Sixteen cases of software pirating were settled by Business Software Alliance (BSA) in Australia last year, a marked increase from 2010 when only six cases were settled.
Copyright infringement damages totalling $536,050 were paid by the businesses. This was a 20 per cent increase on amounts paid in 2012.
According to BSA Australia chair Clayton Noble, the increase was due to some historically large settlements including one with Super Radio Network which was settled in August 2013 following Federal Court proceedings.
Super Radio Network was fined for using unlicensed Adobe and Microsoft software products. The radio network also agreed to conduct a software audit across all of its radio stations to ensure compliance in the future.
"The architectural and design industry accounted for nearly one-third of settlements, with the remaining settlements spread across a variety of industries including manufacturing, advertising, media and sales/distribution," he said.
"This is a significant shift in industry non-compliance from years prior, with the engineering sector accounting for half of all settlements in 2012."
Noble added that 15 cases were settled in 2012. In 2010, there were six cases settled. In 2011, this rose to 10 cases.
"We urge every Australian business, large or small, to implement a Software Asset Management [SAM] practice and conduct regular checks. It's the best way to ensure their businesses aren't at risk of using unlicensed software," he said.
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia