Figures released by the BSA and The Software Alliance show that unlicensed software has cost South African business over R5.7 million ($675,595) in 2012.
Compared to 2011, this is a six-fold increase of R4.9 million as more companies are being caught using unlicensed software, the BSA said.
One offending business was hit with a bill of R265,142 ($31,294), which included damages paid to BSA member companies as well as the cost for acquiring legal software, the BSA said.
“Companies throughout South Africa continue to act negligently when it comes to software licensing,” the BSA said in a press statement announcing its most recent stats.
The BSA said that across Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) the use of pirated software cost businesses more than R140 million ($16,527,589) in 2012.
Companies operating in the engineering, graphics and advertising sectors have been noted as the top offenders, making the most use of unlicensed software in South Africa, the BSA said.
The BSA estimates the cost of engineering companies using unlicensed software at over R1.5 million followed by the graphics and advertising industries at just over R700,000 and almost R650,000 respectively.
Across the EMEA region, Architectural/Design, Manufacturing and Engineering were the top offenders.
“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.
According to Simpson, the BSA settled with four times as many companies for using pirated software in comparison to 2011.
“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,” says Simpson.
“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.”
The BSA continued to punt its 2010 research which stated that reducing piracy by 10 points would create $142-billion in new economic activity globally while adding nearly 500,000 new high-tech jobs and generating $32-billion in new tax revenues for governments.