A. According to Merriam-Webster the word Piracy is defined as:
Definition of piracy
1: an act of robbery on the high seas also: an act resembling such robbery
2: robbery on the high seas
3a: the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright
b: the illicit accessing of broadcast signals
The BSA Software Alliance has done an excellent job painting its member software companies as the victims of widespread IP theft. It has promulgated a view that the accidental over-deployment of software by an audited entity is tantamount to an act of robbery on the high seas. While the unintentional over-deployment of software may constitute copyright infringement or breach of a software license agreement, to refer to these cases as software piracy matters is improper.
A. The global pandemic has affected virtually all industries with many struggling to keep their doors open while others have been destroyed by the adverse economic effects of covid-19. Dealing with a software audit from BSA The Software Alliance adds extra stress in an already stressful time. How to a respond to an audit from the BSA The Software Alliance will depend on a number of business and legal issues including:
- How is the business doing overall?
- What percentage of revenue or profit are in controversy in the BSA’s audit?
- What BSA member publisher’s software is at issue in your BSA audit case?
- What entitlement documentation is available to establish the defense of license in a BSA audit?
Are you looking for experienced legal counsel to assist you with a BSA software audit? We can help you determine the best response during our free initial consultation.
A. BSA - The Software Alliance is an industry trade group whose members include software giants such as Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, Macromedia, and Computer Associates.
A. BSA has no independent law enforcement authority of any kind. Its rights are derived from a power of attorney provided by its member software companies. Those companies have rights created by their software license agreements and under the laws protecting copyrights.
A. BSA is well funded and very aggressive. Attempting to ignore the problem by not responding will likely make your problems worse, leaving the BSA with no other option but to institute litigation against you and your company.
A. To conduct a self-audit you can either use your internal staff, retain the services of an outside IT vendor, or use the services of an experienced law firm such as Scott & Scott, LLP.
A. Unlike internal audits, and IT-vendor audits, attorney-conducted audits are fully protected by the attorney-work product and attorney-client privileges. The results are protected from disclosure and therefore cannot be used against you or your company in court.
A. BSA will not give you credit for any titles purchased after the date of the audit letter and will likely seek sanctions against your company based upon “spoliation” of evidence in the event of litigation. If you have been contacted by BSA, you should retain experienced counsel to guide you through every step of the process.
A. BSA will not voluntarily release the names of their informants because the promise of confidentiality increases the volume of reports. In the event of litigation, it is likely however that the factual basis for the allegations in the lawsuit, including the informant’s information, may be discovered.
A. BSA's members are aggressive about ensuring compliance with software licenses and will likely file suit if they have no response from a BSA target.
A. Obtaining an inventory of network deployments that is accurate as of the date of the BSA's opening letter and getting complete entitlement records.
A. Many BSA matters result in six-figure penalties and should be treated like any serious legal matter.
A. In most cases, it takes three to six months to evaluate sufficient information to make an estimate.
A. Yes, in most cases the network inventory can be conducted remotely.
A. We recommend that you visit our Fine Calculator.
A. No, BSA will often accept audits conducted using other software asset discovery tools.
A. BSA will reject an invoice or other entitlement if the purchase price is too low, if the vendor is not reputable, or if the proof does not contain all of the required information.
A. Settlement demand can be received the same day, or many months after production of the audit, depending on a number of factors.
A. Yes, Scott & Scott can assist clients during every stage of the BSA audit process.
A. A typical BSA audit matter is pending 12-18 months.
A. Absolutely not. BSA's attorneys understand that clients who have done nothing wrong need an experienced resource to guide them through the process.
A. Not always. In some instances, the lawsuit may be a surprise.
A. The venue of the suit would depend on the nature of the case and any forum-selection clauses in the relevant software licenses.
A. We evaluate potential litigation matters on a case-by-case basis. Some of our clients have filed suit against BSA members.