BSA collects over $2M in settlements from US companies

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a watchdog group representing the nation's leading software manufacturers, Tuesday announced it has collected over US$2 million in settlements from 19 U.S. companies that were running illegal software.

In addition to making the payments, each company agreed to delete any unlicensed copies of programs it was using, purchase any needed replacements and strengthen software management practices, the BSA said.

"We hope that these announcements will encourage other businesses to re-examine and update, if necessary, their software management systems," Jenny Blank, director of enforcement at the BSA, said in a statement. "Businesses should be certain that using fully licensed software is part of their corporate responsibility checklist."

Software piracy is illegal, and companies can be fined up to $150,000 for each software title copied, the BSA said.

Blank said most investigations begin with a call to BSA's hotline or with an online report to the BSA by a company's current or former workers. "Once we have that information, we review it and assess it to make sure it's something we should act on," Blank said. "Then we contact those companies generally through our attorneys and invite them to cooperate with us by doing a self-audit, as opposed to being involved in a court lawsuit."

That process can take anywhere from two weeks to several months, Blank said.