrication labs and maker spaces.

Under this new programme, Dassault Systèmes said it will provide sponsorships via its Fab Foundation to official Fab Labs in the network.

This includes one commercial license of Solidworks Premium, one Solidworks PCB, and DraftSight Enterprise per Fab Lab.

Now read: First online pirate in SA pleads guilty, sentenced

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South African engineer hit with R100,000 demand for pirated software