Texas Among Top Six States Reporting Software Piracy to BSA; Scott & Scott, LLP Says Texas Businesses Should Prepare for Software Audit

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Texas was one of six states that accounted for nearly 50% of all software piracy reports the Business Software Alliance received in 2010. Scott & Scott, LLP, a Texas-based intellectual property and technology law firm with a practice area devoted to software license defense shares what Texas companies need to know when receiving a software audit request.

Scott & Scott, LLP

In my opinion, many of the Business Software Alliance's practices are questionable.

Texas was one of six states that accounted for nearly 50% of all software piracy reports the Business Software Alliance received in 2010. Scott & Scott, LLP, a Texas-based intellectual property and technology law firm with a practice area devoted to software license defense shares what Texas companies need to know when receiving a software audit request.

According to the Business Software Alliance, Texas and five other states were the source of 49.3% of all software piracy reports the BSA received in 2010. The BSA recently identified California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois and Michigan as their source of nearly half of the software piracy tips.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a global software industry trade association owned and funded by big name companies, including Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Microsoft, and Sybase, conduct copyright enforcement actions on behalf of its members. The BSA advertises for software piracy leads on the Internet and in radio campaigns nationwide.

“While we understand the Business Software Alliance’s desire to protect the intellectual property rights of its software publisher members, the firm believes the association 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 the end user”, said Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner of Scott & Scott, LLP.

“In my opinion, many of the Business Software Alliance’s practices are questionable. The BSA entices disgruntled employees, many of whom were responsible for any license compliance gaps, to report their current and former employers with the promise of cash rewards,” Scott continued

Companies are not required to cooperate with a request for a software audit either from the publisher or their trade associations, 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. The costs, even those that are resolved successfully, are substantial. Businesses that are most prepared will have the greatest success in defending the inevitable software license audit and save money.

The following two common mistakes have been observed based on the many clients Scott & Scott, LLP has represented in software license disputes:

1. Failure to compile and produce accurate installation information.
(a) Even in small environments, a manual process to review the software on each computer is time-consuming and unreliable. Carefully select an automated software discovery tool that will produce results in a format that you can interpret. Discovery tool selection is critical to the success of the audit initiative.

(b) Use of free tools provided by trade associations. These tools, more often than not, inaccurately report the data and fail to exclude information that is outside the scope of the audit request.

2. Relying on internal IT staff to respond to a software audit request.
Members of IT departments typically prepare audit reports containing information that is incorrect or beyond the scope of what is required to adequately respond. If the technology department improperly reports the software installations, the monetary portion of the settlement may be inflated.

For additional information and free resources visit http://www.scottandscottllp.com, http://www.bsadefense.com/resources.asp.

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 protection, 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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