Legal action over the use of unlicensed software cost businesses £6.5 million in the first half of this year.
The Business Software Alliance (BSA) revealed that more than £2.5 million was paid out in settlement fees in the EMEA region, and a further £4 million was used to purchase business-critical software to ensure companies were legally compliant. In the UK alone, the total cost to businesses reached more than £2 million.
In the first half of 2010, settlements reached with companies in the region for infringing software copyright increased by more than £500,000 compared to the same period in 2009 – a 20 per cent increase on last year's figure.
Sarah Coombes, senior director of legal affairs EMEA at the BSA, said: “The BSA conducted more than 1,000 legal actions in the first half of this year in EMEA. One company's use of unlicensed software was so extensive that a settlement of nearly £200,000 was agreed. In the current economic climate, businesses should not run the risk of flouting copyright laws and opening themselves up to potential legal and financial sanctions.”
Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing EMEA at the BSA, said: “Despite ongoing campaigning by the BSA to educate businesses to make sure that they have adequate software licensing in place, these figures demonstrate that there is still a way to go in changing the attitude of some companies.
“We hope that these figures act as a reminder to businesses that if they are caught using unlicensed software, the BSA will take action. In order to protect themselves, we urge all companies to ensure they are legally sound when it comes to their software use. Knowing what software they have and where it is deployed means companies can use it more efficiently and perhaps even save costs – an important consideration in the current economic climate.”