The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has started sending out software audit returns to 35,000 businesses, after it claimed the amount of software on PCs has doubled over the past three years.
The BSA told CRN it has invited businesses to "spring clean" their PCs and claimed that, due to the proliferation of applications such as media players and increased internet access, employees now have twice as many software programmes on their desktop as they did three years ago.
Siobhan Carroll, regional manager at BSA northern Europe, said: "This audit acts as a reminder to businesses that they need to have an ongoing SAM [software asset management] process in place. Copying software is theft and can be damaging to businesses and the industry."
The audit form requires businesses to review the software they have installed on their network and their respective licences. By doing so Carroll claimed they could help to eliminate the risk of copyright infringement.
"Resellers are a very valuable
conduit to reaching end-users and they can be instrumental in guiding users on what they need to do to become SAM compliant," she said.
Ross Miller, chief executive of VAR Trustmarque Solutions, said: "This is a good idea and will help spur businesses into managing their software. However, it will be difficult for the larger businesses to do. It's up to businesses themselves to put policies in place to ascertain the software they have, pay for it and control it."
SAM is becoming an increasingly common feature of the software industry. In February the BSA said it had, over five years, generated more than £1.8m in court settlement fees for illegal software use (CRN, 14 February).
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