Financial and debt management firm Baines & Ernst has agreed to pay an undisclosed five-figure sum to a software industry watchdog for using unlicensed Microsoft Office 97 software.
Baines & Ernst settled out of court with the Business Software Alliance (BSA), after legal proceedings were launched against it last autumn.
The BSA was alerted to the problem after an anonymous caller contacted its piracy hotline. That person is set to receive a ten per cent cut of the settlement.
Charles Howson, chief executive of Baines & Ernst said: "The problem stemmed from a period of high growth over the last four years when software management was not given the attention it deserved.
"BSA's legal action has focused the company and its new management to put in place better controls and auditing processes to ensure this does not happen again."
Mike Newton, programme manager for BSA said: "Court action is always the last resort, but we hope that if other companies hear about these cases it will prompt them to start looking seriously at their own software asset management."
Caroline Smith, UK channel anti-piracy manager at Microsoft said: "Software asset management is important to companies from the large corporates right down to the micro businesses.
"We are working very hard with the BSA and also our channel partners to implement proper asset management and ensure they and their customers have the correct licensing."
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