The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has launched a three-month software piracy crackdown in Birmingham after identifying the city as an illegal software hot spot.
According to BSA figures, Birmingham accounts for 15 per cent of piracy reports in the UK.
The organisation is contacting more than 1,000 businesses in the city and asking them to declare member software installed on company-owned computers, devices and networks to check they are fully licensed according to the agreements they hold.
Firms that successfully complete the audit will receive recognition of their work, the BSA said, and those found to be underlicensed will be given 30 days to become fully compliant.
Those that appear to be underlicensed and refuse to take action to address the issue will be subject to investigation and potential legal action, the BSA warned.
Julian Swan, director of compliance marketing EMEA at the BSA, said: “This self-audit campaign is designed to encourage businesses in Birmingham to review their software licences and to expose those that may be using software illegally.
“Although many businesses do the right thing when it comes to software management, others, either through ignorance, neglect or financial corner-cutting, persist in using illegal software.
“This campaign sends a strong message that this will not be tolerated and companies that persist in avoiding the legal route will be subject to action and investigation from the BSA.”
Recent research conducted by the BSA and YouGov revealed that 63 per cent of employees in the Midlands are willing to report their bosses for improper business practices, and 54 per cent believe those caught and found guilty should face legal action. In addition, 27 per cent of workers in the region would be more likely to blow the whistle on illegal software use in the company if the board has continued to give itself large salary rises.
Swan added: “Each time software is acquired from an unauthorised source, it has a negative impact on the local economy and opens the customer up to serious risks. We want to promote the value of software and educate businesses in Birmingham on how it should be better managed. Software and the information it contains is one of the most valuable assets for any organisation, so it is vital that businesses realise the seriousness of the issue.”
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