BSA | The Software Alliance is urging companies in Singapore to ensure that they are only using fully licensed software.
Under Section 136(3A) of Singapore's Copyright Act, first-time offenders may face a fine of up to S$20,000 or a maximum jail term of six months, or both. Additionally, the Act allows a copyright owner to claim statutory damages against infringers in civil proceedings.
This reminder follows a case in which local company St Hua Private School Pte Ltd and its director Sophia Song Chunwei were found guilty of wilful copyright infringement of a software product. A search conducted by the Intellectual Property Rights Branch of the Singapore Police Force in June 2012 found that the company was using unlicensed NX software from Siemens product lifecycle management Software for its software training programmes. The company and director were fined S$18,000 and S$20,000 respectively.
A BSA Global Software Survey found that 32 percent of PC software in Singapore was installed without proper licensing in 2013, with the commercial value of unlicensed software at a record US$344 million.
"These findings indicate the severity of the unlicensed software problem and the urgent need for action," said BSA Senior Director Tarun Sawney."Companies that knowingly use unlicensed software for commercial gain are getting an unfair advantage to the detriment of the market, and are doing a disservice to their customers and partners. We welcome moves by the Singapore authorities to stop these unlawful activities."
"However, we also recognise that there are companies that do not manage their software effectively and are thus unknowingly putting themselves at risk. We thus encourage all companies to adopt a robust software asset management process, which will help mitigate risk," he added.
To support this, BSA has launched Verafirm, an industry-supported portal that enables companies to manage their software, document that their software is licensed, and connect with customers interested in doing business with ethical companies.
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