BSA anti-piracy crusade continues
The Business Software Alliance has carried out a "significant" number of raids of Irish businesses since the start of 2002 in order to tackle software piracy.
The chairman of the Business Software Alliance (BSA) in Ireland, Julian McMenamin, told ElectricNews.Net that a number of raids had been carried out by the BSA in conjunction with the Gardai. He said that in some instances settlements had been reached with the companies in question.
He declined to say how many raids had taken place or how many settlements were reached, but said there had been a "significant" number of cases of software piracy brought to the BSA's attention that had been acted upon under copyright legislation.
A spokesperson for the BSA said it could not comment for legal reasons on whether prosecutions would follow as a result of these raids. The penalty for company directors whose company has been found to have engaged in software piracy is a fine of up to EUR127,000 or five years in jail.
On Wednesday, the accused leader of an Internet piracy group pleaded guilty in a US court of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and now faces five years in prison. John Sankus Jr. admitted to causing between USD2.5 million and USD5 million in damages by illegally distributing software, games and movies over the Internet. He is due to be sentenced in May.
The news of the raids in Ireland follows the release of figures on Thursday that revealed a lax attitude towards software piracy among nearly a third of company directors in Western European SMEs.
The survey of 2,000 SMEs found that 32 percent of companies are willing to ignore the law on software piracy in order to keep costs down. It also found that 76 percent of companies are not aware of the legal penalties for software misuse, while just 63 percent of SMEs have a software policy to protect themselves against the actions of "unscrupulous" employees.
The survey did not include Irish SMEs and McMenamin said he felt that the message about software piracy was getting through to that business sector in this country. But, he added that such companies could no longer plead ignorance about software piracy.
"Over a number of years, the BSA in Ireland has been using advertising and press coverage to tell businesses, both big and small, about how software piracy could impact on their organisation and how they can deal with it. There is no excuse for not knowing about this issue unless you have being living in a hole for the last couple of years," he commented.