The BSA has done nothing to simplify or standardize the complex license agreements of its member companies.
Southlake, Texas (PRWEB) November 29, 2012
Scott & Scott, LLP, a Texas-based intellectual property and technology law firm, reports that the BSA | Business Software Alliance has targeted Los Angeles as its number two anti-piracy market based on statistics from media research firm Adscope™ of three monitored radio campaigns.
The BSA | Business Software Alliance, a global software industry trade association, whose members include Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and Autodesk, conducts copyright enforcement actions on behalf of its members.
“While we understand the BSA’s desire to protect the intellectual property rights of its software publisher members, we believe the association has done nothing to simplify or standardize the unique, lengthy and complex license agreements of its member companies. This leaves the onus of compliance entirely on software customers”, 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”, continued Scott.
Based on the many clients Scott & Scott, LLP has represented in software license disputes, the following common mistakes should be avoided:
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.
3. Submitting improper documentation in an attempt to demonstrate proof of ownership.
(a) The BSA generally only accepts dated proofs of purchase with an entity name matching that of the audited company. Avoid knee-jerk purchasing additional licenses in response to a request for an audit as these purchases will be irrelevant to the audit.
(b) Companies should seek the advice of counsel regarding the purchase of additional software during the audit process and the impact it may have on the pre-litigation audit and any subsequent litigation that may arise.
4. Failure to involve experienced counsel to interpret copyright laws and software licenses.
Hire experienced counsel to interpret the installation information gathered by the automated discovery tool, reconcile that data with all available proof-of-purchase information and determine whether it includes only information within the scope of the audit. Licensing models are often dependent on the actual use of the product in the company’s specific environment. In addition, there are other licensing considerations that require specialized knowledge and expertise. Many companies and inexperienced attorneys underestimate the financial and public relations exposure of audits. Experienced counsel will be able to provide the audited company with a very accurate estimate of the likely monetary aspects of a proposed settlement.
Additional helpful information can be found at: http://www.bsadefense.com/main/about-the-business-software-alliance-bsa-faq.aspx.
About Scott & Scott, LLP (http://www.scottandscottllp.com) (http://www.softwareaudit.com) (http://www.bsadefense.com) Is a leading intellectual property and technology law firm representing businesses in matters involving software licensing. Scott & Scott, LLP’s legal and technology professionals provide software audit defense and software compliance solutions, all protected by attorney-client and work-product privileges.
Robert Scott, a recognized expert on software compliance and defense, is available for interviews.