Archived News Article
iCan Benefit Group settles software piracy caseSouth Florida Business Journal
by Susan R. Miller
Monday, March 15, 2010
A Boca Raton company has agreed to pay $61,500 to settle claims it had unlicensed copies of various software installed on its computers.
iCan Benefit Group had unlicensed copies of Adobe, Microsoft and Symantec software, according to the Business Software Alliance in Washington, D.C.
In addition to the fine, the company agreed to delete all unlicensed copies, acquire any licenses necessary to become compliant and implement stronger software asset management.
"While working with BSA to reach this agreement, we've focused on enhancing ways of protecting our intellectual property,” iCan Benefit Group co-founder and CEO Steve Tucker said in a news release. “It's important for all companies to implement systems that ensure computer software is used in accordance with licensing rules. The settlement agreement did not include any admission of liability."
The BSA, which represents the commercial software industry, receives tips from whistle-blowers about copyright violations via phone calls and its Web site, www.nopiracy.com, said Jenny Blank, the organization’s senior director of legal affairs. “It’s usually a current or former employee who has become aware of it and, for whatever reason, they have decided not to keep it quiet anymore.”
In the case of iCan Benefit Group, the BSA received a report via the Web site, she said.
“BSA receives about 2,500 reports a year from people who believe a company is using unlicensed software,” Blank said.
Fines are based on how much of the software being used has been pirated, but, for the most part, it’s two to three times the MSRP of the software, she said. In the more egregious cases, law enforcement can be called in.
Last week, a California man was sentenced to six months in prison for copyright infringement. Mark Ptashne, of Winchester, Calif., was accused of selling more than 3,000 copies of “cracked” software with a combined retail value of $2 million, according to BSA. Cracked software has been modified by removing protection methods.
BSA puts cases together, and law enforcement agencies determine whether to pursue them criminally, Blank said.
Florida’s piracy rate was 19 percent in 2007, the most recent figure BSA had available. That translates to a loss of $372 million to software vendors, a loss of $966 million to distributors and service providers, and a loss of $154 million in state and local tax revenue.
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