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Singapore company, director fined S$38,000 for using unlicensed software

SOFTWARE alliance BSA on Wednesday urged Singapore companies to ensure that software used in their organisations is fully licensed.

This follows the recent S$38,000 fine slapped on St Hua Private School and its director Sophia Song Chunwei for copyright infringement. The former had to pay a fine of S$18,000; the latter, S$20,000.

The sentence had initially been passed by the Magistrate's Court, and was upheld by the Singapore High Court, following unsuccessful appeals by the local company and its director. They were "found guilty of wilful copyright infringement of a software product from Siemens' product lifecycle management (PLM) software business to obtain a commercial advantage", noted BSA.

Said BSA senior director Tarun Sawney: "Companies using unlicensed software for commercial gain are putting themselves at serious legal and financial risks. It is clear that Singapore authorities are committed to taking firm and decisive action against infringing parties. It is therefore imperative that all businesses are vigilant in managing their software assets to ensure they are licensed and legal so that they do not inadvertently run afoul of the law."

According to the 2013 BSA Global Software Survey (conducted by independent research firm IDC and released in 2014), 32 per cent of PC software in Singapore was installed without proper licensing, with the commercial value of unlicensed software at a record US$344 million in 2013.

BSA is headquartered in Washington, and has operations in more than 60 countries around the world. It advocates for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace.