Software Audits with the Software Alliance – www.BSA.org
VIDEO: Click on the picture above to learn more about who the BSA is, what they do, and how software audits work. If you need help, call us at the number below or email me at the address on the right side of this page. We have helped many companies across the United States in many different businesses and industries and we can help you get your case settled confidentially, and without embarassing and damages press releases. Make sure to “SUBSCRIBE” to our youtube channel (which now has over 2,500 subscribers) by clicking on the Red “V” for Victory. We appreciate your continued support.
End of Year 2016 Updates
If your company is involved in a software compliance audit this is important news. The Business Software Alliance is seeking to close out as many cases as possible for the year end. If you have received a software audit letter and have been dealing with questions such as any of the following you might want to have our software law firm represent you immediately to try to get your case settled:
- What amount will the BSA settle for?
- Do I have to turn in my audit results spreadsheet?
- What if we have been using cracked software?
- What if we cannot find any proofs of purchase to show we have paid for Windows or Office products
- Will the BSA “unbundle” MS office products
- How does the 3x multiplier for licensing penalties work?
- Will officers and directors of our company be held liable for software infringement?
- What are the common terms of the settlement agreement?
- Are there are defenses to copyright infringement or mitigating factors that will be considered?
- Will we be able to continue using our SQL server and other software if the case settles?
- Does the business software alliance take payments or will the allow for financing of a settlement amount
- Should we settle in 2016 or wait until 2017?
- Does the BSA file lawsuits if the case cannot be settled?
- What happens if we ignore the audit demand letter or throw it in the trash?
- Is it important to have a FRE 408 confidentiality agreement before engaging in settlement discussions?
- How did the BSA, SIIA, Adobe or Autodesk figure out we were unlicensed?
- Is there any recourse to sue the “informant” for providing false and defamatory statements to BSA?
These are some of the main questions business owners and company executives and IT departments are asking right now. We can help you answer some of these questions, and yes, there is still time to try to get your case settled before the calendar year 2016 comes to a close.
Is BSA making better deals year end?
I would say this is a close call. We have seen some flexibility in the amount of the settlement offers. Unfortunately, we have also seen some BULLYING of current Microsoft customers who are involved in compliance investigations. For example, you might be told that if you don’t get your case settled you will end up in a lawsuit or if you don’t settle by the year end you will really be facing problems and that sort of thing. In other words, that may be the tone and tenor you can expect in these audits, (even where you do have receipts and can show you are a current playing customer of Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk and some of the other companies who are members of the BSA and who routinely “participate” in these audits). This is what makes it hard for a lot of companies to try to represent themselves. While it can be done, you have to realize you are dealing with tremendously skilled IP lawyers some of which have been collecting money on these cases for years. If you don’t know what you are doing, this could really come back to bite you in the end.
What are some of the commonly infringed software titles?
Here are some of the main products we see at issue in software audits with various companies
- Microsoft office Home and Student versions
- Sequel Server (SQL)
- Adobe professional
- Autodesk Autocad
- One Note
- Microsoft CAL licenses
- Fonts (are sometimes requested to be audited)
- Windows 7
- Windows 10
Who bears the burden of proof to show licensing compliance?
This is a key question that makes a big difference in audit cases. What you will typically hear from BSA counsel is that all they need to show is that you made “copies” of their software (which means that you installed the product on your computers, laptops and servers) and once they do this, the business needs to prove it PAID FOR the software from an authorized seller or from the software publisher directly. If you cannot dig up old receipts the BSA will likely treat you as a software pirate and will likely be demanding shocking and excessive fees to settle your case without further incident. Many business owners feel like the BSA is on a “withchunt” or a “fishing expedition” and they feel like they are being extorted. These are common feelings but nevertheless, for most business owners, they want to get this issue behind them and move on. In many cases there is unlicensed software being deployed in the organization, and to an extent this is a good time to “true-up” and get properly licensed and implement SAM (software asset management) processes and procedures set up in the organization.
Call us to learn more about your legal rights in the software licensing audit process
We offer a free confidential discussion for business owners who have received an audit demand notice from one of the regional law firms for the BSA. Call us at (877) 276-5084. We offer low flat rate fees for many non-litigation cases to help your business obtain intellectual property counsel the same as they have. While some firms will put three attorneys on your case and “bill till the sun goes down” we offer a predictable one time flat rate fee.
We can help you avoid claims of willful copyright infringement and excessive damages for alleged software piracy. We look forward to working with you!
– Attorney Steve –
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