NetRegistry has entered an out-of-court settlement with the BSAA (Business Software Alliance of Australia) after a former employee accused it of using unlicensed software.
NetRegistry CEO Larry Bloch told ARN today that he found himself in the unenviable position of having to answer the allegations without being made aware of the nature and extent of the complaint.
"We cooperated with all of the BSAA's requirements, we offered to be audited and we provided them with the details of our own audits," Bloch said. "Finally, we decided to take a commercial settlement."
NetRegistry, a domain registrar and e-commerce services business, was unable to provide further details of the settlement or the unlicensed software in question.
BSAA chairman Jim Macnamara said that, while he is of the opinion NetRegistry management had not knowingly broken the law, they were nonetheless responsible for any unlicensed software found on their systems at any time.
"The complaint which sparked our investigation was made against them at around June last year," he said. "We began the investigation immediately and contacted the company in September when we found there had been significant violations of software licences on company computers. We are not accusing company management of any illegal piracy and we do not believe they were aware their systems were carrying unlicensed software. Nonetheless, they are responsible for all licence breaches."
As a result, Macnamara claims the NetRegistry case centres on the importance of conducting regular software audits.
"We believe the breaches were committed by staff," Macnamara said. "However, it is the responsibility of the directors of a company to put appropriate steps in place to make sure that such breaches do not occur."
The BSAA reports it has been provided with an assurance that all of NetRegistry's current software is fully licensed and has apologised for using unlicensed software in the past.
Under the agreement, NetRegistry has also undertaken to refrain from further unauthorised software use and agreed to allow the BSAA to conduct software audits if the need arises.
Photograph: NetRegistry CEO Larry Bloch.