The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has taken legal action against four manufacturing companies.

As part of its ongoing crackdown on unlicensed software use, the BSA identified a shortfall between the software on the company computers and the licences produced, resulting in software piracy from copyright infringement.

The cost to the businesses exceeded £50,000, which does not include any legal fee costs incurred and reputational damage.

Samuel Bruce, dealers and manufacturers of office furniture products, agreed to a £20,000 settlement to reflect unlicensed use of Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft software on approximately 50 computers. Samuel Bruce also purchased software in the region of £8,000 to become legal.

J Tools, a manufacturing company based in Coventry, paid £7,000 in settlement fees to the BSA on account of using unlicensed Autodesk and Microsoft software on approximately 20 computers. Purchases of licensed software following the investigation totalled an additional £10,000.

Garran Lockers, a manufacturing company based in Caerphilly, Wales, were caught using unlicensed copies of Microsoft software on 25 computers. The company has had to pay £5,000 in settlement costs and new licences. Garran Lockers attributed the shortfall in licences to an under-performing director who has since left the company.

Finally, International Automotive Components Group, a global manufacturer of car parts, with several locations in the UK, was found using unlicensed Microsoft server software at one of the sites it acquired in early 2008.

Julian Swan, director, compliance marketing EMEA at the BSA, said: “In the manufacturing sector, ensuring orders are completed on time and within budget is vital. If unlicensed software is used, companies do not have access to the same support services as legal versions, which can result in downtime and major delays, impacting on profitability and the ability to deliver.

“In an industry where competition is fierce and reputation is paramount, businesses should not risk jeopardising their future by trying to cut corners – perceived cost savings from using unlicensed software is just an illusion.”

The BSA pointed out that Samuel Bruce, J Tools and International Automotive Components Group were all cooperative throughout investigations.