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Three firms fined for illegal software use

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the watchdog group looking out for the illegal use of software, Monday announced that three Valley companies have agreed to pay a combined total of $351,000 to settle claims relating to the use of unlicensed software installed on their computers.

The Alexander Group Inc., a Scottsdale consultant company, will pay $120,000. A self audit revealed more copies of Microsoft and Symantec software programs on its computers that it had licenses to support.

Mesa automobile dealership Big Two Toyota paid $81,000 to the BSA after a self audit revealed unlicensed copies of Adobe, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec software programs on some of its computers.

NT Media, a newspaper publisher in Phoenix, paid $150,000 after a self audit found unlicensed Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Symantec software programs.

Also Monday, the BSA announced the launch of Software Audit Week for area businesses.

During Software Audit Week, BSA urges businesses to conduct software audits to ensure that all the software programs installed on their computers are fully licensed. BSA is offering free, downloadable tools and resources as well as a nationwide Web seminar hosted by Internet World magazine.

In Arizona, nearly 28 percent of the software used is unlicensed, according to the BSA.

According to a recent state software study, in 2002, software piracy cost the United States nearly $2 billion in revenue and resulted in a tax loss of more than $1.4 billion.

Under federal law, each infringement of software copyright may lead to a penalty of up to $150,000, and an organization can be held liable for its employees' actions.

First published July 21, 2003

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