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BSA settles with Brisbane-based engineering firm for the use of unlicensed software

Sydney, September 22, 2009

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) today announced the settlement of a significant case involving the unlicensed use of BSA member software.

EMF Griffiths Engineers Pty Ltd and its director Warren Barfett have jointly agreed to pay AU$85,000 for damages, interest and costs arising out of unlicensed software use. The settlement occurred after two members of the BSA launched court proceedings against EMF and its director in the Federal Court. EMF is an engineering firm with offices in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

In addition to this payment, EMF must also purchase valid licences for BSA member software that it uses going forward, or delete and cease using the infringing software.

Neil Hsien, co-chair of the BSA, said, "This case serves as a warning that organisations using unlicensed software may not just face paying licence fees to reach compliance, but may also be liable for substantial damages for copyright infringement."

Directors may also be held personally liable for copyright infringement if their company is found with unlicensed software. Mr. Hsien added "Australian company directors should be aware that this can affect them personally. IT managers and directors need to ensure that a software asset management (SAM) system is in place to protect their professional reputations as well as their businesses."

This case follows settlement of another matter involving a media company based in Melbourne.

Both settlements included an obligation to implement a SAM program to prevent future under-licensing.

"The BSA assists software users by providing at its website ( SAM resources and tools for them to implement. In this way, the BSA assists businesses to ensure licence compliance as well as to get the most out of their software investments."

"SAM tools assist companies to not only comply with their licences, but also efficiently deploy their software assets, prevent over-licensing and identify over-deployment of hardware, reducing the IT administrative and support burden. In this way, SAM can help a company to save money as well as protecting its business and reputation from copyright infringement claims."

"The BSA remains committed to its role in raising awareness of the damaging effects that software piracy has on the Australian IT industry, where every dollar of pirated software claims a further four dollars in lost revenues*. "

* IDC, Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software 08 Piracy Study, May 2009 Further information is available from

First published September 22, 2009

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