By Claire West

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has settled with Glasgow-based travel agent, Barrhead Travel Services Limited, for the use of unlicensed Adobe software. The company has paid out over £10,000, which includes settlement fees and the cost of purchasing the software licenses it needed to ensure it was legally compliant.

Although the company worked cooperatively with the BSA to resolve matters, this case highlights the financial penalties that businesses face if they do not ensure that their software licensing is in order.

Michala Wardell, Chair, BSA UK Committee, comments, “Businesses must be aware that enforcement action will be taken against any company found using unlicensed software. The financial penalties could far exceed the initial outlay of buying licensed software, a burden businesses can ill-afford to bear in the current economic climate.”

In addition to the legal costs that businesses could face if using unlicensed software, they will often not benefit from the services, support and upgrades that are provided by software publishers that help protect against security vulnerabilities. This could expose a company to data loss, file corruption and downtime — all of which could harm the bottom-line of any company, big or small.

“The benefits of managing software extend beyond businesses protecting themselves from viruses or data loss,” says Julian Swan, Director, Compliance Marketing EMEA, BSA. “By managing their software as an asset, businesses may well discover that they have more licenses than they need and can reduce their IT costs. The BSA is keen to educate businesses about the value of software to prevent cases like these. Companies should take advantage of the tools available to ensure that their software licensing is in order.”

Businesses concerned about their software licensing can visit www.bsa.org for more information.

The BSA encourages reports of suspected software piracy, whether regarding businesses using unlicensed software, or individuals and organisations selling pirated software over the internet. Confidential reports can be made at www.bsa.org.