Scott & Scott, LLP Responds to Business Software Alliance’s (BSA) 59 Billion Dollar Software Piracy Report

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Intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, with a practice area focus on software audit defense, responds to a September 7, 2011 Business Software Alliance (BSA) Press Release and BSA blog titled “Inside a $59 Billion Heist:…,” in which they report nearly half of the world’s personal computer users acquire software illegally.

Software compliance infractions can result in heavy fines, lots of headaches, and bad publicity.

Scott & Scott, LLP, an intellectual property and technology law firm, responds to a September 7 Business Software Alliance press release and September 7th blog in which they report a $59 Billion loss of revenue because of “software pirates” who illegally acquire nearly 47% of its software.

In the release, the BSA reported that “significant majorities of software pirates in developing markets incorrectly believe that typically illegal means of acquiring software are, in fact, legal”.

“We question the reported loss both in terms of revenue and percentage of business,” said Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner. “In our opinion, it seems that losses of such magnitude both in terms of revenue dollars and percentage of business would preclude software publishers from having the large cash positions they do, and the ability to pay CEO’s and other C-level executives in the millions,” Scott said.

The Business Software Alliance, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the enforcement and lobbying arm of a private trade organization of approximately 100 members including the largest software publishers in the world and most notably Adobe, Autodesk, IBM, Microsoft, and Symantec.

“We realize software piracy exists but not to the extent the Business Software Alliance consistently broadcasts. The BSA, on behalf of its members, has the right to protect their intellectual property and we support them in that right,” said Scott.

Scott & Scott, LLP represents small-to-mid size businesses targeted by BSA in software audit matters. “Disgruntled former employees are frequently enticed by persistent radio and internet ads offering cash rewards up to $1 million for software piracy reports.” according to Scott.

“Business owners should not be labeled “software pirates” because they didn’t understand the complex license agreements of the software they purchased or failed to understand that they needed to save their purchase receipts to prove entitlements,” Scott said.

BSA member software licensing is difficult to manage. Becoming compliant is not as simple as conducting a self audit and procuring the needed licensing. Even the slightest software compliance infractions can result in heavy fines, lots of headaches, and bad publicity.

Intellectual property protection for software is a worthy goal. The industry could go a long way to achieving it by (a) reducing the complexity of license agreements, (b) consider modification of its definition of software piracy to exclude “unintentional business overuse” and (c) make the software audit process less arduous and time-consuming.

About Scott & Scott, LLP
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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Anita Scott
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