Australian businesses have been caught using $200,000 worth of unlicensed software so far this year, according to industry advocate BSA.
The value of software found being used illegally is growing, according to the body, which in 2015 actioned proceedings for illegal software use with an estimated value of $311,500.
The BSA said the building and manufacturing sectors accounted for most of the settlements this year, closely followed by the construction, property and design industries.
In the majority of cases the body was tipped off by ex-employees blowing the whistle on their former employers.
"The value of illegal software use in 2016 is tracking higher than it was in 2015, to-date," said Tarun Sawney, BSA senior director Asia-Pacific. "While ex-employees are continuing to report employers for unlicensed use of software, growing discussions around the importance of data protection, cybercrime loss and significant business reputation damage could be influencing individuals to report."
In the most recent case, BSA settled with a NSW exhibition stand designer and builder, for the illegal use of software programs Microsoft Office, Autodesk 3ds Max and Adobe Creative Cloud to the value of $50,000.
Other settlements made over the last 12 months include Gastech - $50,000, Offsite - $30,000, Paramount Caravans - $10,000 and a West Australian metalwork company which settled with the BSA to the tune of $100,000.
Each business caught using unlicensed software was required to purchase genuine software licenses, in addition to paying copyright infringement damage penalties.
"This year's results to-date are proof that Australians are still willing to take action against illegal activity," said Sawney.
BSA offers up to $20,000 to anyone disclosing accurate information regarding unlawful copying or use of BSA members' software.
The body recommends businesses have a 'sound Software Asset Management program with regular IT audits' to avoid action against them.
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