Search for:

The One Club of Creativity Special Section

Legalise before it’s too late

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is targeting thousands of businesses it suspects may be using unlicensed software in Durban over the next three weeks as part of a targeted campaign to address the high rates of software piracy in South Africa.

“Businesses need to closely inspect their software assets as being caught using illegal software could mean paying a significant fine,” says Stephan le Roux, BSA chairman. “The BSA message is legalise before it’s too late.”

The enforcement campaign has been launched by delivering letters requesting that companies conduct an immediate software audit to over 2500 businesses suspected of using illegal software. The national campaign, which kicked off in Johannesburg recently, also has a strong educational element, informing business leaders of the risks of non-compliance with software licensing and IP copyright legislation.

BSA ‘scan-van’ branded vehicles will tour Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Durban over the next month, handing out educational brochures and delivering software audit requests.

According to an IDC study, SA’s software piracy rate currently stands at 36%. This represents approximately R 1.2 billion in losses to the country, including fines and missed economic opportunities.

Companies using unlicensed software are risking their data, their security and their reputation – not to mention the risk of being caught leading to substantial fines. In 2006, one SA business faced fines of over R 945 000. As part of the agreement made with the BSA, it then also had purchase of legal versions of the software it needed to operate.

Downloading illegal software from an unknown source via a P2P network site or auction site seller puts a business at high risk from viruses and spyware, which can lead to hardware failure, data loss and security breaches.

“In our experience, software piracy is rampant in SA and found across all business sectors, including financial services, technology and manufacturing companies, and this is having an impact on their efficiency and data security and ultimately on our economy,” le Roux concludes.

For more information, go to

Let's do Biz