Business Software Audits: Scott & Scott, LLP Says Prepare For Auditor’s Knock On Your Door

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With software audits expected to continue increasing in 2013, intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP, with a practice area focus on software licensing and defense, shares tips on how to protect your firm when the auditors come knocking on your door.

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

The costs associated with software audits, even those that are resolved successfully, are substantial.

Software audits have been steadily increasing and Scott & Scott, LLP, expects this trend to continue in 2013 and beyond.

“Shrinking IT budgets, fierce competition, a mature software market, and cloud computing have motivated software publishers and their trade associations (BSA | The Software Alliance, and Software & Information Industry Association) to check up on their customers to derive revenue if they have not purchased enough licenses”, said Robert J. Scott, Managing Partner of intellectual property and technology law firm, Scott & Scott, LLP.

Many businesses do not realize that they are at risk of a software audit targeted at their firm. The costs associated with software audits, 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.

Software audits can either be initiated by the software publishers themselves (ie. Microsoft, IBM, Autodesk) or via their trade associations, such as the BSA | The Software Alliance and the Software & Information Industry Association. Although these groups have no independent regulatory or enforcement authority, publishers have granted them a power of attorney to pursue copyright infringement claims on their behalf.

The most common impetus for a software audit is the report of software piracy received from an informant, usually a disgruntled employee, lured by advertised cash rewards from the BSA & SIIA.

Here’s how to protect your firm when you receive an audit request:

*Avoid purchasing additional licenses in response to a request for an audit, as these purchases will be considered irrelevant.

*Select the correct automated discovery tool. Many automated tools produce inaccurate results.

*Don’t use free audit tools provided by the publishers or the trade associations. Many don’t exclude information outside the scope of the audit request.

*Have your IT department involve legal professionals with specific software audit defense and software compliance expertise. Software license agreements are contracts and IT professionals are often limited in their ability to interpret copyright laws without specialized legal assistance.

For additional information and free resources, visit: 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.
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