Butler's Wharf-based Amos Partnership have settled with the Business Software Alliance for $12,000 following an investigation into the use of illegal software.
The BSA is a global organisation dedicated to protecting the interests of software publishers (in their words, "promoting a safe and legal digital world").
The organisation hopes that the example of the Amos Partnership's expensive settlement will encourage companies to ensure software compliance and seek help to protect themselves from threats associated with illegal software.
If companies come forward to the BSA because they are concerned that they may not have enough licences, then no action is taken unless they are already under investigation or are subsequently found to have not rectified the situation. BSA legal counsel only becomes involved after receiving a lead from someone who has worked at or knows the company involved.
In 2003, a different company settled with the BSA for almost every week of the year. Though the companies in question may not have known that software was being used illegally, they were reported to the BSA enforcement team for failing to ensure they were compliant.
"We would rather not have to take legal action and it is very much a last resort. We would much prefer companies to avoid this by managing their software assets more effectively," comments Siobhan Carroll, regional manager Northern Europe at BSA. "It is encouraging that we have received a great deal of interest in our new website, www.justasksam.co.uk, and hope this will continue through 2004."