The use of unlicensed software has led to a company paying out £11,000 after the Business Software Alliance (BSA) investigated a complaint.
East-Yorkshire based Web Marketplace Solutions (WMpS) paid out £6,500 in copyright infringement damages, as well as an additional £4,500 for software licences in order to become fully compliant.
Following the complaint to the BSA, WMpS conducted a self-audit which revealed the unlicensed software.
Across Yorkshire, 1,500 businesses have been asked to provide details of their software licensing to the BSA, with a similar campaign being launched in Reading, where an additional 1,000 companies face scrutiny.
Philippe Brière, chairman of the BSA UK committee, stated the consequences of pirate software can be serious.
He said: "Companies must recognise that the abuse of intellectual property rights is a serious offence and can have severe consequences.
"Companies such as WMpS rely on a sound reputation, and settlements such as this one can seriously damage the company's standing and are evidently costly.
"What is more, the use of unlicensed software exposes businesses to significant security risks," he added.
The piracy rate in the UK stood at 26 per cent in 2011, according to BSA research, with the annual commercial value of unlicensed software estimated to be £1.2bn.
Julian Swan, EMEA compliance marketing director at BSA, said software misuse is not always deliberate.
He added: "Mistakes tend to happen when a company's management perceives software licensing solely as an IT problem, without recognising that failure to manage software properly could expose their company to legal redress, not to mention operational failure.
"Software is an incredibly valuable asset for all businesses, providing an engine for growth, therefore it deserves priority investment."
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