New figures indicate that a significant decline in the use unlicensed software by South African companies is still some way off.
This is according to BSA | The Software Alliance, the leading global advocate for the software industry whose latest 2013 data shows that the number of reported cases of unlicensed software in South Africa accounted for 22% of the total for the Europe, Africa and Middle Eastern (EMEA) region. In South Africa this number was highest in Johannesburg and Cape Town while businesses in Pretoria and Johannesburg paid the highest amounts in settlements for the use of illegal software.
While there was a drop in the total amount of money SA business had to pay after they were caught using illegal software, there was an increase of 4% in reports of suspected use of unlicensed software compared to the same time period last year. As such, South African businesses continued to pay millions of Rand to date in 2013.
Recently appointed Chairman of the BSA South Africa committee Marius Haman, Anti-Piracy, Legal & Corporate Affairs lawyer for Microsoft Middle East & Africa, says that it is clear that companies still need to be educated about the implications and consequences of using pirated or unlicensed software. “Fines issues to South African companies in 2013 have amounted to millions of Rand and the value of losses incurred has increased year on year. Piracy impacts negatively on the economy because it diminishes technology companies’ capacity to create jobs and be innovative.
A study by BSA in partnership with INSEAD estimates that using properly licensed software would deliver almost R1 billion in additional economic value for South Africa.
BSA encourages reports of suspected software piracy, whether regarding businesses using unlicensed software, or individuals and organisations selling pirated software over the internet. Confidential reports can be made at www.bsa.org. A range of information and free tools are available on the BSA website to help businesses better understand and manage their licensing requirements and stay compliant.