Illegal software truce expires

More than 100 companies now face investigation for alleged software piracy after failing to register and take advantage of the Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) 60-day software truce, which has now expired.

More than 1150 business registered under the truce and a large number have already completed checks and filed software compliance statements; however, the 125 companies that failed to register now risk further action. The 125 companies facing investigation were reported for alleged software piracy during the truce. They include 94 end users of software and 31 computer retailers or suppliers.

"We will be investigating these companies and will take legal action where evidence of illegal software is found," Jim Macnamara, BSAA chairman said.

"We acknowledge that [some] 1150 companies took the opportunity to get their house in order and introduce good software asset management. These companies can now have peace of mind knowing they are operating legally."

A spokesperson for BSAA said the 125 companies facing investigation will "find out the hard way" and while some can expect to be contacted in the upcoming weeks, it could be a few months before the investigations of some organisations are fully complete. There will be more announcements over the next two weeks as the companies are revealed and the matters go to court.

Macnamara urged businesses that had registered but not yet completed checks to immediately do so and file software compliance statements with the BSAA to retain immunity.

"Businesses cannot simply register and do nothing. They have to file a statement saying they have checked their software and found nothing, or cleaned up," Macnamara said.

As well as the businesses that registered and cleaned up illegal software under the truce, the BSAA also believes thousands of other businesses quietly cleaned up illegal software without registering.

The BSAA issued 120,000 direct mail letters to businesses as part of its campaign, and during the 60-day truce, handled more than 8000 telephone calls and e-mails to its hotline.

"We are pleased to see that so many companies responded positively to the opportunity the truce gave them to get compliant without fear of prosecution," Macnamara said.

He also warned that the BSAA would now be resuming its campaign of legal action against users of unlicensed software and he said several legal actions to be initiated soon.