Business Software Alliance Holds Drawings for Software Piracy Leads; Scott & Scott, LLP Responds To BSA Campaign

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As part of its new No Piracy Campaign, the Business Software Alliance has established a web site Report Piracy Now that includes a recorded interview with an actual BSA informant—an IT consultant who reported a client’s alleged software piracy. Scott & Scott, LLP responds to the latest BSA campaign.

Scott & Scott, LLP

"I question the credibility of the informants who respond to the BSA's campaign."

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), the enforcement and lobbying arm of a private trade organization of approximately 100 members including Adobe, Autodesk, IBM, Microsoft, and Symantec, recently introduced the BSA Anti-Piracy Lead Generation Drawing offering a chance to win cash for making anonymous reports of software piracy.    

The contest with three distinct entry periods began November 1 and ends January 31, 2012. Each month a prize winner from a random drawing will receive $1,000. The entry form requires no purchase or payment just the type of alleged piracy, the name of the company, address, company website, phone number, employees, name of CEO, # of computers, software # installed, # of licenses, why you think the software is unlicensed and does management know. The only optional information on the entry and the only whistleblower info is their email address should they choose to provide it. "I question the credibility of the informants who respond to the BSA's campaign," said Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner of Scott & Scott, LLP, an intellectual property and technology law firm with a practice area focus on software audit defense.

The Report Piracy Now page (https://reporting.bsa.org/r/report/add.aspx?src=us&ln=en-us&intcmp=irphp000043) contains a recorded interview with an actual BSA informant—an IT consultant who reported his client to the BSA after he installed what he believed to be pirated software on his client’s computers. The unnamed informant’s perspective in the promotional interview was “coming forward is the right thing to do” and “he would do it again if he could”. “The conduct of the informant is at best unethical and potentially illegal,” said Scott. Why didn’t the informant refuse to install the software that he believed to be illegal? Scott asked. The informant was in a relationship of trust and confidence with the client, violating that trust to enter a prize drawing is not the right the thing to do.” according to Scott.    

Companies should prepare for the inevitable audit. To see if you are ready for a software audit, take this Audit Readiness Assessment:

  • Does your organization conduct routine discovery on 100% of its desktops, laptops and servers?
  • Can your organization conduct on short notice a complete reconciliation correlating all installed software to appropriate proofs of purchase?
  • Has your organization implemented appropriate electronic controls to prevent unauthorized software-title proliferation?
  • Has your organization implemented well defined processes for retaining and retrieving software licenses and invoice documents?
  • Do you always obtain a confidentiality agreement from IT consultants and employees?

Companies that have effectively mitigated the risks of software audits can answer “yes” to the above questions. Being proactive can save headaches and expense.

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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