The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an advocate for the commercial software industry, announced settlements with BreakAway Ltd. of Hunt Valley, MD and Aetrex Worldwide, Inc. of Teaneck, NJ. Breakaway paid $75,000 and Aetrex paid BSA $100,000 in damages.

The unauthorized software included products from BSA members Adobe and Microsoft. As part of the settlement agreement, the companies agreed to delete all unlicensed copies of software from their computers, acquire any licenses necessary to become compliant, and commit to implementing stronger software asset management (SAM) practices.

BreakAway Ltd. said it is a developer of entertainment games. The company has been in existence since 1998 and has clients which include the Institute for Defense Analysis and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Breakaway was selected in 2009 as a team member in an $8.6M R&D project to develop cybersecurity test and evaluation technology.

In both cases, BSA was alerted to the unlicensed software use by confidential reports made on its web site Each year, on average, BSA receives more than 2,500 reports of software piracy. The majority of BSA's reports come from current or former employees who had information related to the unlicensed software activity.

Through BSA's “Know it, Report it, Reward it” program, individuals who provide qualified reports of software piracy are eligible to receive up to $1 million in cash rewards. Since 2008, BSA has paid over $274,000 in rewards for qualified tips of software piracy. Despite the program, many opt not to take the reward, citing their motivation for reporting as simply “to do the right thing.”

“It is critical for all organizations to respect the software assets which ultimately help them drive their companies' engine of innovation,” said Jenny Blank, Senior Director of Legal Affairs for BSA. “Those companies which handle sensitive consumer information, government data, or even their own creative designs must take extra care in ensuring the use of legitimate software to ensure license compliance.”

“Aetrex is committed to ensuring the legality of our software installations. Working with BSA has also given us an opportunity to reinforce amongst our own employees the importance of protecting our company's intellectual property and ensuring our business continues to run optimally,” said Larry Schwartz, CEO of the company.

According to the Sixth Annual BSA-IDC Global Software Piracy Study, the retail value of unlicensed software installed in 2008 — representing revenue losses to software companies — was estimated at $9.1 billion in the United States and $53 billion worldwide.

“Using legal software is the key to reducing piracy, strengthening local IT businesses, and creating the jobs that are needed during these challenging economic times,” continued Blank.

Software piracy affects more than just the software industry. Piracy also saps local governments of needed tax revenues and often spreads information security risks. Reducing piracy brings tangible economic benefits to the local IT industry and local communities. For every $1 of PC software licensed, there is another $3 to $4 of revenues for local service and distribution firms, as well as tax revenues to support local services.*