The Software Alliance has called on Australian businesses to review software licenses after it settled a record 16 cases worth more than $500,000 in damages in 2013.
Businesses using Alliance members' software illegally paid copyright infringement damages of $536,050 -- a 20 per cent increase on the previous year.
The architectural/design industry accounted for nearly one-third of settlements, with the remaining settlements spread across a variety of industries including manufacturing, advertising, media and sales/distribution.
According to the Alliance, this is a significant shift in industry non-compliance from years prior, with the engineering sector accounting for half of all settlements in 2012. The Software Alliance BSA Australia Chair, Clayton Noble, said it was great to see more Australian businesses taking action and reporting instances of intellectual property infringement.
"But there is still much work to be done in 2014," he said.
"We urge every Australian business, large or small, to implement a sound Software Asset Management (SAM) practice and conduct regular checks.
"It's the best way to ensure their businesses aren't at risk of using unlicensed software. The Alliance's stated role is to raise awareness of the damaging effects that software piracy has on the Australian IT industry.