House of Fraser pays up for pirate Macromedia

BSA wants your audits

The Business Software Alliance has published the names of three London firms caught using illegal software.

Retailer House of Fraser paid an undisclosed sum to the BSA for the illegal use of Macromedia software, the organisation informs us. Euro Car Parts, a retailer and distributor of car parts, and Internet media company Prominent Pages were recently found to be using unlicensed copies of Microsoft software and were fined £7,500 and £20,000 respectively.

According to the BSA, one in four companies in the UK use illegal software. The organisation released the names of the three companies, to accompany a press release urging companies to complete its online Software Audit Return (SAR) today.

The BSA's twice-yearly audit programme, the most recent of which was launched in the UK a month ago, is designed to help firms en sure they are not using unlicensed software. The scheme provides companies with a self assessment tool and the downloadable guide to software management.

Firms successfully going through the process are issued with a BSA Certificate of Recognition, which was received by 19,000 UK firms last year.

Last year, solicitors DLA urged companies to "Proceed with Care!" when deciding whether to complete the BSA's audit form. It expressed fears that the form could be used to provide the BSA with the "evidence it needs to take action against you".

The BSA strongly denies this.

It says the form is confidential to the owner of the information, and it will only use it provide the company with a Certificate of Recognition - not to generate leads for investigators.

Richard Saunders, of Symantec, chairman of the BSA in the UK, said: "it's completely wrong to think filling out the form could expose companies to legal action."

"If companies have questions about compliance after filling out the form we won't say 'thanks for calling, we'll send the lawyers around'."

Saunders said there is no legal obligation to complete the form, which he hopes companies will regard as a tool to help achieve compliance - rather than as a means to pry into their affairs. ®

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