Use of unlicensed software leads to more than £6 million being paid out this year alone

A German company has admitted to using unlicensed software on more than 1,000 computers.

Following investigations triggered by an anonymous lead, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) filed a police complaint that led the District Attorney to lead a case and raid the company's IT-headquarters. There they found large-scale use of unlicensed software across its 30 sites.

The BSA claimed that the sum paid out in damages and the cost of purchasing licenses to become legal has cost the company in excess of €1.1 million, making this the second biggest-value case of BSA's history in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Dr. Christoph Süßenberger, legal counsel for the BSA in Germany, said: “This is not a case of accidental under-licensing. With over 1,000 employees, this company had only very few outdated volume licensing contracts.

“The cost to the business is accordingly high, estimated at €1.1 million, for the payment of damages and licensing fees to make the company legal. In addition, the company and its managers have personally signed cease and desist declarations.”

In the first half of 2009, companies paid out more than £6 million in damages and software in order to become legal, after being caught using unlicensed software. BSA has conducted more than 30 legal actions every day to tackle the industry-wide issue.

Sarah Coombes, senior director, legal affairs for the BSA, said: “BSA conducts more than 30 legal actions every working day in EMEA. In the current economic conditions, I am concerned that so many businesses continue to flout copyright laws by using unlicensed software, opening themselves up to the risks of legal and financial penalties, which could harm companies' cash flow.”

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