Global watchdog spots Indian corporates in software piracy

Kolkata, Aug 2 | Updated: Aug 3 2005, 05:30am hrs
Business Software Alliance (BSA), the organisation of 29 global software majors like Microsoft and Adobe which is dedicated to fight software piracy said it has found that a lot of PCs installed in the offices and factories of large Indian corporates, which have illegal software running their business applications. This is contrary to popular belief that piracy is rampant among the small and medium enterprises, BSA intends to disclose names of these organisations in due course.

BSA says it discovered this after it re-launched the 24-hour hotline to receive complaints regarding software piracy in the fourth week of April. The hotline, which is in operation in association with Nasscom, has in the last three months received around 100 complaints. A sizeable number of these complaints are about large business houses, accoding to BSA. Tarun Sawney, director, anti-piracy cell for Asia in BSA said: we are looking at the complaints and have started the official inquiry. We hope to close the cases in the next three to eight months. Mr Sawney has declined to reveal the name of the companies but he has insisted that these are big corporate houses.

Since India is the only country in Asia where the percentage of software piracy has increased last year as compared with 2003, one of the reasons could be the practice of under-licensing or the use of illegal software by large business houses. One of the reasons for this state of affairs is that the management of these companies do not have the right kind of internal controls, said Mr Sawney.

At the same time, he feels that given the income and profit of these companies, there could not be any justification to resort to these kinds of illegal activities.

These companies can be penalised heavily under the current Indian copyright Act if it is proven that theyre using pirated software. Recently, a company was penalised by Delhi High Court for using pirated software to the amount of Rs 19 lakh, according to Mr Sawney.