So I know someone who suggested a pirated software to use at work and the company honored it.. Now they are being fined by the owner of the software for 10,000 Euros.. The company told him and the employees who was involved in suggesting that software to pay the fine.. What actions can he do?

Mind you, all the company's software are pirated, so these employees assumed it's ok to suggest another pirated software.


I suppose that by "pirated" is meant "infringing copyright". Also, a private person cannot "fine" anyone. A copyright owner can sue for damages, or settle such a suit for an agreed sum of money. A court could fine a person or a company if the infringement was held to be criminal, as some infringements are, or if some other law was broken.

"Mind you, all the company's software are pirated, so these employees assumed it's ok to suggest another pirated software." This amounts to "we are already breaking the law, so we can safely break it further." Not an effective defense if someone decides to sue.

If someone copies and installs software without a proper license, that is copyright infringement. Either the employee, or the company, or both would be liable for damages if the copyright holder sued and won. (Which would be liable depends on the detailed facts, and on local law, and I do not know the law of the various European countries as well as I do that of the US.)

Such an employee probably has the choice of paying or contesting the payment. Details would matter, and so would local laws. If the employee thinks of contesting consulting a knowledgeable lawyer would be a very good idea. Contesting might also cause the employer to take action against the employee. That woudl depend on the company's policies, on the employment contract, if any, and on local law. I can't advise on any of that.

But such an employee would probably be safer in future not to suggest unlicensed software.

  • So the employee is liable as well? Not just the employer. Did I get it right? – foreverlearner4 Dec 11 '20 at 15:46
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    @foreverlearner4 I very carefully said that the employee might be liable. That would depend on exactly what the employee did, and the provisions of local law. – David Siegel Dec 11 '20 at 15:51
  • Ok sounds. Thank you Dave. – foreverlearner4 Dec 11 '20 at 16:02
  • @foreverlearner4 the employer is also liable under the doctrine of vicarious liability but the employee is liable in their own right unless there is a law in Germany that says they aren’t (as there is, for example, in New South Wales) – Dale M Dec 11 '20 at 22:05

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