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Caroe sued over software slip-up

An organisation representing the world's largest software firms has agreed a deal to settle out of court with Camden and Sussex-based Caroe & Partners.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) issued a writ against the practice after discovering it used Adobe, Autodesk and Microsoft packages without licences.

The BSA's decision to take action against the office - a specialist in conservation of historic buildings - is part of a new campaign revealed earlier this year to focus on designers in the UK's construction sector (AJ 27.3.03).

The alliance, charged by most major global software manufacturers with tracking down the illegal use of programs, discovered Caroe & Partners through an anonymous tip-off on its website.

It offers rewards of up to £10,000 for information that leads to successful action.

However, the alliance insists it is keen to educate practices to avoid prosecution. 'We would rather not take legal action and it is very much a last resort, ' BSA chairman Mark Floisand said.

'The BSA provides support and guidance to companies that request help in becoming compliant and treats these inquiries in the strictest confidence, ' he added.

The action follows the successful prosecution last year of Barrett Haskins Design.

Caroe & Partners was unavailable for comment.

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