International media company fined $3.5 million for using pirated software

Sept. 28, 2007

The Business Software Alliance ( agreed to a record settlement of almost $3.5 million with an international media firm found to have significant shortfalls in software licenses. A criminal complaint made by the Business Software Alliance on behalf of Adobe, Autodesk, Avid and Microsoft led to police raids on the media company’s premises and the freezing of its assets.

The media company, which cannot be identified for legal reasons, had its computers searched for unlicensed software during the raids which took place last year. The legal outcome of the case requires the media company to delete all unlicensed software products and to purchase the correct licenses for the software it wishes to use in the future. Substantial penalties were levied to compensate for the extended period of illegal use.

A source at the media company, who also cannot be named, said: “This situation came about because we relied on a single individual to keep us compliant and manage our software assets across multiple-locations during a period of significant expansion. The management were shocked at the scale of the situation and recognize that by having software management processes and tools in place this could have been avoided.”

Robert Holleyman, president and chief executive officer of Business Software Alliance, stated: “This action demonstrates BSA’s global footprint and the integrated and coordinated efforts of our global license compliance campaigns. BSA member company software was core to this company’s business and yet it failed to manage this vital business asset. This action brings the organization into compliance with the copyright laws but at a significantly higher cost than if it had software asset management processes in place to begin with.”

The Business Software Alliance operates anti-piracy enforcement, education and policy initiatives in 75 countries around the world. Its members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, McAfee, Microsoft, PTC, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, The MathWorks and UGS.

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