201708.30
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11 Secrets to Defending BSA | The Software Alliance Audits

Don’t be in the dark on how to prepare and respond to software audits. An increasing number of companies face software audits initiated by software publishers and their trade associations, such as BSA | The Software Alliance and the Software & Information Industry Association. Most companies are totally unprepared; many underestimate their exposure and are…

201708.11
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A New Definition of Software Piracy

A New Definition of Software Piracy What is software piracy? Like many politically charged phrases, the definition of software piracy is influenced by your financial interests and your viewpoint. The Business Software Alliance defines software piracy as: “The illegal use and/or distribution of software protected under intellectual property laws.” The Business Software Alliance specifically includes…

201707.01
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Avoid Overpaying for Software Settlements

Most software audits initiated by the software publisher or a third party entity authorized to pursue copyright infringement claims on behalf of the software publishers, such as the BSA| The Software Alliance (“BSA”) or the Software & Industry Information Association (“SIIA”), are resolved outside of a courtroom.  Many of the settlements require payment of a…

201706.15
1

BSA Audit Procedures

Most BSA Audits begin with a report from a disgruntled employee or former employee. The Business Software Alliance maintains telephone hotlines and a web site to encourage disgruntled employees and vendors to make anonymous reports against companies of all sizes. The BSA dedicates a substantial portion of its revenue marketing on radio stations and the…

201706.01
0

BSA Audit Timeline

One of the top ten questions asked by my clients is “How long does the BSA self-audit process take from start to finish?” Of course I give the standard lawyer answer: it depends. Here are the steps to a typical BSA audit. Preparation of Audit Materials (3 to 6 months) A BSA audit is a…

201705.01
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BSA Pursues Software Audits Despite Questionable Information from Informants

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) regularly targets small-to-medium sized businesses for expensive software audits to determine whether those businesses are in compliance with their BSA-member software licenses. In furtherance of that effort, the BSA offers cash rewards to disgruntled current or former employees who provide information about allegedly unlicensed software installed on their employers’ computers….

201702.11
0

Client Access Issues in BSA-Initiated Software Audits

Businesses targeted for software audits by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) often learn that the BSA typically extends the scope of its audit requests to more than just software products and often requests information regarding client access to server products. Before disclosing this information to the BSA, it is important for a targeted business to…

201701.18
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Compliance Documentation After BSA and SIIA Settlements – Three Top Tips

In a previous post, I introduced the concept of post-settlement compliance following the settlement of audits initiated by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). As noted before, the first step to completing the compliance review process is setting a baseline to determine what software is installed compared to…

201612.15
1

Cooperation or Litigation: BSA Audit Strategy

If your company has received a letter from the BSA requesting a software audit, you are probably wondering whether you should cooperate or tell the BSA to pound sand. I advise my clients to cooperate but to do so in a manner that will not jeopardize their legal position in the event that cooperation does…

201612.01
0

Effective Dates in Software Audits Are Critically Important

Businesses that receive software audit demand letters from auditing entities such as the BSA or SIIA, or from software companies like Autodesk or Microsoft, often contend they cleaned up their network after receipt of the letter and should be released from any further obligation to conduct an audit or communicate with the auditor.  Audited business…

201611.15
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How to Find the Best Lawyer for Your BSA Audit Case

I am a partner in Scott & Scott, LLP a firm that focuses on technology law matters in Southlake, Texas.  We represent companies accused of software piracy by industry trade groups such as the Business Software Alliance and Software Information and Industry Association.  I had my first encounter with the BSA in 2004 when they…

201611.01
0

Important Tips for Resolving an SIIA Audit During or Immediately After a BSA Audit

Sometimes a company receives notices of audits from many publishers or trade associations at the same time. Often this is because multiple agencies have received confidential reports from the same informant. If a current or previous employee contacts both the Software & Information Industry Association (“SIIA”) and BSA|The Software Alliance (“BSA”), the company may face…

201610.15
0

Is it Possible to Short-Circuit a Software Audit?

