"Get legal or get sprung". That's the message the Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) is sending out in its new anti piracy publicity campaign, complete with a scary looking mouse trap (of the PC kind) and direct mail outs highlighting previous successful court cases against users of illegal software.
And for the first time, the BSAA is holding an amnesty - a 60-day grace period for users to "get clean" - to purchase licensed software and get rid of pirate copies.
The period, which begins today and ends June 30, will see the BSAA assist computer users in getting compliant, without a risk of legal prosecution, said the association's chairman Jim Macnamara.
Ten software companies in Australia are members of the BSAA, including Microsoft, Symantec, Adobe Systems and Micrografx.
Companies and individuals in the past have been prosecuted by BSAA members for infringement of software licences, with damages in excess of $100,000 being awarded.
The most recent research by the BSAA suggests that 31 per cent of software on PCs in Australia is illegal -- a fact that Macnamara said would be an absolute outcry in any other industry.
The BSAA's research, he said, indicates that many users of illegal software are doing so through ignorance: "It's one of those things that many people have never thought about or just never got around to."
BSAA Hotline: 1800 021 143