Who Are the Whistleblowers? Florida Among Top Six States for BSA Software Piracy Tips

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Software audit defense firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, says many whistleblowers are disgruntled IT employees lured by BSA radio and Internet ads and cash rewards. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) recently reported that Florida was one of six states producing almost 50% of unlicensed software tips.

One Florida tip led to a $61,500 settlement with the BSA.

The state of Florida, joined the ranks of the top six states in 2010 that produced nearly half of all unlicensed software leads reported to the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a trade association of large software publishers including Adobe, Autodesk, IBM, and Microsoft.

“The Business Software Association’s radio and internet ads and the BSA’s offer of cash rewards for confidential information on unlicensed software is the perfect breeding ground for increased software piracy reports. The Business Software Alliance admits that the majority of the reports come from current or former IT personnel and other company sources,” said Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner of intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP.

One of the tips led to insurance provider iCan Benefit Group in Boca Raton, Florida settling with the BSA for $61,500 according to a BSA press release.

“In many instances, Scott says, the informant is the same person responsible for software compliance at the company they are reporting. While we understand the Business Software Alliance’s desire to protect the intellectual property rights of its software publisher members, the firm believes it’s important to inform businesses about some of the questionable enforcement methods the organization uses and offer recommendations for reducing the risks of external software audits from the Business Software Alliance(BSA), the Software Information and Industry Association(SIIA), or the software publishers themselves”.

The BSA has done nothing to simplify or standardize the license agreements of its member companies, which are all unique, lengthy and complex. This leaves the onus of compliance entirely on businesses .

The BSA usually initiates an investigation after it receives a confidential report of unauthorized software use. Targeted companies are contacted by the BSA’s attorneys, who request the company conduct a self audit and report the results. Companies targeted for an audit are not required to cooperate with trade associations or publishers, but resolution without litigation is highly unlikely unless the target company agrees to participate in a voluntary audit. Scott says, “We usually recommend cooperation and not litigation”.

For additional free resources visit: http://www.bsadefense.com/resources.asp. Hundreds of companies have found Scott & Scott’s Fine Calculator to be a helpful risk assessment tool.

About Scott & Scott:
Scott & Scott, LLP (http://www.scottandscottllp.com and http://www.bsadefense.com) is a boutique intellectual property and technology law firm with an emphasis on software disputes, technology transactions, brand management, and federal litigation. Our lawyers and technology professionals take a principled approach to each engagement, leveraging our experience to provide value. Our clients range from mature small businesses to publicly traded multi-national corporations who work proactively with us to creatively solve business and legal issues. We regularly work as part of a team of in-house and outside attorneys managing large-scale legal projects. We take the time to listen to a client’s objectives and understand its business before developing a custom strategy and project plan designed to give the client visibility into the process and the potential outcomes.


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