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A Yorkshire drilling equipment manufacturer was fined £17,500 for using unlicensed software. Miko Oilfield Supplies was targeted in an investigation into illegal software by the Business Software Alliance (BSA). The global software trade body had identified the manufacturing industry as a likely haven of pirated software. It began its campaign with letters sent out to over 26,500 businesses with information about the penalties for using illegal software. A spokesman for the BSA commented: "Last year, software piracy cost the UK software industry over £290 million - damaging the economy and risking smaller software developers' businesses." While this point about smaller software developers is not to be taken lightly, it is worth noting that the majority of such pirate software busts concern illegal copying of software from Microsoft - a company which is many things, but not a small developer. He said that employers must be vigilant in ensuring that each employee has licensed software, emphasising the risk of fines and a damaged reputation to companies using pirate software. Miko was found to be using unlicensed copies of Autodesk and Microsoft software on its network. These copies were removed and replaced with legal ones. Figures announced last month by the BSA show that nearly one third of all software in use in the UK is illegal, with up to half being illegal among small businesses. The BSA offers rewards for tips that lead to software pirates. So snitch on your mates and make the world a better place: visit the organisation's Web sites here or here. ®

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