11 Software Audit Best Practices

Robert J. Scott, Ground Report It is important to prepare in case a software vendor sends you an email or letter asking for an audit. Not being prepared ends up in loss of money and takes away time from productive work. This article gives you 11 very useful best practices on how to prepare for...

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Lessons Learned in Over 500 Software License Disputes

Finance Monthly - Spotlight Feature - Software Disputes, Robert Scott, July 2016

Regardless of whether the publisher is Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Oracle, IBM or any of their trade groups including the BSA | The Software Alliance, Scott & Scott, LLP sees common issues - here are the most critical ones.

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Software piracy claims can ruin your business and reward those responsible

Robert J. Scott, TechCrunch, 5/11/16

There is a highly divisive and costly practice that software companies have inflicted on their customers for nearly a decade. This practice brings with it significant emotional duress, time investment and financial penalties — all of which divert meaningful resources from revenue-driving activities.
And to add insult to injury, this practice very often rewards with financial gains the very perpetrators of bad behavior.

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4 Tips for Surviving Software Audits

Wendy McMahone, CDWG, 11/20/215

With software makers such as IBM promising customers a licensing compliance review at least once every two years, undergoing a software audit isn’t a question of if, but of when.

Robert Scott, managing partner of Scott & Scott, a Texas-based law firm specializing in software audits, says the risk of an audit is just as high for small and medium-sized enterprises as it is for large organizations.

When an audit letter arrives, the best defense is to be prepared. These tips can help IT managers ensure the audit process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.

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Software License Management for the Modern Enterprise

CDW Whitepaper, 2013

Remarkably, only about 20 percent of organizations have a formal software management program in place, according to consulting firm Ernst & Young. And more than half continue to use spreadsheets to manage software licenses, according to the research firm Opinion Matters.

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Managing Software License Disputes: Cooperation or Litigation

Robert J. Scott, The Licensing Journal, August 2012

Cooperate or litigate? That’s the question company executives must answer when software publishers claim that the company is violating the terms of its software licenses. In our experience, the best strategy depends on a variety of legal and business factors. This article discusses common software dispute resolution frameworks and concludes that a combined approach of cooperation and preparation for litigation usually leads to the most favorable outcome for clients.

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How to defend against software audits successfully

Robert J. Scott, WestLaw Journal, 2011

Shrinking budgets for information technology and fierce competition among software publishers have created explosive growth in the incidence and frequency of software audits, a mechanism by which software publishers investigate their customers to determine whether they are in compliance with software licenses and copyright laws.

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7 Software Audit Secrets

Robert J. Scott, Enterprise Features, May 2011

Here are the secrets that I have learned in hundreds of software audit cases across the United States, Canada and South America.

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Chasing Pirates: Inside Microsoft's War Room

Ashlee Vance, The New York Times, 11/06/2010

Microsoft has demonstrated a rare ability to elicit the cooperation of law enforcement officials to go after software counterfeiters and to secure convictions — not only in India and Mexico, but also in China, Brazil, Colombia, Belize and Russia. Countries like Malaysia, Chile and Peru have set up intellectual-property protection squads that rely on Microsoft’s training and expertise to deal with software cases.

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The Hard Truth About Software Licensing

Ericka Chickowski, Entrpreneur, 7/19/2010

You think software is expensive? Wait until you start using it for free. The fees add up when businesses are caught using pirated or improperly licensed software. And groups such as the Business Software Alliance and the Software & Information Industry Association are on the hunt for offenders.

But many companies guilty of pirating software are not blatant pirates--they're just disorganized. If you track your software, you can keep not only authorities at bay, but also keep from buying unneeded software and better prepare hardware for upcoming software requirements. Some ways to get in line:

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Program Pirates: Steering Clear of Software Audits

Christopher Danzig, Inside Counsel, 7/1/2009

Imagine you head a small company, with just a few dozen employees and computers. One day you receive a letter from a software industry trade group, such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA) or the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), informing you that it knows your company has unlicensed - or illegal - software within the network. They tell you to audit your whole system for improperly licensed software and hand over detailed results.

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Beware of the Software License Police

Robert J. Scott, The Advocate, 2008

Shrinking IT budgetsts, fierce competition and a mature software market have increased the motivation for software publishers (such as Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc., Oracle) to conduct software licensing audits – demanding that their customers demonstrate ownership of licenses for all software installed on their computers. Software audits can either be initiated by the software publishers themselves or via their trade associations, such as the Business Software Alliance or the Software and Information Industry Association. Although these groups have no independent regulatory or enforcement authority, publishers have granted them a power of attorney to pursue copyright infringement claims on their behalf. The most common impetus for a software audit is the report of software piracy received from an informant, usually a disgruntled employee. Companies are not required to cooperate, but avoiding litigation is highly unlikely without an agreement to participate in a voluntary audit. The legal and financial implications of software audits can be enormous.

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What to Do When You Receive a BSA Audit Letter

Ericka Chickowski, Baseline, 01/18/2008

Let's face it, software asset management (SAM) might be a best practice, but there are still plenty of organizations out there who haven't instituted SAM due to a lack of resources or initiative. If your organization is one of them and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) hasn't come calling yet, there's still time to get your house in order. But once that BSA threat letter hits the mailbox, the ballgame changes.

The BSA is known to be a persistent enforcement agency which rarely grants clemency to organizations once it begins settlement proceedings. The following eight tips are offered by two attorneys who specialize in BSA defense cases; they give advice on what to do once your business receives a letter requesting a BSA audit.

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Software 'Police' Accused of Targeting Small Businesses

Associated Press, November 28, 2007

An analysis by The Associated Press reveals that targeting small businesses is a lucrative strategy for the Business Software Alliance, the main global copyright-enforcement watchdog for such companies as Microsoft Corp., Adobe Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp.

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Successfully Defending Software Audits

Robert J. Scott, The SciTech Lawyer, 2006

Shrinking IT budgets and fierce competition among software publishers have created explosive growth in the incidence and frequency of software audits—a mechanism by which software publishers investigate their customers to determine if they are in compliance with software licenses and copyright laws. In addition to developing internal enforcement operations, many publishers have engaged trade associations to perform enforcement activity under power of attorney.

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Software Audits: not a case of if, but when

Kathleen Melymuka, Computerworld, 06/12/2006

“There are two types of companies: those that have been audited [for software violations] and
those that will be.” So says Robert J Scott, managing partner of legal and technology services
firm Scott & Scott. Recent settlement fines for software licence violations have topped US
$500,000 (NZ$800,000), says Scott, and that’s only a small part of the true cost to an audited
company. Scott, who has extensive experience defending companies in software audits, spoke
with Computerworld’s Kathleen Melymuka about your rights and responsibilities.

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Can I See Your Receipt?

Scott Leibs, CFO Magazine, 02/01/2006

December was a bad month for software pirates. Nathan Peterson, accused of selling millions of dollars' worth of vastly discounted software via the Web, pleaded guilty to two counts of copyright infringement and agreed to pay more than $5 million in restitution to nearly two dozen companies, including CA, Symantec Corp., and Yahoo Inc. And eight companies in Los Angeles and Houston settled with the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an industry watchdog group, and agreed to pay from $50,000 to $153,000 to settle claims that they possessed unauthorized copies of software from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and other vendors.

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