Companies react in different ways after receiving a letter from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) or the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) demanding a software audit. Some ignore the letter, assuming it to be some kind of spam or marketing ploy. This is not advisable. Audit demands from the BSA and SIIA generally are…

201610.01
0

Life after a Software Audit: Keeping Settlement Confidential

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is an organization that pursues copyright infringement claims on behalf of many software publishers against companies it accuses of violating its members’ software license agreements.  Because the cost of litigation in most cases outweighs the cost to settle out of court, the BSA often is able to force businesses to comply…

201609.15
0

Most U.S. Businesses Should Co-Operate With BSA Audit Demands…To A Point

An article published by a U.K. business journal suggested that U.K. businesses should refuse to co-operate with demands by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) for information regarding BSA-member software installations and licenses. The article’s sources appear to base their suggestions on a combination of personal experience and, perhaps, assumptions about the BSA’s operating procedures in…

201609.01
0

Obtaining Payment Terms for BSA Settlement

Negotiating a settlement with the Business Software Alliance (“BSA”) to resolve a copyright infringement dispute over allegedly unlicensed software can be arduous and costly. The BSA typically demands a penalty based on some multiple of the MSRP of each product alleged to have been infringed, in addition to the BSA’s attorney’s fees and, usually, a…

201608.15
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Resolution of Liability in BSA Settlement Agreements

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) hunts down and audits companies when it receives information that those companies may have software products that are not properly licensed. If a company audited by the BSA is found to have more installations of software products than is reflected in its licensing documentation, it is generally more cost effective…

201607.15
0

Software Compliance After BSA and SIIA Settlements

Your business has just finished spending the last year of its corporate life responding to a software audit demanded by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) or the Software &Information Industry Association (SIIA). It has devoted substantial time and internal resources in an effort to gather an accurate inventory of software installations, together with all available…

201607.01
0

Suing the Informant in BSA Audits

The targets of BSA audits frequently believe that they know who reported them to the Business Software Alliance. Justifiably angry, they want to know what legal recourse they have against the informant. Because the informants are frequently out of work, having been fired by the target, I advise my clients about the number one rule…

201606.15
0

Superseding Audit Rights for Software Copyright Infringement: Settlement Agreements Versus Software License Agreements

Many software copyright infringement claims are resolved informally and often the terms are set forth in a settlement agreement. The critical terms in every settlement agreement purporting to resolve copyright infringement claims include the release of liability, confidentiality, warranties and representations, monetary sums to be paid, and in cases of software, future auditing rights. Third-party…

201606.01
0

The Cost of Confidentiality in a BSA Settlement

Part of negotiating a settlement for alleged software licensing violations with the Business Software Alliance (BSA) involves certain provisions that have far-reaching implications.  A key to understanding those provisions involves carefully reading and dissecting each subsection. Often, one of the most important provisions, aside from the sections resolving a company’s alleged liability for copyright infringement,…

201605.01
0

Tracking Down Proofs of Purchase for Software Licenses

When a company receives a letter from the Business Software Alliance (BSA) questioning the authenticity of software licensing status and demanding an in-house audit, it is very important to have proofs of purchase for the licenses in question. Absent sufficient proof of purchase, the BSA will assume that the associated software installations are unlicensed and…

201604.15
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Unbundling Software Suites in BSA Audits

One of the most controversial tactics the BSA uses when calculating its settlement demands is its practice of unbundling software suites such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Suite. Unbundling occurs when the target of a BSA audit is unable to provide acceptable proof of purchase for one or more installation of a software suite….

201604.01
0

Understanding Software License Agreements to Avoid BSA or SIIA Software Audits

Recent trends indicate that software publishers are increasingly initiating direct software audits instead of outsourcing the auditing process to entities such as the BSA | The Software Alliance (“BSA”) or Software & Information Industry Association (“SIIA”). However, the BSA and SIIA continue to actively target companies of all sizes to determine whether the company is…

201603.15
0

Unpleasant Surprises in BSA & SIIA Software Audits

Many companies who comply with a demand by a software publisher or industry association (such as the BSA or the SIIA) for an internal software audit end up facing significant settlement demands after forwarding their audit materials to the other side. One of the reasons the settlement demands often are so high is the fact…

201602.15
0

What is the BSA’s Definition of Software Piracy?

“Software piracy” is a favorite catch-phrase used by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the software companies it represents.  Most people understand software piracy to involve the intentional copying and, in many cases, distribution of copyrighted software to third parties without permission of the copyright owner.  Understandably, the term has extremely negative connotations, and most businesses will…