Scott & Scott, LLP Says Disgruntled California Employees May Be Source of BSA Software Piracy Reports

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The Business Software Alliance, commonly referred to as the BSA, recently reported that California was one of their top six sources for software piracy tips in 2010. Scott & Scott, LLP, an intellectual property and technology law firm, with a specialized practice area devoted to software license defense, says many of the ‘whistleblowers’ are current or former disgruntled IT employees who may be motivated by revenge and the chance to get cash rewards.

Scott & Scott, LLP

In many instances, the informants are the employees who are charged with ensuring software licensing compliance at the companies they are reporting.

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, reported on April 6th that California was one of six states that accounted for 49.3% of the reports the Business Software Alliance (BSA) received in 2010.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) conducts copyright enforcement actions on behalf of its members, and uses radio and internet ads to solicit confidential software piracy tips. According to Julie Machal-Fulks, Partner of Scott & Scott, LLP, a law firm with a software license defense practice area: “In many instances, the informants are the employees who are charged with ensuring software licensing compliance at the companies they are reporting.”

Companies are not required to cooperate with a request for a software audit either from the publishers 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.

Scott & Scott, LLP has observed the following common mistakes in software license disputes:

1. Failure to compile and produce accurate installation information.
2. Relying on internal IT staff to respond to a software audit request.
3. Submitting improper documentation in an attempt to demonstrate proof of ownership.
4. Failure to involve experienced counsel to interpret copyright laws and software licenses.

Scott & Scott, LLP recommends California companies avoid the above errors.

For additional free resources, visit: http://www.scottandscottllp.com, http://www.bsadefense.com/resources.asp, and Surviving Software Audits Article.

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