Aussie software pirate gets record penalty

Software piracy could cost Logicworld as much as A$250,000 (US$129,000)--the largest penalty to be slapped on an Australian company to date.

SYDNEY (ZDNet Australia)--Software piracy could cost Logicworld as much as A$250,000 (US$129,000)--the largest penalty to be slapped on an Australian company to date.

The Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) has been awarded damages of A$210,000 (US$108,000) against Logicworld (now called Bicon Management), the largest Australian court award for use of unlicensed computer software. Logicworld must also pay the software watchdog’s legal costs.

“At the end of the day you could say this is going to cost them a quarter of a million dollars or more,” BSAA chairman, Jim Macnamara, said of the legal victory. “This is the largest court award in Australia, putting aside international counterfeit cases.” The previous high for software piracy was A$115,000 (US$59,000) against Cambridge International College, Melbourne.

Logicworld was found to be operating with 182 illegal software programs, valued at A$142,058.47 (US$73,000)--“beyond what could be seen as accident or oversight,” Macnamara said. ”This is a very clear message to management…you will end up paying more than the value of the software.”

Under Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) guidelines, the BSAA will pursue Logicworld’s sole director Brent McArdle for the full settlement payout, as the company is now under administration. “We can go after directors--this is something for small to medium businesses to think about.”

The latest court award comes on the back of the BSAA 60-day software truce, during which time 141 companies that had not registered for immunity were reported for using illegal software. There are six court cases pending against software pirates, with the remainder of the 141 companies under investigation.

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