New figures released by the BSA show unlicenced software costs South African businesses more than ZAR5.7 million (US$676,000) in 2012, a six-fold increase from the previous year.
The BSA said the figure had increased from ZAR4.9 million (US$551,000) in 2011 as more companies were caught using pirated software.
“Companies throughout South Africa continue to act negligently when it comes to software licensing,” the BSA said in a press statement. Engineering, graphics and advertising firms are the biggest offenders.
One such business was fined ZAR265,000 (US$31,000) for possessing such software, with the figure including damages to BSA member companies and costs of purchasing legal versions. The BSA settled with four times more companies over pirated software than in 2011.
Across Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) the use of pirated software cost businesses over ZAR140 million (US$16.5 million) in total last year.
“The results confirm that the use of unlicensed software continues to be a major challenge and many organisations are failing to capitalise on the benefits that a reduction in software piracy could bring,” said Drummond Simpson, chairman of the BSA South Africa committee.
“We all need to make use of technology innovation and software advances, but education is the key to ensuring that companies understand that there are far reaching implications of using pirated or unlicensed software,” he said.
“Not only does it affect the economy of the country but it also makes the company vulnerable to viruses and other security risks as well as financial and reputational damage if caught.”