Novell has arrived at a six-figure settlement with GTi Networks after the Salisbury reseller was found to be selling illegal copies of software packages.
The networking developer uncovered sales of the counterfeit copies of Netware to more than 100 establishments across the country. The scam had been running for more than four years and had mostly targeted schools and veterinary practices.
According to Novell, Netware 3.11 and 3.22 are priced according to the number of users - costing about $3,500 per 25 users and $7,000 per 100. Most of the sites affected had 25 users or less, but some schools had more than 100.
Simon Swale, regional licensing investigator at Novell, confirmed that customers would not lose out financially. Anyone who bought an illegal copy of Netware from GTi will receive a free replacement from Business Data Systems (BDS), the Edinburgh company that is in the process of buying GTi. BDS has agreed to take over and service GTi's existing customers.
Swale added: 'Our customers have been defrauded through no fault of their own. A condition of the settlement was that the cost of the legal software provision would be covered by GTi.'
He noted that businesses in the sectors targeted by GTi were particularly at risk from piracy: 'This case is important for us - customers such as schools and small businesses are especially vulnerable. They trust the people who provide the goods because they often have no internal IT departments of their own.'
Neither Novell nor BDS was able to comment on the fate of the remaining GTi staff, believed to be about five in number. GTi was unavailable to comment.
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