Information has been released by the Business Software Association of Australia (BSA) about software piracy settlements in Australia in 2014. The worst offenders noted were architects, while 75% of the businesses involved in settlements were based in Victoria.
The BSA is the local branch of the Washington DC-based BSA, which is a consortium of software vendors who set out to find and prosecute companies using unlicensed software. The score in Australia is not good and there are more cases coming to light as staff report their companies for breaches.
As a company director, you have an obligation to comply with software licensing regulations and to ensure the computers and devices used within your business by your employees, and in some cases your contractors, have licensed software installed.
While you have only a handful of staff it can seem trivial to keep track of software on a per person basis, often software is purchased with the device in an OEM arrangement (Original Equipment Manufacturer). This OEM software is pre-installed and often a fraction of the price of the full license cost. The downside of OEM licensing is that it can only be used on the device it was purchased with and dies with the death of the device. The other issue is in managing licensing as the business grows. License management is complex as it requires a good deal of understanding of the rules of the license purchased. These rules change as often as café menus in terms of inclusions and exclusions added flavours and permissions. Often an open license bought in a company pack can be used on the device at work and also a device at home but not always and so it is important to know which license has been purchased and then track where it is used.