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

St. Hua Private School was found to have been using unlicensed programmes from Siemens PLM Software.
St. Hua Private School was found to have been using unlicensed programmes from Siemens PLM Software. PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A local company and its director have been fined a total of $38,000 for using an unlicensed software.

St. Hua Private School was found to have been running software training programs as a private school, using unlicensed NX™ software from Siemens PLM Software, residing on various computers and laptops.

In a statement on Wednesday, Software alliance BSA which initiated the court case, said the Singapore High Court has upheld the Magistrate Court's decision to slap the company with a fine of $18,000, and its director Sophia Song Chunwei $20,000. They were "found guilty of wilful copyright infringement of a software product from Siemens' product lifecycle management software business to obtain a commercial advantage".

BSA then urged Singapore companies to ensure that software used in their organisations is fully licensed.

BSA senior director Tarun Sawney said in the statement: "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 (S$466.77 million) in 2013.

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

Under Section 136(3A) of Singapore's Copyright Act, first-time offenders may face a fine of up to S$20,000 or a maximum jail term of six months, or both. Additionally, the Act allows a copyright owner to claim statutory damages against infringers in civil proceedings.