Software alliance, BSA, settled more than $347,000 worth of damages across 28 cases arising from unlicensed software usage across Australia last year.
According to the BSA, the largest settlement involved a Western Australian-based energy company, which was found to be using unlicensed software and settled for more than $40,000.
Last May, the BSA revealed it had reached legal settlements with at least four Australian businesses, worth a combined total of $65,500 for using unlicensed software.
The BSA said that each business caught using unlicensed software is required to purchase genuine software licenses for ongoing use, in addition to paying the copyright infringement damages.
On the back of the BSA's 2017 tally, which saw it settle a record 28 cases against local businesses, and with the Australian Government's Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme legislation in place, the BSA expressed concerns that local businesses are not doing all they can to protect customer data.
“Businesses need to remember that unlicensed software, or software downloaded from an unknown source, may contain malware which puts an organisation and its customers at significant risk of becoming the victim of a data breach," BSA's APAC director of compliance programs, Gary Gan, said.
"And without properly licensed software, organisations don’t receive patch updates which strengthen the software’s security and address vulnerabilities, which otherwise would leave the business exposed.
“It’s especially important that organisations are ensuring they’re doing all they can to protect their data given the recent introduction of NDB legislation. In order to stay on top of their software licensing, businesses should consider investing in SAM tools.
"The potential consequences faced by businesses that are found to be using unlicensed software far outweighs the cost of investment into SAM, something that all businesses should be considering," he said.
Read more: BSA settles $118,000 illegal software case
The BSA is continuing to offer a reward of up to $20,000 to eligible recipients who disclose accurate information regarding unlawful copying or use of BSA members’ software.
Potential recipients must provide assistance and evidence to support the information, as may be required by the BSA’s legal advisers, in connection with any claim or legal proceedings initiated by the BSA members.
In March last year, the BSA revealed its 2016 case settlement tally, with local businesses coughing up more than half-a-million dollars in damages after being taken to court by the Software Alliance over the use of unlicensed software.
The global software industry advocate organisation, also known as BSA, has revealed at the time that it closed 2016 with a record amount of $589,000 in damages obtained for the use of pirated software.