The Small Firms Association (SFA) has joined forces with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to help crack down on software piracy by businesses in this country. It is understood that as the BSA is about to embark on its annual Software Audit Return programme for 2005, where some 150 Irish companies are under investigation for piracy.
During the programme, the BSA’s software audit form is sent to company directors providing advice and information about illegal software use. The form seeks to assist businesses in checking and clarifying their business software situation. Companies that can demonstrate good licensing practice are to be issued with a Certificate of Recognition. Over the coming week, 15,000 businesses will receive the BSA’s audit form.
In 2004, the BSA targeted 13,000 small to medium-sized enterprises nationwide over two phases with its software audit programme. Some 39pc of the targeted companies responded to the BSA. Its call centre received more than 800 calls and 3,012 unique visits were recorded on the website www.bsa.org/ireland . But only 6.5pc of the companies were able to confirm compliance.
Figures now released confirm that there are currently 150 ongoing investigations into the use of illegal or under-licensed software in Ireland. Inadequate software licensing is not a problem specific to any one industry or size of company. Businesses found to be failing to comply with copyright laws in 2004 ranged from financial institutions to architectural practices and engineering firms. Ironically, the IT industry was one of the worst offenders accounting for more than 30pc of the firms reported to the BSA.
SFA director Pat Delaney said: “This initiative from the BSA will help companies around Ireland by providing advice and support in relation to having the correct software licensing procedures in place.”
As part of the 2005 audit businesses will be provided with a software audit tool, Centennial Discovery, and a copy of the BSA’s Guide to Software Asset Management. Julian McMenamin, the chair of BSA Ireland said that these steps are vital due to the high number of non-compliant businesses.
“However, we do recognise that under-licensing or misuse of software can sometimes be inadvertent. That is why our free resources such as the Centennial Audit CD and our Guide to Software Management are so important. They are key elements in BSA’s ongoing educational campaigns that alert businesses to the serious ethical and digital security risks associated with unlicensed software use,” McMenamin said.
By John Kennedy