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Law firm caught in software piracy action

Proceedings have begun in London courts against two organisations – one a firm of solicitors – for allegedly running unlicensed software on office computers, following an investigation by the UK arm of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

A claim has been issued in the High Court against ACT, a global teleconferencing provider with UK headquarters in Harrow, regarding alleged illegal software use on 125 machines. A further claim in the Central London County Court alleges that Thompson & Co, a firm of solicitors located in Tooting Broadway, had 23 PCs running unlicensed software. In both cases, the software was predominantly Microsoft Office.
& Co has two offices in South London, is run by three
partners and specialises in immigration, conveyancing and family law.

“The BSA takes a hard line against the blatant disregard of software licensing regulations,” said Sarah Coombes, Director, Legal Affairs EMEA, BSA. “The BSA and its members are happy to advise and work with companies that need guidance with regard to software licensing and help them through the compliance process, so there is no excuse. Those who deliberate use illegal software and consistently refuse to comply can expect to face serious consequences.” According to research house IDC, 27% of software in use in UK businesses is illegal, which equates to losses of over £1bn to local and international software companies.

Software piracy is a serious issue but you can't help be amazed at the bare-faced cheek of some pirates when they are caught. A few years ago one legal software supplier found themselves threatened with legal action by a law firm who was complaining about the quality of their support. A little investigation revealed that the firm had never purchased any software from the supplier and that they were in fact running a pirate copy. Undetered, the firm then claimed that as officers of the Supreme Court they were actually exempt from copyright legisation!