BSA | The Software Alliance “Whistleblower” Radio Ads Focus on Omaha, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Tampa Scott & Scott, LLP Says Expect Increase in Software Audits

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According to reports from Adscope®, a media research service, BSA | The Software Alliance has recently limited distribution of three monitored radio ads seeking software piracy tips to Omaha, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Tampa. Scott & Scott, LLP, an intellectual property and technology law firm with a dedicated practice area handling software audit defense, shares what companies need to know when receiving a software audit request from the BSA.

Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner, Scott & Scott, LLP

The legal and financial implications of software audits can be enormous.

Scott & Scott, LLP, a Texas-based law firm, reports that the BSA| The Software Alliance has limited their report software radio campaign to Omaha, Nebraska, Portland, Oregon, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Tampa, Florida based on statistics from media research service, Adscope™ of three monitored ads. Scott & Scott, LLP, an intellectual property and technology law firm, recommends businesses in those areas be prepared for potential software audits.

The BSA, a global software industry group funded by big name companies, including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and Autodesk, conducts copyright enforcement actions on behalf of its members. It typically solicits confidential software piracy leads via its NoPiracy.org website and radio ads offering the potential for a cash reward.

Robert J. Scott, Scott & Scott, LLP Managing Partner, says: “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 BSA | The Software Alliance, The Software & Information Industry Association or software publishers.”

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, are substantial. For example: On February 28th, the BSA reported a settlement of $421,000 with Kenworth Sales Co., a West Valley, Utah company, for unlicensed software use. In addition to the settlement, the company was required to acquire licenses to become compliant and to take measures to ensure future compliance. Scott & Scott, LLP was not involved in this case.

Avoid These Two Common Mistakes

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.bsadefense.com.

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 J. Scott, a recognized expert on software compliance and defense, is available for interviews.
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