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NovaLogic Fined For Using Unlicensed Software

by Rainier on Dec. 9, 2005 @ 6:41 a.m. PST

The VenturaCountyStar is reporting that per day the Business Software Alliance (BSA) investigates about 700 companies suspected of using unlicensed software. Wednesday the BSA announced it had fined five L.A.-area businesses more than $500,000 for using software for which they did not have licenses, one of those businesses was Delta Force developer NovaLogic Inc (thanks Team AWG).

NovaLogic creates games for computers and consoles such as the PlayStation and Xbox. The company was fined $153,500 after an audit found it had unlicensed copies of Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, FileMaker, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec software on its computers. Other businesses fined included electronic trading services company FutureTrade Technology, marketing company Launchpad Communications, Mountain High Resort and money transfer company RIA Financial.

"NovaLogic Inc. is committed to full compliance with software licensing requirements," President Lee Milligan said in a statement. "As a software developer, our organization depends on respect for our intellectual property rights. NovaLogic regrets the inadvertent violation of license agreements and is committed to rigorous respect for the intellectual
property rights of others."

Software development firms and others involved with intellectual property are pretty commonly found on the list of companies using unlicensed software, said Jenny Blank, BSA's director of enforcement. "It goes to show this is a blind spot for everybody," she said. "A company knows how many desks, phones or computers it has, but because they don't touch or feel software ... they don't treat it with the same kind of care when they manage it."

The alliance investigates a wide range of companies, large and small, that have unlicensed software. Blank said sometimes a company buys a few copies of a program and loads it onto more computers than it has licenses. Sometimes, someone brings in a copy or downloads a copy online. "How it enters the company varies, but ultimately, it gets installed too many times," she said. Some companies know the law and willingly choose to violate it; others aren't aware of copyright laws when it comes to software. Most fall somewhere in between, Blank said.

Most of the alliance's investigations begin with a call from a current or former employee. To encourage that, the BSA is offering rewards up to $50,000 through Dec. 15 for tips that check out. The alliance has tried the reward program elsewhere, such as Europe, but this is the first time in the U.S. For companies wanting to check their own software, the BSA offers several resources on its Web site.

Blank encourages businesses to take advantage of those before they hear from the alliance. "The point is not to catch people, but to get them to get legal first," she said.

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