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BSA informant gets £1000s for piracy tip-off

Baines & Ernst uses unlicensed MS software

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An industry snitch has received a tip-off fee running into thousands of pounds after informing on Baines & Ernst Financial Management for using unlicensed software.

In an out of court settlement, Baines & Ernst agreed to pay the Business Software Alliance "a substantial five-figure sum" for using more than 400 copies of Microsoft Office without an appropriate license. A smaller number of illicit copies of Windows were also deployed.

Under the terms of the deal, which began after BSA launched proceedings against the debt management company last autumn, the exact figure of the settlement isn't disclosed.

Baines & Ernst said the pirated goods started being used when the outfit experienced a period of rapid growth.

The company pledged to put better controls and auditing processes in place to ensure this does not happen again.

Mike Newton, programme manager for BSA in the UK, told us the software piracy at Baines & Ernst resulted from inadequate control by the company's previous management. This has now been put right with regular software audit.

According to BSA research, 26 per cent of business software in the UK is illegally copied (a high figure but Britain is far from the worst offender. The BSA estimates that 40 percent of business software worldwide is pirated. ®

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